Tire Tread

What does the tread do?

On a normal, smooth road, the tread has only limited influence on the ride properties. The grip generated by the tire on the road is almost exclusively the result of the rubber compound.

Unlike a car, a bicycle will not aquaplane as the contact area is so much smaller and the contact pressure is much higher. The floating effect of aquaplaning could only theoretically be achieved on a bicycle ridden at speeds over 200 km/h.

Off road, the tread is very important. In this situation the tread establishes an interlocking cog-like connection with the ground and enables the transmission of all driving, braking and steering forces. On rough roads, the tread can also contribute to better control.

Why ride a slick tire?

Even in wet conditions, on a normal, smooth road, a slick tire actually provides better grip than a tire with a tread, because the contact area is larger.

The situation is much different on a rough road and even worse on a dirt trail as in these cases the degree of control provided by a slick tire is extremely limited. A slightly serrated surface on the tire tread can have a positive effect on tire grip, as it creates micro interlocking with rough asphalt.

What do the direction arrows mean?

Most SCHWALBE tire sidewalls are marked with a "Drive" arrow, which indicates the recommended rolling direction. When in use, the tire should run in the direction of the arrow.

Many MTB tires are marked with a "Front" and a "Rear" arrow. The "Front" arrow indicates the recommended rolling direction for the front wheel and respectively the "Rear" arrow is the direction for the rear wheel.

Why are there so many tires with direction arrows?

In road tires, a tread with a rolling direction generally provides a slight reduction in rolling resistance. In addition to this, aesthetic considerations can also be important.

Off road, rolling direction is far more important, as the tread ensures optimum connection between the tire and the ground. The rear wheel transmits the driving force and the front wheel transmits the braking and steering forces.

Driving and braking forces operate in different directions so this is why certain tires are fitted in opposite rolling directions when used as front and rear tires. There are also treads without a specified rolling direction.