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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

View Poll Results: What width tire do you tour with?
< 25mm 1 0.74%
25mm to < 28mm 11 8.15%
28mm (1.100in) to < 32mm 34 25.19%
32mm (1.250in) to < 35mm 32 23.70%
35mm (1.378in) to < 1.5in 35 25.93%
1.5in or greater 22 16.30%
Voters: 135. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-15-07, 03:48 PM   #1
bloodhound
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Tire sizes for touring...

Based on a recent post, I thought this would make a good poll. I am considering going up from a 28 to a 32 and have found Sheldon Brown's website to be very informative on this.

So, what width tire do you tour with? I was going to segregate between the 27's, 700's, 650's, etc... but that would be a whole other poll.
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Old 04-15-07, 06:01 PM   #2
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28-32

If you're going to stay on the road, anything thicker comes with an unnecessary penalty IMO.
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Old 04-15-07, 08:54 PM   #3
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I do light touring, carrying maybe 20 lbs maximum.

I used to tour on 23 mm tires without any problems, but it was a bit dicey riding off road. A few years ago I switched to 28s, and found I felt a bit more secure. This year I will be riding 32s for the first time.
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Old 04-15-07, 10:13 PM   #4
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IMO, fat is where its at for "fully loaded" touring. 700x35s folders pumped up to 95 P.S.I. or Conti 700x37s.

there's some discrepancy between manufacturers.

You can hit a brick or chunk of 2x6 on fat tires at speed without many issues. "Bwumpbwump" and you're over it. Also possible to ride gravel roads made of softball sized riffraff.

I just laid down 120 miles last saturday, fully loaded, on 700x35s. you don't pay THAT much of a penalty, they are not going to 'slow you down' significantly, but will increase the comfort.

Again, "Fat is where it's at"
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Old 04-15-07, 11:38 PM   #5
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Schwalbe Merathon Plus 700x35, along with a sprung champion flyer saddle, for comfort, safety and wory free (from flats) riding, its the best choice.
Like Bekologist said you can ride over large objects, pot holes and loose gravel without problems.
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Old 04-16-07, 08:40 AM   #6
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What's the point of riding over large objects? I try to avoid bricks and other obstacles when biking, so I don't need big tires.
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Old 04-16-07, 08:42 AM   #7
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I am trending upward. I was on 27c for years, this year will be 28c and next year I am pretty sure will
be a 32c.
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Old 04-16-07, 09:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
IMO, fat is where its at for "fully loaded" touring. 700x35s folders pumped up to 95 P.S.I. or Conti 700x37s.

there's some discrepancy between manufacturers.

You can hit a brick or chunk of 2x6 on fat tires at speed without many issues. "Bwumpbwump" and you're over it. Also possible to ride gravel roads made of softball sized riffraff.

I just laid down 120 miles last saturday, fully loaded, on 700x35s. you don't pay THAT much of a penalty, they are not going to 'slow you down' significantly, but will increase the comfort.

Again, "Fat is where it's at"
+1
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Old 04-17-07, 01:14 AM   #9
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I would have been wrong...

Wow... this is great info.

I would have been wrong. Had I bet on this, I'd have put my money on the 32 - <35 range.
Interesting that most are riding bigger tires.

This has swayed me enough to put on a set of 32's to see how much nicer they ride.

I think Armadillos come in a 32... time to browse...
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Old 04-17-07, 02:42 AM   #10
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I tend to put 25-27 size tires even on my race bike. For touring on rough roads with a load, I'd choose at least a size 33.
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Old 04-17-07, 11:58 PM   #11
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for loaded touring I use a 28 on the front and a 32 on the back.
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Old 04-18-07, 12:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
I just laid down 120 miles last saturday, fully loaded, on 700x35s. you don't pay THAT much of a penalty, they are not going to 'slow you down' significantly, but will increase the comfort.
I used my T2000 with 700x35's in a 10 mile time trial last summer and was at 28 minutes and some odd seconds, so yeah, you can still carry good speed. Also kept up with roadies on a 40 mile fund-raiser ride last summer. Our pack finished in under 2 hours. So I guess for long-term comfort, why not?
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Old 04-20-07, 04:15 PM   #13
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I just switched from 700x28 to 700x35. I love the 35's, I haven't felt any slower and the ride is way more comfortable. Big tires rule.
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Old 04-20-07, 07:58 PM   #14
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I'm also recently into the 700x35's. Previously, I've preferred skinny tires, but this season I decided, just for the heck of it, to try 700x35 road tires on the cyclocross bike I use for road rides. Perhaps I'm a wee bit slower, but I have no trouble keeping up with the folks I usually ride with, and I'm definitely more comfortable. I've become yet another convert for fat tiers. Accordingly, I now have 35's on my touring bike as well (Panaracer Paselas with Tour Guard for all of my bikes now!).

-D
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Old 04-20-07, 08:11 PM   #15
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Is anyone here pulling a trailer?
I'm going to be pulling a BOB yak across the transamerica route for 2 months and I planned on starting out with 23's and adjusting if necessary. I was also planning on putting a narrower higher performance tire on the BOB.
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Old 04-20-07, 10:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodhound
Wow... this is great info.

I would have been wrong. Had I bet on this, I'd have put my money on the 32 - <35 range.
Interesting that most are riding bigger tires.

This has swayed me enough to put on a set of 32's to see how much nicer they ride.

I think Armadillos come in a 32... time to browse...
Actually, most are not riding on larger tires -- 54.76% are riding on tires <35.
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Old 04-21-07, 05:15 AM   #17
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True, but 68.28% ride <32.
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Old 04-21-07, 10:06 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
IMO, fat is where its at for "fully loaded" touring. 700x35s folders pumped up to 95 P.S.I. or Conti 700x37s.

there's some discrepancy between manufacturers.

You can hit a brick or chunk of 2x6 on fat tires at speed without many issues. "Bwumpbwump" and you're over it. Also possible to ride gravel roads made of softball sized riffraff.

I just laid down 120 miles last saturday, fully loaded, on 700x35s. you don't pay THAT much of a penalty, they are not going to 'slow you down' significantly, but will increase the comfort.

Again, "Fat is where it's at"
+2
I ride 700X38's. My tires allow travel on gravel and dirt fire roads. There also wide enough to allow rotation of the tires for extending miles rode and replacing in pairs so tires match.
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Old 04-21-07, 10:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danlikesbikes
Is anyone here pulling a trailer?
I'm going to be pulling a BOB yak across the transamerica route for 2 months and I planned on starting out with 23's and adjusting if necessary. I was also planning on putting a narrower higher performance tire on the BOB.
I use the BOB Ibex, the one with suspension.

I am sure there are many more here who have "seen the light".

I am just sorry it took me 20 years to change from panniers.

george
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Old 04-21-07, 10:43 AM   #20
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This is a great topic. I want to chip in that a Bicycle Quarterly test (back when it was VBQ) wider low pressure tires performed better in roll-out tests, but not all tires of a particular width were equal nor equivalent in feel. Something that confirmed my own experience was that certain tires feel better than another, even with a similar tread and width, due to how the tires were designed and made. And it doesn't correspond to price; some tires were more expensive, but performed poorly in the tests.

I use the true-to-size 35 mm Paselas, made in Japan. I like them because you could inflate the tires to 90-95 PSI for road use, but when I ride off-road I will deflate the front down to 50 or 40 with a measurable increase in traction and comfort.

I do not have one of those digital calipers you can use for measuring width, but you absolutely need to measure your tire before you can truly know what size it is. For instance, you might post that you ride a 28 mm width tire, but it could easily be 26 or 30. I have a pair of Avocets that are really great tires, they say 35, but they are definitely around 31.5. I have not tried the Vittoria Randonneurs, but they have a good reputation but do not match the stated width (a 37 might be a 35 or 32).

The narrower tires (sub-28) might have performance advantages at higher speeds, but if you're touring on anything other than a less perfect road, a wider tire might be faster, with its lower rolling resistance and some other factors.

There is a science to this, and I admit that I do not grasp it, but I think that discussion about tires is often too reductive. I am interested in the empirical observations of touring cyclists far more than lab-based steel drum tests, for example.
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Old 05-08-07, 04:05 PM   #21
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I did it! Changed my tires...

Thanks to all the great input from this poll, I moved my tire size up to 32's, and I'm much happier with the ride. I went with Specialized Burough(sp?) in 700x32c. They are an Armadillo tire, with a slightly more aggressive tread, but still extremely streetable.

Overall (so far) they are great!

Thanks.
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