Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    vintage Raleigh
    Posts
    654
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    different tire widths for front and back

    I have seen people who use a different tire width for the front than the back. Example, I know some who use a 2.0 on the front and a 1.5 on the back. I understand that the wider tire in the front will aid in overall control but what is the advantage of the narrower tire in the back? Perhaps a lower rolling resistance seeing how the steering control isn't needed in the rear??? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Elite Rep
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Melbourne - Australia
    Posts
    2,097
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Rolling resistance could one...

  3. #3
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    6,327
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ask this in the BMX forum...thats where this practice originated. My understanding is that using a narower rear tire allows you to run higher pressure, giving you less rolling resistance. And the bigger front gives you better traction in the turns.

  4. #4
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Whistler,BC
    My Bikes
    Transition Dirtbag, Kona Roast 2002 and specialized BMX
    Posts
    16,888
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    wasn't this asked yesterday? You might want to look at yesterdays posts, the answer is in there.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR
    My Bikes
    1982 Trek 950, 1972 Peugeot PX10, Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Posts
    279
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom
    wasn't this asked yesterday? You might want to look at yesterdays posts, the answer is in there.
    I believe it has to do with the fact that the rear is just accelerating you, who cares about tire width on the back. You can save the weight by running a smaller tire with no drawbacks. I personally like the way a small tire feels on the rear, feels more 'precise' but I ride the mtb like its a 20" so it might just be me-

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,398
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Bahhhh ... and 69/96

    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach
    Ask this in the BMX forum...thats where this practice originated. My understanding is that using a narower rear tire allows you to run higher pressure, giving you less rolling resistance. And the bigger front gives you better traction in the turns.
    A lower pressure on a larger tire will give you the same rigidity.

    To answer the original posters question, mudders are fond of smaller rears because they "dig down" better. Larger tires float and mudders don't like that. There is likely a perceived rolling resistance advantage to a smaller tire. On paved surfaces this belief is justified, on irregular surfaces it probably is not as the ability of the tire to conform to the terrain allows the bike to travel straight rather than bouncing. Every bump translates into lost momentum (this is the advantage of larger tires).

    Another reason that some prefer a smaller tire in the rear is the perceived "responsiveness" of the bike. Advocates of smaller tires will point out (deceptively correctly) that a larger tire means greater rotating weight and this translates into a larger moment of inertia. They perceive that this will slow down their acceleration. They also perceive it as they ride (quite correctly) as the larger diameter wheel package effectively changes the gearing. They fail to do the actual calculations to discover that the rotating 20 grams difference in the tire compared to mass of their body is practically insignificant. The effective gearing change re-inforces a physics fallacy and hence a smaller wheel in the rear.

    Finally, the #1 reason to run a larger front than rear ... because you typically can. The chainstays of a frame are typically more confined than fork stanchions. A lot of people can only run a 2.1" on the rear even though they may prefer a 2.3" which will fit easily on the front.

    This perception is so strong that it is leading manufacturers to produce "96er" bikes with a 29er in the front and a 26er in the rear. The theory is that the larger front wheel will reduce rolling resistance over obstacles while a smaller rear wheel provides quicker acceleration. The production of these bikes with medium travel front forks and hard tails is just laughable when you carefully consider it. You place suspension on a better rolling wheel and no suspension on poorer rolling wheel. It's a double shrug when you realize that you can just tweak the gearing of the bike (lose 2 teeth in front or add 2 in the back) to account for the "sluggishness" of the larger wheel). I suspect that the engineers run the numbers and shrug their shoulders as the market perceives this ... so it is so.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,398
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Weight Weenies anonymous ...

    Quote Originally Posted by nickw
    I believe it has to do with the fact that the rear is just accelerating you, who cares about tire width on the back. You can save the weight by running a smaller tire with no drawbacks. I personally like the way a small tire feels on the rear, feels more 'precise' but I ride the mtb like its a 20" so it might just be me-
    What gets me is that the people who should be most concerned about grams, endurance racers, are starting to turn to much bigger tires in the form of 29ers. This is the group for whom those extra grams REALLY add up to LOTS of spent energy through accelerations and climbing. The success of 29ers in endurance racing should really put this "big slow" wheel issue to rest.

    A larger diameter wheel changes the effective gearing. This is where the perception comes from. You wouldn't be afraid to add larger rings to a 24" bike. Why be afraid of switching to smaller ones for a larger wheels?

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    vintage Raleigh
    Posts
    654
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    A lower pressure on a larger tire will give you the same rigidity.

    To answer the original posters question, mudders are fond of smaller rears because they "dig down" better. Larger tires float and mudders don't like that. There is likely a perceived rolling resistance advantage to a smaller tire. On paved surfaces this belief is justified, on irregular surfaces it probably is not as the ability of the tire to conform to the terrain allows the bike to travel straight rather than bouncing. Every bump translates into lost momentum (this is the advantage of larger tires).

    Another reason that some prefer a smaller tire in the rear is the perceived "responsiveness" of the bike. Advocates of smaller tires will point out (deceptively correctly) that a larger tire means greater rotating weight and this translates into a larger moment of inertia. They perceive that this will slow down their acceleration. They also perceive it as they ride (quite correctly) as the larger diameter wheel package effectively changes the gearing. They fail to do the actual calculations to discover that the rotating 20 grams difference in the tire compared to mass of their body is practically insignificant. The effective gearing change re-inforces a physics fallacy and hence a smaller wheel in the rear.

    Finally, the #1 reason to run a larger front than rear ... because you typically can. The chainstays of a frame are typically more confined than fork stanchions. A lot of people can only run a 2.1" on the rear even though they may prefer a 2.3" which will fit easily on the front.

    This perception is so strong that it is leading manufacturers to produce "96er" bikes with a 29er in the front and a 26er in the rear. The theory is that the larger front wheel will reduce rolling resistance over obstacles while a smaller rear wheel provides quicker acceleration. The production of these bikes with medium travel front forks and hard tails is just laughable when you carefully consider it. You place suspension on a better rolling wheel and no suspension on poorer rolling wheel. It's a double shrug when you realize that you can just tweak the gearing of the bike (lose 2 teeth in front or add 2 in the back) to account for the "sluggishness" of the larger wheel). I suspect that the engineers run the numbers and shrug their shoulders as the market perceives this ... so it is so.
    Very interesting. Didn't time trialists at one time use different diameter wheels in the front and back at one point?

  9. #9
    Man about town
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Portland, OR
    My Bikes
    '04 Giant OCR1, '85 Team Fuji
    Posts
    105
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bfloyd
    Very interesting. Didn't time trialists at one time use different diameter wheels in the front and back at one point?
    Yeah, but that was an aerodynamics issue. A smaller wheel generates less drag both due to spoke length and frontal area. Trackies used them for pursuits a lot. Different sized wheels are generally frowned upon by the judges these days, though.

  10. #10
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Central PA
    My Bikes
    '03 Marin Mill Valley, '06 Cannondale Rush, '02 Eddy Merckx Corsa 0.1, '07 Bottecchia Euro Sprint Tour Comp Elite Pro 1000
    Posts
    11,436
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When I raced I did it because it was just plain faster. Less rolling resistance for sure and I was running a 1.9 in the back. Also back then we didn't have suspension so the larger front gave a bit of shock absorbtion as well as added traction.
    The views expressed by this poster do not reflect the views of BikeForums.net.

  11. #11
    Your Local Megalomaniac literocola's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Centennial, CO
    My Bikes
    Gary Fisher GED, ECHO Pure, Norco Moment, Kona Stab
    Posts
    265
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Matching 2.5's on the assult/ do it all beat machine

    2.7" Maxxis Rear, 2.35" Try-All trials tire on the Trial Rigs.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •