What Does 700x38c Mean? (Know the Difference)

When you step out to pick tires for your bicycles, you will often find two metrics to identify tire sizes. While most manufacturers use the modern standard of specifying their tires in inches, you may still find tires with numbers derived from the old French system.

These measurements come in millimeters, which may throw a challenge while picking the right tire size, especially for beginners.

So what does 700x38c mean? If you are looking to purchase a new tire and have faced challenges decoding these numbers, you have come to the right place.

This article will help you decode the French-style figures, which are often evident in many tire manufacturers in the modern world.

what does 700x38c mean

What Does 700x38c Mean In A Tire System?

As mentioned earlier, when you see a tire with 700x38c printed on its sidewall, you can assume that it is depicting measurements as per the old French system. Although modern tires often include information in inches, some manufacturers still use the old technique to determine sizes.

Here Is A Breakup Of What Does 700x38c Mean In A Tire System


The number ‘700’ allows users to determine that the tire has a diameter of 700 millimeters. Since the number ‘700’ is standard in most tires, you might not have many challenges in understanding this number.

However, what follows after this number can leave you with a question mark, especially if you are buying a new tire for the first time.


38c is the identification code that indicates the nominal width of a bike’s tire. Confused? The number 38 (in millimeters) refers to a tire’s nominal width, which is often determined by looking at the tire from the bike’s front.

On the other hand, the letter ‘c’ is a designation acquired from the old French system that categorizes a tire’s width. Since the old French system used letters to categorize different tire widths, many manufacturers still follow this tire system.

However, if you are looking for bike tires in areas where the French system is not in use, you will have to convert the measurements into inches.

For instance, 700 millimeters translates into 27.5 inches, while 38 millimeters is equal to 1.49 inches. You can use these dimensions to pick the right tire size if you face difficulties in understanding 700x38c.

How To Determine The Right Tire Size

Determining the right tire size for your bike is a straightforward process if you know where to look.

For instance, every manufacturer prints valuable information regarding their tire setup, required measurements, and tire pressure along the sidewall of their tires. You can check this sidewall to get the right tire size that will aid your riding experience.

Furthermore, most manufacturers paint the sidewall in white or tan, making it easily visible for a quick overlook. You can also check a manufacturer’s official website or consult with an expert to determine the right tire size for your bicycle.

Why Is It Crucial To Get The Right Tire Size?

Tires are an integral part of your bicycle, so picking the right tire size will improve stability, safety, and riding experience.

For instance, tires act as the primary point of contact between your bike and the surface. So, choosing a tire that maintains the perfect balance between stability and ride-control is crucial to keep the riders safe.

Likewise, your riding habit also depends on the tires you choose, as uninformed decisions might even cause fatalities.

In short, if the manufacturer has recommended a 700x38c tire size, it is undoubtedly essential to go with that size.

Which Inner Tube Is Best For 700x38c Tires?

Besides picking the right tires, you must also consider choosing the right inner tube to get the best riding experience. Since inner tubes are an integral part of your tire system, you have to pick the right size to avoid punctures and other issues.

For instance, a 700×35-43 inner tube will fit perfectly with 700x38c tires as they can suit tires ranging from 700×35 to 700×43. You can inflate the tube according to your preference and riding needs.

But can you find information regarding inner tubes on your tire’s sidewall?

Thankfully, you can find this information on your tire’s sidewall, making it easier even for amateur riders. Furthermore, you can also refer to a bicycle inner tube size conversion chart to determine the right inner tube size for your bicycle.

How To Replace A 700x38c Tire And Inner Tube

Before beginning the procedure, you need to gather all the essential stuff required for the replacement.

Here are the things that you will need to replace a 700x38c tire and inner tube.

Get The Correct Size

First up, pick the right tire and inner tube size recommended by your manufacturer and begin your replacement procedure. However, ensure that you consider your riding habit and the surface you will ride on before choosing the tires.

For instance, Schwalbe tires are a perfect fit for cruiser and hybrid bikes, making them ideal for rough terrains as well as for comfortable rides. Likewise, Marathon Plus tires also provide enhanced puncture resistance, even on uneven surfaces.

Pick The Right Kit

After you pick the right tire size, getting a suitable kit, including a pump and tire levers, will make your replacement process smooth. These tools will help you replace the tires without damaging the material.

Furthermore, using a high-quality pump to inflate the inner tube is crucial as it will help you get the right balance without overstretching the unit. Additionally, a perfect fit also ensures durability and stability while riding your bike.

Wrapping Up

We hope that this article has helped you understand the requirements and how you can pick the right tire size for your bike.

However, ensure that you follow the essential steps and go with the right sizes to maximize your comfort and safety. You can also consult an expert or refer to a sizing chart if you have any confusion regarding tire sizes.

Scroll to Top