Bicycles, much like vehicles, have tires that utilize air to fill a rubber tube, or the tire itself. However, this can cause punctures, leave you stranded and more. You might be asking why it is worth it that your bicycle tires are inflatable, instead of something like solid rubber.

So why do bicycles have inflatable tires? Bicycles have inflatable tires because they need them to give the suspension a rest, they help with being able to inflate and deflate when needed, it saves on weight and expense, and less damage happens to the tires, even when warm.

Air-Filled tires work as a suspension system

The biggest benefit to having air in your tires, rather than a solid rubber tube is the amount of impact that air-filled tires remove from the experience. Without even thinking about it, your tires are forming around obstacles on the ground, providing you with a small measure of suspension.

This is why inflatable bicycle tires are so popular in mountain biking and other rough terrain sports. The inflatable tires provide a bit of giving, taking some of the edges off and making the ride more comfortable overall.

Flexibility in surface area on the tires

Another big ability that air-filled tires give, is that you can adjust how full the tires are whenever you would like! This means if you are doing serious off-roading, you can air down the tires a bit to allow them to have more give, and more surface area touching the ground.

Going back onto the road? Air up the tires and you are now able to have considerably less rolling resistance.

Save on weight and expense

The alternatives to tires with air in them would be to have solid rubber tires and then utilize built-in suspension to the bicycle to make up for the extra impact that you lost with the tires.

However, there are two huge issues with this!

Firstly, suspension components are one of the most costly parts on a bicycle, so any bike that only utilizes fully rubber tires would be considerably more expensive than the alternative tire type.

Secondly, having solid rubber tires (along with suspension) would make your bicycle considerably heavier. Adding weight to any bicycle makes it more difficult to ride up hills, move it around twists and bends, not to mention being able to put the bicycle on your bicycle rack.

Less damage to the tire

While you may be able to make up for lack of giving with a suspension, this however wouldn’t make up for the damage that would be caused to the tire itself. A solid tire would be subject to having to deal with jagged rocks, hard impacts, and more.

Not having the ability to have given, would mean the tire would chip off the rubber, disinform, and more because the tire would not have anywhere to go. This of course defeats the purpose by making tires more expensive and having to go through them more often.

Lower heat conductivity

Bicycle tires that have air in them have considerably less heat conductivity, meaning that as the bicycle tire rolls over the ground, the heat goes into the air in the tire and then it dissapates. Meanwhile, a tire that is solid rubber would heat up over time.

Why does this matter? Warmer tires wear faster and need to be replaced quicker.


Air-filled bicycle tires are inflatable, which means they will provide you with more give on bumpy terrain. They can be let out or pumped up based on your needs for the day. Air-filled tires have lower heat conductivity and less damage to them, making it easier to go through a tire before needing new ones.

Inflatable bicycle tires work as a suspension system, taking away from the impact of bumpy terrain. These inflatable tires are also lighter and less expensive than solid rubber ones with built-in suspensions. You can pump or let out the air in inflatable bicycle tires to increase or decrease rolling resistance based on your needs that day.