There is no doubt that the tire is an integral part of your bicycle. It plays an essential role in providing safety, performance, and comfort for bike riders. But there are many bike tires in the market, and choosing which one is the better fit for your bike can be a challenge. However, it will probably help you if you know the difference between wire bead tire vs. folding tires.
These two types of tires are the most widely debated in the biking community. Apart from looking at the tire size, tube, tire threads, and other factors in looking for the bike tire, selecting between a wire bead tire and folding are also key for the right tire. These are the materials between the bead of each side of the tire, affecting the ride quality and comfort.
Wire Bead Tire vs. Folding: What is the Difference
The bead is an essential part of the tire that will come in contact with the bike’s rim. The tire bead is responsible for allowing the tire to stay seated on the rim. It looks like a cord found on the tire’s circumference that holds the rim when the tire is inflated. The regular tires that we used come with a wire bead that makes them durable and stiff. Meanwhile, the folding bead tires are using synthetic fibers, which provide more durability and flexibility. This flexibility feature will allow the tires to be folded.
Materials and Weight
The materials used to make the beads are the main difference between the wire bead tire and folding tire. The tires with wire beads are providing more rigidness compared to the folding bead. Meanwhile, the folding bead tire uses synthetic fiber, particularly Kevlar fiber, known for its durability and flexibility.
When it comes to the weight, the wire bead tire is slightly heavier by around 2 ounces than the folding one. This weight makes the folding bead tires ideal for traveling long distances. Being lightweight also helps the biker in terms of increasing performance and providing comfort while on the road. On the other hand, the weight of the write bead tire can affect the biker’s performance a little due to its heavyweight.
Flexibility and Pricing
The Kevlar fiber, which is used to make the folding bead tire, is known for its flexibility, making the tire easily folded when not in use. The upside of having the flexibility for the manufacturers is it can be packaged or store easily, which is ideal for biking longer distances. Meanwhile, the wire bead tire is less flexible and known for its stiffness which offers excellent durability.
For the pricing comparison, folding bead tires are relatively higher compared to wired one. It is probably because of the materials used, excellent design, and the weight. The difference between the two tires can be attributed to different factors such as the quality of the design, materials used, and so on.
The Rubber Compound
The folding bead tires also come with a thread made of a softer rubber compound that provides excellent traction between the tire and the road surface. The large surface area of the contact patch is the main reason for the excellent traction. However, the downside of the softness of the rubber compound is that it wears out quickly compared to the other tire threads.
The TPI or Threads Per Inch is the number of threads that crosses through one square inch of the single ply of the tire’s casing. The Kevlar beads, which are primarily used in folding bead tires, come with a higher TPI, making them lightweight and providing excellent performance. The high TPI count also contributes to the flexibility of the tire. Meanwhile, the wire bead tire does not come with a TPI count.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Folding bead tires are excellent for long-distance bikers. The folding capability, lightness, and better traction on the road surface make biking more comfortable and easy. It also provides a high TPI which means it can give more flexibility to the rider. The downside of the folding bead tires is their low durability. With its softness, it wears out quickly but is reinforced by dual-compound threads to compensate for the weakness.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for tires that last longer with your bike, the wire bead tire should be your option. This type of tire is ideal for short commutes on terrains that do not require effort in spinning the wheel. The wire bead tire is built to last longer, but it is a little bit heavier, which means it can affect your comfort by requiring more effort during pedaling.
Learning the difference between wire bead tire vs. folding tire as a biker is excellent knowledge to add to your biking skills. The wire bead tires are basically the same as the folding tires but only differ in some features. Some bikers have said that wire bead tires are difficult to mount, but other bikers say the folding tire is also challenging to install.
Either way, whatever you choose for your tire will all depend on your preference and your buying capability. If you are looking for tires for long-distance, then the folding bead tire is an excellent option. But, if you are looking for a more affordable one, then the wire bead tire is an excellent choice. It is all about personal preference, and you will be the one responsible for choosing the type of tire to install on your bike.