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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

View Poll Results: What size tires do you run for endurance events?
Narrow! 2 2.20%
23's 28 30.77%
25's 28 30.77%
28's 25 27.47%
Wider! 8 8.79%
Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-03-06, 08:05 PM   #1
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Endurance Cycling Tire Width Poll

What is everyone riding?

I can feel a difference in speed and comfort when switching (nearly) identical wheelsets from 28's to 25's and even 23's. I've got 28's on now and happy to keep them there for the yucky months - but am disappointed at the perceived change in effort / speed. I was hoping to ride them next season for events - as they are more comfy for the long haul - but I'm not so sure.

In the last few years I've run:

Bontrager 23's (slicks) - not sure of the model - but they wore quickly.
Continental GP 4 Seasons 23's
Continental GP 4 Season 25's
Bontrager 32's (a touring tire)
Scwalbe Marathon 28's (which I was hoping to make into my brevet tires, but I'm not so sure...)

Of my recent rides I like the Conti 25's the best. Still going strong after a full brevet season (and all the riding in between) - and no real complaints from perceived "slowness" from a tougher tire. They did very well on our local 600k with some sections of ugly gravel and dirt.
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Old 10-03-06, 08:37 PM   #2
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I was running Conti GP4000-25s for most of this year but recently switched to Panaracer Pasela 32s (really about 28mm) for increased comfort. The Panaracers are pretty lightweight and take fairly high pressure so they still seem to perform well. No flats with either tire - if you don't count the big screw I put through the GP 4000s on their first ride.
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Old 10-03-06, 08:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by supcom
I was running Conti GP4000-25s for most of this year but recently switched to Panaracer Pasela 32s (really about 28mm) for increased comfort. The Panaracers are pretty lightweight and take fairly high pressure so they still seem to perform well. No flats with either tire - if you don't count the big screw I put through the GP 4000s on their first ride.
I have noticed a comfort difference with the 28's. Just not sure I like how they feel going down the road. I'll have a look at those Pasela's, and I have some Schwalbe 25's coming in to compare against.
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Old 10-04-06, 09:20 AM   #4
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I had Panaracer Pasela 32s on the back and a Conti Travel Contact 28 up front for my 300, 400 and 600s this year and found that they were pretty solid and much more comfortable than the Bontrager Race Lites that I used to have. I've had one flat on the Panaracer after ~2000 miles. It was a puncture from a small splinter while commuting home, which seemed oddly weak considering the terrain that we were riding on for the 600. Otherwise it's been a good tire. I'll probably switch back to 35s when winter sets in (and get a few more miles out of my ancient Conti TTs before retiring them permanently) but aim to stick with 28s for the 2007 brevet season.
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Old 10-04-06, 10:03 AM   #5
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Hmmm ... seems I'm the one and only cyclist on the poll who uses 700x25! I might use larger ones, but I can't fit them under my fenders and the 25s seem to work just fine.

Occasionally I'll use 23s if I can't get ahold of 25s for some reason, or if I need to use my folding tires ... and in those situations I'll have one size on one wheel and the other size on the other wheel.
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Old 10-04-06, 11:52 AM   #6
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I run the Roughy-Toughy 27s. Darn durable abd bullet-proof. And a softer ride. I really like them
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Old 10-04-06, 12:11 PM   #7
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I use only 23's, 120 PSI and let it roll!
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Old 10-04-06, 12:26 PM   #8
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I use the Bontrager Hardcase 25s.. Ride has been pretty good and they apparently offer good puncture resistance.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:38 PM   #9
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Tufo S33 Specials are 21mm. I run them at 90 psi even though they can be run much higher--Tufo recommends 115psi - 175psi.
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Old 10-05-06, 11:51 AM   #10
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I think we should all read the fine work done by Jan Heine of Vintage Bicycle Quarterly (now renamed, Bicycle Quarterly). After numerous tests he found when constructed well, some very large tires, such as a 37 mm Mitsubishi 650B, rolled as fast as quality 23C tires. I was stunned. Further, some tires that came in 20, 23, and 25 mm options showed the 25mm option to have less rolling resistance. Also, it was found that higher pressure didn't mean less rolling resistance. If you can obtain a copy it will challenge several long held beliefs. Tire choice was the most critical thing to purchase for riding faster on long rides such as PBP. I would forward the article but it does not appear to be available from their web site at http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/vbqindex.html
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Old 10-05-06, 12:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papawizo
I think we should all read the fine work done by Jan Heine of Vintage Bicycle Quarterly (now renamed, Bicycle Quarterly). After numerous tests he found when constructed well, some very large tires, such as a 37 mm Mitsubishi 650B, rolled as fast as quality 23C tires. I was stunned. Further, some tires that came in 20, 23, and 25 mm options showed the 25mm option to have less rolling resistance. Also, it was found that higher pressure didn't mean less rolling resistance. If you can obtain a copy it will challenge several long held beliefs. Tire choice was the most critical thing to purchase for riding faster on long rides such as PBP. I would forward the article but it does not appear to be available from their web site at http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/vbqindex.html
You can read some of those conclusions at Scwalbe's site.
It doesn't break out which tires are "faster" - but it does talk about width, pressure, and rolling resistance.

Also, Sheldon "Rolls with It" Brown has some good info on "tyres".
And Jobst Brandt
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Old 10-05-06, 02:21 PM   #12
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I've done as much as 262km in a day (Montauk Century plus ride to lighthouse, etc) on the 23s on my road bike. I've ridden a century on my folder, though I forget if it had the plumper Marathon tires or the 28mm Stelvios. Anyway, I voted 23 b/c most of my century+ rides are on the road bike.
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Old 10-05-06, 03:57 PM   #13
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you might try michelin pro race 2s in the 700x25 size. i use the 23 on my road bike but had the 25s on the tandem and they're large, bigger than a set of continental 28s and avocet 28s. and they roll really nicely too.
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Old 10-05-06, 07:24 PM   #14
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Only ever ridden 23s (or the Continental 22/23 combo that is the Attack/Force) for ultra-distance events. I rode 21s when I began riding but quickly abandoned them due to too many flats and difficulties getting the tires on and off the wheels. I splurge for nice, soft racing tires. It's the one cycling luxury I permit myself. I ran Gatorskins for a while, but they handle so poorly I decided that I'd rather put up with more tire wear and more flats (in the flats department, I've not noticed any real difference, believe it or not).

Mrs. O and I have done some 200Ks and a double-century on the tandem, which we have fitted with 25s. No problems there, either.

I'm surprised to see so many narrow-tire responses. The vast, vast majority of randonneurs in my neck of the woods run 28s or larger diameter tires with the occasional person running 25s. I'm one of a few folks who run 23s.
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Old 10-10-06, 07:33 PM   #15
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I use 25's, either Specialized's or Scwalbe's. I have used 23s before but on pavement I found the 25s at a slightly lower pressure to be much nicer to ride. I have 38s on my sit-up bike but that one is a bit of a tank anyhow.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:02 AM   #16
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Last year I ran Vittoria Rubino Pro 23's, but they wore fast. Switched to Panaracer Stradius 25's, but they seemed to flat more easily (I still use them on my non-brevet wheels for non-brevet training rides). Switched to Conti GrandPrix 4 Season 25's for this year's brevet series. No problems and little discernible wear. On advice from BMB anciens, switched to GP4 28's for BMB and associated training rides. These weigh only an ounce or so more on my scale (Conti says the 25's and 28's both weigh 250 grams), I don't notice any more rolling resistance, and they're definitely a bit cushier feeling. When they wear out, I'll probably use up my three remaining 25's and then buy 28's next time around.
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Old 10-11-06, 05:09 PM   #17
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What precisely is the advantage of using larger tires on longer rides please?

Thanks.
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Old 10-11-06, 06:23 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lemurhouse
What precisely is the advantage of using larger tires on longer rides please?

Thanks.

Comfort...you can run a wider tire at a lower pressure without risking pinch flats.
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Old 10-11-06, 08:22 PM   #19
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Comfort...you can run a wider tire at a lower pressure without risking pinch flats.
OK, I get the part about wider tires having similar rolling resistance as narrower tires if they are inflated to the same pressure. But if you inflate the wider tires to the same pressure as the narrow tires, do you thereby lose the comfort advantage? Or are the wider tires still more comfortable because their wider cross-section still absorbs more shock/vibration even at the higher pressures?

I haven't used larger tires in many years, but would be interested in trying them out for brevets etc., if there wasn't too much of a performance drop off.
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Old 10-12-06, 08:40 AM   #20
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My personal experience is that if I inflate 28's to the same pressure as 23's I feel no appreciable increase in rolling resistance, but I do get a more comfortable ride.

I use Vittoria Open Corsa 23's on my Lemond and a Cheap Continental 28 on my Trek 720. I inflate the front to 100 - 105 PSI and the Rear to 110 PSI on both.

I believe that although the pressure in the tires is the same the 28's put more air between the road and the rim, and even at 100 - 110 PSI the tire is much softer than the rim.

Note also that I am running a wider, less stiff rim with the 28's than the 23's and this is as big a part of the comfort equation.
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Old 10-12-06, 01:50 PM   #21
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Haven't done the poll as I mainly ride a mountain bike and that does not apply. This summer I got my first road bike and it came with 700x26's and that is what is still on the bike. No discomfort so may go to 23's when they need repalacing.
But on the Mountain bike I used to fit Conti Grand Prix slicks on the 26" wheels. In comparison to a 700 tyre- This is about a 22. They take high pressure (110psi) and roll exceptionally well. They Have lasted well but have to admit that the sidewalls are showing a few too many tears in them for me to trust now- Reckon they have done about 3,000 miles in the 6 years I have had them and other than the sidewall damage- still work fine. (They are relegated to the Wall now as If it is road work- the shiny new bike gets used.)
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Old 10-13-06, 07:03 AM   #22
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[QUOTE=lemurhouse]What precisely is the advantage of using larger tires on longer rides please?

QUOTE]
I used 28's on a 400k ride. No shoulder pain (arthritic shoulder) and no neck discomfort (a little but nothing to complain about) My hands didn't get very numb, as I had padded handlebars,also. Some people can handle the jarring of a 23 forever. Others find a decrease in ride ability with increase in discomfort. Therefore, larger tires. For 200 miles I generally stick with 23c's. However, I may be trying a larger tire this season on every "long" ride.
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Old 10-13-06, 12:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by lemurhouse
OK, I get the part about wider tires having similar rolling resistance as narrower tires if they are inflated to the same pressure. But if you inflate the wider tires to the same pressure as the narrow tires, do you thereby lose the comfort advantage?
In theory, but Jan Heine's test in Bicycle Quarterly showed no real difference in rolling resistance of the same tire inflated at different pressures as long as it was inflated above a minimal pressure (25 psi or so for most tires). Some tires actually had lower rolling resistance at lower pressures than higher, but the differences were small. Tire construction, tread thickness, and tread pattern appear to have the most effect on rolling resistance.
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Old 10-13-06, 02:37 PM   #24
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Thanks all above.
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Old 10-14-06, 03:27 AM   #25
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Tire construction, tread thickness, and tread pattern appear to have the most effect on rolling resistance.
Definitely, and it can be pretty obvious among tires of the same size.

In my opinion, which is supported only by my perception and not laboratory tests, the differences in rolling resistance among similar tires of different widths is trumped by differences in weight and wind resistance. A bigger tire is a heavier tire, and the additional weight is all out there at the very end of the radius. A bit of it is psychological, IMO. A wider tire feels slower in handling characteristics, whether it is or not.

I ride a quality 700x23 typically pumped to 110 psi. I don't find them uncomfortable, so I don't switch them out for long rides.
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