What Does 700x28c Mean? (Simple Answer)

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Ben Jones

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Simple Answer:

700x28c simply means the size of your bicycle tire, according to what’s known as the ‘French system’.

“700” is the overall diameter of the bike tire, measured in millimeters. “28” is the width of the tire, again in millimeters and “c” refers to the width code of the tire (like you’d see when you look at your bike either from behind or in front). The “c” is part of the old French system that classified widths of tires from “a” (being the narrowest) to “d” (which was the widest). So, a “c” was almost as wide as these tires would get.

My recommendations for your 700x28c bike:

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How to find bicycle tire size

You’ll find the tire size of your bike by looking on the sidewall of the bike’s tires (have a close look just above the metal wheel rim surface where the brake pads touch). If you stand to the side of your bike so that the tires become an ‘O’ shape, then the sidewall is the part of the tire that you are now seeing. It’s likely to be quite smooth, without any of the knobbles or grips that the tire surface has where it touches the road surface.

Take a good look along the sidewall of the tire and you’ll see there are various numbers and words in the rubber, such as the bike tire brand e.g. Continental. You will see “700x28c” and this is your bike tire size. The “700” is the tire diameter and the “28c” is the tire width.

Let’s go on now to look at my recommended 700x28c tires and tubes for your bike.

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What size bicycle tire do I need?

In simple terms, you need to purchase a new bike tire that is “700x28c”. Unfortunately, tires that are ‘nearly close enough’ sadly won’t be actually close enough and you’re likely to get issues, such as punctures. That being said, you do have a choice in terms of (a) how much ‘tread’ you want i.e. how knobbly you want the tires to be, and (b) which brand to go for.

I’ve used quite a few Continental tires recently and been really impressed by the quality. They’re smooth and very fast-rolling and, not to tempt fate(!), I haven’t yet got a puncture in any of them despite having cycled a good number of miles.

I’d recommend these Continental tires which are tough, very fast, and have great puncture resistance. Ideal for urban streets or anywhere where you get broken glass, pins, or thorns trying to pop your tires.

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What bike inner tubes should I buy?

When you’re selecting an inner tube for your bicycle tire, you need to make sure that you’re picking a tube that has a diameter matching that shown on your existing tire (in our situation, this is “700”) and a width that includes the diameter you need (for us, that’s “28”). The width of an inner tube can vary according to how much air they’re inflated with. So you’ll normally see them labeled with their diameter and a range of widths, e.g. 700×28-35.

What this means is that they’re good for tires that are in the range of 700×28 up to 700×35.

This tube is a great example from Continental. A high-quality tube with great wall thickness for excellent puncture protection.

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How do I replace bike tire and inner tube?

Getting a flat on your bike tire, can be really annoying, but it’s easy to deal with if you’re prepared and have the right kit, and shouldn’t spoil your cycle.

When you go out for a bike ride always carry the following:

  1. a spare inner tube (in the correct size),
  2. a compact repair kit,
  3. plastic tire levers,
  4. and a good quality hand pump or CO2 inflator

Then it’s an easy process to get you back on the road fast.

Here are the basic steps to fixing a puncture:

  • Remove the bike wheel
  • Remove the tube
  • Find the cause of the flat
  • Repair or replace the tube
  • Reinstall the bike wheel

For an easy how-to guide, have a quick watch of this video.