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Cult x Vans Tire
Cult and Vans both make incredible products. They've worked together and created a high quality BMX tire with the signature Vans pattern grip.Check Price
FAF tires are a great option for beginners or those looking for a cheaper option. You may get a little less life and quality out of the tires but they won't let you down.Check Price
Donnastreet tires are brilliantly designed for Alex Donnachie's signature series. This is a great upgrade pick for intermediate riders or street riding.Check Price
If you haven’t gone through the process of choosing and buying BMX tires in the past you won’t see many differences when looking around the skatepark. In fact, when you look closer and think about the riding style your BMX tires will be used for, there are many differences and many factors that can alter your decision in which tire to purchase.
Every biking discipline needs a different style of tire. For example, mountain bike and dirt jump tires need to be tough, wide and knobbly in order to keep grip on muddy and slippery terrain. Road bikes have very thin tires without any discernible tread. This enables them to ride much faster much easier.
BMX tires need to be much tougher and wider than most others. Due to the large drops and hard landings of riding BMX, their innertubes need to hold a significantly higher PSI than other bikes. All BMX disciplines need to have tougher tires for this reason but changing the tread and width of your tires for different riding styles will give you various advantages.
As you will see from reading this article, tires for park riding will have a little amount of tread, they are thinner and can be much smoother. Flatland tires are designed for stability and so will be a little thicker than park tires. Dirt jump tires are normally the thickest and will have the most significant grip, a lot like mountain bike tires. This is due to the uneven, rough terrain of dirt jump parks. The only thing you have to worry about with BMX jump tires is the clearance between the top of the tire and the bottom of your bike's forks. A gap too small will pick up a lot of dirt and leaves, resulting in your wheel not being able to spin.
How to Choose the Right Tire
In order to choose the perfect tire for your bike and riding you need to figure out what type of riding you will be using the bike for most. Tires for BMX track racing, freestyle and jump riding will be significantly different and if you can get the right set for your style then you’ll definitely see an improvement.
Presuming you have a regular 20” BMX bike. Tires that are approximately 2.125” wide are best for freestyle of flatland riding. Freestyle BMX riding is the generic term for park, street and flatland riding. This thickness is pretty much the average size and will give you good control and stability while not being so big they become pointless and slow you down.
It might be quite obvious to experienced riders but as a general rule, the deeper the tread, the muddier and uneven the ground. For example, park and flatland riding where you’re always on smooth, grippy concrete you want tires that have shallow, insignificant tread that is generally pretty smooth.
For most types of riding a good recommended PSI to look for is between 40 and 70. This amount of pressure will keep your innertubes hard but still, give you a little bit of cushion to keep your ankles from snapping when you have a hard landing. Having said this, if you’re a BMX racer then you definitely want your tires recommended PSI to be over 70. Most riders actually have their innertube pressure nearer 100 PSI. Having your PSI this high will mean you’ll feel every bump and landings will be hard but you’ll find it much easier to gain and keep speed.
1. Cult x Vans Tire Review
Cult and Vans are two hugely popular in the BMX world. As you already know, Vans is a hugely popular brand throughout the world of shoes. In recent years Vans have been collaborating profusely.
The first project in the category of bike parts was the Cult x Vans Waffle Grips. The hugely popular idea of using the signature Vans tread on the grips helped them to sell extremely well. After this, it wasn’t surprising that the tire was thought up. There may be a slightly smaller market of people that would have a need for 20” BMX tires but still, the idea was brilliant and so the two companies got to work again.
After what seems to have been a very simple design process, VEE rubber got involved to provide a very nice rubber compound. Sebastian Keep and Dakota Roche were two of the first advocates and testers of the new tires, both of whom loved the design. In fact, keep only rode the waffle tire until his signature Tall Order Wallride Tire was launched.
Unlike a lot of tires on this list, Cult and Vans haven’t concentrated on any specific riding type. Riders from every discipline had success riding with these tires. The grip is great for squeaky, fast park riding while also being a gorgeous tire for riding BMX dirt successfully. The only people that may not have much success are BMX racers, simply due to the unavailability of super slim versions.
Sebastian Keep Redefines BMX with MASSIVE Bridge Gaps-To-Wallrides | Walls
2. BSD Alex D Donnastreet Signature
Photo by @k4bmx
Alex is a young street rider who’s been progressing quickly, gaining some high-quality sponsorships along the way.
BSD definitely saw potential in the young rider offering great opportunities to design several signature parts including the ALVX frame.
Having the opportunity to design a brand new signature frame is a huge deal for most young riders. A successful brand is recognising the ability and potential of such riders then investing a significant amount of money in a project they near enough control. It’s safe to say the investment in Alex Donnachie was a good one. The ALVX frame, Donnasqueak and Donnastreet tires are some of BSD’s best selling products.
The names of Alex’s signature tires are great. The name lets everyone know who’s behind the design while also letting riders know the perfect use for the product. These tires are a continuation on from the Donnasqueaks. The initial design proved the rubber was high quality and effective for street riding.
The tread sit’s much further around the sidewall than originally designed. This allows the sidewalls to be reinforced much better while also keeping the tires much safer from grinding snags.
If you’re solely a street or park rider then Donnastreet tires will be a great option for you. Due to the low profile and simple tread patterns, I wouldn’t suggest anyone riding dirt or racing buy these tires.
- Width: 2.3”, 2.4”
- Weight:690g, 730g
- Max Pressure:110PSI
- Extra Grippy & Squeaky Compound
3. Shadow Conspiracy Strada Nuova Bike Tire
Shadow conspiracy’s appearances on these best of BMX post are starting to become a regular occurrence. You could say I really enjoy the company but in reality, they just make some really good parts
The company seems to concentrate on simply making their parts stronger and more durable than the competition. Instead of trying to achieve loads of characteristics, they spend much of their time on one and just do that really well. Some may say this is a bad idea but I think it’s very clever. You always know what you’re going to get with Shadow Conspiracy parts.
Now onto the Strada tire. Simone Barraco’s signature.
Baracco is a humble Italian rider. Spending his formative years as a gymnast before pursuing a riding career has, in my opinion, done nothing but help him. Just by watching some of Simone’s street riding you can see the core strength and flexibility really help.
After filming his first BMX part in Tel Aviv, Barraco’s career really took off. The technical ability he showed in his tricks got him an invitation to X Games LA. Finishing 5th in this event is an incredible performance for a 20-year-old rider.
The next few years saw Simone cement sponsorships at big companies like Red Bull and The Shadow Conspiracy while also placing brilliantly in competitions like the Texas Toast, 2013 and the Munich Mash, 2014.
This tire has been intricately designed by Simone and the Shadow team. In compliance with Barraco’s riding style, this tire has been designed to be wide, smooth and ready to absorb huge blows.
Looking closely at the grip shows an intricate design. The deep cut design is a group of directional slips that alternate between long and short. Around all of this, the tire has the micro knurling I mentioned earlier in this article.
There are two interesting facts about this tire. Firstly the name, ‘Strada’. This is the Italian word for ‘street’, which is very fitting in my opinion. Secondly, there’s the artwork on the side of the tire. It was actually drawn by Simone in the early design stages.
- Width: 2.3”
- Max Pressure: 110PSI
- Weight: 25.8oz
- Simone Barraco Signature Tire
- Deep &Agressive tread Pattern
- Smooth Centreline
4. Federal Response Bicycle Tire
Federal is a very generic British BMX company. Started by the guys at Seventies Distribution in Hastings. The company was started around the same time as a lot of other BMX companies in the UK. This is due to the delay in a core BMX scene being adopted in the country. The sport and the love for it slowly had a slow rebirth during the late ’90s and early 2000s.
Federal bikes were started in a perfect time for the UK. A new love had been found for the discipline but there wasn’t a huge amount of companies out there to support this demand. This allowed Federal to sponsor some amazing riders. Some of these initial riders included: Ian Morris, Sandy Carson and Chris Stauffer.
The Response tire is evidently a culmination of almost two decades of experience. Designed to primarily be ridden in parks and on the street, Federal have designed the tires to have a directional, deep cut treat that’s still fairly simple. The deep cut and directional tread work to provide extra grip in an intended way but the fact the tread is still simple works perfectly for those riders that love tire squeak.
The sidewalls have had a good amount of work here. Response tires have a tapered tread where the top grip meets the sidewalls. This provides a good gradient between the two areas while also decreasing resistance when grinding. The sidewalls are also equipped with nylon infused tear-resistant rubber. This might not be as attractive as the kevlar infused rubber that some other tires boast but if you’re looking to save some money, the technology of the Response tire will definitely make do.
- Width: 2.35”, 2.5”
- Max Pressure: 100PSI
- Weight: 839g
- Colour: Black
Michael Smelko 'Island Life' Federal Bikes
5. Demolition Momentum 20-Inch Tire
Demolition BMX began a bit later than a lot of bike companies. Brian Castillo, created the company after the idea came while road tripping around the US. Like a lot of BMX companies, Castillo and his friends felt that there weren’t enough brands that were owned and operated by riders. The multitude of companies owned by middle-aged, corporate-style business owners resulted in products that didn’t benefit the riders themselves.
Brian and his two riding friends, Jason Enns and Kris Bennet were lucky in that they all excelled at many different BMX disciplines. Between there was a significant amount of experience in all the main riding types. This is much more beneficial than people think, instead of being another outsider trying to design parts for other types of riders, the team could draw from their own experience and really make something that stuck out.
Instead of going crazy over the design of this Momentum tire, Demolition instead worked on the underlying features. The rectangular tread pattern may look a bit boring but the weight you lose and the strength you add is well worth it.
Again, it’s suggested that these tires be predominantly used in BMX parks and not on the wild streets. The low profile tread pattern is great for things like weight but the result is a much thinner sidewall. Grinding excessively on these tires will, unfortunately, lead to them wearing straight through much quicker than normal biking tires.
- Width: 2.2”, 2.35”
- Max Pressure: 110psi
- Weight: 19oz
- Threads Per Inch: 60
6. WeThePeople Stickin Tires
WTP is another wonderful brand that is featured all too commonly on this site. The company has long been on top of the BMX market. WeThePeople have managed to find success both with their complete bikes and expert parts.
The main boastable feature of this tire is the fact it can be ridden comfortably on any surface while also being slippy enough to grind any ledge or rail with ease. After 9 months of solid work, WTP has really released a good piece of equipment for all street riders out there.
The rubber used in BMX tires never seems to be taken as seriously as it is with car or motorbike tires.Before the creation of the Stickin tire, WTP had created various other popular bike tires, specifically the Grippin and Feelin tires that were a great success.
Working with the design of these previous tires, testing new rubber compounds and spending more than 9months in development resulted in what we see today, a great tire with characteristics, unlike nearly all other bike tires.
- Threads Per Inch: 120
- Width: 1.3”, 2.4”
- Weight: 25-27oz
- Colours: Black, Dark Gum, Sand
7. FitBikeCo FAF BMX Tires
Fit is a bike company started in 1999 by S &M bikes. Due to the already successful S &M, it didn’t take long for Fit to take off. The new company concentrated on building a great BMX team around the brand. Some widely known names were on that team: Brian Foster, Mike Aitken, Jason Enns and John Van Homan.
The fact that all these riders still ride for the brand today shows this is a brand that values their riders and image greatly. This may seem like a small detail but it’s a good sign that Fit really are trying to create great products for the BMX community.
Fit hasn’t ever been afraid of attracting attention to itself, whether it’s good or bad. There are two pretty obvious examples of this. Firstly there’s the name. The name is commonly known as ‘F-It’ as in ‘ F*ck It’. The other example is the tyres we’re featuring on this list. FAF stands for ‘Fast as F*ck’. I, along with many other riders, love these seemingly careless acts by the company, but in fact, the result regularly tends to give the company an even more popular image.
The FAF tires have a lot of the same special features as other tires on this list. A puncture-resistant Kevlar belt is starting to become more and more common with new tires. The advancements in kevlar and it’s application in bike tires allows is making it easier and easier to use in these tires.
The second feature is the tear resistant silkworm casing. Technically the silkworm isn’t actually a casing, it is an element that can be added into a pre-existing casing. The silkworm layer is positioned under the wheel tread with the intention of it working alongside the kevlar belt to stop anything sharp from penetrating through to the inner tube.
The sidewalls of BMX tires are by far the weakest point. Many BMX tricks force the bikes sidewalls to come under stress. Whether it’s grinding, stalling or wall riding, the sidewalls of the tires definitely don’t enjoy it.
Unfortunately, tires can’t be designed to have the same tread or rubber thickness over the sidewalls and so features like micro-knurling have been developed and used. Knurling is the process of adding masses of tiny bumps or grooves to the surface. This adds a much larger surface area to the tires, increasing durability massively. If you haven’t seen knurling before have a look closely at some bike pedals or the section of the handlebar that is clamped down between the stem.
If you’re looking to buy FAF tires for your bike, be sure to research which size will best for your frame. Due to the difference in tread thicknesses on each tire size, many people are finding the final width is different from advertised.
- Width: 2.3”, 2.4”
- Inflated Width: 2.2”, 2.44”
- Max PSI: 110PSI
- Weight: 25.5oz, 25.6oz
8. KHE Mac 2+ | 20” BMX Tires
KHE Bikes is an old BMX company but has only actually been selling BMX parts direct to customers for the past several years. Initially being founded in 1988, KHE spent most of their life developing BMX parts that improved the biking experience.
Without the need to spend a lot of time selling products direct to customers, KHE managed to spend a lot more time inventing and innovating new ideas. Over the years these products and features have been incorporated into the world of BMX.
KHE were among the first BMX bike companies to develop: multiple butted handlebars, welded U-Pivots on freestyle forks, externally adjustable freecoaster hubs, freecoaster hubs with sealed bearings, freestyle seat/post combo, 25/9 gearing on amateur bikes and the widely popular folding freestyle tires that we will be discussing here.
The MAC2+ tires have the great quality of being puncture proof. Due to the simple reason that there’s all sorts of rubbish on the streets, BMX street riding results in a fair amount of punctures. Whether it’s a nail, snake bite or a faulty previous repair; any puncture is extremely annoying. The MAC2+ tires are developed with stronger sidewalls and an integrated puncture proof layer that works to prevent the majority of punctures.
I do not believe that you will be exempt from snake bites (punctures that result from a slightly flat tire pinching against the rim) when riding with these tires. The puncture proofing layer will stop things like nails getting through to the inner tube but since snake bites happen inside the tires, there’s not much you can do apart from keeping properly inflated tires.
I’m surprised at the number of innovative features KHE have managed to squeeze into this tire. They’ve managed to make the tire super light by having a low rotating mass, make the tire foldable while at the same time reinforcing the tire with kevlar.
Riders that use this tire commonly have found that the sidewalls aren’t thick enough to be perfect for extensive grinding or dirt riding. The best use for these tires will be flatland or smooth skateparks.
- Tire Width: 2.3”
- Max Pressure: 120PSI
- Weight: 570g
- Steel Beaded
- Unique Puncture Proof Layer
- Strong Sidewalls
BMX - Alfredo Mancusco KHE Bikes Edit 2014
What does BAR and PSI Mean on Bike Tires?
In most countries, tire manufacturers are required by law to print the maximum inflation pressure on the sidewall of any tires. It’s great information and will help you when pumping up your innertubes but what does PSI and BAR actually mean?
They are both units of pressure measurement with BAR being the metric option. As well as bars of pressure (BAR) and pounds per square inch (PSI), there is also Kilopascals (kPa), although these are much less commonly used.
One BAR is the pressure of the atmosphere at sea level. This force is 1 kilogram per square centimeter and as always with unit conversion, the PSI equivalent is a super random number. 1 BAR is approximately 14.7 PSI or 100 kPa.
So, in simple terms, having 1 bar of pressure in your bike tires is equal to having the same pressure of the Earths’ atmosphere, at sea level, in your wheels.
Differences Between BMX and Regular Tires
The type of riding you do has a big impact on the type of tire you should be looking for. You already know this. The extremes of this fact is mountain bike and road racing bikes. A mountain bike will have wide, durable and knobbly tires while a racing bike will have slick tires that are as thin as possible.
BMX tires are in the middle. A DJ BMX will have knoblier tires closer to a mountain bike but they will be much less extreme as speed is still an important factor. On the other hand BMX racing bikes have slicker tires with a good amount of grip, they need to deal with different race track terrains.
Unless you’re at a very high level most BMX tires won’t offer a noticeable difference. The main thing you should be looking out for is the width of the tire and a tread pattern you like the look of.
Different Tire Styles Within BMX
Probably the most common discipline within BMX, freestyle riding includes a lot of hard surfaces, temporary speed and aggressive landings. In general a 2.2 inch width with at least a small amount of grib will be adequate. This width and degree of tread can be increased the more off road dirt jumping you do.
Make sure you pump these tires up hard enough to prevent snake bites. Read more about tire pressure here.
To make sure you retain as much speed as possible when riding on a racetrack you want to look for some of the thinnest tires available for BMX. These are approximately 1.25 - 1.375 inches. Make sure you have at least some semblance of tread as not all race tracks are perfectly flat.
Riding tires this thin means you need an increased PSI to prevent pinching and to decrease rolling resistance for gaining and keeping speed.. Approximately 80psi will work well for this sort of riding.
I find it quite difficult to recommend a specific type of tire for dirt jump riding. One one hand a thicker tire will absorb rougher terrain better and offer better stability but will restrict some amount of speed. Another issue I've found with thicker tires on dirt is the loose stuff.
Most generic forks won’t give you much clearance between a thick tire and the bottom of the steerer tube. When riding in dirty conditions or at any time in autumn it’s highly likely the steerer tube will become fully clogged with dirt and leaves. This is a massive pain and should definitely be considered.
On the other hand, a slightly thinner tire will improve your speed but may be slightly more uncomfortable on tougher terrain. You also won’t have to deal with the mud collecting issue I mentioned above.
One thing I'm sure of is deep tread is super beneficial for dirt jump riding. Directional tread patterns will help a lot with grip and stability.
My final recommendation for a dirt jump tire is around 2 inches with a deep set directional tread pattern filled to around 60PSI. The softer PSI will add the comfort you lose from a larger tire while you retain the speed from a smaller size.
You will find that street riding is quite similar to park and freestyle riding in many respects. Tires with a width of around 2” are common with a super high pressure and a negligible amount of tread are the go to features for a street BMX rider.
Flat surfaces and concrete are pretty much all these riders will use so the grip is unnecessary when all it’s going to do is wear down and affect the way you ride.
Tire pressure is very subjective for street riding. Hard impacts are common suggesting that a softer tire would be beneficial but I know of a lot of riders that go straight for a super solid tire as it helps with the responsiveness of the bike. Snake bite punctures are the most common in street riding, a tougher tire pressure will also help to prevent these.
What Size BMX Tire Should I be Riding?
This question can be answered in two ways, answering the size of the wheel or the width of the tire.
20” wheels are a pretty integral part of the definition of the word BMX. Nearly all BMX bikes use this size of wheel. Children can purchase 12” wheels simply because the whole bike is downsized.
If you were asking the other question then the answer is different. BMX tires are produced in sizes from 1.25” up to about 3” wide with most riders falling between the 1.5” and 2.25” mark. The size you choose to rider is directly dictated by what type of riding you do. Read the sections above to get a more accurate answer.
Advice on Tire Pressure
We have written a whole post about tire pressures, you will get better information by checking out that guide.
Again, rider size and weight as well as riding discipline will have a big impact on the tire pressure you feel most comfortable with. Absorption and grip are heavily impacted by different inner tube pressures, if you weigh more than the average person then the usual pressures won’t have the same affect on your riding as it will on other people.
There are general baselines for each style of riding that I will list below but it’s really up to you to work from these figures and determine what is best for you. As an example, there are a lot of riders who really enjoy using a different pressure on the front and back wheel. One wheel will be harder for speed and handling while the other will absorb the hard hits and rugged terrain.
- Street Riding: 40 - 70 psi
- Racing: 80+ psi
- Dirt Jumping: ~60 psi
- Freestyle: ~70 psi
Dirt Jump Biking
Commuting on BMX