One of the reasons I started this site was because of the inconsistencies in mtb tire sizing. I was seeing many people stating “tire X is called a 2.2 but it is really a 1.9″ or “it is a true 2.3″ tire.” Saw different riders calling the same tire “smaller than claimed” and “a real 2.xx.” Very confusing.
As far as I am concerned no knobby tire is a “true” anything. You can have wide treads and narrow casings, narrow treads and wide casings or the tread and casing can be the same width.
The “2.XX” method is traditional and it is expected by consumers. It has not been “official” for many decades.
The WTB “Global Measurement System” is much better (i.e. 49/52, casing width in mm / tread width in mm). WTB tried to mark their tires only with the GMS size but were forced to add the traditional width size later, even though they do not match (Exiwolf 29×2.3 55/50, 55mm=2.16″ / 50mm=1.97″).
The ISO size (AKA ETRTO) on the casing (55-622) is the tire section width and bead seat diameter in mm (this is the only “official” measuring method). There is no definition of or instructions for measuring the cross section. Is it the casing or the tread? It just does not work well for knobby tires.
It can not be a lie if there is no solid standard.
(adapted from a post on mtbr.com)
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