Old 10-15-15, 01:04 PM
Me duelen las nalgas
canklecat's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
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Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

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Sidewall wear and brake clearance for wider tires

After getting my first flat with my new-to-me bike I noticed some odd wear in the sidewalls of both Specialized Hemisphere 700x38 tires. The tread was good, no cracks. Just a tiny shard of metal worked its way through the tread and poked a pinhole through, just enough to slowly deflate the tube but with no perceptible tire damage.

However I see some slight sidewall wear on both tires with a bit of the underlying fabric peeking through. (See attached photo.) The brake pads seemed to be adjusted with plenty of clearance to avoid contact with the tires, but I'm wondering whether the wear was due underinflation by the previous owner causing the tires to compress enough under load to contact the sharp shoulders of the pads, or whether the wear was due to abrasion against the rims. I've run my fingers along the rims and they feel smooth.

Anyway, I'd hoped to find another set of Specialized Hemisphere 700x38 tires, but no luck. Yeah, the Armadillos and other "better" Specialized tires are available, but the regular Hemisphere's feel great and I'd rather get a duplicate set just in case. Great compromise feel between speed and sure handling on patches of loose sand and gravel even on turns.

However, I see a good sale on Vittoria Randonneur RFX "City Tires" which may be close enough for my riding: about 75% pavement, mostly on shoulders with the usual hazards of broken glass and debris; about 25% unpaved trails and those rutted dirt and gravel strewn paths that pass for sidewalks in Texas.

Unfortunately the Vittorias on sale are available only in 700x46. I'm concerned about whether the above mentioned sidewall wear might be worse with wider tires.

FWIW, my rims are single wall aluminum 622x20 Alex Z-1000, nothing special. The 700x38 Specialized Hemisphere tires fit loosely enough on the rims when deflated that levers are unnecessary. I'm guessing 700x46 are within the range for these rims.
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