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  1. #1
    Senior Member 1987's Avatar
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    How tight clearance is ok for tires?

    I am trying to get as big tires as possible to my vintage road bikes. First I thought that my mid 80s Daccordi could take 30 mm, but not even close. The front brake sets the bar. Now I measured it meticulously and with a 27 mm there is about 1 mm clearance to the brake caliper.

    Fortunately Challenge makes a Paris Roubaix 27 mm tubular. But 1 mm feels very tight, I would like to have about 2 mm minimum. What if the tires streach over time etc.

    What are your experiences with tight clearances?
    I am looking for an early 70s Fiamme Red label wheelset on Camp Record LF.
    Fiamme research institute: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/781480

  2. #2
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    And what if the 27 mm tire actually measures 28? I don't have experience with the tires you mention, but it sounds to me like you're dicing it awfully fine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sir_Name's Avatar
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    I believe the P-Rs measure more closely to 29. Tread carefully (pun...).

    Veloflex makes a 25mm P-R model. I don't have mine mounted yet otherwise I'd measure them for you. Best to treat tire sizes as nominal.

  4. #4
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Name View Post
    I believe the P-Rs measure more closely to 29. Tread carefully (pun...).
    +1, I have some and they measure 29mm on my wheels. Great tires.

    My rule of thumb is that if you don't have 2mm on either side of the tire (that's 4mm total), it's definitely too tight. If you have exactly 4mm total, it's still pretty dang tight!

    You might be better off trying different brake calipers.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member 1987's Avatar
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    Here is some insight of what the pros use:
    The tires, wheels and pressures of Paris-Roubaix - VeloNews.com

    I actually have a pair of FMB P-R 25 mm. But would like to go up one step.
    François Marie Boyaux

    But FMBs are a bit expensive and harder to get, so I would like to try Challenge's version.
    I am looking for an early 70s Fiamme Red label wheelset on Camp Record LF.
    Fiamme research institute: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/781480

  6. #6
    Senior Member 1987's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    +1, I have some and they measure 29mm on my wheels. Great tires.

    My rule of thumb is that if you don't have 2mm on either side of the tire (that's 4mm total) ...
    All high quality tires I've measured have had the same hight and width (or very close). So I measure from the rim edge to the brake calipers bottom.
    The max width between the brake calipers is totally fine on my vintage bikes.

    And my FMB 25 are 25 mm wide.
    I am looking for an early 70s Fiamme Red label wheelset on Camp Record LF.
    Fiamme research institute: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/781480

  7. #7
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987 View Post
    All high quality tires I've measured have had the same hight and width (or very close). So I measure from the rim edge to the brake calipers bottom.
    The max width between the brake calipers is totally fine on my vintage bikes.

    And my FMB 25 are 25 mm wide.

    I usually use the width because the chainstays seem to always be the limiting factor for me.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson) San Remo Plus, 1989 Trek 520, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  8. #8
    Senior Member 1987's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    I usually use the width because the chainstays seem to always be the limiting factor for me.
    That's also true, especially for wider tires, for my frames that's over 30 mm.
    I am looking for an early 70s Fiamme Red label wheelset on Camp Record LF.
    Fiamme research institute: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/781480

  9. #9
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    Fork / front brake clearance was the limiting factor on my Paramount, I was able to get enough clearance on the rear adjusting the dropouts. I can hear some rub on the front if the tire is at high pressure and not quite seated right. I think the frame was built for 700c tubulars with 27" clinchers as an option, and the 32 tires I'm running are as big as possible. Fenders were an option on this bike but I don't see how it would have been possible with the 27" clinchers unless it had rubber bands for tires.


  10. #10
    Senior Member 1987's Avatar
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    @Darth Lefty That looks tight, as you won't need a rear tire saver.
    I am looking for an early 70s Fiamme Red label wheelset on Camp Record LF.
    Fiamme research institute: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/781480

  11. #11
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987 View Post
    @Darth Lefty That looks tight, as you won't need a rear tire saver.
    I know, right? If anything gruesome ever happens to the rear wheel I'll be respacing and using a modern wheelset.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Michael Angelo's Avatar
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    Clearance on the rear brake on my Gazelle.



  13. #13
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    I had a set of Challenge Parigi-Robaix tubulars on my Bertin, which measure around 29mm and gave me a little over 1mm clearance on each side of the chain stays. Unfortunately, I popped a rear spoke while climbing, and then I didn't have any clearance! I was able to get myself home with only a little rubbing on the right side (fortunately chromed at that spot so no paint to wear off), but I've since replaced that wheel set with clinchers and narrower tires.

  14. #14
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Challenge Parigi-Roubaix tires tend to grow in size once they are inflated and will expand about 2mm, in my experience. You're going to need extra clearance to account for this.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 07-11-14 at 04:20 PM.
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  15. #15
    Get off my lawn! Velognome's Avatar
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    I spent a year with a bike that had 1mm of sidewall clearance between the chain stays just to get a "larger, wider, supple tire" . I meticulously trued the wheels weekly, watched over it during every ride....until I realized they were a kill joy, so I bought smaller tires and have been happy ever since. I don't miss the added volume of the larger tire as some periodicals insist you will.

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    I like at least three fingers and an RCH.

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    The chainstays on my Raleigh team pro were my limiting factor. We tried to squeeze in 27s and it might have worked just barely if the wheel was dead solid perfect, but I realized before any calamity that I was getting enough occasional rub that it was wearing the side of the tire. Had to go to 25s (which my LBS switched out for me at no cost as they thought they should have realized the larger tires would be too tight).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
    I spent a year with a bike that had 1mm of sidewall clearance between the chain stays just to get a "larger, wider, supple tire" . I meticulously trued the wheels weekly, watched over it during every ride....until I realized they were a kill joy, so I bought smaller tires and have been happy ever since. I don't miss the added volume of the larger tire as some periodicals insist you will.
    You're clearly not drinking enough Kool-Aid.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Sir_Name's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    You're clearly not drinking enough Kool-Aid.
    Shhh... They might change the flavor.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    I like at least three fingers and an RCH.
    Ah, yes. A RCH, the finest unit of measure I've come across yet!
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  21. #21
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    Running 28c on my latest build. Its tight but even with slightly out of true wheels they fit well enough. Wouldn't want to go any bigger though.

  22. #22
    Senior Member jeirvine's Avatar
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    Isn't this why 650b became a thing again? Squeezing fatter tires on bikes designed for 700c?
    The man who dies with the most toys…is dead. - Rootboy

  23. #23
    Senior Member mikemowbz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
    Isn't this why 650b became a thing again? Squeezing fatter tires on bikes designed for 700c?
    So I gather. I think I may have to go down this road one of these days...

    I will echo comments about the Parigi-Roubaix tires measuring well over spec - mine are pretty much a flat 30mm wide (run at quite high inflation), according to scrupulously repeated measurements with my Park caliper, and that thankfully clears the stays on my Proctor (which are the limiting factor on that bike).

    I've usually found chainstays the limiting factor on most racey road frames I've pushed to the limit in this regard (my bikes are pretty much all 1980-1991 road race bikes; Canadian, Japanese, British). As a result, I've sometimes had good results with Conti 28s that are tall, but not quite (or just barely) as wide as spec. I don't think I'd go over 25 on my Marinoni, though - the rear tire would almost touch the seat tube, chainstays aside!

    If front brake is really the limiting factor, and you've got room out back, I'd seriously consider running a 25 up front and a 28 in rear.

    Parigi-Roubaixs rock, BTW, if you can fit 'em. They are more flat-prone, in my experience, than my regular city riding tires (go figure - light supple tire doesn't pack the robustness you'd expect of a Gatorskin or other tire constructed for flat protection, but that's WHY they ride so nice).

    EDIT: and to speak the the question in the thread title, I'd not be super comfortable with anything less than 2-3mm clearance minimum, personally.
    Last edited by mikemowbz; 07-11-14 at 10:21 PM.

  24. #24
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I also like wide-ish tires, but some 25mm tires ride nicely.

    I'm carrying panniers on the front of my McLean now, so I'm going to put some 28's on the bike. That will be a nice compromise. I might even be able to fit 32's there, but I have always liked 28's, and there are lots of nice tires available in that size. I'm going to try some Continentals.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  25. #25
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987 View Post
    I am trying to get as big tires as possible to my vintage road bikes. First I thought that my mid 80s Daccordi could take 30 mm, but not even close. The front brake sets the bar. Now I measured it meticulously and with a 27 mm there is about 1 mm clearance to the brake caliper.

    Fortunately Challenge makes a Paris Roubaix 27 mm tubular. But 1 mm feels very tight, I would like to have about 2 mm minimum. What if the tires streach over time etc.

    What are your experiences with tight clearances?
    I assume you're talking about radial clearance, not lateral clearance. I'm using that tire on a Mondonico from 1984 or so, and it shows about 5 mm clearance. It does measure 27 mm front and rear. I haven't noticed anything getting caught in there even on the sometimes nasty roads here in Michigan. If you can measure from the bottom of your fork crown to the center of the front axle or to whatever point is closest to your tire (need some creativity to estimate this reasonably) I can provide the measurements from my bike. I suspect the difference is only a few millimeters, but that is the important question, isn't it?

    At least this is a comparison to another Italian road bike!
    Last edited by Road Fan; 07-12-14 at 09:47 AM.

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