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I'm looking at replacing the tires on my GT Aggressor commuter bike with studded tires for the winter.

Based on the current tire sidewalls (the rims themselves don't actually have the width or diameter of the wheels on them), I'm looking at getting a 26x2.0" studded tire set.

Thing is, a local winter bike gear supplier carries one pair of 26x2.0" studded tires, and upwards of a dozen of (generally higher-quality, better-reviewed, knobbier) 26x2.1" tires. Would putting a 2.1"-wide tire on a (supposedly) 2.0"-wide rim be dangerous for the bike or the rider?

  • I've changed the title to say you're talking about tyre width rather than rim because I think it's unlikely your rim is actually 2" wide (that's fat tyre sized). Feel free to revert if your rim is actually that wide. – Móż Nov 13 '15 at 1:39
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    That's only a tiny change in size, I don't see a problem. As long as the studs don't hit the frame, and ideally there's enough clearance to allow snow and muck stuck to the tyre to clear the frame, you'll be fine. – Móż Nov 13 '15 at 1:41
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    It should be fine, but note that most commuters would be better served with a smoother studded tire than a knobbier one if the roads are plowed semi regularly (e.g. Suomi Mount & Ground rather than Suomi Extreme). Peter White's page is good. – Batman Nov 13 '15 at 2:47
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    Generally speaking, a change of less than about 30% in tire width is inconsequential. Except that there's a good chance that the wider tires will not fit the frame -- will rub on the stays and fork. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 13 '15 at 10:55
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Look at what clearance between the tire and the frame do you have now. Often the tightest place is the bottom stays.

Changing 2.0" to 2.1" increases the tire diameter by about 2.5mm ("about", because the rim width stays the same and does not proportionally increase), i.e. the tire grows ~2.5mm upwards and ~1.3mm on each side. Not all tires are measured equally, some "2.1" tires may be wider than others, so add one millimeter more to be on the safe side. Besides that, knobs make the tire higher, attempt to account for that too.

If you conclude that there is enough space to fit the wider and knobbier tire, there are no other obstacles to replacement.

(Not directly related to the question, but I'd strongly recommend buying higher-quality studded tires. This is an item which brings much more value for the money than any other bike part.)

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