TPI in tires differs for all kinds of bikes and tires and all of the different TPIs come with different perks and disadvantages.
Most beginner mountain bikers like me don’t have any idea what TPI is and what kind of results it will show on trails and there is not much to go on the information is there but if you are not a little bit seasoned mountain biker or some on with a little bit of experience you wouldn’t know what’s the difference between a 60 TPI and a 120 TPI mountain bike tire.
But even if you are a seasoned rider I think you can also take away some good information from this article and hopefully, it will help you make a better choice if you are looking into changing your riding style to spice things up and so on and so forth.
Generally, a 120 TPI tire would be more supple and more forgiving on aggressive trails but will be more prone to pinches and flats on the other hand a 60 TPI tire would be stiffer but more agile on corners and less prone to pinches and flats
I did a recent article on higher and lower tpi plese read that article before this one it might seem daunting but that article will help you understand better in depth of the whole concept behind a higher tpi and a lower tpi.
What does 60 or 120 Tpi stand for :
Again most mountain bikers may already know what they might stand for but beginner mountain bikers would have no idea what it is so.
What is TPI brief overview :
TPI stands for threads per Inch, threads made of polyester cord fabrics, or in simple terms, they are made of nylon threads and are the same in size and weight, but they are lighter than rubber.
These threads are held together by the rubber and tire weight, performance and durability may vary depending on the number of TPI in it.
What does a 60TPI Mtb tire stand for :
A 60 Tpi tire would have 60 threads per inch spread on the side walls of the tires under the tread these are made from nylon and are protected by tire casing which is made of rubber.
A 60 TPI tire is more durable because there is more rubber between and over the fiber, fiber on its own is not very strong and it is more vulnerable but it’s more light and more flexible than rubber while rubber is stronger than the fiber but is not so flexible and it is heavier than the fiber.
I think it would be harder for some people to digest here is a bulleted list as well to help understand it better.
- TPI is the inner layer
- TPI is more flexible and light
- TPI is lighter
- Over the TPI lining is the casing that is made of rubber
- the rubber casing is more tougher and durable than TPI
- but it’s not more flexible
- the more the TPI the lesser the rubber meaning lesser durability and better flexibility
- the lesser the TPI the more the rubber resulting in more durability but lesser durability
I guess now you will have a better understanding of what I am trying to say.
So A 60 TPI tire will be more durable but lesser flexible meaning it won’t be that much supple or soft or flexible whatever you prefer, but it will give better protection against thorns and generally give you more protection against pinches.
I think I should just do pros and cons that would be easier to read and understand.
60 TPI tires pros :
- A 60 TPI tire is more puncture-proof.
- It’s stiffer and better for aggressive riding.
- It’s more durable than a 120 TPI tire.
- It can carry more weight(more details below).
- Lesser rolling resistance.
- They are relatively faster
- easier corner cutting
Cons of 60 TPI tires :
- they stiffer
- Not so comfortable
- they are havier
The pros and cons are there but they are very general there are many more things involved with a tire than just the TPI of it, your tire width, your body weight, and tire pressure that you ride on, trails that you ride, your riding style and many more are all different matrics that also play a bigger role in the bigger picture of how tires perform.
So a 60 TPI tire will not make you faster necessarily or may not be more comfortable or supple but in general, the 60TPI tires will make you faster than you usually are, and yes they will give you more protection than a 120 TPI tire will be and in some cases, for the heavier riders the 60 TPI tires may outperform a 120 TPI so that’s why in the title I mentioned the word for you rather than anything else.
What does a 120 TPI tire stand for :
A 120 TPI tire stand for 120 threads per inch meaning the side walls of the tires will have 120 of the fiber threads under the tire casing, which is made of rubber.
As I mentioned above the more fiber or the TPI a tire has will make it lesser durable, especially the side walls of the tire, but it makes tires easier to ride more supple, and softer overall a Higher TPI will offer a much more comfortable experience than a lower TPI tire would.
Pros of 120 TPI tire :
- They are lighter
- they are softer
- give a better riding experience
- best for trails with rocks and roots but at the same time not suited for aggressive riding
- easier to mount on and off
Cons of 120 TPI tires :
- They are not made of the heavy lifting
- not very good for aggressive riders
- not very good for racing
- not very good for aggressive trails
- more prone to pinches and flats.
you might be thinking there are more cons than pros for a 120 TPI but if you look at the data a more seasonal rider would always choose a 120 TPI tire over a 60 TPI tire because they are more comfortable and overall provide a much better experience than a 60 TPI tires.
Pro tip : some times the manufactures would just slap 2, 60 tpi tires to make one 120 tpi tire and it wont perform nearly as well as a 120 tpi tire which has that tpi spread all acoss the tire and not just slaped over above each other which would make it more stiffer than a 60 tpi tire so make sure to keep it in mind in case you ever want to tansit to a 120tpi or a higher tire
yes, they are more prone to pinches and flats but if you know your way around your tires as I mentioned above they can way outperform a 60 TPI tire on any day.
What’s best for a beginner a 60 TPI tire or a 120 TPI tire :
I think a lot of the people who are still learning mountain biking have lesser knowledge of these things so for beginners.
A 60 TPI tire is more suited for a beginner they are more durable quicker faster rolling and much more sustainable for the long term and they can work with any tire pressure and any terrain.
In the learning curve for a beginner, a 60 TPI is much more suited because usually, a beginner would be rubbing his side walls far more often, steeping on the thorns more, and will be experimenting with different tire pressures and so on and so forth for all of these learning curves a 60 TPI is best suited for a beginner as you get more experience and know your riding style that you enjoy more.
Better line choice better corner cutting and so on and so forth a durable tire would do you much better.
how to know which TPI tire you are running :
There are many ways to know which TPI tires you are running some of the easy ones would be.
Check your tire’s side walls it should be mentioned there usually there are many metrics on the tire like weight limit, speed limit, TPI of the tire, and more it should be mentioned there if not then here are some other ways to know.
If you know your bike model you can look at that specific model online and see in the tire section of your tires it is usually mentioned there if not then here’s more
Usually, bikes in the average price range (500-1500$) are equipped with 60 TPI tires and higher-end bikes are equipped with 120 TPI tires but it might be too vague to go on if you can’t find any other way you can try calling or reaching out to your manufacturer and ask them.
For some people that can feel a little bit daunting to some people but you will find them far more approachable and responsive if you just reach out to them and ask them directly which TPI tires came along which your bike.
Should you buy tires based on the TPI of the tire :
Well, a direct answer would be no that’s a bad idea there are many more things like tire width seasonality, and weight limits that being said the biggest metric that you should always keep in mind would be how you want your tires to perform.
It’s better to know that the TPI is not everything and there are many more factors that play into the grand scheme of things you should always think hard about what and how you are going to use what you are buying today because otherwise there is no point in buying something better if you are not going to utilize that function of that thing in the long term.