Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

The dominance of the narrow racing tire on bikes is over

Notices
Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

The dominance of the narrow racing tire on bikes is over

Old 08-14-22, 12:34 PM
  #26  
davester
Senior Member
 
davester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Berkeley CA
Posts: 2,363

Bikes: 1981 Ron Cooper, 1974 Cinelli Speciale Corsa, 2000 Gary Fisher Sugar 1, 1986 Miyata 710, 1982 Raleigh "International"

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 833 Post(s)
Liked 905 Times in 379 Posts
Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Why don't "the rest of us" need narrow tires like the pros race on? Some of the rest of us like to ride fast, and a 25mm tire is fast. If they weren't fast, pros would use something else.
My understanding of the tire research findings that have been published over about the past decade is that wider tires at lower pressures have lower rolling resistance and are faster on roads that aren't as smooth as a baby's butt (i.e. most roads we ride on) up to about 20 mph. Above 20 mph, air resistance becomes a bigger factor than rolling resistance so skinnier tires that don't bulge too far beyond the width of the rim start to get an edge. This is why the pros have been going to wider and wider tires over the last few years. What' I've read is that 25mm has become pretty standard for racing on smooth roads and that 28mm or sometimes even wider are used for rougher roads, thus providing a balance between rolling resistance and air resistance, depending on the characteristics of the course. For myself, since I seldom exceed 20 mph except on long downhills, I generally try to jam the widest tires that will fit on my bikes (typically 28 or 32 mm). Other benefits include making for a smoother ride (though note that some folks erroneously interpret the lack of a jiggly ride as being slower) and better roadholding grip when cornering on sketchy surfaces.
davester is offline  
Old 08-14-22, 05:07 PM
  #27  
Barrettscv 
Have bike, will travel
Thread Starter
 
Barrettscv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Lake Geneva, WI
Posts: 12,384

Bikes: Ridley Helium SLX, Canyon Endurance SL, De Rosa Professional, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Schwinn Paramount (1 painted, 1 chrome), Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Raleigh Roker, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2

Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 909 Post(s)
Liked 276 Times in 152 Posts
Originally Posted by davester View Post
My understanding of the tire research findings that have been published over about the past decade is that wider tires at lower pressures have lower rolling resistance and are faster on roads that aren't as smooth as a baby's butt (i.e. most roads we ride on) up to about 20 mph. Above 20 mph, air resistance becomes a bigger factor than rolling resistance so skinnier tires that don't bulge too far beyond the width of the rim start to get an edge. This is why the pros have been going to wider and wider tires over the last few years. What' I've read is that 25mm has become pretty standard for racing on smooth roads and that 28mm or sometimes even wider are used for rougher roads, thus providing a balance between rolling resistance and air resistance, depending on the characteristics of the course. For myself, since I seldom exceed 20 mph except on long downhills, I generally try to jam the widest tires that will fit on my bikes (typically 28 or 32 mm). Other benefits include making for a smoother ride (though note that some folks erroneously interpret the lack of a jiggly ride as being slower) and better roadholding grip when cornering on sketchy surfaces.
A complete summary
__________________
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
Barrettscv is offline  
Old 08-15-22, 09:50 AM
  #28  
Wildwood
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 12,209

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 270 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3367 Post(s)
Liked 3,255 Times in 1,589 Posts


The speed at which air resistance is greater than rolling resistance is far, far, far below 20mph on a road bike with tires pumped hard on a paved surface.

If riding 48+mm tires at 30psi your rolling resistance may never exceeded the air resistance (riding on a paved surface)!
Wildwood is offline  
Old 08-15-22, 09:57 AM
  #29  
Wildwood
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 12,209

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 270 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3367 Post(s)
Liked 3,255 Times in 1,589 Posts
I believe the 20mph number has been used to justify an 'aero' road bike over a traditional 'racing' road bike - where the frame modifications favor air flow over frame weight reduction, etc
Wildwood is offline  
Old 08-15-22, 10:08 AM
  #30  
Climb14er
Jazz Aficionado
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Liked 38 Times in 25 Posts
I have run 23’s on my Waterford RS33 since 2007. Have another pair of 5000S tires in reserve. They perform very nicely.
Climb14er is offline  
Old 08-15-22, 01:10 PM
  #31  
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 29,431

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked 1,171 Times in 787 Posts
Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
What's next? The loss of dominance of CRTs and rotary dial phones?
The difference being that TV and telephones sold equipped with CRTs and rotary dials did dominate the market for many years, with probably 99+% of the total market. Bicycles sold to the public equipped with narrow ( less than 28mm width) racing tires was never more than a niche market of "enthusiasts."
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  
Likes For I-Like-To-Bike:
Old 08-16-22, 10:51 AM
  #32  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 5,445

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1815 Post(s)
Liked 1,956 Times in 1,200 Posts
Over the decades I’ve gone from 20mm to 25mm (that measure 26mm). I have one road bike with 28mm. I’ve also ridden 32’s.

For a fast rolling bike over a good surface, I think 28mm might be the sweet spot for me. I’d run the size if it fit.

From what I’ve read even professional riders have gone wider than in the past. I’m not sure if they will hit 30mm, but I think they are already at 25mm.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Old 08-16-22, 06:41 PM
  #33  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,784

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3531 Post(s)
Liked 1,523 Times in 1,109 Posts
We have smooth roads around here. Very little chip seal. I still ride 23s on 23 outside rims. Works fine. I out-coast everyone and have a BMI ~24, comfortable on 400k rides. Why would I change? I'm riding Conti 5000 latex tubed.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 08-17-22, 11:04 AM
  #34  
BlazingPedals
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 12,310

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, Catrike Speed

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1444 Post(s)
Liked 655 Times in 408 Posts
I've been on 23s for so long that anything bigger is 'fat' to me. With the advent of disc brakes on road bikes, it's now more common to find 25s and even 28s on them, but at least for road applications, I don't see tires getting any fatter than that. Once you get to 32, you're looking at gravel-capable, and while that may be the whole point, there's a whole swath of cyclists who just don't do gravel - or if they do they have a dedicated bike for that and it's got knobbies.

A lot of fellow club members have tried fatter tires, 35-40mm, and while they say they're *almost* as fast as skinny tires, there's that "almost" qualifier. They can be softer-riding, though.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 08-17-22, 02:48 PM
  #35  
embankmentlb
Senior Member
 
embankmentlb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North, Ga.
Posts: 2,309

Bikes: 3Rensho-Aerodynamics, Bernard Hinault Look - 1986 tour winner, Guerciotti, Various Klein's & Panasonic's

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 129 Post(s)
Liked 255 Times in 115 Posts
25 seems the optimal size for me. I have tried wider but generally do not like the mushiness of the ride, particularly if out of the saddle.
Another factor almost never mentioned is that the wider the tire the more mass. Not your best friend when climbing. I realize that modern technology has reduced wheel and tire weight considerably. It also adds to the complexity.
I am somewhat of a Luddite when it comes to such things. Rim brakes, aluminum 32 spoke handmade wheels, cup and cone bearings are for me. Simple things I can repair and ride! I guess that leaves me in the minority and a bit out of touch. At my age, it’s just fine.

Last edited by embankmentlb; 08-17-22 at 02:55 PM.
embankmentlb is offline  
Likes For embankmentlb:
Old 08-17-22, 05:23 PM
  #36  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 21,278

Bikes: 1959 Capo Modell Campagnolo; 1960 Capo Sieger (2); 1962 Carlton Franco Suisse; 1970 Peugeot UO-8; 1982 Bianchi Campione d'Italia; 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10;

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1245 Post(s)
Liked 900 Times in 607 Posts
My 1980 Peugeot PKN-10 and 1981 Bianchi were pretty comparable in weight and performance, but the Peugeot easily handled 32mm (700Cx35 callout size) tires, whereas the Bianchi limits me to 700Cx28 Continentals, which are more like 26s.
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 08-18-22, 10:51 AM
  #37  
davester
Senior Member
 
davester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Berkeley CA
Posts: 2,363

Bikes: 1981 Ron Cooper, 1974 Cinelli Speciale Corsa, 2000 Gary Fisher Sugar 1, 1986 Miyata 710, 1982 Raleigh "International"

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 833 Post(s)
Liked 905 Times in 379 Posts
Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post


The speed at which air resistance is greater than rolling resistance is far, far, far below 20mph on a road bike with tires pumped hard on a paved surface.
The total air resistance of the bike+rider is beside the point. What's actually relevant to the question of what width tire is faster at a given speed is the difference in rolling resistance for different tire widths (which is significant) versus the difference in air resistance for those same tire widths (which is exceedingly small at low speeds).

Last edited by davester; 08-18-22 at 10:57 AM.
davester is offline  
Old 08-18-22, 12:09 PM
  #38  
himespau 
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 13,153
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3670 Post(s)
Liked 2,473 Times in 1,471 Posts
The 1996 Merckx Ti I'm building up will fit 28's comfortably and probably 30's, but 32 appears to cut the clearance down too much, so I'll put 28c tires on it when it's ready to go (or more likely 25c tires until I wear those out as those are already on the wheelset I have built up and ready to go). In reality though, I do almost all my riding on Zwift these days so I don't really have tires on my bike when I do most of my riding. Being able to ride when the rest of the family is asleep, when the weather is garbage outside, and not having to worry about making the call of shame or getting hit by a car again outweigh the fresh air and nature that riding outside brings for me.
himespau is offline  
Old 08-18-22, 09:18 PM
  #39  
woodway
Squeaky Wheel
 
woodway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newcastle, WA
Posts: 1,623
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Liked 75 Times in 41 Posts
I love running 32's on my "do everything" Ti Cross Bike. Since I'll never ride in the TdF, I don't really need to worry about aerodynamics. The 32's handle the wide variety of road surfaces I ride on, and I won't hesitate to jump on mellow gravel with them. They also ride very comfortably compared to the 25's I used to ride.
woodway is offline  
Likes For woodway:
Old 08-19-22, 09:18 PM
  #40  
Fredo76
The Wheezing Geezer
 
Fredo76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Española, NM
Posts: 501

Bikes: 1976 Fredo Speciale, Jamis Citizen 1, Ellis-Briggs FAVORI, Rivendell Clem Smith Jr.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 202 Post(s)
Liked 430 Times in 205 Posts
Skinny tires are dead!

Long live skinny tires!

and 13-blocks!...



Long live Spot!
Fredo76 is offline  
Likes For Fredo76:
Old 08-20-22, 11:23 AM
  #41  
peterws
Full Member
 
peterws's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Near Lancaster
Posts: 493

Bikes: Carrera Virtuoso and friend

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 110 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 36 Times in 28 Posts
I'd maintain that rolling resistance doesn't vary with tyre size, but only with tyre pressure. The footprint will be slightly different, but the same area engages the road.
I keep my 32s rock-hard (don't have a gauge) and I find them just as quick, but infinitely more comfortable over any surface. Original tyres were 25; I binned them.
peterws is offline  
Old 08-21-22, 08:43 AM
  #42  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,596

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 599 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 315 Posts
Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
...Another factor almost never mentioned is that the wider the tire the more mass. Not your best friend when climbing....
Finally someone mentions mass! I agree, and I do a lot of climbing.

Of course that comes with fast descents. I've recently switched from 25 and 28 on a trial basis, and don't mind the extra rubber on the road then.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 08-21-22, 10:32 AM
  #43  
79pmooney
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,273

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3849 Post(s)
Liked 2,714 Times in 1,773 Posts
Yeah, the dominance of narrow tired bikes is over but I just picked up, a 1980s race bike that handles only <25c unless I file the rear brake (super short Cyclone with the pads pushed all the way up). Not a whole lotta bridge clearance either and 25s are the max to jam in the horizontal dropouts inflated. I tried 25c tubbies and no go. Soon it will get 23c tubbies; not far from what I trained on 45 years ago.

So bike's a loser. Uncomfortable, unsafe, slow ... (Well that slow bit hasn't been playing out nicely in my ride times These "slower" rides seem to be happening in less time. Haven't figured that one out yet.) Trouble is, my legs just don't get it. I climb on and just feel the sweetest, most efficient ride I have ever dropped this body on. I consistently ride harder and faster. Yes, I hurt more when I get home, but I also had more fun. (And am getting into better shape.)

And soon I will be going to the next step in the wrong direction. Inferior rims. Rims with no inertia to smooth out my pedaling. Rims that weigh 340g each. Are so skinny they are not remotely aero. Even closer to what I rode 45 years ago. (Sub 300g tubbies glued to 340g rims! Fun, fun, fun! Don't care if all the calculators in the world say that's slow. And racing - when that wheel goes by that you have to get on because that's the move you have to be in, wow! do light, light rims and tires make a huge difference! No I do not race and haven't for decades, but those wheels are still fun.)
79pmooney is offline  
Old 08-21-22, 12:55 PM
  #44  
dmanders
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 72

Bikes: 14 F8, 21 F12

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 19 Posts
I wonder if this thread would draw different responses from the younger readers in the road cycling forum? Back in the day I rode skinny tubs. Now I ride 28 tubeless and love them.

Last edited by dmanders; 08-21-22 at 01:30 PM.
dmanders is offline  
Old 08-21-22, 06:48 PM
  #45  
cyclezen
OM boy
 
cyclezen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Goleta CA
Posts: 4,164

Bikes: a bunch

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 434 Post(s)
Liked 508 Times in 352 Posts
I believe rider weight/mass has a lot to do with tire choice. Noticing in the few groups I currently might ride with, that larger riders, on newer bikes, will have wider tires. That makes sense. One can have a nice riding tire, without it being rock hard, with the wider tire.
For lighter riders there's less perceived difference. Sure they can ride at lower pressures, but may already be on lower pressures on their narrower rubber. I ride 23 & 25 (usually on the rear) at 72 frnt and 75 rear, and they're plenty firm for me. I rode a friend's bike which had 32s on it, and really didn't notice any real difference, he had his pumped to 75 & 80 - also seemed firm...
The young guys in those groups who are very strong riders ? 25mm almost exclusively... roadies... not grvl or touring ... err bikepacking... LOL!
Ride On
Yuri
cyclezen is offline  
Likes For cyclezen:
Old 08-26-22, 07:53 AM
  #46  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,639

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 169 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5544 Post(s)
Liked 2,511 Times in 1,614 Posts
I rode 23s and 25s for what seems like forever. Now I'm not interested in a bike that can't take at least a 28c tire. But then I'm nowhere near as fast as I used to be so a little fatter tire is helpful in terms of comfort.
bikemig is offline  
Likes For bikemig:
Old 08-26-22, 10:51 AM
  #47  
Fredo76
The Wheezing Geezer
 
Fredo76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Española, NM
Posts: 501

Bikes: 1976 Fredo Speciale, Jamis Citizen 1, Ellis-Briggs FAVORI, Rivendell Clem Smith Jr.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 202 Post(s)
Liked 430 Times in 205 Posts
Tight clearances on racing bikes were already becoming a fad in the late '70s. I say fad, because the disadvantages outweigh the non-existent advantages, really, except maybe for looking cool in the eyes of one's peer group. That fad marked the beginning of the fetishization of the sport, along with Cinelli hiding the handlebar clamp bolt...
Fredo76 is offline  
Likes For Fredo76:
Old 08-29-22, 06:54 AM
  #48  
Duo
Full Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 499

Bikes: mostly road bikes

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by peterws View Post
I'd maintain that rolling resistance doesn't vary with tyre size, but only with tyre pressure. The footprint will be slightly different, but the same area engages the road.
I keep my 32s rock-hard (don't have a gauge) and I find them just as quick, but infinitely more comfortable over any surface. Original tyres were 25; I binned them.
my fuji touring bike wears 32s in the back and 35s in the front; also rock hard inflation, my pump gives me psi, so i do about 80 psi. my other bikes use 25s and i inflate to about 100psi.

i can tell the difference in tires easily; when i put the 35mm on the front of the bike, the vibrations were so soft compared to my trek racing bike. in the end, i like both bicycles, my trek is very light and tuned for performance. the fuji touring is the everyday exercise kind of bicycle.

for those with 25s, try experimenting with a 32mm on the front only if they will fit and see if that doesn't dampen road vibes to your arms. the 32mm tires may offer better tracking and steering when you need it. eventually i may try a 32mm front tire on my trek just to see the difference. if tire fit is an issue, you may be able to try a 28mm on the front, guessing that comfort would be a bit improved.

i don't ride long distance, so tire width and comfort are not high on my list.
Duo is offline  
Old 08-29-22, 03:12 PM
  #49  
scottfsmith
I like bike
 
scottfsmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: Merry Land USA
Posts: 575

Bikes: Roubaix Comp 2020

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 238 Post(s)
Liked 238 Times in 159 Posts
Originally Posted by Duo View Post
my fuji touring bike wears 32s in the back and 35s in the front; also rock hard inflation, my pump gives me psi, so i do about 80 psi
You are throwing away both watts and comfort with those high inflation pressures. Try 60psi on the 32s and 50psi on the 35s. Or at least something closer to that.
scottfsmith is offline  
Old 08-29-22, 04:00 PM
  #50  
Duo
Full Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 499

Bikes: mostly road bikes

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
You are throwing away both watts and comfort with those high inflation pressures. Try 60psi on the 32s and 50psi on the 35s. Or at least something closer to that.
even at those higher inflation rates, the bicycle is noticeably more comfortable than my trek 1500 by miles. normally i let the tires go down to 50 or 60 and refill as i don't care to pump them up to often. watts don't concern me as that is one of the reason i ride is for exercise; at the higher inflation i get the best of both worlds: a long time before inflation and more comfort that my 25mm tires. if the bike was inflated to 50psi, then inflation chores would likely double.

thanks for the advice though, interesting.
Duo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.