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Road Bike Tire question (possiblly stupid!)

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Road Bike Tire question (possiblly stupid!)

Old 05-21-19, 09:00 AM
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Pilot321
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Road Bike Tire Question (Buyer Beware)

Hi, unbelievably, I bought my first bicycle tire in over 30 years as I have been riding on the originals after the bike sat for 30 years, prior to my getting back on the bike last year. I noticed wear on the rear tire, so ordered a Vittoria Zaffiro 700x25c tire. I am trying to mount the tire on the wheel a Wolber T410 Alpine (on a 1987 Cannondale SR500). The tire seems way too large, and has a much larger beads than the old Performance tire it is replacing which is marked 700x25.

Is this the wrong tire? Aren't these rims made for Clinchers? The old tire just seems much smaller and especially thinner and lighter. Thanks!

Edit: See below.

Last edited by Pilot321; 05-21-19 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 05-21-19, 01:17 PM
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Well the tire is fine when I spin it and pedal it in the work stand. However, when I pedal on the road it is binding somewhere due to the larger size of the tire. It is either binding on the front derailleur braze on, or the chains stay where it connects to the seat tube, or both. Very little tolerance in both locations. It is annoying as hell, and I can feel the additional resistance. I don't know if others have experienced this. I may have to go to a 700x23 tire which I really didn't want to do as the newer 700x25's are just too big.

So this issue isn't as stupid as I originally thought. The Vittoria 700x25 tire is Significantly bigger than the Specialized 700x25 tire it replaced in both height and width. Be careful if you have an older frame with tight tolerances. This tire probably won't work for me.

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Old 05-21-19, 02:46 PM
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The older tires must have shrunk over the years. Just kidding. There is much variability of actual tire sizes compared to labeled sizes among different manufacturers and between different models. Going down to 23mm likely only way to be sure of getting a tire that fits.
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Old 05-21-19, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
The older tires must have shrunk over the years. Just kidding. There is much variability of actual tire sizes compared to labeled sizes among different manufacturers and between different models. Going down to 23mm likely only way to be sure of getting a tire that fits.
Thanks, that's what I may have to do or mic the width, and length and see what other tires will fit. However, I doubt even a 23mm sidewall height will be shorter, and I think that's the bigger problem.
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Old 05-21-19, 03:23 PM
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The late 1980s was when the narrow tire fad struck hard. Even though your tires are labelled 25mm, it's possible that they measured closer to 20mm.

If you can't fit 23s, then unfortunately your options get pretty thin, pun not intended. A few specialty time trial racing tires can still be found in 700x20-ish sizes (like the Continental Gran Prix Supersonic), but across most tire styles they've vanished; there just aren't very many road frames being ridden anymore than can't fit at least a 23.
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Old 05-21-19, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
The late 1980s was when the narrow tire fad struck hard. Even though your tires are labelled 25mm, it's possible that they measured closer to 20mm.

If you can't fit 23s, then unfortunately your options get pretty thin, pun not intended. A few specialty time trial racing tires can still be found in 700x20-ish sizes (like the Continental Gran Prix Supersonic), but across most tire styles they've vanished; there just aren't very many road frames being ridden anymore than can't fit at least a 23.
I'm going to give a different tire in 23mm a shot and see how that works. I think this specific Vittoria is notably bigger than some which I didn't know before. I didn't realize the difference between tire measurements way back when in the late 80's and today. Good to know. Thanks.

Can anyone recommend tires that will fit this 1987 Cannondale SR500 road bike?

Last edited by Pilot321; 05-21-19 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 05-21-19, 07:09 PM
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If you go to The Bicycle Rolling Resistance website you can look check the actual width of a whole bunch of tires they have tested. You can also go into the filter section and order the table by tire width. Looks there is a 24mm & a bunch of 25mm actual width tires available. The really skinny ones are higher priced but if you amortize the purchase over 30 years it doesn't seem so bad Also, be aware the width of the tires will differ depending on the inner width of the wheel they are mounted on. The wider the wheel, the wider the tire will inflate to. Most of the tires they test are 25mm but it will give some reference anyway.
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Old 05-21-19, 07:21 PM
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Hunh.
My 1988 Cannondale SR500 fits Vittoria Rubino Pro III tires quite easily, and they measure out mounted at 24.85mm on Mavic Open Pro rims. 1988 and 1987 frames are identical.
Admittedly, the tight spot on those frames is always going to be the mount for the front derailleur. But most 25's and all 23's should fit just fine. I'm wondering if the bead got seated properly into the rim.
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Old 05-21-19, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Hunh.
My 1988 Cannondale SR500 fits Vittoria Rubino Pro III tires quite easily, and they measure out mounted at 24.85mm on Mavic Open Pro rims. 1988 and 1987 frames are identical.
Admittedly, the tight spot on those frames is always going to be the mount for the front derailleur. But most 25's and all 23's should fit just fine. I'm wondering if the bead got seated properly into the rim.
I have the original Wolber Alpine rims. This bike is a time capsule I bought new in 1987, road for a few years, then it sat for 30 years, and a year ago I resurrected it. The tires look like they are seated properly, but I will check them. The Zaffiro's may be a bit bigger than the Rubino Pro. The rear tire is a bit out of true, and that may be causing the rubbing with the larger tire.

The Zaffiro looks like a Mountain Bike tire compared to the original Panaracer on the front and the Specialized that I put on the rear when I shredded the rear Panaracer 30 years ago.
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Old 05-21-19, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot321 View Post
Thanks, that's what I may have to do or mic the width, and length and see what other tires will fit. However, I doubt even a 23mm sidewall height will be shorter, and I think that's the bigger problem.
Let us know what it measures. I have '85 & '86 SRxxx frames and never had a problem. With tires that measure 23mm, regardless of label, I have ample room on all sides at the chainstays. The brake clearance was my main concern. Although, these are smaller frames, with slightly steeper seat tubes.
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Old 05-21-19, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot321 View Post
The rear tire is a bit out of true, and that may be causing the rubbing with the larger tire.
So the tire rubs only at this point, rather than over its entire circumference? If so, true the wheel first, before you try anything else.
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Old 05-22-19, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
So the tire rubs only at this point, rather than over its entire circumference? If so, true the wheel first, before you try anything else.
There are two potential rub points, but yes it only rubs at those points not the entire circumference, I am going to true the wheel anyway and see if it works.

The original 700x25 tires that are on there are actually 21.4 mm in width and the new 700x25 tire is 25.2 mm in width, so a pretty large difference.

Last edited by Pilot321; 05-22-19 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 05-22-19, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilot321 View Post
There are two potential rub points, but yes it only rubs at those points not the entire circumference, I am going to true the wheel anyway and see if it works.

The original 700x25 tires that are on there are actually 21.4 mm in width and the new 700x25 tire is 25.2 mm in width, so a pretty large difference.
How things change. There are some 25mm tires out there that measure 30mm or more now.
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Old 05-22-19, 09:50 AM
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Just pull the wheel back into the dropout further
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Old 05-22-19, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Just pull the wheel back into the dropout further
I always have my wheel set at the farthest position in the dropout
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Old 05-23-19, 05:13 PM
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Very frustrated. I had my LBS true the tire today. I installed it after work for a short test ride and it still rubs on the chain stay near the attach point to the frame. There is now a wear point where the paint has been removed where the tire is rubbing. The tech at the LBS said that I could wear a hole in the frame in a very short amount of time and few miles. Maybe the Vittoria Zaffiro is just a thick tire. I ordered a 23mm tire to see if that will fit.

Last edited by Pilot321; 05-23-19 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 05-23-19, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot321 View Post
Can anyone recommend tires that will fit this 1987 Cannondale SR500 road bike?
Best buy I've found in road bike tires is the Continental Ultra Sport II. Reasonably low rolling resistance, tough, durable but also grippy tread. They cost a whopping $15 each, sometimes less via Amazon for odd sidewall stripe colors, or for the wire bead version. Go for the folding bead version, it's a bit lighter. I use a wire bead version on one bike's rear wheel for my indoor trainer. No need for a special trainer wheel, the Ultra Sport II is tough and will hold up well for mixed use on the trainer or outdoor rides.

I've used 'em on two road bikes for the past 17 months and thousands of miles including rough Texas chipseal (basically, gravel bound in polymer-modified bitumen), no problems. One set in 700x25 on the '89 Centurion Ironman, another in 700x23 on the early '90s Trek 5900. Those chipseal roads chewed up my favorite road tires, the Schwalbe One V-Guards, which had few flats but got lots of nicks and cuts in the tread. The Conti Ultra Sport II is much tougher, yet cost less, ride almost as well. Can't find a thing to complain about.

The Trek 5900, their early pro road racing bike, has fairly narrow chainstay clearance and even 700x25 might be pushing it a bit. But it's fine with 700x23.

Incidentally, my Trek 5900 has the same Wolber Alpine rims laced to Shimano 600 hubs. Good wheels, no problems with various 700x23 tires I've tried.

If your C'dale has really narrow clearance, you can still find some 700x20 tires. These are usually mid- to high-grade road racing tires, but discontinued or unsold new/old stock, often heavily discounted. Good way to play with some fancy tires for not much money. But they probably won't last long, maybe a few hundred miles or up to 1,000 miles according to some users. Merlin in UK has some spiffy Veloflex and Onza racing tires in 700x20 now for less than $30 each. I'm kinda tempted.

I've tried the Vittoria Zaffiro 700x23 wire bead tires and they were just ... meh. For the same price the Conti Ultra Sport II is much better. The Zaffiro's felt harsh at full pressure, sluggish at lower pressure, cut easily, skid too easily and didn't grip as well as the Contis. Zaffiro is an okay tire for non-critical use, but not a good value compared with the Conti.

Last edited by canklecat; 05-23-19 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 05-23-19, 06:43 PM
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Michelin Lithon, Conti GP4000 and any number of similar folding bead performance oriented or road training tires will fit. Your insistence upon using a tire that is too large on an out of true wheel is going to/will/already has ruined your frame.
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Old 05-24-19, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
Michelin Lithon, Conti GP4000 and any number of similar folding bead performance oriented or road training tires will fit. Your insistence upon using a tire that is too large on an out of true wheel is going to/will/already has ruined your frame.
That's the most ridiculous thing I have read here. I've only put a few miles in the bike since the tire change. The wheel is now true but only had a slight wobble in it previously. The frame is NOT ruined. A 700x25 tire SHOULD fit as others have stated. I have ordered a Conti 700x23 to be safe. In the meantime I am re-installing the old tire until the new one arrives.
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Old 05-30-19, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by KCT1986 View Post
Let us know what it measures. I have '85 & '86 SRxxx frames and never had a problem. With tires that measure 23mm, regardless of label, I have ample room on all sides at the chainstays. The brake clearance was my main concern. Although, these are smaller frames, with slightly steeper seat tubes.
Good news. So, I swapped the Vittoria Zaffiro 700x25 for a Continental Ultra Sport II 700x23. It fits on the back perfectly with plenty of room in width and height. I could probably fit the 700x25 of the Conti, but the 23's are fine for me.

Note: For the late 80's Cannondale SRxxx frames the Vittoria Zaffiro 700x25 tires will not fit on the rear. It has too tall of a sidewall and the 25mm is too wide. The 23mm may fit though, but I am not going to use that tire for this bike again.

And no, I didn't have the bead installed improperly.

Last edited by Pilot321; 05-30-19 at 04:45 PM.
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