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Tire width

Old 04-12-19, 09:20 AM
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Tire width

I run 32mm tires on my gravel bike, because that's what were mounted on it when I bough it. I'm about to need new ones as the tread is wearing out. I'm wondering if I should go wider. (The bike will fit wider)

I don't typically get much more 'gravely' than hard pack crushed limestone with the occasional mud puddle (normal rail trail stuff). Some hard pack dirt maybe. No deep sand or gravel you sink into or anything like that. And this bike rides more on rail trails than paved surfaces.

It rides okay. I don't feel a need for additional traction on the 32mm tires.

But would I notice a ride quality difference on a 35mm tire? Or a 38mm?

Would that slow me down noticeably? I'm not setting any speed records as it is. If I can average 14-15mph I'm happy

Would it cushion the ride a little more? It's not exactly bumpy now, but those vibrations add up over a long ride.

Assume the same tire, just wider for the purpose of this discussion to remove the variables of different tread patterns.

'm not locked into replacing it with the same tires. I'm just eliminating the tread pattern and materials variables.

I'm happy with how it rides now. I'm just trying to figure out if I'd be happiER with wider tires.

This is what I'm running now. Stock tires that came on the bike.
https://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.com/product/bontrager-h5-hard-case-lite-hybrid-tire-178656-1.htm?variations=1014182,783344&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIspflr-rK4QIVl47ICh1DZApGEAQYASABEgJyZ_D_BwE

Last edited by Skipjacks; 04-12-19 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 04-12-19, 09:53 AM
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I think it's pretty certain your bike would ride better with a higher quality tire, regardless of width. If you went to a wider hard case tire you'll probably be more comfortable but slightly slower. Something like the teravail cannonball or the panaracer gravelking sk and you'll be more comfortable and probably faster.

Tires are the most impactful component change that can be made, it's worthwhile to get good ones.
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Old 04-12-19, 10:03 AM
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Sounds like you would do well to run a 38c tire in a slick or slightly treaded tire like a Schwalbe G-one.
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Old 04-12-19, 10:39 AM
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The specific tire more than the width (within reason) will determine the comfort and speed. There are narrow tires that are slow and wide tires that are not comfortable. There are tires with some tread that roll better than some slicks, they make more noise but still roll better.
Hutchinson Overide in 38 setup tubeless is perfect for 100% of my paved and crushed riding and 75% of my off road riding. I have a second set of wheels/tires for that other 25% of off road use. Those are currently Riddler 45 after trying a few others. If tubeless was not a requirement of mine and I was not swapping sets it would be Conti Speedride 42, great on and off road, fast, conforming, adapt well with pressure changes, and they are cheap.
Your requirements and expectations may be different. My "gravel" bike is also my road bike. My average rides are about 35 miles and include some portion of off pavement, I never see myself using anything under a quality 38 tire even for solo road only century rides. That's just me. Oddly I am perfectly happy with a relatively narrow 2.2 on my hardtail, go figure.

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Old 04-12-19, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks
Would it cushion the ride a little more? It's not exactly bumpy now, but those vibrations add up over a long ride.

Assume the same tire, just wider for the purpose of this discussion to remove the variables of different tread patterns. And I'm not opposed to staggering widths in the front and back. I'm not locked into replacing it with the same tires. I'm just eliminating the tread pattern variable.

I'm happy with how it rides now. I'm just trying to figure out if I'd be happiER with wider tires.

This is what I'm running now. Stock tires that came on the bike.
if you use the same tire but a wider width than a 32, it'll be heavier and probably a bit more comfortable since it would logically run at a lower psi. It'll also probably be a bit slower too at that lower psi.

the benefit comes in when you use a high quality lightweight larger tire as weight difference is kept to a minimum and these tires can be run at a lower psi for comfort while still rolling fast.
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Old 04-12-19, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks
Would that slow me down noticeably?
Probably not. Increasing width leads to more aerodynamic drag and weigh, but the impacts tend to be fairly subtle, particularly when discussing differences of a few millimeters.
And if your current tires are uncomfortable on the surfaces you're riding, a more comfortable setup might be faster, both for reasons of fatigue and because of more efficient suspension.

What'll impact speed considerably more is the particular tire you choose. Not just tread pattern, but also casing construction. Your H5s are a very stiff tire due to their beefy protection layers. If you're worried about performance and aren't suffering a barrage of frequent puncture flats, I'd recommend switching to a more performance-oriented tire. By switching to a wider performance-oriented tire, you'll likely be faster and more comfortable.
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Old 04-12-19, 12:10 PM
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Hi all....

I see a lot of great feedback here that I've just barely skimmed. I can't read the responses thoroughly yet because work (Stupid work! It's the reason I'm not out riding right now!)

But all of this looks helpful and friendly so I wanted to say I appreciate the feedback and will read it in its entirely later tonight
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Old 04-12-19, 12:13 PM
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Just jump in dude. Embrace it. don't look back. Minimum 40c. go 45 if you can, 650b x 47 even nicer. Tubeless. just do it do it. I have the light & supple 650bx47 Cannonballs. Or go WTB Riddlers, Ventures, or Clement Donnelly MSO Xplor.

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Old 04-12-19, 01:27 PM
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that H5 is a rolling log, a bigger in the same thing will ride slower swap to a 38 panaracer pasela and you'll love it!!


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Old 04-12-19, 01:49 PM
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nuthin' but pavement? throw on some 28mm road slicks!
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Old 04-12-19, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval
that H5 is a rolling log, a bigger in the same thing will ride slower swap to a 38 panaracer pasela and you'll love it!!


Is that a 2013 Crossrip Elite?

That's the exact bike I'm looking to change tires on! Same color and everything.

Bought it used last fall. Am just getting to get out riding it now.
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Old 04-12-19, 02:31 PM
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I am running700c x 44 compass Snoqualmie tires with little to no notable increased drag. I have read a number of articles that attribute a much increased loss of wattage due to the vertical 'bounce' of a smaller, harder tire, than the cushion of a wider more 'supple' tire. I may not be explaining myself correctly... but here is a link to the article I am talking about...

LINK

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Old 04-12-19, 08:49 PM
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Run mostly 35s fast enough on pavement and can handle decent gravel. On some gravel roads I wish I had my 40s but over all 35s works for me. If I’m going to be riding pavement only like the park roads in Big Bend NP I will put on some slick 32 gatorskins. The Jeep roads at Big Bend requires my front suspension 29er MTB.
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Old 04-12-19, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks
Is that a 2013 Crossrip Elite?

That's the exact bike I'm looking to change tires on! Same color and everything.

Bought it used last fall. Am just getting to get out riding it now.
yes it is a 2013 elite. I swapped out the crank and wheels.

If you are not needing much tread then a bigger semi slick tire will be good and not slow you down. and save some weight in the process.

a huge weight savings would even running 32 Continental gp5000 or 32 Continetal 4Seasons

I ran 28 GP4000s ii for a while they measure 30 and yeah I could get 16+ but this is a bike that really doesn't like being pushed. other than giving you a workout.

so just roll a bigger &lighter semi slick and enjoy the 14-15 . you won't see a performance loss.
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Old 04-12-19, 10:53 PM
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there are a number of semislick tires to choose from


Nomad resist, (35c I think) cuts easy though

panaracer gravelking slicks 38c (no knowledge) will be my next tire, if I don't try a Continental 32c tire

panaracer pasela PT ( I run the 38 folding version) Actually I bought these for my 1991 Schwinn tried them on the Crossrip, and uhh never took them off.

Hutchinson Overide

Schwalbe G'one

barlow pass 700x38

maxxis refuse


Personally for you I would only suggest , the pasela PT folding, gravel king slick, or the barlow pass 700x38 , the 700x35 Bon Jon pass would be a super awesome tire, but it sacrifices durability.
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Old 04-13-19, 04:19 AM
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I really like Gravel King Slicks for pavement and smooth gravel. I have been running 38 mm tubeless. I did a paved Century last week and will do some gravel today. I will just let a little air out for the gravel. I have also used the GK SK in 38mm. I really like them too if you need more gravel traction. They don’t give up much on the pavement.
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Old 04-13-19, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
if you use the same tire but a wider width than a 32, it'll be heavier and probably a bit more comfortable since it would logically run at a lower psi. It'll also probably be a bit slower too at that lower psi.

the benefit comes in when you use a high quality lightweight larger tire as weight difference is kept to a minimum and these tires can be run at a lower psi for comfort while still rolling fast.
+1 Took the words right out of my mouth...
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Old 04-13-19, 08:00 AM
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Generally speaking, larger tires will have similar or lower rolling resistance, and higher weight and aero drag. at 15mph, the rolling resistance trumps the negatives (unless you like the precision of narrow tires).

sounds like you would enjoy the extra cush.
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Old 04-13-19, 09:10 AM
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There's no free lunch. Lower pressure = more rolling resistance with the breakpoint somewhere between smooth dirt/small gravel and mild dirt/med gravel. Every roller test, all the non-branded real world testing (Zinn, Tom A.) has borne this out. Also takes less than an hour to test for oneself, I'd recommend this over anything else. Take your pump and pressure gauge to a nice mild hill without any wind, play around with pressures and do 5-10 rolldown tests at each arbitrary point. See what happens, I've done this with more than a dozen tires now and I've yet to see a tire that got faster at lower pressures (starting point 10% sag) on pavement.



Here's what a breakpoint looks like:

Rolling resistance goes down as pressure goes up until it hits the breakpoint and then it goes back up again.

Some more info:
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Old 04-13-19, 10:24 AM
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I swapped my GK SK's in 38mm for Vittoria Voyager Hypers in 35mm (they didn't have 38's in stock when I ordered them or would have got those) I used on my 29er last summer and took it out for it's 1st ride today doing 43 miles and there was a noticeable difference in speed on paved surfaces although I think it's probably more down to tread pattern than a couple of mm difference in width.

I think this will probably be my default winter / summer combo for mixed road / gravel rides as it gets too slippery for the Hypers in the winter whilst the GK's seem to handle mud pretty well with a small speed penalty on the road .... am actually thinking of putting the 43mm GK SK's on my 29er as an all year round tyre.

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Old 04-13-19, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval
yes it is a 2013 elite. I swapped out the crank and wheels.

If you are not needing much tread then a bigger semi slick tire will be good and not slow you down. and save some weight in the process.

a huge weight savings would even running 32 Continental gp5000 or 32 Continetal 4Seasons

I ran 28 GP4000s ii for a while they measure 30 and yeah I could get 16+ but this is a bike that really doesn't like being pushed. other than giving you a workout.

so just roll a bigger &lighter semi slick and enjoy the 14-15 . you won't see a performance loss.
I see you have aftermarket wheels on yours. Think the stock wheels on the Crossrip could hold a 38mm tire? I think they could but I'd like to know. I'm not buying new wheels for this bike
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Old 04-13-19, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks
I see you have aftermarket wheels on yours. Think the stock wheels on the Crossrip could hold a 38mm tire? I think they could but I'd like to know. I'm not buying new wheels for this bike


your wheels will be fine with 38's

I swapped because I got a good deal on the mavics, and I like mavics.
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Old 04-16-19, 11:01 AM
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Skipjacks: Rail trails with anything skinnier than 28s is awful in my experience during wet conditions. However, that stays true on 40+ wide tires when the limestone turns to cement mix.

35 mm should be seen as a standard in my opinion. Perfect size for any use.
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Old 04-22-19, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
I've yet to see a tire that got faster at lower pressures (starting point 10% sag) on pavement.
True, but not of that much use when the OP states "this bike rides more on rail trails than paved surfaces" in the top post. Adding in a bumpy surface will make that low spot in your graph shift downwards as you accumulate suspension losses.


Assuming the OP has already reduced tire pressures on the 32's, then I'd step up the size to allow lower pressures and reduce suspension losses.
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