I've got an older cyclecross bike that I ride on loose gravel/sand roads. It has ALEX rims, marked ETRTO 622x16. It has 700x30 Kenda tires on it now. Will a 700x32 or 700x35 tire work on the rim? I'm looking for more floatation in the sand and access to a wider variety of tires. Clearance wise I have room. Many thanks.


I’ve used DT Swiss RR415 rims which have only 13 or 14mm internal width on my cyclocross. They did look comical with 35mm tires and had a tendency to buckle in tight turns at low pressure. Apparently the official recommendation for them was 20 to 30mm.

I think you’ll be fine with 16mm, but it is kind of marginal.


I couldn't find a guide for Alex rims specifically, but guides from Continental and WTB both suggest a max of 32mm tyres for a rim with 16mm internal width.

Sheldon Brown's website suggests that you may get away with going a bit wider, at the expense of putting extra pressure on the rim and sidewall of the tyre.


The obligatory table by Sheldon Brown: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html#width

It does not have an entry for 16C rims, but since 15C rims work with up to 32mm tires and 17C rims work with up to 37mm tires, I guess 35mm is probably the max.

However, I should warn you that neither 32mm nor 35mm tires float on sand. For that, you need a fatbike.

  • 1
    According to the ETRTO standard, one can go much larger at 17 mm rims schwalbe.com/en/reifenmasse Schwalbe even allows 38 mm tyres on 16 mm rims. I use 38 C (40 mm) at 17 mm rims without any issue.
    – Vladimir F
    Jul 2 '21 at 19:09

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