What are Clincher Road Bike Tires

Author: Alex Bristol

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What Are Clincher Road Tires?

If you own a road bike, chances are you probably have been using Clinchers all along. So what are Clincher road tires?

Clincher tires are the most common type of bike tire on road bikes. Yet just because they’re common, doesn’t make them simple, or even the best tires out there. Picking the right set of tires for your bike can pretty much make or break your ride.

But, “what are clincher tires made from?”, “What’s the difference between clinchers and tubular tires?” and “Are clinchers easier to fit my bike?” I hear you ask.

So, if you want to know everything about clincher tires and what makes them different from other tires out there, you’ve come to the right place.

A man riding on a white road bike with white tires and yellow rims

What Is A Clincher Bike Tire?

Clincher tires are a favorite in the biking community, you’ll find one pretty much on every road bike.

Clinchers get their name from the way you install this tire on the bike, by clinching the tire to the wheel rim. They are pretty easy to fit on a bike and are among the more inexpensive range of tires.

What’s so special about a Clincher tire? The main characteristic of a Clincher tire is its’ inner tube. This tube is what allows the tire to retain air pressure so that your tires are nice and firm when you ride.

Not only is this inner tube great for keeping air pressure at an optimum level, but it also means you don’t have to replace the whole tire when you get a puncture! Since the inner tube is removable,  you can install a new one through an accessible opening on your existing tires.

Having an inner tube also makes it ideal for inflating it easily. You can pump air into them with both Presta and Schrader valve pump.

Clincher Tire Rims

We mentioned that Clinchers get their name from the way they attach to the wheel. There are three types of tire rims on Clincher tires.

Hooked-bead: These have a ridge found in the inner tire rim. This is what keeps the tire’s bead secure so it doesn’t move around

Crochet-type: This is just the European way of saying hooked bead. They are the same thing, using a ridge to secure the tire bead.

Straight-side: Used more in the past, these types of rims are smooth, so you won’t be able to inflate the tires to a very high pressure since the attachment is weaker. The tire bead is also not as secure as with a hooked bead.

What Is The Difference Between A Clincher Tire And A Tubular Tire?

Put these two common bike tires side by side and you may think there isn’t much difference.

Wrong, my friend.

Despite their name, tubular tires have one key difference with clinchers – they don’t have a separate inner tube.

With tubular tires, the inner tube and the tire are joined together, usually sewn. You can’t easily access the inner tube to replace or refill it, unlike clinchers.

That means if you get a puncture out on the road, you won’t be able to quickly patch it up, it’s better to have a spare tire to replace the whole thing.

The way you fit them is different too. Tubular tires don’t have a way of fitting them over the rim, they come glued in place. This makes it that much harder to install the tire.

Then there’s some variation in weight with tubular weighing more, but they can sometimes be more durable too.

Are Clincher Tires Easy To Fit?

Clinchers are used on so many different bikes, including road bikes and mountain bikes. Because of their hook-bead system, and removable tube, fitting them to your bike is a piece of cake.

Pretty much all you need to do is put the inner tube of the clincher inside the tire and then fit the tire on the bike’s rim by moving the beads towards the edge of the rim.

Most clinchers use a hook-bead, which tends to have a well or a dip in the middle to ensure the bead fits snugly. This well needs to have the bead in the right spot so that you can put the bead over the rim.

After that, you’ve got yourself a fitted tire!

Are Clincher Tires Expensive?

Before you run to the shops and buy these amazing tires, there’s one more thing to consider. Have you got enough cash in your pocket?

When purchasing any product, it’s important to consider your budget so that you don’t break the bank.

Clincher tires are a great option since they are super inexpensive, the cheaper ones you can get for as little as 30 dollars or under. And for those looking to invest in higher quality or more pro tires, there is a good range of more expensive clincher tires to suit all your needs

Furthermore, the design of these tires is such that you do not have to replace the entire tire when it gets damaged. You only have to replace the tube, making the clincher tire very cost-effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Clincher tires made of?

The clincher tire’s inner tube is made of inflatable rubber. The bead or wire is made either of Kevlar fiber bead or steel wire. This bead has hooked-bead flanges to attach to the rim. The bead is then covered by fabric such as nylon, and the whole tire gets a rubber coating to finish off.

Can clincher tires be tubeless?

Similarly, a standard clincher tire can be used on a tubeless-ready rim with an inner tube, but the only way to achieve tubeless inflation is with a tubeless-ready rim and tire. Many people use tape to build up a standard road rim and make it work with tubeless.

What is a clincher road bike tire?

Clinchers are the bike tires you rode as a kid. They have an outer “carcass” made for whatever type of bike they need to be. The name clincher comes from the fact that these tires “clinch” to the rim of the wheel with a bead of hard rubber.

Is tubeless faster than clincher?

Since they don’t have an inner tube they’re lighter and faster. Road tubeless tires’ rolling resistance is lower than that of both clinchers and tubular due to the friction between the inner tube and casing being eliminated.


So should you buy a clincher tire?

Well, only you can answer that question. However, with a convenient inner tube that can be replaced when you get a puncture, a secure and easy fitting, as well as a cost-effective market price, what’s not to like? If you’re still not convinced if clincher tires are for you, check them out on your next visit to the tire shop.

With the information in this article, you should feel a lot more confident with your knowledge of clincher tires and hopefully, feel like you’re in a better position to make an informed decision. 

So, check out our other articles, good luck with the cycling, and…

Keep pedaling!

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