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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

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Old 05-12-10, 10:56 PM   #1
k9power
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What size tires do you use?

Does anyone ride long distance on 700 x 23 size tires and/or a firm road bike seat?
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Old 05-12-10, 11:40 PM   #2
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Most people do. I've done centuries on everything from 700x23 to knobby cross tires.
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Old 05-12-10, 11:42 PM   #3
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I ride both 23's and 25's. Not sure what you mean by a "firm" road bike seat? Do they make a soft one?
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Old 05-13-10, 09:11 AM   #4
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Lotsa folks do, but I ain't one of 'em. 32-35mm tires and a Brooks B17 or a hardshell recumbent seat (both of which qualify as firm, I guess..) I find the wider tires to be just as fast, far more comfortable, and far more capable of handling the odd pothole or gravel. And as a bonus, I don't need tire levers to change wide tires - bare hands do it every time.

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ps - Anomaly, centuries don't qualify as "long distance" in my book, but then I'm a rando.
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Old 05-13-10, 09:27 AM   #5
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I ride both 23's and 25's. Not sure what you mean by a "firm" road bike seat? Do they make a soft one?
After going to three bike stores yesterday I can confirm there are some gel road bike seats you could almost use pillow and some others as firm as a wood bench.
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Old 05-13-10, 10:48 AM   #6
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ps - Anomaly, centuries don't qualify as "long distance" in my book, but then I'm a rando.
On a recumbent?

I'm still trying to figure out why riders post "century a month" challenges in the long distance forum?

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Old 05-13-10, 11:02 AM   #7
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Gel seats are generally not a good idea for long distances. Because they are soft and move they tend to generate heat and friction. Both are bad things for long distance riders. Your LBS is probably not the best place to ask for assistance regarding long distance riding unless they have some experience in these types of events. Everyone's butt is different so there is no "perfect" long distance saddle. You'll see lots of leather saddles as well as "racing" saddles at long distance events. These are popular because they are smooth and provide a lower friction environment for you to sit on.
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Old 05-13-10, 11:09 AM   #8
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Tires are one component of a good riding long distance bike. A well designed frame and complaint wheels can have an equal if not greater effect on ride comfort than tires. Some road frames will not accept larger tires. Larger tires can compensate for too stiff wheels and/or frame. Tires have a rats nest of information available, some of it accurate, some inaccurate and most of it over generalized.
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Old 05-13-10, 12:00 PM   #9
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I run 23c. Saddle is not incredibly hard, but it's not soft, either. The most important saddle thing is that it has to fit your butt. Usually the harder, the better. Most LD riders don't have issues with hardness of saddle. The sitbones get used to that. The issue, if any, is usually with friction sores, which have many causes.

As Homeyba says, a frame and fork that's comfortable for you is the most important thing. If you have that, then you can find a saddle that works with the position you have on that frame. Then tires will be no big deal, except that wider tires are nice on brevets involving gravel roads.
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Old 05-16-10, 05:30 PM   #10
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What. About on smooth gravel roads? Anyone ride 25mm tires a good distance on gravel?

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Old 05-16-10, 07:34 PM   #11
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I am riding 25's and do some back road riding on occasion, (more dirt road than gravel) nothing more than 5 or 10 miles at a stretch and they (and my butt) hold up fine. As for a saddle I am using a 20 year old Selle San Marco Rolls. Not the softest saddle in the world but works for me. I haven't taken the Brooks plunge yet but am thinking of it.
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Old 05-16-10, 07:52 PM   #12
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ps - Anomaly, centuries don't qualify as "long distance" in my book, but then I'm a rando.
Well, there has to be a distance cutoff for this forum somewhere, and 100 miles seems to be a reasonable compromise. You know you have the sickness when 200k is a short ride. I always joked that it takes me 100 miles to warm up, but in some sense that is true.

I use 700c X 25. I don't see any reason to go with 23mm because they aren't any faster.

I was testing a Fi'zi:k Aliante which is pretty soft, but I went back to a much harder saddle. I think I may get an Aliante even though I did end up with sores in strange places.
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Old 05-16-10, 07:52 PM   #13
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since the forum double posted my comment, I figure I would add to the comment about distance and comfort. I have found that I can get away with almost any saddle for distances less than 80 miles. After that, the saddle better fit or I'm in at least a little pain. The problem with considering a century "long distance" is that almost any cyclist can finish a century with a little suffering.

I think that 25mm might be a little small for gravel roads. I've ridden gravel roads on tubulars. If the gravel is well packed and there are dirt tire tracks, you can ride almost any tire.

Last edited by unterhausen; 05-16-10 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 05-16-10, 09:59 PM   #14
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32mm for me. Moved up from 28 the past few years. The difference with the 32mm for comfort is awesome; chip seal, crushed stone paths, even loose-pack gravel roads are comfortable.

(For honesty's sake, my Pasela TG 32mm actually measure 30.6mm on my CR-18 rims.)
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Old 05-17-10, 06:00 AM   #15
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I'm still trying to figure out why riders post "century a month" challenges in the long distance forum?
If I recall correctly, people whined about it being in the road forum when they created this one.

Back on topic, I use 23s and a "hard" saddle. Soft saddles can actually be worse than hard ones by adding numbness problems. Focus more on the width and the shape.
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Old 05-17-10, 09:09 AM   #16
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I use 25's and never over 100 psi, I haven't had problems with pinch flats and I weigh in 230. I also use a Rolls saddle, it works for me.
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Old 05-18-10, 01:46 PM   #17
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Just switched from Conti GatorSkins 23mm after two or three sets to Conti GP4000 25mm. Very happy with the change so far. I use a Selle AnAtomica leather saddle and have been very happy with it for the last three years.
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Old 05-18-10, 09:05 PM   #18
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Probably worth bearing in mind that pro racers regularly ride 160+ miles on 21-23 mm tires. Granted they're going a bit faster than the average recreational rider, but still...

I wonder if the OP is looking for justification for riding what he's already got. Hopefully the above is justification enough.

Personally, most of my LD riding is done on 42 mm tires, which give up very little in terms of performance, but are extremely comfortable and more versatile than any other tire I can think of - especially for gravel/dirt roads.
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Old 05-20-10, 05:05 PM   #19
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If I recall correctly, people whined about it being in the road forum when they created this one. .
Sometimes you guys should read the previous posts quoted and try to pick up on why certain comments were posted before replying. You totally missed the purpose of my comment, didn't ya!?

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Old 05-20-10, 06:11 PM   #20
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Tubulars aside, my narrowest tires are 28c. They'll still take me over 30 mph, and are comfy for 50-100 miles (longest distance I've done so far). I've found with narrower tires inflated harder, I get finger numbness.

And I ride a B17 on both my "distance" bikes.
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Old 05-21-10, 06:07 AM   #21
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I went from 23mm to 25mm to 28mm to 32mm tires over the years. I could not fit anything bigger than 32s with fenders on my bike, otherwise I would try. I did not get any slower, but I do feel more comfortable on 32mm especially over rough roads and on rides over 100 miles.
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Old 05-21-10, 06:17 AM   #22
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Tires: 23s, 25s, or both

Saddle: Brooks, hard saddle customised to me
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Old 05-21-10, 10:04 AM   #23
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OK... I have a related question:

What high quality 32's are available? Are there any good ones out there besides the Grand Bois tires?

The main thing that I'm afraid of is buying a set of bigger tires and find that the ones I chose ride like I'm pedalling through molasses. Right now I'm leaning towards either a Grand Bois 32 or a bit smaller Challenge tire.
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Old 05-21-10, 12:35 PM   #24
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I am very happy with Panaracer Pasela TG 32mm. The price is right, weight and rolling resistance is low, handles high pressure well, ride is decent at lower pressures, puncture protection is good and long wearing. It also handles better in rain than Vittoria Rubino in 28mm that I have on the other set of wheels.

I did not try GB or Challenge tires though.
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Old 05-21-10, 05:59 PM   #25
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Sometimes you guys should read the previous posts quoted and try to pick up on why certain comments were posted before replying. You totally missed the purpose of my comment, didn't ya!?
What was your purpose? Were you saying that a century isn't long distance or that it is?

I read the whole thread, so there's no need to be a dick.
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