My question is if Slick tires can support bumpy roads better than knobby tires?

I ask this because I'm currently working doing delivery all around Manhattan and unfortunately I get some bumpys roads on the go while riding with my Road bike. The constant flat tires I get every week got me thinking on take the ride on a MTB bike but if I use a MTB, I want to go as fast as possible like I do in my road bike, so I found that changing the type tire to a slick one can do the job and there is where my question come now

Can Slick tires support bumpy roads better than knobby tires?

I also know that air pressure have impact in this situation but I want to know if there is any difference beside of this that make Slick tires better to bumpy roads than Knobby tires!


  • What air pressure is in your tyres, and how much do you weigh?
    – Criggie
    Oct 28, 2016 at 5:18
  • @Criggie 50 psi and I weight around 130-135 pound
    – DAFD
    Oct 28, 2016 at 5:26
  • 50psi on a road (presume around 25mm tire) bike is way too low and will get many punctures. 50psi on a 2" MTB tire would be about right. What does the tire sidewall say for max pressure - pump it up to that and see if you still puncture.
    – mattnz
    Oct 28, 2016 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


YES smoother tyres are better than knobblies for road usage.

Knobblies means your tyre's carcass is a little higher off the road, and if your knobs land on the corners of the bumps, then there's a lot more rubber between the compressed air and the edge.

Downside is knobbly tyres (tires) tend to be less thick between the bumps. So if you hit the obstacle between tyre knobs, then there's less thickness.

Generally you want smoother tyres for on-road. Commuter or touring type tyres tend to have more thickness, at the cost of more weight. Racing tyres tend to be made thinner, for weight.

Also your cornering on smoother tyres feels better, because knobs tend to squirm sideways under load.

But the biggest thing is your technique.

  • don't go over bumps and into potholes, if you can avoid them
  • If you're riding up and down curbs/kerbs, stop it.
  • Unweight your saddle when going over bumps - get up on your hands and feet only
  • Clipless pedals are good for quick spontaneous last-second jumps, more-so when in the unweighted posture.
  • 1
    Some parts of Manhattan have cobblestone roads that are pretty nasty to ride your bike on. No way to avoid those except by taking a different route.
    – user23374
    Oct 28, 2016 at 23:14
  • @FighterJet Cobbles would be fairly rounded, and not have sharper corners, no?
    – Criggie
    Oct 29, 2016 at 6:14
  • 1
    Sharp corners, no, but very, very bumpy.
    – user23374
    Oct 29, 2016 at 17:54

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