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  1. #1
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    Tire size 700x28 vs 700x25 vs 700x23

    Hello folks, first post. We've had our Co-Motion Speedster for about 3 months now. It came with some 700x28 tires rated for 105psi. I changed to some IRC Duro/tri's that are 700x25 rated at 115psi. The rim is a litte wide for this tire and kind of swallows it a bit.
    I'm now waiting on a new set of wheels built on a narrower deep V rim as I want to run narrow high pressure tires.

    Here is my question:

    I'm happy with the way the 25c's handle and preform but, am wondering if a 700X23c with say 125psi is ok for tandem use?

  2. #2
    Licensed Bike Geek Davet's Avatar
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    Brad: Based on my experience; unless you're racing you may not like the harsh ride pumped up x23 tires are going to give you.

    I went through somewhat the same thing: didn't want mushy handling from soft tires etc. Tried smaller tires but the ride quality deteriorated too much. I finally found that Cont Ultra 3000 in 700x28 inflated to the recommended max of 120psi gave very good ride and rolled well, not mushy. The handling felt crisp.

    I don't have a huge amount of miles on the tires yet, but so far the wear seems minimal.

    my .02 cents.

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    Yes, I know I'd lose a bit of "plush" but, our Speedster is a steel frame so, it soaks up quite a bit of road vibration. Our bike handles like a dream, cant really tell much of a diff from riding a single.
    I'm just wondering about pinch flats? Our bike handles great + I've been cycling 10+ years so, I dont think I'll be hitting too many potholes. Sometimes you cant help but hit a road hazzard though so, I'm wondering how catastrophic pebbles and rocks are?

  4. #4
    Licensed Bike Geek Davet's Avatar
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    I've ridden a Speedster, nice bike! I have a Burley Rivazza, the new Aluminum one.

    With 700x23 tires I would be concerned about the load capacity of the tires. Depending on the overall weight of your rig, x23 tires might be a little marginal. I do know the wear on those tires will be accelerated. Wear rates on tandem tires is high anyway and the smaller tires sure won't help in that arena.

    What are your toughts about going to narrower tires? It seems contrary to all other things I've learned about tandem tires. Personally, I consider 700x25 the smallest size I would want on my bike.

    Pinch flats generally result from underinflated tires, or catastrophic potholes.

    Maybe contacting tire mfg's or distributors might be a good thing. They could give you some insights on load carrying capacity for their tires.

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    Thanks for the input Dave. Yes, I agree with all you say. I had to ask as I've got conections that can hook me up CHEAP with an assortment of 23c's. I'll stick with the 25c's.

    Say, what's the weight of your bike? Are you digging the AL ride? Have you always riden AL?

  6. #6
    Licensed Bike Geek Davet's Avatar
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    My Rivazza weighs about 33#. It's my first Alu bike. My other solo bikes are Ti and Carbon.

    When I was test riding tandems, deciding on a purchase, I rode the Speedster and the Rivazza. The ride qualities of both were somewhat the same, though the Speedster seemed a little more 'springy' while the Rivazzi was a little more stiff. I felt a little more sure on the Burley so I went with that. With a tandem, the frame material doesn't seem to matter as much, as far as ride characteristics, as on solo bikes. The way the frame is designed and made seems to matter more.

    I'm having a blast on the tandem. We still have and ride our solos, but the tandem is a whole different world. Different mind-set and different work ethic. You can't slack off on a tandem!

    Unfortunately our weather here in Eastern Washington is less good riding now, so our tandem is on the trainer. But I guess the upside is that I can spend all winter buying the goodies to outfit it for next season.

  7. #7
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    Sounds like your team has a really nice rig. We live in Texas and are able to enjoy year round riding (other than ice a few times a year).

    Speaking of trainers, our tandem's rear axle is 145mm. I'm having a heck of a time finding a QR skewer with the proper shape and style to fit in our cyclopps. What skewer are you using while on the trainer?

  8. #8
    Licensed Bike Geek Davet's Avatar
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    I use a Salsa rear QR, it fits in my Minoura Inter-Rim trainer fine. Ask your LBS, or Co-Motion about a different QR.

  9. #9
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    We've used 25s and 28s from several manufacturers and frequently run a 28 on the rear and a 25 on the front. That's the way my Noventa is currently set up; they're Continental Gatorskins at 125-130 psi on 48 hole Velocity Aero rims.

    My Sovereign is running 28c Gatorskins, 125-130 psi on Fir 40 hole rims. I've only ridden the Sovereign (AL) for 500 miles and have only used 28c tires. The the ride is a lot softer than the Noventa (Nivachrome steel).

  10. #10
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's an old thread but I haven't checked in for a while and couldn't leave this one alone.

    Four considerations on tires.
    1. Durability
    2. Comfort
    3. Performance
    4. Cost

    You want super durable & cushy, go with inexpensive 700x32 or larger tires. They wear like iron and soak up most of the road chatter. Of course, they'll scare the do-do out of you if you push them too hard through the corners.

    You want optimum performance and have a combined team weight under 330lbs, go ahead an run 700x25 or 700x23's at high pressure. Yes, you'll spend more for them and no, they won't wear as long or feel as cushy as the larger diameter tires, but they'll make your tandem feel more like your road singles and that's usually what most fast recreational or racing teams are after. As for being tandem-rated, the only negative is how fast the rear tire's wear out, e.g., 1,500mi is about tops for a Vredestein Fortezza (my personal favorite). However, if you put your new tires on the front and then rotate them to the back when the rear tires wears out you'll end up getting 3k miles of use (high end, but at least 2,500 on average) out of each tire before it's used up. The basis of my observations is about 15,000mi of tandem use on 23's.

    Middle Ground: Consider the 25 and 28mm versions of the high performance tires. They give you a little more cushion (the stoker will appreciate it more than the captain) on sharp hits, don't give up much on rolling resistance but still use the softer compounds that when combined with higher pressures give you excellent road handling. We've been running Vredestein's 700x25s for the last 6 months with very good results. They're a little more compliant than the 23's, but not by much and they're certainly more cushy.

    Bottom Line: As for which tires? Anything that you hit that'll give a pinch or a puncture flat to a 23 will give a pinch flat to a 28 or a 32mm tire. So, unless you're a large team, narrow high pressure tires are fine and dandy to use if you so choose. Use the ones that teams who ride like you and who live in the same region have been using the longest -- it's the most reliable form of product endorsement. I love the Vredesteins and they do well here around Atlanta where the roads are all in excellent condition. However, they didn't wear as well on our tour down the California coast where Avocet FasGrip K20's would have probably faired better.

  11. #11
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    It depends on how heavy you are and how much you hate changing flats. I weigh 225 pounds and really hate fixing flats so I always ride 700x28 or bigger.

  12. #12
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    Well, after a few months of testing I thought I leave a note as to what I've found and am using.

    We are a team that including bike weighs in at 390 pounds. I had built up a wheel set using the Velocity Fusion rims on 36h HuGi's.
    The tires I've started using are the Hutchinson Elite Gold (just came out) in a 700x23 at 125psi. We'll never go back to using anything else. It's a great feeling to be able to dig into a corner and feel like you are on your single bike.
    Like was mentioned above you have to remember what you are using and stay clear of road hazards but, dont we all do that anyway? I'm usually pretty good at keeping the bike away from the nasties.
    These tires are not going to last as long as a X28-32 hybred tire but, that's ok with me. The expense of them wearing fast is well worth it for the handling and feel they give. In my opinion using the 700x23 tires really brings out the greatness of our Co-Motion.
    Last edited by brad; 01-05-03 at 08:27 AM.

  13. #13
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Well, there you go. Outstanding!

    If there's one constant with tandems it is that nothing is constant. There is only one "best" and that's what works best for you. Sometimes you just need to take in all the advice and then use your own judgement to decide which things make sence to you based on your riding needs/style/expectations.

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