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I currently have 700x38c (622-40)... should I go thinner?

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I currently have 700x38c (622-40)... should I go thinner?

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Old 02-19-09, 07:36 PM
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La Bicyclette
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I currently have 700x38c (622-40)... should I go thinner?

This is the first time I've had a bike with 700c wheels, it's really a fantastic bike and feels very superior to those 26" mountain bike tires everybody seems to have.

In the future when these wear out and I want to replace the 700x38c tires, how much of a difference in efficiency would it make to go slightly thinner (like to 700x35 or smaller?)? Right now they are very comfortable as well, will it make much difference in comfort?

My main goal is efficiency... but I'm just curious how much thinner of a tire would I have to step down to to actually feel the difference in rolling resistance is not negligible anymore. Thanks
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Old 02-19-09, 07:39 PM
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Go down to at least 32 to feel a big difference. Go to 25 (if your rim can take a tire that size) to make it feel like a completely different bike.

I go between 25s and 35s on my commuter. I work quite a bit harder on the 35s, mostly b/c my commute has too much stop and start. I find the rolling resistance of wider tires to be most pronounced when spinning up the wheel. At speed, seems to matter less. I'm sure that's just perception, but isn't that everything?
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Old 02-19-09, 07:40 PM
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Thinner will be good, but also a less knobby tread will help. It seems like the wider a tire, the more aggressive the tread (as a general rule).
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Old 02-19-09, 07:46 PM
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get a tyre with low rolling resistance to begin with.

fatter tyres have less rolling resistance, but more air resistance.
in general, if the tread is the same, the fatter tyre will roll better.
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Old 02-19-09, 07:50 PM
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The first question is, what pressure do you want to run? At equal pressure, thinner tires won't be more efficient (in fact, possibly less). First pick what range of pressures you'd like to use, then go with a tire that matches the pressure range.

Regarding comfort - yes, you will definitely feel the road more at higher pressures. If I've been riding my mountain bike or hybrid for a while and then get on the road bike (with 100psi tires), my spine can tell the difference! You learn to absorb nastier bumps with your elbows and knees. So there's definitely a tradeoff between efficiency and comfort.

With 38s, I'd guess you're good up to about 60psi or so. If you want higher pressures, go thinner. Do bear in mind that you might end up needing different rims. I'd doubt that rim would take 23mm tires, for instance. But as mentioned, a 32 will probably be good.
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Old 02-19-09, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
get a tyre with low rolling resistance to begin with.

fatter tyres have less rolling resistance, but more air resistance.
in general, if the tread is the same, the fatter tyre will roll better.
I guess the air resistance matters more, b/c wider tires are almost certainly slower? They're (usually) heavier too, though I can't imagine that makes much difference at my skill and strength level.

I have read lately that wider tires have less rolling resistance b/c... something about the contact patch that I can't explain.

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Old 02-19-09, 08:26 PM
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28's, that's how I roll.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:14 PM
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I went from 38's to 32's and I honestly can not tell any difference in rolling resistance. Where I can tell a difference is in ride quality, the 32's ride much harsher.

I'm getting a FG commuter put together and I plan on running 42's at 60psi. At that size I expect more resistance but the payoff should be a softer ride.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:20 PM
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Wait. So... I guess it must only be true that a wider tire has less rolling resistance than a skinnier tire AT THE SAME PSI.

I mean, surely my 35s at 80 PSI have more rolling resistance than my 25s at 120 PSI. Right?

In truth, I have no idea. But it sure feels that way.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bat22 View Post
28's, that's how I roll.
Yep, Go with 28's
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Old 02-19-09, 09:49 PM
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panaracer pasela and schwalbe marathon are a good starting point for low rolling resistance, high durability, fat tyres.
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Old 02-19-09, 10:03 PM
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How far do you have to go?

What conditions/surfaces do you ride on?

My commute this sumer was 15 miles one way, and I wasn't much slower on 40mm low profile knobbies than 700 x 23 race tires. Maybe 8 minutes on average.
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Old 02-19-09, 10:04 PM
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Not all 38c tires are created the same.

The set that came on my Specialized Crossroads have a PSI range of 75 - 100 PSI, and I run at 90 - 95 for the most part for comfort and rolling resistance.

I also have Marathons on a touring road bike, and set at 90 PSI (but these are 27" 1-1/4") and notice little difference in quality of ride and comfort, as these provide a great ride on my route as well.

But when I started to look for replacements for my Crossroads, found that recommended PSI varied greatly for the same size of tire, with only a few rated for 90 or greater.

Here similar rating of my tire set - http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqP...=42186&eid=355

I hope to get another 1500 miles from the present tires.
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Old 02-19-09, 10:27 PM
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I went from 700x32 Vittoria cross tires to 700x23 ultra gatorskins. I went with the 23's mainly because I found a sweet deal on them. All things equal, I probably would have gone for 28's.

I've easily picked up 2PMH on the flats on my commute.
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Old 02-19-09, 10:31 PM
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There are a few questions that I'd like to ask and offer a few thoughts as well.

As mentioned above, how long is your commute and on what sort of surfaces etc?

IMHO if you are riding less than 10 miles, it probly doesn't matter what tires you run. That being said, I have 35's and 23's on my bikes, both geared and fixed. I prefer the 23's personally, out of what I have that is, 25's are good too and I've not riden 28's and think that might be as wide as I'll go if I wear out my 35's. (aesthetically the 35's look really nice on my hybrid, but my rims are 23 also and the tire rim combo looks nice seperately)
I do like the higher pressure and lower rolling resistence of the narrower tires also, but I always longer for more gear.

How are you commuting? ie. backpack, messenger bag or racks and panniers?

You may find yourself dancing around different tire width/pressure combinations to accomadate your load. I'd think that with a wider low pressure tire one would be endanger of a pinch flat under load.

I'd say that if your rim is wider than a 28mm, which I doubt, then I'd go with a tire that is no wider than your rims.

But really there is too little info here to go on.
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Old 02-19-09, 10:46 PM
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My bike came with 37s. I changed the tires to Gatorskin Ultras, 28s. I noticed a big difference on handling; I like it a lot better. I crank the pressure up to about 90 psi. My only caution, though, is to watch out for pot holes, bumps and jumps. I managed to put a dent in my rim, causing all sorts of problems with the spokes and the truing. This all happened after I put on the 28s.

So, yes you will have a rougher ride and yes you'll have to be more careful with different terrains.
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Old 02-19-09, 10:53 PM
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Thankyou. You took the words right out of my mouth. For short commutes it really shouldn't matter. Anyone can spin a fat tire for a short distance. I too run 700/23's and I pump 'em up to 120 psi which is as high as my compressor goes. I don;t have the luxury of multiple bikes so I keep my one and only primed for distance (or at least what I call distance). My commute is 15 on average with a fair amount of stop and go. I'm willing to trade the jarring for quick and responsive.
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Old 02-19-09, 11:35 PM
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tires or tyres

Originally Posted by La Bicyclette View Post
This is the first time I've had a bike with 700c wheels, it's really a fantastic bike and feels very superior to those 26" mountain bike tires everybody seems to have.

In the future when these wear out and I want to replace the 700x38c tires, how much of a difference in efficiency would it make to go slightly thinner (like to 700x35 or smaller?)? Right now they are very comfortable as well, will it make much difference in comfort?

My main goal is efficiency... but I'm just curious how much thinner of a tire would I have to step down to to actually feel the difference in rolling resistance is not negligible anymore. Thanks
The width of the tires you use should be determined by your weight, both bike and rider. If you are carrying a load, go wide with pride. Air is cheap and weighs nothing. Good 32-35 mm tire can be had in weights around 400-500 grams. I run Schwalbe 700x47's (actual 41mm) at around 60-70psi and these tires are not that much slower than my 32mm Panaracers. I use 32's on my single speed and also have a bike with 25's but they are never ridden on anything but smooth clean asphalt. I weigh 255 and need a wider tire with more volume to protect my rims not to mention the entire bike. Pneumatic tires are the cheapest suspension in the world and good wide tires are surprisingly speedy.
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Old 02-20-09, 12:42 AM
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I like wider tires better. I can't tell the difference in rolling resistance between a 37 and a 28 tire, but the 37 is more comfortable, especially under load, and is less likely to get flats, probably because of lower PSI. Poorly-maintained roads, of which there are many in my town, are easier to negotiate with wider tires. As far as speed is concerned, if you're not racing, width probably doesn't matter; on more or less flat ground, riding on 85 PSI 37s, I can consistently ride 16-18 mph without undue effort, and I'm not a particularly aggressive rider.

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Old 02-20-09, 01:08 AM
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If you looked at a selection of similarly treaded tyres in the same size, and lets use 700:28's as an example, you are going to find that there can be marked differences in rolling resistance, ride quality, and wet traction.

I run 700:28 Marathons on my Trek 7500 (commuter) and they offer a nice balance between ride and speed... I do not run them at their maximum psi as I am a lightweight at 140 and running my tyres at their maximum pressure has a negative effect on ride and handling. They also feel very good in the rain and their high flat resistance was also a selling point.

If I was a bigger guy I'd be running wider Marathons.

I also run a set of 700:35 Schwalbe CX Compes on this bike at at 65 psi they roll out very quickly, the ride is excellent, and they excel when I take the bike off road.
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Old 02-20-09, 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I like wider tires better. I can't tell the difference in rolling resistance between a 37 and a 28 tire, but the 37 is more comfortable, especially under load, and is less likely to get flats, probably because of lower PSI. Poorly-maintained roads, of which there are many in my town, are easier to negotiate with wider tires. As far as speed is concerned, if you're not racing, width probably doesn't matter; on more or less flat ground, riding on 85 PSI 37s, I can consistently ride 16-18 mph without undue effort, and I'm not a particularly aggressive rider.
Originally Posted by charles vail View Post
The width of the tires you use should be determined by your weight, both bike and rider. If you are carrying a load, go wide with pride. Air is cheap and weighs nothing. Good 32-35 mm tire can be had in weights around 400-500 grams. I run Schwalbe 700x47's (actual 41mm) at around 60-70psi and these tires are not that much slower than my 32mm Panaracers. I use 32's on my single speed and also have a bike with 25's but they are never ridden on anything but smooth clean asphalt. I weigh 255 and need a wider tire with more volume to protect my rims not to mention the entire bike. Pneumatic tires are the cheapest suspension in the world and good wide tires are surprisingly speedy.
+1. "wide pride"
Previously posted [probably boasted a little] about how effective my 1x9 CrossCheck with 42 mm Marathons has been as an all around bike. Late last summer my teenage son got the bug for a new bike, well tuition and other expenses put a damper on a that- however I did offer to evolve my nice CrossCheck into more of a sporty ride [he called my set up a gomer bike]. Basically we put on new handlebars, changed the stem, chain ring and swapped the tires for 32 mm bontranger hard cases [had them in the basement].
With new tires at 90 psi there is a lot more feedback from the road- the couple of times I rode with him, notice he was picking his tire path a little more carefully than I would have with the 42 mm tires. Yes, less moment of inertia at a stop so it feels like the bike is faster. For commuting, about town, rough road and touring my preference is a wider tire- 35-42 mm.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:01 AM
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I"ve got a set of 38's on my commuter. I figure when I have the back loaded down with 5 lbs of clothes/shoes/etc and a bag full of 30 lbs of paperwork and books, rolling resistance is the least of my problems.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:24 AM
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I'd like you to tell us more about your normal riding conditions before making any kind of a recommendation that may or may not be the best option for you.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:25 AM
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The smaller you go the higher the pressure goes the stiffer things get.

Drop down a size, and get a better quality tire. The tires that come with bikes are cheap and usually heavy.

The Panaracer Pasela TG Folding tire in a 35c is going to be smaller, prob quite a bit lighter, and your ride quality shouldn't suffer much.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:59 AM
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I'm a huge fan of 32c tires on commuters. My bike currently has 700X32c Panaracer Pasela TG's and I find them to be fantastic. Very durable in my experience and quick feeling too.

Most bikes that come with tires as wide as yours have rims that are fairly wide. I wouldn't try to fit anything too thin in there. 25's might feel good on a thinner rim, but you don't want to risk having problems with it.
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