Are you looking to get new tires for your bike—and wondering if you have to buy the front and the back individually, or if they’re sold in pairs?
The right bike tires can give you the speed, comfort, and performance you need. If you only need to replace one tire, the good news is that bike tires are sold individually, so you only need to buy what you need.
In the rest of this article, we will explain why bike tires are sold individually and how to shop for the right tires for you.
Are Bike Tires Sold in Pairs?
Bike tires are almost always sold individually. If you need both a front and a rear tire for your bike, you will need to purchase them individually from the retailer of your choice.
Many bike shops will offer deals if you buy both at the same time. Some sell bundles that include both tires, but, more often than not, you will find them sold individually.
Why Are Bike Tires Sold Individually?
While it might make sense (or even seem convenient) for bike tires to be sold in pairs, there’s actually a good reason why they’re usually not.
Many avid cyclists prefer to ride with two completely different tires on their bikes. While this isn’t important to recreational cyclists and daily commuters, it can make or break the performance of a professional or extreme cyclist.
Also, it’s almost impossible for bike tires to wear out, blow out, or puncture at the exact same rate. It would be frustrating to have to buy two bike tires just to get one that you actually need.
Most cyclists find that the rear tire wears out much faster than the front because it bears so much more of the combined weight of their body and that of the bicycle while riding (and from the friction of being on the wheel that propels the bike).
Where’s the Best Place to Buy Bike Tires?
There are lots of places to buy bike tires. Depending on whether you are a hobby cyclist or a serious competitor that may influence your decision a bit, but you have plenty of available options both in-store and online.
Here are some of the best places to buy bike tires:
Local Bike Shops
If you are a serious cyclist who is a professional or competing in races or other events, you may want to go to a bike shop to get new tires. These shops tend to have the best selection of higher-end bike tires and can help you with any other repairs or add-ons you may need.
Bike shops are also great for hobby cyclists who just want an extra hand. Bike shop employees are usually passionate about bikes and can help you understand the best tires for your specific situation and explain things to you.
Big-Box Sporting Goods Retailers
Depending on where you live, chances are there is a large chain sporting goods store located somewhere nearby. Whether it’s Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, REI, or any one of the other common brands, these stores are a great option for purchasing bike tires.
These large stores usually have a great selection and good prices. Wait to shop during big sales or when they offer coupons to save some money.
Even if you can’t get to a store in person, most of these stores have an online presence as well where you can order to have it delivered to your home.
As with anything, there are plenty of online bike parts retailers that sell bike tires as well. Ordering online saves time and is very convenient for busy cyclists who don’t have time to go to a local store or are located in a rural area without access to shops.
Whether you prefer a hobbyist bike parts site or just shop right on Amazon, you can search by your bike’s specifications, read reviews from real cyclists, and order the tires that will work best for you.
Is It Better to Replace Bike Tires Together?
If only one of your bike tires is worn or start to dry rot, the good news is that you only need to replace that one tire. Many people may say to themselves “Is it better to replace tires in pairs?”, but the answer is “Not really”.
When only one of your tires is worn out, there’s no reason to go and buy a pair of tires. While it’s true that rubber degrades with age, the economic (and eco-friendly) thing to do is to only replace each tire when you need to.
Is It Dangerous to Have Different Bike Tires?
As long as the tires on your bike are made to fit the dimensions of your bike and will work with the style of bike you have, you don’t have to worry about the tires being exactly the same.
In fact, many cyclists end up finding that they prefer a different tire on the front and back of their bike to achieve better performance. Some tires are even made specifically to go on the front or the back of the bike.
So if you go to your local bike shop to replace one of your tires and find that you can’t get the same style you had before, don’t worry: All is not lost.
They can help you find a similar tire that is comparable to what you had before and it won’t cause any issues if it is different than what you have on your other wheel.
Related: Are Bike Tires and Inner Tubes the Same Size?
Bike tires are sold individually to make it easy for cyclists to only have to buy the tires that they need to replace on their bikes. This also helps if you are someone who prefers a different tire on your front wheel and your back wheel.
Being able to buy bike tires separately will save you money in the short term and give you the flexibility to try out different tires if you wish.