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The simple answer is that 700mm is equal to 27.5 inches. Unfortunately, when it comes to bike tires, nothing is ever so simple. A 700 tire can’t usually be swapped for a 27.5in tire.
I’m going to give you a quick rundown of:
– How to find your correct tire size
– What the numbers actually mean
– My recommended 700 tires
– My recommended 700 inner tubes
Time is short and we’ve got bikes to ride, so let’s dive straight in.
Finding your correct tire size
Generally, this is a simple process and you’ve already won half the battle here: finding your tire diameter, which is 700mm.
Squat or kneel down by the side of your bike and look closely at the sidewall of one of the tires. The sidewall is the rubber strip between the knobbles that hit the road and the metal tire rim where the brake pads hit. You will see the tire as a large ‘O’ shape. The sidewall is generally quite smooth and may also be a different color to the rest of the tire.
Ok, now look round the sidewall and you will see words and numbers printed on the surface. There’s likely to be the brand (such as Kenda) and the tire code. This will look something like “700x28c” or “700c x 23” and that will be your tire size.
Easy! Ok, I’m going to go through what these numbers mean, but here’s a rundown of my recommended tires and inner tubes for your 700c bike wheels. Pick the ones that have the same numbers as those printed on your existing tires and you’re good to go.
Recommended 700c tires and inner tubes
700c x 23
700c x 25
700c x 28
700c x 30
700c x 32
700c x 33
700c x 35
700c x 38
700c x 40
700c x 42
700c x 47
What do the numbers mean on 700 bike tires?
Let’s take a closer look at the tire size you’ve just found and see what the numbers mean.
The first number, ‘700’ is the nominal (i.e. approximate) diameter of the bike tire in millimeters.
‘x’ means multiplied.
The next number is the nominal width of the bike tire, again in millimeters. In the example above this is 28, however, it can be a number between 22 and 47.
You may also see a ‘c’, which could be after the 700 or after the tire width. This is a throwback to the old French system of classifying tire widths, ranging from ‘a’ (narrowest one) to ‘d’ (widest). It doesn’t mean much these days but many manufacturers still include it for some obscure reason!
Ok, let’s crack on and I’ll give you the details of my recommended 700-size bike tires for the various different tire widths.
My recommended 700 bike tires
This is the easy part!
You’ve got your tire size (700c x the tire width). Now all you need to do is find your tire size on the list above, click the link and you’ll be taken straight to my recommended tire.
Don’t be tempted to go with a tire that is ‘nearly the same size’ or one that’s measured in inches. Unfortunately, tire manufacturers use a wide range of classification systems for tires (inches, millimeters, ISO, ETRTO, etc) and you’ll find that either a tire won’t fit at all. Or, worse, it sorta fits but you’ll end up with problems down the road – literally!
This is a time to play it safe and get the correct size tire for your bike.
For the narrower tires listed below I’ve recommended slicker tires. Bikes with slimmer tires tend to be most at home on smooth pavement and roads. So, you’re looking for a correspondingly smooth tire so you can go fast. Bikes on the list with wider tires (such as cruisers and hybrids) tend to be ridden on a wider range of surfaces, some smooth, some with a looser surface. Here you’re needing a tire that has a little more gnarliness to it with a few knobbles for good grip on gravel and dirt, but still with enough smoothness for speed when you need it.
All of the tires on the list get fantastic feedback from buyers for their durability and performance.
My recommended 700 inner tubes
Thankfully, picking an inner tube for 700c wheels is as simple a process as finding the right tire for your bike.
In fact, arguably, it’s easier than with tires.
Why? Well, inner tubes are similar to party balloons – the diameter stays the same (i.e. the ‘700c’ dimension), but the width (e.g. 23mm) will vary according to the amount of air your inflate them with.
For that reason, you’ll see tubes printed with a fixed diameter and a width range, such as ‘700c x 28-32’.
The tube you want should have your tire width sitting within that width range. Example: a 700c x 30 tire would work perfectly with a 700c x 28-32 tube.