What Does 700x23c On The Bike Tire Mean?

What does 700x23c mean is a common question among beginners looking to get the right tire for their bikes. 

Bicycle tires come from different brands in a wide range of sizes. Fitting your bike with the right sized tire is crucial for the overall performance, including how smooth they ride and vibration transfer. 

However, if you’re changing the bike tires for the first time, it can be confusing to figure out the right size. Here is your chance to find out and understand what those numbers on the tires mean so you can pick the perfect tire for your rides. 

what does 700x23c means

What Does 700x23c Mean?

There are several measurement standards for bike tires. The most common measurement standards are French, German, English, and ERTRO/ISO. Each of these measurement standards uses different numbers and symbols. 

The French sizing system is the standard of measurement for bike tires used for track, road, and gravel. This system measures the diameter and the width of the bike tires in millimeters. 

In addition, the tires are also designated ‘a’, ‘b,’ ‘c’ and ‘d, marking them from the narrowest to the widest. Bike tires with the letter ‘a’ are narrower than those with ‘b’ and ‘c,’ while those with the ‘d’ are the widest. 

So 700x23c on the bike tires means that the particular tire has an approximate diameter of 700 millimeters and the width of the tire is 23 millimeters. 700x23c is considered the standard size of modern road bikes, irrespective of the brands. 

Note: Most modern bicycle bike brands no longer include the ‘c’ while indicating the width of the bike tires. So unless the width is expressed as 700×23” or ‘700x45c in inches’, it indicates the French sizing system. 

Why Is 700x23c Preferred Over Most Bike Sizes?

Most riders who regularly use a road bike prefer the 700x23c tire because of several reasons, which we are talking about below.

Enhanced Speed

Road bikes with narrower tires allow you to exert more force on them, which helps them accelerate faster. Of course, the bike tires should not be too narrow or thin so that it does not maintain steady contact with the ground. But narrower bike tires are a favorite of many riders as it assists in speed. 

Provides More Comfort

Bikes with smaller tires such as 700x23c add more stability and comfort, especially if you are riding over rough surfaces with a lot of unevenness and potholes. This is because you are able to put more force while riding. The added comfort and stability of riding a bike with narrower tires are even more prominent when you carry a load, a passenger on your bike, or you are a heavy rider. 

Improved Riding Experience

In most cases, the vibration transfer in road bikes with narrower tires is much lesser than in one with a wider tire. This is why 700x23c tires are preferred over other tire sizes. 

Riding For Longer

Road bikes with smaller tires require smaller rolling resistance than a bigger tire. Since you do not have to expend a lot of energy to ride the bike, you can ride the bike for longer hours, which can be indispensable when you are riding over longer distances.

Are There Any Drawbacks Of 700x23c Bikes?

Now that you have the answer to the question, what does 700x23c mean, and their fantastic advantages, you might ask, are there any drawbacks to these bikes? Well, let’s find out.

Road bikes with 700x23c deliver great performance, which is why it has been a hit among biking enthusiasts. 

Thinner bike tires such as the 700x23c can reduce traction on the road, which can become a safety issue, especially while riding in the rain or on a slippery road. In addition, narrower bike tires also do not cover a lot of ground, meaning you need to ride longer to reach your destination. 

In addition, larger road bikes do not have the gear or the configuration to accommodate these narrower tires. 

This is because not all bikers prefer riding a bike with a thin tire, such as the 700x23c. Bigger bike tires often come with bigger treads allowing more grip on the road, a feature loved by many riders. 

In fact, bike tires with wider widths such as 700x25c and 700x28c are increasingly popular on the market. Some riders also love riding bike tires with even larger diameters, including 700x30c and 700x32c.

Most new road bikes can accommodate tire widths up to 28c but trying to fit a smaller tire on a bigger bike is not ideal. It compromises the performance of the bike, and it is not comfortable to any degree. Fitting a bike with incompatible tires also makes it vulnerable to more puncture, more vibration, and other performance issues. 

Although these issues are not specific to 700x23c tires per se, thinner bike tires do come with drawbacks.

So unless you have a road bike that came with a 700x23c and you need to change it, it is paramount to make sure that you choose the right tires that are compatible with your bike.

How To Know If Your Bike Is A 700x23c?

If your bike needs a replacement tire or you are simply curious about the dimension of your bike, you can find it out very easily. 

Look carefully at the bike’s sidewall – the strip of rubber above the wheels. Most bicycle manufacturers stamp the tire’s dimension on the sidewall, so you should be able to locate the numbers without a lot of problems. 


700x23c bikes have long been the preferred bikes for riders due to their ease of riding and comfort. In addition, these bike tires with narrower widths are also widely available because of their popularity among road bikers. 700x23c bike tires among road bikers are still fairly common, but there are newer bikes with different sizes on the market, so finding the right tires is essential. 

This post on what does 700x23c mean should hopefully give you the answers you require, so you can make the most rides out of your bike. In addition, if you need to change or choose the tires on your road bike, the insights provided above should give you the help you need. 

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