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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 03-03-14, 11:16 PM   #1
RB7887
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Best tire width/PSI for us bigger riders

I'm around 5'11", 260, and ride a Lemond Zurich. The bike is heavy, but it's steel so it can handle my mass, and the Rolf wheels are about as durable as it gets. Right now I'm running 700x23's and about 108 PSI in the tires to keep minimal contact with the road and decrease rolling resistance (as well as pinch flats, for that matter). Unfortunately, this has taken its' toll on my tires, including gouges and other nasty cracks.

I'll admit, the tires were michelins bought on the cheap, but I maintained them well. However, i'm at a crossroads:

23 or 25 width? Higher/lower psi? Better tires (e.g. Gatorskins)? How do you clydesdales out there keep your tires in one piece while still being able to keep speed up and rolling resistance down?
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Old 03-03-14, 11:22 PM   #2
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I ride gatorskins and think that is more important than the tire width, construction/structure of the tire is more important than width.

I had generic tires on the bike, and got about 1000 miles before they were unstable. Gatorskins go about 2,500 miles for me.

Those miles are for the rear, the front is double the value.
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Old 03-03-14, 11:24 PM   #3
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Do you ride 23's or 25's?
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Old 03-03-14, 11:26 PM   #4
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I rode 25's at 300 lbs with the stock tires that came on the bike and got flats almost every time I rode. I bought some Schwalbe Durano Plus 25's and haven't had trouble since. Like Charger said I think the quality is the more important factor than the width. I don't see any advantage of riding 23's to be honest. I may even get 28's on my next set of tires.
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Old 03-03-14, 11:30 PM   #5
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I've heard that you get better control with 25's, but it's hard to tell what's myth and what's real. I've been thinking Gatorskins for a while, but those Duranos look nice
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Old 03-03-14, 11:37 PM   #6
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I can say the Duranos are excellent, I just bought Gator hardshells for my new bike but haven't been out yet. I wont even bother trying 23's at this point. I cant speak about better control though.
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Old 03-04-14, 03:24 AM   #7
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+1 for the Gatorskins, but i would use the 25c at 120psi. In my experience there isn't much of a performance difference as far as speed goes between 23c and 25c, and the extra air volume makes the ride feel less harsh.
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Old 03-04-14, 05:20 AM   #8
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I'm only 223 and I've ridden 23c, 28c and 25c. Next set of tires will be 23c, as I will likely be down to 210 or so by then, if all goes well. I approximate I'll need tires next spring

25's are nice on chip seal if you don't have a carbon fork. I do, and I wear gloves, AND I'm going to put Specialized Bar Phat on my bars this spring. I'll wear my 25's out then order 23c Michelin Pro4 Endurance and see how they compare to the Krylion Carbon tires I had years ago.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:55 AM   #9
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I'm about 4 years and 8K miles in. I've ridden nothing but 23s, Bontragers, Gatorskins, and the current Continental 4000s. The Bontragers were the best, out lasting the other two. Oddly I found the Gatorskins the worst of the 3. Rough ride, didn't like the way the side walls felt cornering, and more flats. I've run 100 psi and have weighed from 260-190, without suffering from pinch flats. Next up will be 25s, just because I like trying something different. I'll stick with the 4000s as they're easy to find and have a minimal amount of advertising on the side.
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Old 03-04-14, 12:04 PM   #10
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I run 700 x 35 panaracer tour guards on my crosscheck commuter. I'm 235 lbs and usually run 55 psi front and 60 rear. I find this pressure a good balance between speed, comfort and traction. Plus I ride some smooth singletrack and dirt paths as well. How much cornering traction is there on a wet 25 mm anyway? YRMV.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:53 PM   #11
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I have one bike set up with 23's the other 25's, not much difference between them in my opinion.

I ride at about 100 psi.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:17 PM   #12
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I'm 6'6 270 so I upgraded my CAAD10 to 25c Durano's when I got the bike last year. The LBS advised me they would give me more cushioning, but since I run them at 115psi front and 120 in the rear to avoid flats I'm not sure how much more cushioning they really provide since I never rode with 23c. On the up side I haven't gotten any flats.

Last edited by Lean back; 03-04-14 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:32 PM   #13
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I'm 6'6" and 270 and I run Conti 4 Seasons on my Trek Madone. 90 psi front and rear. Great ride and no flats the past 2 years.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:05 PM   #14
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Specialized Armadillos 25@135PSI Never got a flat tire.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:18 PM   #15
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I'm 6'6" and 270 and I run Conti 4 Seasons on my Trek Madone. 90 psi front and rear. Great ride and no flats the past 2 years.
It my be mental, but I feel like as soon as the PSI drops there is more rolling resistance. So I air up before very ride if there is a day or two in between. Maybe I should try 90psi as we'll since it should give a more forgiving ride and hopefully I still won't get a flat.
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Old 03-05-14, 02:24 AM   #16
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Wow, 23s @ 108psi for 260lbs? The roads must be cherry where you live, because that sounds like Pinch Flat City to me. I'd think the tires would have felt soft when putting the power down in the rear and up front when out of the saddle.

If you're getting new tires, I'd suggest 25s at 110psi front and 120psi rear to start. That should be a good performance oriented blend, feeling crisp on turns and under power, and speedy and comfy cruising.

I'd certainly recommend high quality tires with high TPI casings. They roll better, feel better.

it's not clear that 23s have been a problem for though, so if you want to stay there, I think boosting the psi is in order, and I'd be looking north of 120 up to the sidewall indicated max, probably 130psi. Clearly snakebites (i.e. pinch flats) aren't a problem for you, so the higher psi should improve rolling resistance and feel.

The next piece of the puzzle is a wider rim, like up from what is probably the 19mm width of the Rolfs to a 23mm width. The increase in width will improve the contact patch and stiffen the sidewall for handling improvements, and put more air volume under the tread center, allowing you to drop pressure while still retaining pinch flat resistance.

Lastly, if you're like me and don't rotate tires to maximize service life, you could mix 23/25 f/r, 25/28, or whatever you want. That's the Continental Attack/Force concept; more aero narrow front paired to a wider, more comfy and durable rear.
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Old 03-05-14, 07:20 AM   #17
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700x 28 with ~100 psi. I'm not that religious about the PSI, I'm 225 pounds, but you gotta learn to ride light.
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Old 03-05-14, 08:27 AM   #18
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700x 28 with ~100 psi. I'm not that religious about the PSI, I'm 225 pounds, but you gotta learn to ride light.
Apparently the OP does if he can roll 23s at 108psi under 260lbs...and clearly the road surfaces must be good. Given those things, and the stated desire to optimize rolling performance, I definitely think higher pressures are in order.

I'm about 220lbs, and roll 28s, Vittoria Randonneur Pro, on my ute in the summer, but I ride 'em stretched across 28mm wide (23mm bead seat) Velocity Blunts. They're super low-pro, like you can barely see the tire, but I can run those confidently at 85psi, enjoying crisp handling, good comfort, and a good roll over Michigan's notoriously bad roads. Yeah, I learned how to ride light in the pre-suspension era of mountain bikes, but the real game is matching weight, tire, wheel, and pressure to riding style and road conditions when it comes to maximizing performance.
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Old 03-05-14, 08:33 AM   #19
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I'm 265 with maybe 20 lb pack.
I run 38's, a marathon up front and a plus on the back. Front about 70 but back almost 90... That's kinda high, but if I go lower than 85 it feels and sounds like a truck tire.
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Old 03-05-14, 08:35 AM   #20
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I'm riding 65psi front/ 75psi rear on 28mm tubeless Secteurs...fun and kills a lot of road chatter. I'm 210# @ 5'10".
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Old 03-05-14, 09:54 AM   #21
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^^^^ I've been looking at road tubeless, how do you like the set up? Rims? Not finding any thing in the 35mm tires and up sizes. It seems road tubeless would be ideal for commuters.
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Old 03-05-14, 04:43 PM   #22
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Heavier riders need a higher psi. And the rear tire should be higher than the front. Pinch flats are a bigger concern to me than riding comfort.

I'm now about 210 and prefer Michilin Pro 4's, 23's. I inflate the front to about 105 psi and rear to about 120.

The rear is higher than recommended by the manufacturer but those limits are always low.

(My cyclocross bike I also ride Michilins but vary the psi depending on the terrains anticipated.)
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Old 03-05-14, 05:44 PM   #23
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Oops forgot my PSI. I have always used 110/115 F/R on 23, 25, and the 28 (they said 120 max...) All rode about the same. Any lower on the 28 and it would have been more rolling resistance than my MTB tires (26x2.1)...
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Old 03-05-14, 06:22 PM   #24
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Best width at 260 would probably be about a 700 x 50 balloon tire like a Big Apple. Since that won't fit your bike and it looks like you are looking in the very small range, I'll say what ever the largest tire that will fit. Looking at pictures of a similar bike, you might fit a 28 in there. If a 32 would fit I'd ride that at somewhere about 95-100 psi. It will be a bit more forgiving and you'll like to ride more.

Since I only ride for recreation, I generally pick up a set of Vittoria Zaffirro's which are about $20 each. Not the greatest tire in the world, but in 3 sets I've never had a flat on them.......
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Old 03-05-14, 07:06 PM   #25
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I'm 115-118kg, running 25-28mm, Conti GP4Seasons, Michelin Pro Optimum, etc., at 8bar/116psi.
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