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Old 03-28-09, 11:41 AM   #1
Ed in GA
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700x23 -vs- 700x25 tires

Anyone, with a road bike, switched from 700x23 up to 700x25?

If so, was there a noticeable difference (Ride, handling & etc.), or not?
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Old 03-28-09, 11:55 AM   #2
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There's definitely a difference between 2" wide tires and 1" wide tires so tire width does matter. In this case, however, it's only 2mm. That's not very much. How huge of a difference would you expect?
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Old 03-28-09, 11:58 AM   #3
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There's definitely a difference between 2" wide tires and 1" wide tires so tire width does matter. In this case, however, it's only 2mm. That's not very much. How huge of a difference would you expect?

Don't know? That's why I asked the question. Would the 2mm make any difference at all?
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Old 03-28-09, 12:13 PM   #4
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Doubt that the 2mm would make a great deal of difference but going up a size would allow you to run lower pressures for comfort- if that is the sort of thing you want.

What I have found though was that going down from a Kenda Contendor in 26 to Michelin Pro Race 2's in 23 at a high pressure did reduce rolling resistance and up my speed.

But that may have been down to the rubber.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:13 PM   #5
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Recently replaced the rock-grabbing, tire-bubbling, but "sticky" 700 x 23s "sport tires" that came with my Specialized Roubaix with bowling-ball hard, slide-when-wet, never-flat 700 x 25s; Gatorskin on front, Armadillo on back. That Gatorskin measured a mounted 24 mm, the Armadillo mounted at 27 mm. First note that my larger tire models are notoriously rougher riding than softer, stickier, more-flats tires (or so I've read). That said, I find the larger tires less nervous on poorer surfaces (more planted, less perturbed off course), smoother on chip seal, and more absorbent of potholes and pavement gaps. Mostly, though, I notice that they don't flat. My OEM rear had 5 flats (3 rocks, one wire, one glass) and a final blowout (carcass bubble) in 1780 miles. No flats yet on the 25s after an additional 1100 miles. Heck, I'd go with 28s if I thought they'd fit, but I'm not much of a performance rider. "If you can't ride fast, ride far."

I've always found similar comparisons in tires in both the motorcycle and the bicycle worlds. In either case there are those that want sticky, flickable tires and those that want steady, long-lived tires. In both worlds smaller tires are more flickable, while more of a "corners like it's on rails" comes with larger tires. Long life is inevitably a trade off with stickiness (traction). It's simple physics: the gyroscopic effect of more rotating mass is larger, and hence less flickable, but more "stable." And less sticky tires (harder) abrade less, and traction comes from abrasion. Each of us makes our compromise and peace within this spectrum and chooses tires accordingly. I'm a cheap b@$&*%d who rides a lot and hates flats.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:15 PM   #6
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Don't know? That's why I asked the question. Would the 2mm make any difference at all?
I suspect you'll need laboratory grade instrumentation to tell. I'm thinking that unless you are very precise in topping up your tire air pressure before every ride, air pressure fluctuations will make more difference than 2mm of tire width.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:16 PM   #7
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I don't think I'd be able to tell any difference at all. Maybe a racer might find a couple of minutes difference after a 100 mile stage...
But I think 10 lbs psqi pressure difference, or 20 minutes more sleep, or not having an egg for breakfast, or having an egg if yesterday's protein was a bit low, might have the same significance.
For most, though, I wouldn't think there'd be much of a change
Eddy'd beat us all on a postman's bike with 2 inch tyres at 30 psqi
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Old 03-28-09, 12:24 PM   #8
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I noticed a slightly smoother feel (i.e., less road buzz) when I upgraded from a pair of Kendra 23s that came with my old Marin Portofino to a new set of Gatorskin 25s. So yes, I did notice.

On the other hand, when I upgraded to my new Specialized Roubaix it came with a set of their 23s and the overall ride was much smoother than my first bike (even with the Gatorskins). I haven't switched to 25s yet...but may when the originals wear out.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:25 PM   #9
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I have just changed from 700 x23 to 700 x25 Gatorskins on the LeMond and am pleased with the result... you CAN tell the difference. As akansaskid said: "larger tires less nervous". I would totally agree. You run the 25s at less pressure (per mfg recommendation about 95-100 lbs) as opposed to 100-115 for the 23s. The 25s are just as fast at my level of riding and quite a bit more comfortable.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:26 PM   #10
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You could set up a research study with a bike with 23mm tires and an identical bike with 25mm tires, both at the recommended pressures, and then get several cyclists to ride each of them, blindfolded (so their knowledge of the size wouldn't prejudice their results), and then collect their impressions of the riding qualities.

Then, post the video on BF.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:37 PM   #11
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I run 18mm tires on my fixed gear and 20mm on my road bikes. I put a pair of 23mm tires on one of the road bikes and it is a little cushier and doesn't seem to be any slower.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:38 PM   #12
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You could set up a research study with a bike with 23mm tires and an identical bike with 25mm tires, both at the recommended pressures, and then get several cyclists to ride each of them, blindfolded (so their knowledge of the size wouldn't prejudice their results), and then collect their impressions of the riding qualities.

Then, post the video on BF.
I suspect a video of that would be quite entertaining.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:41 PM   #13
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+1 Count me out for riding blindfolded.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:52 PM   #14
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Tires are often not accurately labeled by manufacturers. 25's may actually be a bit (or noticably) narrower, etc. Width is only one factor in ride feel. Construction, shape, etc. also count in. I ride Conti GP4000's at 25 on one bike and find them the sweet compromise that fits me and the roads I ride. For rough county roads, gravelly roads, etc. I ride Pasela 28's at a comfortable pressure. My experience is that super high pressure is good only on really smooth surfaces. Otherwise, you spend most of your time bouncing about and airborne (as any skiier knows, catching air slows you down) and beating up/exhausting yourself. On gravelly, rough descents (you know, those cool, hilly, backroads we all love) I'd feel skittish with rock-hard skittish tires under me.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:55 PM   #15
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True, I bought some 25's that were actually 20's.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:58 PM   #16
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Do any of the professional cyclists ride the wider tires in a race? I do not know the actual facts, but I don't think so. Speed is everything to them. Their riding IS THE TEST, so pay attention to what they ride. If the 25 were just as fast and easier on their body they would probably be riding the 25.
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Old 03-28-09, 12:59 PM   #17
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Tires are often not accurately labeled by manufacturers. 25's may actually be a bit (or noticably) narrower, etc. Width is only one factor in ride feel. Construction, shape, etc. also count in. I ride Conti GP4000's at 25 on one bike and find them the sweet compromise that fits me and the roads I ride. For rough county roads, gravelly roads, etc. I ride Pasela 28's at a comfortable pressure. My experience is that super high pressure is good only on really smooth surfaces. Otherwise, you spend most of your time bouncing about and airborne (as any skiier knows, catching air slows you down) and beating up/exhausting yourself. On gravelly, rough descents (you know, those cool, hilly, backroads we all love) I'd feel skittish with rock-hard skittish tires under me.
Excellent points.

I went all the way up to 28c's on my long-distance bike and I have enjoyed it. I run slightly lower pressures. It feels smoother and safer on choppy pavement, and is definitely more comfortable than 23c's. I did this after a very mountainous ride last summer with miles of steep, fast descents on horrible forest service (paved) roads - I really felt that bigger tires would be safer.

Net - there is a small difference between 23's and 25's. Another small difference between 25's and 28's. That adds up to a "medium" difference between 23's and 28's.

There is a *huge* difference between 23's and 32's.
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Old 03-28-09, 01:06 PM   #18
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Do any of the professional cyclists ride the wider tires in a race? I do not know the actual facts, but I don't think so. Speed is everything to them. Their riding IS THE TEST, so pay attention to what they ride. If the 25 were just as fast and easier on their body they would probably be riding the 25.
I think for real world riding like many of us do it might be equally helpful to study what randonneurs do. Their intention is to balance both speed and comfort, since over a long distance ride a tire that is overly harsh is going to force them to take longer breaks, or ride in a less efficient manner.

IMHO if you are *not* racing, and doing long recreational rides (like metric centuries and centuries) your riding is closer to randonneuring vs. actual racing.

Bicycle Quarterly did a survey of tire sizes used by riders at the Paris-Best-Paris result and as I recall the two most popular sizes were 25's and 28's, with an equal amount of riders choosing tires bigger than 28's (30's and 32's) vs. those choosing smaler. BQ also has done lots of tests on actual rolling speed of bigger tires and has found that bigger tires frequently do as well as smaller tires.
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Old 03-28-09, 01:13 PM   #19
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Well the tire manufacturers can not seem to agree on just what a mm is. I generally ride 25 mm tires. They are a bit larger than 23s. They also have a bigger air envelope. Remember the air envelope is a square function of the radius so a true 25 will have significantly more air space than a true 23 (about20% more). That gives a bit better protection against pinch flats. You can ride 25 mm tires with slightly less pressure than 23s. So they should give a moderately better ride.
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Old 03-28-09, 01:14 PM   #20
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I noticed a slightly smoother feel (i.e., less road buzz) when I upgraded from a pair of Kendra 23s that came with my old Marin Portofino to a new set of Gatorskin 25s. So yes, I did notice.

On the other hand, when I upgraded to my new Specialized Roubaix it came with a set of their 23s and the overall ride was much smoother than my first bike (even with the Gatorskins). I haven't switched to 25s yet...but may when the originals wear out.
My Specialized Sirrus came with Armadillo 28's front and rear, the new Roubaix with '23/25's whatever that means. Have not been able to detect any difference in ride comfort and difference in speed yet to be determined. I tend to ride with at least the highest recommended pressure so I would have expected a little harder ride on the Roubaix but so far it is, as they say, "like buda"
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Old 03-28-09, 01:20 PM   #21
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There is a *huge* difference between 23's and 32's.[/QUOTE]

That's what she said.
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Old 03-28-09, 01:33 PM   #22
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Lets throw another thing into the equation. Tyre width--Tyre pressure--Tyre construction--and

Stiffness of wheels.

Radially spoked wheels- where the spokes have a straight pull from the hub to the rim without crossing any other spoke- Will give a very harsh ride.

When I bought the TCR-C, I thought I would be getting a plush ride- except that I wasn't. Many tests and adaptations after- I found out that it was the Mavic Aksium wheels that I bought for the bike. Every road shock was being transmitted to me- but have to admit that I did not try a wider tyre than my 23's that I use on all the bikes. The cure was to fit the Handbuilt wheels with the spokes laced with a 2X lacing pattern. The wheels are still stiff but they just take the sting out of the ride.

But then Boreas, which should be a harsher ride, Has Ultegra radially spoked wheels and they are fine on Boreas.

I do use the same size tyre on the 3 road bikes- a 23- but by changing wheels on each bike- I can notice a difference in comfort- handling and indirectly- Performance of the engine.
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Old 03-28-09, 01:33 PM   #23
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Ol' Fuj came equipped with plain OEM Kenda 700 x 25, and I rolled 3,500 miles on them before I had my first flat. Shortly thereafter, I got new tires, Kenda Kriterium 700 x 23. I thought the Kriteriums rolled a little better. Seems to me the ride was a little more harsh than with the old 25s. I didn't feel any difference in handling. The 23s did not wear well. Lots of flats. I've switched back to 25s, Continental Gator Skins. SO far so good. At some point, I may try Gator Skins in 23.
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Old 03-28-09, 01:42 PM   #24
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I went from Michelin Dynamic 25C to Michelin Krylium 23C. The only noticable difference, on short distances, was the 23C tire felt firmer/harder. On long distances I found I could maintain a higher speed longer.
The question is, was it the difference in tire size, tire quality, TPI, or my conditioning improved. I have no idea which one caused the slight differences.
BUT with their cool gray stripe, the Krylium tires look really cool on my Giant OCR-C that's silver with black and red trim. That's worth at least 0.1 MPH.
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Old 03-28-09, 02:06 PM   #25
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I've often changed from 25 to 23 and back. Assuming it's the same tire, there's only a slight difference. 23 feels a little snappier to me. I like snappy, even if I don't actually go any faster overall. 25 does seem just a little cushier. It's only 2 mm, but that represents a fair amount of greater air volume.
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