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Old 11-16-09, 06:56 PM   #1
DougG
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Seen the light on tire size

I don't tour on my Specialized Sequoia, but do a lot of long rides (organized and otherwise) on rural paved roads here in Michigan. It's an aluminum-framed bike and does well at this, but with the stock 25mm road tires it was always buzzy on surfaces like rough chip-seal, not to mention jolting over more prominent surface irregularities. I took a test ride on a carbon-frame bike once and was surprised at how much smoother it was, but I didn't feel I could justify the $$$ at this time.

So this summer I was signed up for a multi-day ride that could include some hard dirt trails and dirt roads, and I wanted to use the Sequoia. I figured that a 32mm tire would fit in the frame and bought a set of Kendas that you might find on a typical hybrid. These tires take only 85psi compared to 100+ in the 25s, and within about a minute of taking my first ride I was amazed at how smooth they were over the rough pavement. It was at least as good a ride as the carbon frame, and made it feel like a whole new bike!

What's even more surprising is that I don't think I've lost anything as far as effort to reach or maintain a speed. In other words, the difference in rolling resistance seems negligible at the most. I do fitness riding with some tri-athlete friends on occasion and my bike does as well free-rolling on the downhills as their specialty bikes.

So the 700x25c wheelset that I took off this summer is still hanging up in the garage. The only other thing that I had to do was to get a different set of brakes since the stock ones wouldn't open wide enough to get the wheels out without deflating the tires. Tektro had just the product I needed.

(I would have posted this in the road forum, but couldn't have taken the abuse I know I'd have gotten. )
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Old 11-16-09, 07:08 PM   #2
LeeG
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depending on the tire you can adjust the pressure for some very cozy riding without sacrificing rolling resistance and control.
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Old 11-16-09, 07:50 PM   #3
Weasel9
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Awesome! I'm always surprised at how different a bike feels with 23c or 25c tires, all my bikes are fatties, and I like it that way.
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Old 11-17-09, 06:36 AM   #4
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Glad you found what works for you. I did my last tour on skinnier tires and had the opposite revelation. The 28mm gatorskins (actual measurement is closer to 26mm by some accounts) were a joy to ride on and made me wonder if I wouldn't be just as happy with 25mm tires of the same model.
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Old 11-17-09, 06:56 AM   #5
DougG
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
depending on the tire you can adjust the pressure for some very cozy riding without sacrificing rolling resistance and control.
Of course, the problem with 25mm and skinnier tires is that lowering the pressure by much can give you pinch flats. There's a pretty high minimum to keep this from happening (as I found out!).
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Old 11-17-09, 11:57 AM   #6
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I put 25mm gatorskins on my Lemond Zurich spine bike as OEM replacements. Gotta say i haven't noticed any difference in ride quality, which has always been excellent due to the carbon steel combo of the frame construction. I did notice a drop off in performance because of the extra weight of these tires over the racing tires they replaced. But, for the flat protection the skins offer it's a trade-off i can live with.
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