These are resources our mechanics frequently consult. Compatibility is the theme and compatibility — not always, but often — is the root of the most mysterious bike aliments.

Tire and Rim Compatibility

We see this one a lot. Consumers may not know this, but shops should: don’t fit a narrow tire to a wide rim. For example, if the rim measure 19 mm bead to bead, then don’t mount a 23 mm tire. You may like the look of rubber band tires, but your G-ride is going to shred its sidewalls, the tire won’t seat properly, and as a result you may blow the tire off the rim. Even a 25 mm tire is probably too narrow; a 28 mm tire (on up) is where the recommendations start.

There isn’t universal agreement on what bead-to-bead rim dimensions pair with what width tires, but there’s enough overlap between authorities that one could consider it to be consensus.  WTB’s chart is frequently used by us. Note that one chart is for MTB and the second is for everything else. Vittoria follows the 2020 ETRTO’s recommendations which can be found here.



Shimano Inter-compatibility

Each year Shimano reminds us that Tiagra 4700 only works with Tiagra 4700, mountain and road components don’t mix, and Di2 junction boxes are about the only parts that are interchangeable between electronic generations. But seriously, if you are considering a Di2 project then this document is invaluable.

Other Authorities

Sheldon Brown and John Allen cover nearly everything pre 2000. Are your brakes smooth post cantilever with a variable length straddle wire? This website covers the technical side and the theoretical side of making those brakes work properly.

Barnett Bicycle Institute publishes the most complete mechanics handbook. The publication lags by about 2 years so it’ll be current if you are rebuilding a suspension fork, but of limited utility if you are installing Campy hydraulic or SRAM AXS. You’ll learn something new each time you read it.

Wheel Fanatyk is hands-down the best site for discussion of wheel building theory and practice. We use their spoke tensiometer and a few of their wheelbuilding tools.