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Old 03-25-10, 05:33 PM   #1
CoMotionRider
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Tire Size Recomendation

I just purchased a Co-Motion Speedster and it has 700 x 23 tires on it. I was thinking of replacing them with Continental Ultra Gator Skin Tire - 700 x 28. Is this a good choice or should I go with the 25 or any other recomendations. The weight of myself and the stoker are about 320 lbs. Thanks
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Old 03-25-10, 06:10 PM   #2
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I just purchased a Co-Motion Speedster and it has 700 x 23 tires on it. I was thinking of replacing them with Continental Ultra Gator Skin Tire - 700 x 28. Is this a good choice or should I go with the 25 or any other recomendations. The weight of myself and the stoker are about 320 lbs. Thanks
The Speedster is spec'd for the Continental Ultra Gatorskin 700 x 28. This will give great flat protection, but is heavy and not very supple.

The higher-performance Macchiato is spec'd for the Continental GPX4000 700c X 25. This will perform great, but a bit skimpy on the flat protection.

I'd think that the most popular tire for a team like yours would be the Conti 4-Seasons in 25 mm, which is intermediate between the Gatorskin and the GP4000. Opinions will differ on the team weight that requires a 28 mm, but I think it'd be higher than 320 lbs.
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Old 03-25-10, 07:17 PM   #3
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I have been running GP4000S 23 on front and GP4000 25 on the rear.
I definitely prefer the GP4000 over the Gatorskins and its still a pretty robust tire.
The only reason I have 23 on front is because I had it on my single and didn't like on that bike but love it on the tandem.
Our team weight is around 250 lbs. and inflate to 125 psi
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Old 03-25-10, 07:27 PM   #4
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I just purchased a Co-Motion Speedster and it has 700 x 23 tires on it. I was thinking of replacing them with Continental Ultra Gator Skin Tire - 700 x 28. Is this a good choice or should I go with the 25 or any other recomendations. Our team weight is about 320 lbs. Thanks
Something within the range of 23 (at the extreme low end) and 32 or perhaps 34 should work. To be more precise would require knowing the inside width of the rim. Given Ritterview's comment about the stock spec, chances are that a 28 is intermediate in the range that rim will take.

Where you go in that range, and how much you emphasize flat resistance will be a matter of personal preference, although with your team weight, you'd need to inflate the narrow tires awfully hard, while the wider ones will be more comfortable, albeit heavier. You didn't say anything about the kind of riding, or the kind of roads, so it is hard to guess at your tradeoff between weight, robustness, and handling.

There are those who claim that all other things being equal, a wider tire has lower rolling resistance (and higher air resistance). And there are those who will point out that all other things are never equal.

Most of us are more sensitive to the possibility of flats than we are/would be on singles, if only because if you get a flat on the tandem, you are inconveniencing two people. Also, there's nobody to bail you out if you don't want to fix it along the road side. But we'll vary a lot as to how much more sensitive.

The two most popular brands of tires on tandems (based on TG's informal survey of this winter) are Continental and Schwalbe, with more Continentals (being the tire on many new tandems), and a higher customer satisfaction rating on the Schwalbes. Within these, there's a range of tradeoffs between weight and flat-resistance.

Personally, I've ridden Ultra Gatorskins on my single for years, and they are not flat proof, but much less flat prone than whatever I've by now forgotten that was on it before. On our tandem, we have 26" wheels, which rules out that model of tire. I recently picked up some Schwalbes, but have no experience with them as yet - the previous spare went on a few weeks before the Schwalbes arrived, and I just don't like changing tires when they're still perfectly good (neither flat nor worn).
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Old 03-25-10, 07:31 PM   #5
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Michelin Krylons 25mm., very smooth riding tire. We like them the best.
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Old 03-25-10, 07:46 PM   #6
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Michelin Krylons 25mm., very smooth riding tire. We like them the best.
Another vote for the Michelin Krylons ... 25 or 28mm
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Old 03-25-10, 09:32 PM   #7
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Gatoskins in 28s should be very good.
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Old 03-26-10, 08:26 AM   #8
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I have been running conti 2000's as well as gatorskins in 28mm, and have had good luck with both. We are about the same weight as you guys.
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Old 03-26-10, 09:37 AM   #9
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FWIW...I'd recommend the 28c for your everyday all a round use. A 25c will work but with a slightly smaller window....don't even consider a 23c's . You can't go wrong with Ultra Gatorskins or 4 season GP's....I've never ridden the Krylons so can't comment on them. Good luck..have fun.

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Old 03-26-10, 06:07 PM   #10
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I ordered the 28c from REI. I had a rebate and a discount. I thought about the 25c but this is my first tandema and we will be using it for century rides and other long rides where we want to stay together. Thanks for the replys.
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Old 03-26-10, 10:26 PM   #11
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Run the 23 mm that came with the bike until they wear out. Then replace with whatever suits your fancy.
We all have our own preferences . . . want super-lite go fast folding tires? Want flat protection? Want a bit cushier ride?
All these thing come into play with varying brands/widths/weight/folding/non-folding giving you multitude of choices.
Through experience we all come up, eventually, with favorites.
Our choice, for the past several years, has been the Maxxis Re-Fuse 700x25. They suit our purpose: great flat protection (we live in the desert, so lotsa road nasties), light (275 gr), high pressure (120 psi), Kevlar (foldable) bead and reasonable price + good mileage (replaced rear tire after 2,035 miles). Works great for us!
Your need/choice may differ . . .
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 03-28-10, 05:31 PM   #12
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A vote for porportional sizing

Most people would agree that a 23mm tire is appropriate for a single bike and 150 lb rider. Why would a 23mm or slightly larger 25mm tire be the best choice for a tandem with 355 lb bike-rider combo?

I vote for 28mm tires from your list. They will not slow you down and will protect you from bent rims and pinch flats. They do weigh more - maybe 200 grams for both tires with wire bead 28s (there are kevlar bead 28s available that are lighter). The 200 grams will increase you total weight from approx 161,170 grams to 161,370.

Just my opinion and many would disagree.

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Old 03-28-10, 05:43 PM   #13
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Here is a handy chart from Rivendell Bicycle Works

http://www.rivbike.com/assets/full/0...ick_a_tire.pdf
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Old 03-28-10, 05:49 PM   #14
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... Why would a 23mm or slightly larger 25mm tire be the best choice for a tandem with 355 lb bike-rider combo?...
Ummm because they work just fine...
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Old 03-28-10, 05:53 PM   #15
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The Rivendell chart is seriously biased toward comfort and flat protection. It would, however, put most every tandem team on at least 35mm tires, and msny on 40mm or more even in the "speed over comfort column"

In fact his chart would mean only the most featherweight team could ride a Co Motion (or any tandem with caliper brakes) due to tire size limitations.

Grant Peterson has a definite POV, and you can't argue that his attitude toward cycling is subjectively wrong. I would say though its likely very different than that of most people who gravitate to Co-Motions.

That said at 340lbs we ride 25mm Continental GP 4000's at 115psi and haven't had anymore flats than with the 28mm 4 seasons that came on the bike.

And we'll time trial with 23mm, at least on the front for the aero advantage.
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Old 03-28-10, 06:45 PM   #16
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We're running 23c Vredestein Tricomps at 140 psi (their max is 160). We're a 305 lb. team. We've been flatting more than we like, certainly more than we did on our singles with those tires, especially in the wet, so we've been casting about, looking for something else.

We are going on a short unsupported tour next fall, which we know will require different tires. We purchased a pair of Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech in 28c and mounted them, but the bike felt slower, so I decided to test it. I put the rear wheel on my rollers and locked the front in a stand, so I could ride solo from the stoker position. I warmed up and then rode a constant 105 HR. The Rubinos, inflated to 110 (max 120) gave a speed of 18.8 mph and the Tricomps, inflated to 140, 19.5 mph. That's 7/10 mph from just the rear wheel resistance. So forget that wider-is-faster dictum. All the same, we will tour on the Rubinos. They seem to be just the thing for that purpose, even though I didn't exactly rave about the bike's handling with them. It didn't dive into corners like it does with the Tricomps and needed noticeably more pressure on the inside bar.

Our next step will be to purchase a single Conti GP4000 25c black/black chili and a Schwalbe Durrano 25c and test them on the rollers.

Our used CoMo came with 25c Gatorskins. They felt slow and also twitchy in the wet and I pulled them off right away.

Our thing is group rides. We are not a killer fast team so we need every little advantage we can get. Our light 36H wheels and Tricomps have been a big help. If we get dropped on a climb we can easily get back on.

To add a little perspective, my Trek 5200 was specced with Conti GP3000 tires, perhaps the weakest and slowest "modern" tires ever foisted on an unsuspecting public, IMO. I notice that many of the rando people I rode with had Tricomps, so when I switched to those, I tested the GP3000, 23c at 120 lbs., against the Tricomps, 23c at 140 lbs. on the rollers with my single. The Tricomps were 2 mph faster. I do understand that the rolling resistance difference on rollers is greater than the difference will be on the 24,000 mi. D earth.

Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 03-28-10 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Added GP3000 info
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Old 03-28-10, 07:31 PM   #17
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Ummm because they work just fine...
I agree, but also because most the weight is biased to the rear it is suited more for the front tire.
No rule against different sized tires on the front / back.
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Old 03-28-10, 07:31 PM   #18
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Ummm because they work just fine...


Seriously, there is no wrong size unless the tires you are using are the wrong size for your rims, aren't meeting your expectations or have proven to be problematic.

It's also OK to use different size tires for different purposes; it's not like changing tires is major maintenance. The same goes for different wheelsets.

And, it's quite possible that your default tire preferences may change over time, for any one of a variety of reasons. For example, we live and ride in North Georgia and the roads in Cobb County where we do most of our riding are typically in very good condition, with just a few exceptions.

However, this past weekend we met some friends for a ride in Fulton County, which is nearly synonymous with the City of Atlanta in a great many places. For a variety of reasons, the City of Atlanta has not been able to stay ahead of its responsibilities for maintaining infrastructure and in addition to not investing in reservoirs and water distribution systems they've also fallen behind on road maintenance. If we had to ride in Fulton County on a regular basis I can guarantee you that we'd opt for larger diameter tires with an eye towards tolerance, never mind comfort. Those roads beat the hell out of us and it got to the point where we didn't even bother to call out holes, bumps or "rugged road" because they were everywhere. So, it became every team for themselves and no one was riding anyone's rear wheel all that closely.

So, as I say, there are some pretty good guidelines for newbies and by-and-large a 28mm - 32mm tire is a 'safe bet' for anyone who does not either have a clear preference for certain tire specifications OR specific requirements that dictate something other than the default.
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Old 03-28-10, 07:33 PM   #19
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We're running 23c Vredestein Tricomps at 140 psi (their max is 160). We're a 305 lb. team. We've been flatting more than we like, certainly more than we did on our singles with those tires, especially in the wet, so we've been casting about, looking for something else.

We are going on a short unsupported tour next fall, which we know will require different tires. We purchased a pair of Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech in 28c and mounted them, but the bike felt slower, so I decided to test it. I put the rear wheel on my rollers and locked the front in a stand, so I could ride solo from the stoker position. I warmed up and then rode a constant 105 HR. The Rubinos, inflated to 110 (max 120) gave a speed of 18.8 mph and the Tricomps, inflated to 140, 19.5 mph. That's 7/10 mph from just the rear wheel resistance. So forget that wider-is-faster dictum. All the same, we will tour on the Rubinos. They seem to be just the thing for that purpose, even though I didn't exactly rave about the bike's handling with them. It didn't dive into corners like it does with the Tricomps and needed noticeably more pressure on the inside bar.

Our next step will be to purchase a single Conti GP4000 25c black/black chili and a Schwalbe Durrano 25c and test them on the rollers.

Our used CoMo came with 25c Gatorskins. They felt slow and also twitchy in the wet and I pulled them off right away.

Our thing is group rides. We are not a killer fast team so we need every little advantage we can get. Our light 36H wheels and Tricomps have been a big help. If we get dropped on a climb we can easily get back on.

To add a little perspective, my Trek 5200 was specced with Conti GP3000 tires, perhaps the weakest and slowest "modern" tires ever foisted on an unsuspecting public, IMO. I notice that many of the rando people I rode with had Tricomps, so when I switched to those, I tested the GP3000, 23c at 120 lbs., against the Tricomps, 23c at 140 lbs. on the rollers with my single. The Tricomps were 2 mph faster. I do understand that the rolling resistance difference on rollers is greater than the difference will be on the 24,000 mi. D earth.

I agree with you totally on Rubinos. I got a pair of the Rubino Slicks to try and the good thing is they were really cushy, but they did feel slow and were scary in turns.
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Old 03-28-10, 07:34 PM   #20
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We're running 23c Vredestein Tricomps at 140 psi (their max is 160).
Having ridden Tri-Comps, Fortezza, and Fortezza SE's, the Fortezza's in general have always been the best of the bunch. We'll run the SE's from time-to-time only because they're typically less expensive, but if cost is no object it's the Fortezza that's served us well for the past 13 years.
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Old 03-28-10, 07:57 PM   #21
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Having ridden Tri-Comps, Fortezza, and Fortezza SE's, the Fortezza's in general have always been the best of the bunch. We'll run the SE's from time-to-time only because they're typically less expensive, but if cost is no object it's the Fortezza that's served us well for the past 13 years.
I don't like the SEs in the wet. I fell in the frigging parking lot the first time I rode them in the rain and then wound up drifting a couple of corners. Threw them away, since this is the PNW. But they're fine in the dry, though I think they flat more easily than the Tricomps.

Do you think the straight Fortezzas cut less than the Tricomps? I've heard that the Quattro Tricomps are poor in the wet, in spite of the rhetoric.
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Old 03-28-10, 08:51 PM   #22
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Do you think the straight Fortezzas cut less than the Tricomps?
That's been my experience. For the short period of time that we ran the Tri-Comps ('97 - '98), I was always finding cuts in the colored shoulder compounds which rendered the tire useless. While the Fortezzas will sometimes get a cut, it's typically when a rear tire is 80% used-up with just a thin layer of tread sitting on top of the hard plastic strip, making it a magnet for a cut IF I rolled over some type of road debris.
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Old 03-29-10, 08:51 AM   #23
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140psi. ouch
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Old 03-29-10, 09:26 AM   #24
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140psi. ouch
Quite comfortable, really. Didn't notice much difference between those tires and the 28c at 110. Length of contact patch is similar in both cases. We ride a Speedster with a carbon fork, and rough ride is like totally not an issue.
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Old 03-29-10, 10:10 AM   #25
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140psi. ouch
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Quite comfortable, really. Didn't notice much difference between those tires and the 28c at 110. Length of contact patch is similar in both cases. We ride a Speedster with a carbon fork, and rough ride is like totally not an issue.
They really aren't as harsh as the psi numbers might suggest. Firm, lively, grippy with moderate to low tread life.... much like a good pair of tubulars back in the day. However, you need to run the very high thread count version to get the most plush ride.

And, again, just like so many things in life it's an acquired taste. I can recall running 18mm and 20mm Conti tubbies and clinchers in my youth and I though they were the nuts. Even our Vredestein Fortezza's in the 25mm size (135 psi) can sometimes feel a little floaty or bouncy vs. the 23mm @ 145psi.

Clearly, I wouldn't encourage anyone to choose narrow tires; but, at the same time I certainly wouldn't discourage it if the team knew what they were getting into in terms of the trade off on a 'plush' ride and if their weight was within reason.
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