Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

As I understand from this question, the C in tire sizes (when expressed in metric format) is just a historical thing, and should be ignored. As I understood, also, tire sizes expressed in the ISO format should not have any dangling letters.

But then the following tire and inner tube dimensions threw me off. One of my tires reads 700x38C (40-622) (C part of the metric size), and one of my inner tubes reads 35/43-622C (700x35/43) (C part of the ISO size).

Is there a "typo" on the inner tube? Should the C also be ignored on ISO sizes?

(Auxiliary question: I am assuming that 35/43 indicates a range of acceptable rim widths. Is that correct?)

share|improve this question
It's not uncommon to see a tire size expressed as "700c-28" and another tire expressed as "700-28c" (and several other permutations). No difference. The "C" is not really meaningful for the ISO ("622") sizing. See sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 17 '13 at 20:09

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

To answer the auxiliary part of your question first, the 35/43 does not indicate a range of rim widths, but rather an approximate range of compatible tire widths. This is expressed in mm which is why it's the same for ISO and the French sizes.

The "C" is indeed historical. Back in the day, a 700c tire and rim combination was such that the overall circumference was 700mm. There were also 700a, 700b, and 700d sizes. "D" was the widest tire size and in order to achieve the overall 700mm diameter, a smaller rim was used. Vice versa for 700a's.

Nowadays, we generally refer to a 622mm rim as a 700c and mount basically whatever tire size on it we want (within certain limitations) and don't worry about the overall diameter.

I have personally never noticed a "C" or any other letter in an ISO size, but then again I pretty much ignore that. Despite the fact that the ISO is the International Organization for Standards, the de facto standard in bike sizing is the old and admittedly misleading French sizing.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.