(Easy Guide): What Is A Folding Bike Tire? 

Are you planning on taking a cross-country trip on your bike? If you are, then a folding bike tire is a must-have! These latest tire designs have gained popularity over the last few years because of their increased stretchability and convenience for bikers.

But what really is a folding bike tire, and how is it different from a regular one?

A folding bike tire is a special, portable version of a bike tire that is composed of Kevlar strands. These Kevlar strands give it an extra stretchability, which can be folded and kept as a spare tire when traveling long distances.

So, dive deeper into this article as I tell you all you need to about the folding bike tire!

What Is a Folding Bike Tire?

A folding bike tire is a bicycle tire that can be folded or rolled up for easy storage and transportation. These tires are usually made of a lightweight material such as Kevlar or nylon, and they often have a special tread pattern that helps to grip the road surface.

Whenever you are traveling long distances on a bike, it is highly likely that either of your bike tires will pop out. Arranging a new tire in such cases can be a hassle; thus, you should always have a spare one.

Folding bike tires are a great option for those who want to be able to take their bicycle with them on vacation or in the car, and they can also be a good choice for those who live in small apartments or who don’t have a lot of space to store a bike.

This is where the folding bike tire comes into the picture. A folding bike tire is foldable and, thus, very easy to carry.

Due to their lightweight, stretchability, and strong kevlar fibers, folding tires have become quite popular.

The folding bike tires have a high thread per inch count and are helpful for touring cyclists who want to avoid tire blowouts. 

How Do Folding Bike Tires Work?

Folding bike tires work just like regular bike tires, but they are designed to be more compact so that they can be easily folded up. The tires are usually made of a special type of rubber that is more flexible and can be compressed without damaging the tire. This makes it possible to fold the bike without worrying about the tire being damaged.

Still confused? Allow me to explain more!

Kevlar Strands

Folding bike tires contain Kevlar strands that are strong and durable fibers. These kevlar strands are five times stronger than steel and have various other functions in heavy machinery and bulletproof jackets as well.

Due to these kevlar strands, the bike tires are foldable and lightweight. 

Kevlar is an organic mixture of phenylenediamine and teraphthaloyl. Both these compounds add strength and resistance to heat in kevlar. Some of the most amazing qualities of Kevlar are:

  • Heat resistant
  • Stretchability
  • Decomposition at higher temperatures
  • Resistance to chemical reactions
  • Resistance to abrasions
  • Durable and strong

Since kevlar is so durable and has other characteristics that allow its wide and frequent usage, it is the most expensive thread material out there.

Even though the price tag may seem heavy to pay, this investment is worth it. In short, you will get your money’s worth if you decide to buy kevlar threaded folded tires.

» This could also be something for you: Tube Vs Tubeless Bicycle Tires

Advantages Of Folding Bike Tires

Now that we have understood why folding bike tires fold let us talk about some advantages that folding bike tires offer. Here is a list of the advantages you get if you invest in folding bike tires.

#1 Lighter than Rigid TIres

In the usual bike tires, wire bundles are present that make it hard to bend or fold. However, that is not the case with folding tires. They are made up of expandable kevlar strands that allow the tires to fold. 

These kevlar strands are also responsible for making the folding tires lighter.

The foldable tires typically reduce the weight by 2 ounces per tire of a regular tire.

The lighter folding tires make it easy to carry them wherever you go and significantly improve your riding experience.

The maneuverable property of these folding tires is what sets them apart from others and is particularly helpful when you plan on carrying a spare tire on a long journey.

#2 Improve Riding Experience

Since the folding tires are made up of kevlar strands, due to which they are lightweight, they increase the overall biking experience and performance. They make you feel lighter and more in control whenever you’re riding. 

Besides its lightweight, the strength and durability of these tires to rough terrain or obstacle-laden roads are qualities worth mentioning that can significantly elevate your riding experience. 

Overall, the folding tires are a great choice for you if you want to travel light (quite literally) and have an improved riding experience.  

#3 Easy to Fit

As mentioned earlier, the folding tires are made up of kevlar strands which is a stretchable yet firm material.

Due to the properties imparted to it by kevlar threads, the foldable tire is highly flexible and thus easy to fold and fit even in a small space.

Since it is easy to fit, you can take it along with you on long journeys and replace your old tire with this in case it pops out. 

Though, because of its stretchability, the bike can get slightly difficult to mount with a folding tire on, it is overall a great option, and you should definitely take it with you on any cross-country travel plans. 

#4 Less Chance Of Blowouts

Blowouts are hectic and problematic. They can potentially result in accidents, and the only way around a tire blowout is to replace it.

Tire blowouts usually result from the persistent penetration of sharp objects through the tire into the inner tube.

However, with folding tires, there is less chance of blowouts simply because the kevlar material is thick, resistant, and not easily penetrated. 

Since the tire is not easily penetrated, it proves to be resistant to sharp objects or other obstacles, reducing the chances of it blowing out. 

» Maybe this also could be of interest to you: How to Change a Road Bike Tire Easily?

#5 Perfect Choice For Pro Bikers

Surely if you are a pro-biker, you must also like to ride on heavy terrains and participate in biking competitions, tours, and whatnot.

For your high biking activity, you need bike tires that are easily adapted to different conditions and are easy to carry around. 

The folding tires are the perfect choice for you. These durable tires are foldable, lightweight, resistant, strong, and easy to carry. 

Your biking doesn’t have to be restricted to your town or your city. With folding tires, you can explore more areas and actively participate in everything related to biking. 

If you think about it, folding tires are totally worth your investment. You will definitely be able to get more from them than you pay.

Folding Bicycle Tires Vs Regular Bike Tires – A Detailed Comparison

Do you plan on buying new tires and can’t decide whether to opt for folding tires or just the regular ones? We are here to make that choice easy for you. 

Though the regular bike tires have always been there, and almost all the bikes have them, folding bike tires are also getting increasingly popular. 

It really makes one wonder what each of these tires brings to the table. If you plan on buying new tires, this detailed comparison and analysis will surely help you make the right choice for yourself. 

#1 Material Composition

As mentioned above, the material composition of both tires is very different. The folding tires use synthetic Kevlar strands, whereas the regular tires use stiff steel wires that make them rigid. 

Both of these materials have different properties that make them special. While the kevlar provides the folding tires with flexibility and strength, the steel wires give the tires a longer life. 

The kevlar stranded folding tires are the right choice for your bike if you plan on traveling long distances, while that may not be the case for regular tires since they can pop out in long-distance travels. 

#2 Flexibility

Flexibility is one important factor we need to consider when comparing regular and folding tires. The folding tires have kevlar threads that make them more flexible.

This means that you can easily pack them and fit them in a bag if you plan on traveling. 

The steel wires of the regular tires do not allow them any flexibility and are rigid and stiff. You most certainly cannot carry the regular tires around if you plan to travel. 

Thus, when it comes to flexibility, folding tires have the upper hand. 

#3 Weight

Another difference in both tires is how much each weighs. As mentioned above, folding tires weigh less than regular tires. In fact, folding tires weigh two ounces less when compared to regular tires. 

The main reason for the difference in weight is the material they are composed of i.e. kevlar strands and steel wires. 

The less weight of the bike tire means that you can go faster without having to expend extra energy or stress. This makes your bike ride an overall pleasant experience.

#4 Rubber Composition

The rubber composition is a crucial factor to compare when analyzing folding and regular tires. Folding tires use a soft rubber composition on the tread of the bike tire.

This soft rubber composition favors the tires in rough terrain and helps you control your motion more vigilantly. 

The regular tires, in turn, have no such feature. They share the standard tread and a relatively harder rubber composition that adds friction to your bike’s motion. 

Even though the folding tires have a softer rubber composition and improved traction, they tend to wear out faster.

Hence, folding tires may not be the right choice if you have a problem with changing your bike tires often.

#5 Price

Since the kevlar fibers are strong and have multipurpose usage, the price of folding tires is much higher than the normal tires. The folding tires ($100-$150) cost approximately $10-$40 more than the regular tires ($70-$110).

This is where all the difference comes in. The price of both tires is significantly different.

» You can also read my post: How Much is a New Bike Tire?

Even though the folding tires would cost you a little more than the regular tires, the countless advantages that they offer will make the price seem worth it. 

Folding tires will be worth your investment if you choose to buy them. However, if you are not comfortable with such a high price, you can always opt for the good old regular tires.

Bike Types You Should Add Folding Bike Tires to

The folding bike tires are durable and adapt fast. Hence, they can be used in various bikes of all sizes.

The folding bike tires have this one amazing advantage they can be used in almost any bike type, be it a mountain bike, hybrid bike, folding bike, or electric bike

No matter the bike type, folding tires will increase the quality of your bike and make your riding experience more pleasurable.

However, you should be aware of the tire sizes appropriate for your bike when you are shopping for folding tires. 

How to Fold a Foldable Bicycle Tire?

Here’s how you can fold a foldable bike tire:

  • Hold the tire like a wheel
  • Pull the sides of the tire together
  • Pull the bottom loop of the tire up to the center
  • Cross the sides
  • Reach and pull the top around 
  • Let the tire take the form of a circle
  • Tie the circled tire with the help of a string in three places

Disadvantages Of a Foldable Bicycle Tire

We have discussed the obvious advantages of foldable bicycle tires, but there are a few disadvantages of foldable tires that should be pointed out too.

There are mainly two disadvantages of a foldable bicycle tire, the soft rubber composition and being prone to wear out. Let’s discuss both of them.

#1 Soft Rubber Composition

The folding tires are made up of kevlar strands that make them flexible. However, they also have a soft rubber composition. 

Though this rubber composition offers more traction, they tend to wear out much quicker than regular tires. Thus, you will have to replace these tires more often if you choose to install them. 

If the soft rubber has worn down, you cannot definitively know. Thus, you should keep checking your folding tires for a few signs.

If they are present, then it is an indication that you need to replace the tires. The two signs you should look out for are:

  • If your tires have cuts
  • If your tires’ treads have faded

#2 Prone to Wearouts

A folding bike tire does not live as long as a regular tire does. Even though the kevlar fibers are pretty durable and smoothen your bike motion, they do not last long and tend to wear out quicker. 

If you are buying folding tires, it is just a simple trade of high-quality biking in less time.

You should also remember that folding bike tires are relatively more expensive than regular tires, and changing them may be a little extra heavy on your pocket. 

If you are not someone who cannot afford to change tires after a short while, folded tires may not be the right choice for you. 

» Read my blog post about: How to Easy Inflate a Bike Tire?

The Final Verdict

So this was everything about folding bike tires. They are a great option for touring cyclists to keep with them and replace them whenever the regular tire pops out. With multiple unique properties, such as flexibility, strength, and stretchability, foldable tires are a good addition to your set. 

Even though they may deteriorate faster than regular tires, they are still a great upgrade for your bike and would elevate your biking experience to new heights.

Folding tires come with unique features that will give an advantage to your bike in rough terrain and obstacle-laden paths. What are you waiting for then? Install them on your bike the right way and experience how it feels to ride lighter yet faster!

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