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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-10-10, 12:25 AM   #1
Anthony2
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Thinner Tires: Pros vs Cons

For someone weighing 260: What are the pros and cons of having thinner tires? Something like these (700x23c):

https://shop.sunrisecyclery.com/item/36334

vs

Going with a 700x28c?
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Old 07-10-10, 12:53 AM   #2
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Honestly, I don't see a heck of a lot of benefit to putting 260 pounds over top of a 23c tire.

I'm about 90 pounds lighter and I don't realize any serious benefit from 23c tires either - I stick 'em on for racing, but other than that, I use 25c Michelin Pro Race 3's for training on my race rig and 28c's (Conti Grand Prix) on the Redline 'cross bike I knock around on. The weight difference between the 23c and 25c versions of the Pro Race 3 is only about 10-15 grams per tire. Not a big difference and the wider tires are a lot kinder over a lot of different road surfaces.
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Old 07-10-10, 01:33 AM   #3
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Not being a clyde I don't know of specific problems relating to that, however my experience with tyre width is that it all depends on the quality of the roads you ride on. The roads around me are awful so I'm upgrading from 35mm tyres to 50mm balloon tyres, a pro is that I'll be going faster and won't have to keep watching the road surface like a hawk. No real con for me.

If you are comfortable with the size you have then there is no need to change.
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Old 07-10-10, 01:46 AM   #4
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Thinner tyres are lighter. Lighter tyres means faster acceleration. Wider tyres are heavier, but roll better so will give you a smoother ride. Irrespective of size, use tyres that are slick or nearly slick for the road.
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Old 07-10-10, 07:15 AM   #5
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Thinner tyres are lighter. Lighter tyres means faster acceleration.
Not really true - saving a few tens or even hundred of grams of rubber makes an unnoticeable difference when rider plus bike weigh almost 300lbs.

The main advantage of very narrow tyres is lower aerodynamic drag at high speeds. You are unlikely to reach these speeds and 23mm tyres will not suit your weight even on a smooth road. If you want to go faster then buy higher quality faster rolling 28mm tyres - premium quality slick tyres from Schwalbe, Panracer or Marathon are a safe bet. Wider tyres won't just ride more comfortable, they are safer - they have more puncture resistance, handle potholes better, and have superior cornering and braking (all things - tyre compound etc - being equal.)
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Old 07-10-10, 07:37 AM   #6
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I run 700 X 32 marathons and am very happy with the ride (steel frame as well) and haven't had a flat since installing them. And last week I was 302 LBS. I live in West Virginia and the roads................well they suck. Little traffic though.
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Old 07-10-10, 12:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies, all.

I've decided to go with the following:

https://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/s...0052_178272_-1

Have been told that they run small, so I'll have to hike up to a 32 and will, I believe, wind up with a 30mm tire. Hopefully (with obvious caution on my end) they'll be as good as everyone on here has says they are.
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Old 07-10-10, 12:57 PM   #8
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I weigh in at 250l pounds and have been running 700x28 Armadillo All Condition tires. After 6 months and 1500 miles, my back tire had worn substantially more than the front and had to be replaced. Most of my weight during normally riding must be over the back tire, causing it to wear faster. I will probably consider 32s next time, at least for the back. I think the wider tire will distribute the weight better.
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Old 07-10-10, 04:23 PM   #9
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I weigh in at 250l pounds and have been running 700x28 Armadillo All Condition tires. After 6 months and 1500 miles, my back tire had worn substantially more than the front and had to be replaced. Most of my weight during normally riding must be over the back tire, causing it to wear faster. I will probably consider 32s next time, at least for the back. I think the wider tire will distribute the weight better.
Put on a wider tyre if you like, but it will make no difference to distributing the weight and won't wear much slower. Rear tyres wear faster than front ones because yes, more of your weight is taken by the back wheel, and because the rear wheel is the one through which you put the power. The answer is to swap the tyres front to back when the rear one begins to show signs of wear.

Last edited by chasm54; 07-10-10 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 07-10-10, 07:56 PM   #10
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Put on a wider tyre if you like, but it will make no difference to distributing the weight and won't wear much slower. Rear tyres wear faster than front ones because yes, more of your weight is taken by the back wheel, and because the rear wheel is the one through which you put the power. The answer is to swap the tyres front to back when the rear one begins to show signs of wear.
Only if you want to crash. A failure of a rear tire is rarely catastrophic; failure of a front one can easily be. Putting a worn tire on the front, for no good reason, is silly. when you replace a worn out rear tire, put the tire that was previously on the front on the rear, and the new one in front.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:48 PM   #11
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A couple of things to watch out for when fitting wider tires to a bike. First, on standard road bike rims I don't think you'd want to go much past 28's - tires that are too wide for a given rim width will have strange handling characteristics. The other is to be sure they fit the bike - brake clearance is often an issue, and frame clearance can be.

As for other issues, basically a wider tire will roll better at a given pressure level. However, most of us that run wider tires choose to run them at lower pressure than we used for skinnier tires - getting a better ride quality and hopefully similar rolling resistance. Wider tires don't put more rubber on the road if the pressure is the same - the area of a contact patch is a function of the weight of the bike/rider and the air pressure. However, the shape of the contact patch will change - the wider tire will have a correspondingly shorter but wider contact patch.

However, for most of us the real benefit is that you can run lower pressures without a rolling resistance penalty vs. the skinny tire at a higher pressure. I weigh 220 or so, ride doubles and climbing rides and use 25's - they work really well for me. Due to the lower pressure I can run, they absorb the road buzz from chip seal and poor pavement better - important when you're in the saddle all day. I'm not convinced they have more cornering grip than 23's or anything like that - but it certainly isn't worse. Rolling resistance seems similar, with improvements when the pavement is poor.

A great source for info on all this is Sheldon Brown's tires article. He didn't write the article to address your question directly, but lots of the info in there will help you make a more informed decision.

JB
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Old 07-10-10, 09:01 PM   #12
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A failure of a rear tire is rarely catastrophic; failure of a front one can easily be. Putting a worn tire on the front, for no good reason, is silly. when you replace a worn out rear tire, put the tire that was previously on the front on the rear, and the new one in front.
+1000! Heeeeeel no I won't put a worn tire upfront!
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Old 07-10-10, 09:13 PM   #13
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Only if you want to crash. A failure of a rear tire is rarely catastrophic; failure of a front one can easily be. Putting a worn tire on the front, for no good reason, is silly. when you replace a worn out rear tire, put the tire that was previously on the front on the rear, and the new one in front.
This is correct.
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Old 07-11-10, 01:33 AM   #14
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Only if you want to crash. A failure of a rear tire is rarely catastrophic; failure of a front one can easily be. Putting a worn tire on the front, for no good reason, is silly. when you replace a worn out rear tire, put the tire that was previously on the front on the rear, and the new one in front.
I'm sorry, I wasn't clear. This is precisely what I meant when I said "swapping them front to back when the rear tyre shows signs of wear". The use of the word "swap" was misleading. Apologies to the OP. Of course the newer tyre should go up front.

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