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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-31-14, 08:36 AM   #1
heymatthew
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Tire Size...

Hey guys,
I'll probably be tarred, feathered, hung and quartered for posting such a ridiculous question, but I don't have access to an LBS in my town (closest one is an hour away) so you guys are my go-to for these types of questions. I'm getting back into a single-speed commuter, beat-around town bike (should be picking it up today unless it turns out to be something terrible and I abandon ship) and in my reading I see tires come up quite a bit. The most common thing is whether or not the roads you ride on are good and if not, what kind of tire you want to use to combat less-than-stellar riding conditions.

I live in the historic district (read: old homes, older roads) and our roads are not great and some are downright poor. I've narrowed my selection of tires down to Continental Gatorskins as they'll do fairly well with the rough roads and any broken glass, etc. I might encounter.

My question is whether or not I can/should go with a slightly wider tire. The rims are Maddux DRX3000 Track Wheels with 700x23 tires. I see the Gatorskins come in a 700x23C as well as a 700x25 and 700x28. Is it possible to go to a slightly wider tire? And in doing so, am I gaining any benefits?

I don't plan on skidding. No tricks. No hopping. No jumping off of stairs or buildings or bridges. No messenger services. No wheelies. No racing. I'm just riding to restaurants, pubs, farmers markets, friends houses, things like that. But my last bike's little Kenda tires took a beating on our roads and I'd like to avoid that as flat tires suck, and walking a bike back home with a flat tire sucks more.

Thanks in advance.

Best,
Matthew
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Old 07-31-14, 08:55 AM   #2
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For fitting larger tires, if the rim is spec'd with a 23mm, then a 25mm will be fine, and it should take a 28mm with no issues either. What you would need to check, is the clearance for the frame/fork, can these accommodate the larger tire?

For the benefit of running wider tires, this is normally so you can run a lower pressure, which give more comfort.
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Old 07-31-14, 09:22 AM   #3
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For fitting larger tires, if the rim is spec'd with a 23mm, then a 25mm will be fine, and it should take a 28mm with no issues either. What you would need to check, is the clearance for the frame/fork, can these accommodate the larger tire?

For the benefit of running wider tires, this is normally so you can run a lower pressure, which give more comfort.
I'll check on the clearance issues. I may just split the difference and go with a 25 if it will fit. Thank you for the information.
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Old 07-31-14, 09:31 AM   #4
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A lot of people ride a wider tire in the rear for comfort and something narrower in the front for handling. I had 23's on for a bit on my steel fixed gear and it was pretty uncomfortable. I currently ride 28 rear and 25 front and love it.
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Old 07-31-14, 09:40 AM   #5
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A lot of people ride a wider tire in the rear for comfort and something narrower in the front for handling. I had 23's on for a bit on my steel fixed gear and it was pretty uncomfortable. I currently ride 28 rear and 25 front and love it.
That's an interesting solution... I'll look into that as well.
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Old 07-31-14, 11:06 AM   #6
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I don't plan on skidding. No tricks. No hopping. No jumping off of stairs or buildings or bridges. No messenger services. No wheelies. No racing.
Do you plan on having any fun on this bicycle of yours?


I agree with the above about 2 different tires. I like a 25 in the back and a 23 up front.
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Old 07-31-14, 11:48 AM   #7
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Do you plan on having any fun on this bicycle of yours?
Hahaha! Well, I plan on riding it and getting back to a healthier lifestyle. And it will sure beat that giant Trek 3500 I was riding before. Perhaps I'll get spunky and try my hand at some fancy fixie stuff one of these days. Might go back to some of my freestyle roots and try some manuals and stuff. Maybe... Depends on how good my health insurance is. I don't know when I started thinking about health insurance coverage, but I think it means I'm old now.


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I agree with the above about 2 different tires. I like a 25 in the back and a 23 up front.
I'm thinking I'll do a 28R, 25F.
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Old 07-31-14, 12:51 PM   #8
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I'm thinking I'll do a 28R, 25F.
I think it's an ideal setup for most people.
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Old 07-31-14, 02:42 PM   #9
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Why not just run two of the same size? Comfort for your hands and wrists can be had through a larger tire and a larger tire will have more traction than a smaller one generally speaking and the front is where traction is most critical. I'm having trouble figuring out why smaller front tire makes sense. Let me know if I'm missing something.
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Old 07-31-14, 02:55 PM   #10
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Why not just run two of the same size? Comfort for your hands and wrists can be had through a larger tire and a larger tire will have more traction than a smaller one generally speaking and the front is where traction is most critical. I'm having trouble figuring out why smaller front tire makes sense. Let me know if I'm missing something.
Granted you're not running an aluminum fork and have either a steel or carbon one, that absorbs a lot of the vibration as is, not to mention if you wear gloves and/or have wraps or grips on your bars. The thinner tire will roll faster and corner just as fine as a tire a few millimeters wider. I had similar thoughts as you, but once I tried it I definitely noticed a difference.
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Old 07-31-14, 03:04 PM   #11
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I actually just split the difference and went with 25's on both front and back. I figure that gives me some of the benefits of a wider tire, without being mismatched or large. I ordered the Gatorskins from Amazon and went ahead and got 4 tubes as well so I can have them handy. It sucks to be over an hour from a bike shop so I guess I'll keep these kinds of things on-hand.

Thank you guys for the input! Now to go look at handlebars.

Also, for what it's worth, my bike has OURY grips on them. I didn't like the way they looked at first glance, but they are really comfy so I think the steel fork combined with the cushy grips and a mid-range Gatorskin should absorb some road noise and give a good ride. I'll try to remember to report back here after putting it all through some riding.
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Old 07-31-14, 03:09 PM   #12
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Why not just run two of the same size? Comfort for your hands and wrists can be had through a larger tire and a larger tire will have more traction than a smaller one generally speaking and the front is where traction is most critical. I'm having trouble figuring out why smaller front tire makes sense. Let me know if I'm missing something.
You're missing something.
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Old 07-31-14, 06:26 PM   #13
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You're missing something.
Wonderful. Care to elaborate?
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Old 08-01-14, 01:54 AM   #14
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I ride on rubbish roads.
I used to use 28s for comfort.
The Hillbrick came with 23s. I didn't notice any real difference. I've used 23s ever since without a complaint as far as comfort goes. **shrugs**
Mind you, both my Europa and my Hillbrick have quality steel frames and old style roadie geometry, which, when combined with decent wheels, purportedly gives a comfortable ride - bourne out by my tyre experiences?
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Old 08-01-14, 01:59 AM   #15
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Wonderful. Care to elaborate?
Well, weight distribution has you at like 70% rear, 30% front or somewhere thereabouts. Having less air volume in front because of a smaller tire means the front and rear would be closer to compressing the same amount while you're on the bike. And since an optimal tire is the right combination of air volume/compression under weight/tire weight, having a lighter tire with the right amount of volume for your weight would optimize your ride or some crap, instead of just throwing 28mm on front because you have one on back. Kinda like having 32 spokes front and rear, it's not optimized. Of course I'm just making s*** up and it's late, but seems to make sense now.
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Old 08-01-14, 02:23 AM   #16
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Well, weight distribution has you at like 70% rear, 30% front or somewhere thereabouts. Having less air volume in front because of a smaller tire means the front and rear would be closer to compressing the same amount while you're on the bike. And since an optimal tire is the right combination of air volume/compression under weight/tire weight, having a lighter tire with the right amount of volume for your weight would optimize your ride or some crap, instead of just throwing 28mm on front because you have one on back. Kinda like having 32 spokes front and rear, it's not optimized. Of course I'm just making s*** up and it's late, but seems to make sense now.
In reality, he heard that Scrod does it and he's a groupie.
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Old 08-01-14, 02:48 AM   #17
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:shrug: I like a wider tire in front but I keep it simple ans use the same size on both.
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Old 08-01-14, 02:59 AM   #18
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In reality, he heard that Scrod does it and he's a groupie.
Na, my old leader could fit a 28 rear but only a 23 in front or it would rub the carbon fork. That's when I started with different sizes just out of necessity. Now I justify it with the above bs.
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Old 08-01-14, 05:24 AM   #19
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I hear you about dialing the pressures and sizes, but if you want to run bigger tires for comfort just do front and back if you can and dial performance with pressures. At least that makes sense to me. There's got to be a reason why BMX and MTB often run larger tires up front as opposed to the opposite.
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Old 08-01-14, 05:38 AM   #20
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I just went with 25's for both. I doubt I'll do enough riding to justify dialing in pressures and experimenting with tires and spokes and hubs. I just want to have fun and have a nice, reliable commuter for messing around on weekends and what not. If I feel like I'm missing something running 25's on both, then I'll probably try switching up (both to 28 or one to 28 or whatever).

I basically just wanted to make sure they would (a) fit properly and (b) I wondered if there was any benefit or harm in running a larger tire. The roads here suck so that's why I'm going with Gatorskins and I thought a slightly larger surface might be good for the chunky asphalt spots (but maybe not).

I got more than enough information to make my head hurt.

Thanks guys!
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