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Big Tire/Small Tire

Old 12-11-19, 11:24 PM
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Big Tire/Small Tire

It's funny about tires.

I remember when 28x700 were our tandem tires, and were considered big. Now we have 32x700 tires on our last tandem and yes they are both more comfortable and seem faster too, but would I go bigger?
Probably not, in fact I have just downsized one vintage bike from 32x700 back to 28x700, a size almost all my bikes ride on, a few due to lack of clearance have 25x700 maybe one with 23x700.

Yet on the trail I see bikes with 40/50/Motorcycle width tires. I know with the 32x700 there was some sensation of bounce on a single bike and that was running them around 90 psi, seemed a waste of pedal power?
I wonder how the width wars will progress, some of the Bicycle Quaterly bikes seem like monster truck bikes with bigger and bigger tires, but then they're not just running gravel roads, but game trails too.

It will be interesting.
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Old 12-11-19, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
It's funny about tires.

I remember when 28x700 were our tandem tires, and were considered big. Now we have 32x700 tires on our last tandem and yes they are both more comfortable and seem faster too, but would I go bigger?
Probably not, in fact I have just downsized one vintage bike from 32x700 back to 28x700, a size almost all my bikes ride on, a few due to lack of clearance have 25x700 maybe one with 23x700.

Yet on the trail I see bikes with 40/50/Motorcycle width tires. I know with the 32x700 there was some sensation of bounce on a single bike and that was running them around 90 psi, seemed a waste of pedal power?
I wonder how the width wars will progress, some of the Bicycle Quaterly bikes seem like monster truck bikes with bigger and bigger tires, but then they're not just running gravel roads, but game trails too.

It will be interesting.
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Old 12-12-19, 04:03 AM
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This is why I back-tracked to a 26"-wheeled mountain bike. I get most of the benefits of a fat tire bike, for a fraction of the cost. 😁😉
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Old 12-12-19, 07:42 AM
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I feel that some of this 650b / fat tire craze is similar to the fixed gear trend a while ago. It provides a simple way to convert an old bike to something you feel that you have made yourself. Nothing wrong in that. I think its cool. Interesting to see when will the 700c come back into flavor though. I feel that 26 is already on its way.
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Old 12-12-19, 08:07 AM
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Some of us never left 26" and 700 x 23/25. When I was getting back into road cycling, in the mid 90s, the rage was fixies. All these 40 somethings just had to have their fixies. It turned me off then, as did all the other have tos going forward.
Besides that, I think one, and maybe two of my bikes will support amything bigger than 25.
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Old 12-12-19, 08:13 AM
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I'm not sure why anyone would put 90 pounds of pressure in a 32mm tire. That gets rid of all the benefits of going wider. 60-70 PSI is a better range for that width. 90 PSI is more suited for 25mm tires.

I think it's been sufficiently demonstrated that a high quality tire in the 30-40mm range with a good tread pattern and supple casing doesn't have a rolling resistance deficit to skinny tires, if pressurized correctly. It loses a little in aerodynamics if you go very wide, but only a little.

As far as comfort, people get used to whatever. I like the wider tires but believe that people will enjoy whatever they have if they ride it enough.
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Old 12-12-19, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
This is why I back-tracked to a 26"-wheeled mountain bike. I get most of the benefits of a fat tire bike, for a fraction of the cost. 😁😉
The only real problem is a good selection of light 26 inch tires made for the road without buying Heinie specials at 71 to 89 per tire. Everything is demand drive obviously but I sure wish Panaracer would release a run of 2.3 / 2.4 Panaracer Gravelking slicks in a 26 inch . I would think there would actually be a demand for this but probably not. Just I want a set doesn't mean that is universally true.
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Old 12-12-19, 08:26 AM
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I love the fatter tire. I have one bike that I swap back and forth between Schwalbe Big Apple and some Small block eights. My Pro-Tour has 42mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tours and they are sturdy but work so well here in Cambodia over just about any terrain. I am thinking about purchasing a 27.5 disc wheel for my Giant MTB and running a +tire on the rear for a bit more cush. I have mashed the back side of a seat tube and ground the bottom of both the fork and brakes to have some clearance for larger tires on my Fuji and the rear brake on my Zunow. I do not think that any of my tires get filled above 60 psi ever.

The Fuji if you look close you can see the flat spot in the rear of the seat tube near the rear tire.


My Raleigh Super Course with the fattest 27" tire I can find

Running 27 1 3/8 tires

My Gazelle Primeur with big 28 inch tires, 635mm rims

635 ERTO 28x1 5/8.


My Pro-tour with the Schwalbes


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Old 12-12-19, 10:52 AM
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My wife loves the big fat Ö. tires
REI Novara Aspen, on Flickr
P1010337, on Flickr

I got the kick too. Uff Da They are heavy but don't go flat..
P1000030, on Flickr

It took some finesse to get the fender to not rub
P1000034, on Flickr

Some would say the rim is too narrow!
P1000218, on Flickr
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Old 12-12-19, 10:57 AM
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Tengrainbread, the answer in three words for 90 psi, "weight, pinch flat". I am battling back, pun intended, but after spinal surgery in March and no activity for three months, I put on weight, and lots of weight with low pressure = pinch flats. When the weight drops so will the pressure.

I agree that anyone should ride whatever works for them, my observations are more a chuckle as I see the monster tire bikes go roaring past, much like the jacked up trucks with huge lugged tires, and most often with electric assist. It's kind of like electric derailleurs Mavic tried them and now they're back, but seems to me we are at the penultimate for cable shifters, so good, so reliable so easy to adjust and they never stop working with a dead battery.

But again let everyone enjoy as Zorba said: "Folly, Boss, a man's greatest folly is to never have one" or words to that effect.
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Old 12-12-19, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Tengrainbread, the answer in three words for 90 psi, "weight, pinch flat". I am battling back, pun intended, but after spinal surgery in March and no activity for three months, I put on weight, and lots of weight with low pressure = pinch flats. When the weight drops so will the pressure.
That's a good point. Pinch-flatting is no fun.
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Old 12-12-19, 11:42 AM
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Right, remember since6 is running a tandem. More weight, more air!

I thought the FAAT tire bikes were intended for snow or sand. Only place I see those on the road though. What ever sells I guess, they do get looks. Unless you're on the soft stuff sand that is what they are all about right, grabbing attention.
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Old 12-12-19, 01:11 PM
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My riding buddy Tim had a fat bike he used through one winter. He bought it used, tried it for a season, and sold it on. I got to try it out a couple times.

It's VERY fun on snow days, but once the ploughs come out, a regular bike is just as effective. The rolling resistance is quite a lot compared to a road bike, or even a mountain bike on smoothies.

They have their place but are a real specific tool in the tool box.

For road bikes I dont have anything smaller than 28mm and I find those to be thinner than ideal. But I weigh about 190lbs and ride in Chicago. 32mm is the sweet spot for my taste. I like 32mm with about 80 pounds in the back and a touch under 70 in the front.

When I read the title I was hoping for a thread about "regular" (high wheels or penny farthing) bicycles!
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Old 12-12-19, 02:01 PM
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Without discussing ATB (new or vintage), 90% of my vintage road lightweights are 700c tubular. The ones that are clincher are narrow as 20mm to wide at 32mm. I do have one that's 42 width ~ incredible plush but slug handling.

The few with clinchers are top end Vittoria and Veloflex. Clinchers have evolved and I'm impressed. And yes, I've ridden some very nice 650b conversions, brand new 'adventure' bikes with disc and wider rubber, but they feel heavy handling, flywheel sluggish in a sort of way. Not meaning in a negative way but just not delivering what I enjoy out of a spirited riding classic steelie.

But to me, I enjoy the old school character of steel bikes on tubular. Not only for its ride, but the light feel, response and feedback. The above mentioned clinchers are not quite the same. The roads today are in far better condition, clean of garbage and frankly, less punctures but when I do, its a quick swap.

Its the marketing people driving the wide rubber today. I get it though, as the majority really only need one bike for road / gravel path. The carbon and ally frames gladly welcome wider rubber. But if one can experience a classic steel on tubular tires, immediately after a road ride on a modern CF or ally framed, they'll get what I'm saying.

Lastly, and perhaps my luck but I'm acquiring tubular tires at absurd cheap deals. Shop the net and $20 - 35 per decent tubular is respectable compared to fancy puffy wide clincher tires. Possibly the demand is rapidly falling and tire makers are ramping up for the latest road tubeless clinchers.
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Old 12-12-19, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
Its the marketing people driving the wide rubber today.
Everything that is old is new again. In marketing.
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Old 12-12-19, 03:01 PM
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LOL, "everything that is old, is new again", now if only that worked for my body.

But it's funny, 70 is looking younger the nearer I get.
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Old 12-12-19, 05:05 PM
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I've always liked the old 700c type hybrids, rode one or two with 45mm tires. Had me scratching my head with the whole rigid 29er fad. Was like you know I've seen this someplace before..
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Old 12-12-19, 05:27 PM
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It's the stiff stiff stifff STIFF frames. Paired with stiff stiff stiff STIFF wheels. No place to get comfort but the tires. New bikes are just rocks. .

I like the big tires, even on my old bikes with forks that bend at the bottom. And undersized frame tubes. True there's a point where it's a big flywheel and resists turning. If it feels that way either you get even more bend in the fork and go low trail. Or more likely you passed your limit and it is time to get somewhat narrower rubber.

Remember 27x1-1/4. That's 32mm. A nice place to begin. A nice place to end up. Some of us never did ride 3/4" tires. Some of us remember when the skinniest flavor of tubular was 25mm. There were track tires narrower. #1 reds were 24mm. Nothing smaller existed for road.
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Old 12-12-19, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by riva View Post
I've always liked the old 700c type hybrids, rode one or two with 45mm tires. Had me scratching my head with the whole rigid 29er fad. Was like you know I've seen this someplace before..
Yep, sounds like me. Back in the 90s, I kept trying to find fatter tires, for an old Cannondale H300 I rode a lot. It was tough to get much of anything fatter than a 700x32, but that was pretty decent. I felt like I must be the only one in the world, who wanted a taller mountain bike, than a 26"er. 🙄😉

Now, these spoiled brat kids have everything we wanted, and still don't appreciate it. 😁😉
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Old 12-13-19, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SamSpade1941 View Post
The only real problem is a good selection of light 26 inch tires made for the road without buying Heinie specials at 71 to 89 per tire. Everything is demand drive obviously but I sure wish Panaracer would release a run of 2.3 / 2.4 Panaracer Gravelking slicks in a 26 inch . I would think there would actually be a demand for this but probably not. Just I want a set doesn't mean that is universally true.
Me too! I really like the GK tires. 26 inch please!
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Old 12-13-19, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
It's the stiff stiff stifff STIFF frames. Paired with stiff stiff stiff STIFF wheels. No place to get comfort but the tires. New bikes are just rocks..
Up until very recently I would have said this is 100% true , however after purchasing my Ridley .. I canít make that statement anymore. Itís a full carbon frame (something I previously said I wouldnít ever keep in my stable).... after riding the bike several times now, I can only say itís a very comfortable and fun ride especially with 35mm tires on it . The frame will fit 40ís with a little room left but Iíd prefer to have more clearance than whatís left with a 40 between the stays ..
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Old 12-13-19, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
I'm not sure why anyone would put 90 pounds of pressure in a 32mm tire. That gets rid of all the benefits of going wider. 60-70 PSI is a better range for that width. 90 PSI is more suited for 25mm tires.
It would make a lot of sense if those tires were on a tandem. It all depends on the weight they have to support. There's an excellent chance 90 psi wouldn't be enough - again, depending on the load involved. Recall, the OP said "I remember when 28x700 were our tandem tires, and were considered big. Now we have 32x700 tires on our last tandem..." and it wouldn't be outrageous to have a total load of over 300 lb on a tandem, between the captain, the stoker, the bike itself and the luggage.

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Old 12-14-19, 10:37 AM
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My road bikes with clinchers mostly have 700x25 Panaracers Pselas on them. x25 has always seemed to be a good size for me although I do have a bike bike or two with x28s and they still seem to roll well.

It might be the slightly slacker geometry but my 700c wheeled mountain bike seems a bit cluggish with the old Avocet x32 slicks on it. They are very comfy though and performed very well on the Rail Trail I used to ride it on sometimes in So Central PA. I never got to ride it off road much but the factory x41 knobby and the x41(?) Smoke I put on the rear rode pretty well although I think I put too much air in it.

It's just my opinion but like with carbon bikes I think the bicycle sheeple are told bikes with x45+ tires are need for riding on dirt roads and trail and that's what the buy and use.
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Old 12-14-19, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SamSpade1941 View Post
Up until very recently I would have said this is 100% true , however after purchasing my Ridley .. I canít make that statement anymore. Itís a full carbon frame (something I previously said I wouldnít ever keep in my stable).... after riding the bike several times now, I can only say itís a very comfortable and fun ride especially with 35mm tires on it . The frame will fit 40ís with a little room left but Iíd prefer to have more clearance than whatís left with a 40 between the stays ..
That's interesting. You're not a fanboy and I am believing you. Can you tell a difference between front and rear or is an all over thing? They can't let it flex much or it will delaminate. Looking at the stays on that frame some useful flex is imaginable. But I don't know so please tell me more.

Tires do a lot. My first MTB was a '89 Fisher HK II. Massively overbuilt. First mod was taking off the steel handlebar. It was twice as thick as the alloy bar that replaced it. That made the bike rideable. But the whole bike was that massive. No flex at all. Tires were hopefully labeled 1.9" when the measurement was 42mm over the casing. Of course they were stiff coarse casings. That was enough to do some insane riding. Always looking for grip by letting out air and trying to keep enough pressure the tires would not rupture on the big dropoffs. Never pinch flatted, always went straight to blowouts and a long walk back. Tires that thin are now for randos and overkill on gravel. After being spoiled by better bikes the Fisher was never used again but it sure did its' job. A modern 700x40 of any quality is going to take the edge off much better than an old 559x42. A supple 700x35 will not be that far behind.

Frame flex and tire flex and handlebar flex and seatpost flex all make some contribution. How to separate them? My choice is vintage where it all flexes. Doesn't mean other routes won't work.

On cheaper bikes than your Ridley am pretty sure the designers just make it all plenty stout enough. Below custom the current handful of steel bikes are all on oversize. By the time you've got a 1-1/4 downtube and a 1-1/8 top tube it might as well be like my old Fisher. And most have bigger tubes than that.
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Old 12-14-19, 12:45 PM
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I like 23 front and 28 rear 700c tires.
The 23's provide better cornering feedback and the 28's a bit more impact absorption.
One can steer around problems but the rear tire may not follow the exact same path.
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