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700x32c vs 700x28c

Old 01-23-17, 10:17 PM
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Tommy1955
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700x32c vs 700x28c

Has anyone gone from a 700x32c tire to a 700x28c tire? If so, did you notice a difference? Is there any pros and cons to doing this? I have a 2017 Trek FX3 and I had Bontrager AW2 700x32c tires put on recently. I have no problems with these so far. I was thinking about going to Bontrager AW2 700x28c. One person as the LBS told me that I might not really feel a difference. Another mechanic there told me that technically, it's a narrower tire and will have less road resistance which means that it should be faster. I was wondering if anyone had made this change to a smaller tire and noticed it?
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Old 01-23-17, 11:17 PM
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I went from Bontrager 700X35c to Gatorskins 700X28c. There is no appreciable effect on rolling resistance, even though the pressures went up from 75 psi to 110 psi (I am a bit heavy... ). That was my Trek Verve 2 bike.

My regular ride (Novara Randonee) has 700X32c Schwalbe Marathons 70/80 psi pressures. Rides a bit more comfortably, especially if I 'forget' and the pressures drop to 60 psi...
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Old 01-24-17, 07:27 AM
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IF EVERYTHING ELSE IS EQUAL (and it never is), a wider tire will actually have lower rolling resistance. Your mechanic is wrong.

A narrower tire will both handle and require a little higher air pressure to keep from pinch flatting. The higher air pressure will also improve rolling resistance but at the expense of ride quality. The narrower tire also has less frontal area so it's more aero. In this case, people will tell you that 4mm is 12%, but it's still only 4mm. That's not very much.

Bottom line, they're tires and they're going to eventually wear out. Whatever you pick, you can undo next time.
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Old 01-24-17, 07:39 AM
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I doubt you will notice much of a difference, especially if you are using the same tire. The weight of the smaller tire will be a few gms less and the narrower tire is very slightly more aero. That said, I doubt you will notice. If you have no complaints about your current tires, ride them for a couple thousand miles, and try going down a size when they wear out.
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Old 01-24-17, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I doubt you will notice much of a difference, especially if you are using the same tire. The weight of the smaller tire will be a few gms less and the narrower tire is very slightly more aero. That said, I doubt you will notice. If you have no complaints about your current tires, ride them for a couple thousand miles, and try going down a size when they wear out.
I told the bike shop that yes I was considering going to the AW2 700x28 the next time I need to change the tires but was going to check into seeing if there's really a difference that I'll notice. Changing the tire size probably means that I need to change the tubes too (cost of tires plus 4 tubes). I always carry 2 spare tubes when riding. I appreciate all comments.
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Old 01-24-17, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tommy1955 View Post
I told the bike shop that yes I was considering going to the AW2 700x28 the next time I need to change the tires but was going to check into seeing if there's really a difference that I'll notice. Changing the tire size probably means that I need to change the tubes too (cost of tires plus 4 tubes). I always carry 2 spare tubes when riding. I appreciate all comments.
I doubt you will need to change tubes. I have a few Bontrager tubes, and they usually fit a range of sizes from 28 to 32.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I doubt you will need to change tubes. I have a few Bontrager tubes, and they usually fit a range of sizes from 28 to 32.
Thank you. Good to know.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tommy1955 View Post
was thinking about going to Bontrager AW2 700x28c
may I ask why? not saying you should or shouldn't just curious

28s are good on the road, good for commuting & they might feel a little faster to you & that might be a nice change. they'd also be usable on hard packed unpaved trails

personally I rode 28s on many bikes & liked them a lot on roads & paved trails. got a new bike a few years ago w 23s when they split I got 25s which I do like better than the 23s, not as twitchy as the 23s

recently picked up a cpl hybrids w 32, 35 & 40 tires that I'm using on unpaved trails & playing w pressure depending on softness of the trail
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Old 01-24-17, 09:13 AM
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I've gone back and forth with 700c-32 and 28, and I did see a difference. The 28's seemed quite a bit faster, and from 28 to 32 it seems like there is a big difference in weight and the amount of air. Relative to differences in 23,25,28 tires.

However, and this may be a bigger factor, for the 32mm tires I've only used flat resistant, durable low thread count tires, all of which accounts for more rolling resistance. With both the same I suspect that you'll only notice one being faster than the other at the lower pressure ranges of the respective tires.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:31 AM
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You would get lower rolling resistance in a lighter, more supple 700 x 32 tire than you would from either size of the heavy, durable Bontrager AW2.

Your mechanic is correct that the 28 mm AW2 will have slightly lower resistance than the 32 mm AW2. But the narrower tire will require higher pressure and deliver a harsher ride.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
may I ask why? not saying you should or shouldn't just curious
I was wondering if they were a little faster. I generally ride 15 to 20 miles everyday during the week if the weather permits and between 20 and 35 miles a day on the weekends. With a 7 mph wind, I can average between 13.5 mph to 14.5 mph with an 80 cadence and not pushing hard. With a 7 mph tail wind, I average faster speeds. I only ride on concrete or asphalt paths. I stay off the roads with cars as much as possible. I was wondering if I could get another 1/2 mph. going with the 700x28c tires. I use the Bontrager AW2 hard care tires which do have some puncture resistance. My Bontrager AW2 700x32 hard case tires have a 100 psi max pressure. I generally ride at 95 psi.. I'm not sure if the 28s will be a rougher ride but if it's not too much then it doesn't matter to me. I'm very happy with what I have but if I can gain a little more speed (1/2 mph. or so) then I'll make the change next time I have to replace tires.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:55 AM
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1/2 mph faster is very unlikely especially since you're already running the 32 at such high pressure.

In purely my opinion, the only reason to use 32mm tires, unless you're doing a lot of gravel or dirt trails, is the ability to run them at lower pressures. If I was using 95-100 psi to begin with, I'd probably prefer the 28's but I don't think it's going to be that impactful in your situation.
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Old 01-24-17, 10:04 AM
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100psi in a 700x32? Holy cow. I run my 28s at 75/80 and my 32s at 65/70.

And the 32s are usually slightly faster overall. But then again, the quality of the tire is far more important than the width.
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Old 01-24-17, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tommy1955 View Post
I was wondering if they were a little faster. I generally ride 15 to 20 miles everyday during the week if the weather permits and between 20 and 35 miles a day on the weekends. With a 7 mph wind, I can average between 13.5 mph to 14.5 mph with an 80 cadence and not pushing hard. With a 7 mph tail wind, I average faster speeds. I only ride on concrete or asphalt paths. I stay off the roads with cars as much as possible. I was wondering if I could get another 1/2 mph. going with the 700x28c tires. I use the Bontrager AW2 hard care tires which do have some puncture resistance. My Bontrager AW2 700x32 hard case tires have a 100 psi max pressure. I generally ride at 95 psi.. I'm not sure if the 28s will be a rougher ride but if it's not too much then it doesn't matter to me. I'm very happy with what I have but if I can gain a little more speed (1/2 mph. or so) then I'll make the change next time I have to replace tires.
First of all, you are doing fine. Unless you are competing, just enjoy the ride. Or, challenge yourself and see how much faster your legs will take you.

I have a friend who rides an ancient road bike, and rides it fairly slowly. How slowly? I consider my rides with him purely leisure/recovery rides, and even at a leisurely 12 mph there are times when he has trouble keeping up. And it isn't just the tires. He rides a heavy, ancient bike. He sits up fairly high in the saddle, so not very aerodynamic. And he is getting up there in years.

He went to a local Trek/Bontrager shop to see about getting faster tires than the 27 x 1 1/4 Panaracer Urban Max commuter tires he currently runs. The guy at the shop got very excited about how much those porky Panaracers are slowing him down and how the difference would be huge, if he went to a narrow road tire. When my friend asked me I told him my son rides Panaracer Urban Max 32 mm on his hybrid and I cannot keep up with him when he puts the hammer down. I suggested he take any advice from a bike shop with a grain of salt.

At a certain point, if you are competing, switching out tires might make sense. Until then, just ride and see how much more speed you can get out of your legs.
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Old 01-24-17, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
However, and this may be a bigger factor, for the 32mm tires I've only used flat resistant, durable low thread count tires, all of which accounts for more rolling resistance. With both the same I suspect that you'll only notice one being faster than the other at the lower pressure ranges of the respective tires.

Many, if not most, tire models have a break point around 25 or 28 mm. Wider tires have low thread counts and lots of stiff sidewall rubber, while the narrower tires have higher thread counts and thinner, more flexible sidewalls. The thinner, more flexible tires will have noticeably lower rolling resistance, and they may soak up minor shock as well as the heavier tires, despite 5-10 psi higher pressure.


Try it, if you like it, buy some more in 2-3,000 miles. If not, switch back.
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Old 01-24-17, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
First of all, you are doing fine. Unless you are competing, just enjoy the ride. Or, challenge yourself and see how much faster your legs will take you.

I have a friend who rides an ancient road bike, and rides it fairly slowly. How slowly? I consider my rides with him purely leisure/recovery rides, and even at a leisurely 12 mph there are times when he has trouble keeping up. And it isn't just the tires. He rides a heavy, ancient bike. He sits up fairly high in the saddle, so not very aerodynamic. And he is getting up there in years.

He went to a local Trek/Bontrager shop to see about getting faster tires than the 27 x 1 1/4 Panaracer Urban Max commuter tires he currently runs. The guy at the shop got very excited about how much those porky Panaracers are slowing him down and how the difference would be huge, if he went to a narrow road tire. When my friend asked me I told him my son rides Panaracer Urban Max 32 mm on his hybrid and I cannot keep up with him when he puts the hammer down. I suggested he take any advice from a bike shop with a grain of salt.

At a certain point, if you are competing, switching out tires might make sense. Until then, just ride and see how much more speed you can get out of your legs.
Well, I'm fixing to be 62 years old and have to keep telling myself that I'm not in my 40s anymore. I feel great when I'm riding. I ride mainly for the cardio and to burn calories and because I love riding. I don't ever plan to ride in a competition. There's a lot of times with a 7 to 11 mph. tail wind I can get to 16 or 17 mph easily at an 80 cadence with out much pushing. An 11 mph. head wind and up, it kicks my a**. I just keep thinking that maybe I should max out this bike as best I can without spending hundreds of dollars. This bike is about 5 lbs lighter than the 2016 Trek Fx 7.1 I had. This bike also now has a carbon fiber fork which is lighter too. With this being said, I get around 1 mph. faster speed with this new FX3 than the older FX 7.1. I've been riding for right at 1 year now and am doing better than I ever thought I would.
All these comments help. I'm still learning a lot.

Last edited by Tommy1955; 01-24-17 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 01-24-17, 10:55 AM
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About 4mm.
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Old 01-24-17, 11:10 AM
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28 mm is doing pretty well for me on pavement and dirt roads. I can do pretty bad roads with them, 32s would be better on the worst rocky dirt roads, but 28 is fine.
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Old 01-24-17, 11:32 AM
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Oh, on my 32mm Paselas I run about 60-70 rear, and 40-50 front.
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Old 01-24-17, 11:51 AM
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& then there's - doesn't matter how fast we go, we'll always want to go faster ...

also, sometimes a measured speed increase is not as important as the perception of feeling faster

so when you switch, go to a "road" tire. meaning a tire with lower rolling resistance (& higher TPI) & if you're staying on pavement maybe go to a 25? there's a dedicated Trek FX forum/thread where some of those guys might have something to add

FWIW these are the tires I have now, for the road, got them based on reviews & info I got here on BF. I like them very much. I feel quite swift & they are not harsh or twitchy at 700x25

Michelin PRO4 Endurance Bicycle Tire 700x25 Black
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Old 01-24-17, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy1955 View Post
Well, I'm fixing to be 62 years old and have to keep telling myself that I'm not in my 40s anymore. I feel great when I'm riding. I ride mainly for the cardio and to burn calories and because I love riding. I don't ever plan to ride in a competition. There's a lot of times with a 7 to 11 mph. tail wind I can get to 16 or 17 mph easily at an 80 cadence with out much pushing. An 11 mph. head wind and up, it kicks my a**. I just keep thinking that maybe I should max out this bike as best I can without spending hundreds of dollars. This bike is about 5 lbs lighter than the 2016 Trek Fx 7.1 I had. This bike also now has a carbon fiber fork which is lighter too. With this being said, I get around 1 mph. faster speed with this new FX3 than the older FX 7.1. I've been riding for right at 1 year now and am doing better than I ever thought I would.
All these comments help. I'm still learning a lot.

I'm a similar age and I do the same type of riding you do. Based on all the info you've provided I'd actually recommend a bigger (but better) tire. The 28s will feel harsh. Why punish ourselves when we are riding for pleasure and not a race result?

You can buy a tire that is bigger (more comfort), More supple (more comfort and more efficient) and quite a bit lighter (faster). Have your cake and eat it too...best of both worlds.

Take a look at Schwalbe Kojaks (35mm) or if the budget allows, Compass tires in 32mm or 35mm.

The Compass 32mm tire would save you a HALF A POUND. That's four ounces of rotating mass removed from EACH wheel. I can tell you from experience that that type of weight reduction (from the wheels) will have a huge impact and your bike will "Feel" much faster. I can also tell you that the superior high TPI casing of the Compass and Schwalbe tires will offer a comfort difference that is night and day compared to your current tires.No exaggeration.

Heck, you could move up to a Compass 35mm tire and still save over 5 ounces. More comfort, more speed.

PS: I don't know how much you weigh but I suspect you are running WAY too much pressure. Especially in the front. There are studies and tests now that demonstrate that a hard harsh tire is actually slower than a tire inflated to a level that absorbs the road imperfections.

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Old 01-24-17, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
I'm a similar age and I do the same type of riding you do. Based on all the info you've provided I'd actually recommend a bigger (but better) tire. The 28s will feel harsh. Why punish ourselves when we are riding for pleasure and not a race result?

You can buy a tire that is bigger (more comfort), More supple (more comfort and more efficient) and quite a bit lighter (faster). Have your cake and eat it too...best of both worlds.

Take a look at Schwalbe Kojaks (35mm) or if the budget allows, Compass tires in 32mm or 35mm.

The Compass 32mm tire would save you a HALF A POUND. That's four ounces of rotating mass removed from EACH wheel. I can tell you from experience that that type of weight reduction (from the wheels) will have a huge impact and your bike will "Feel" much faster. I can also tell you that the superior high TPI casing of the Compass and Schwalbe tires will offer a comfort difference that is night and day compared to your current tires.No exaggeration.

Heck, you could move up to a Compass 35mm tire and still save over 5 ounces. More comfort, more speed.

PS: I don't know how much you weigh but I suspect you are running WAY too much pressure. Especially in the front. There are studies and tests now that demonstrate that a hard harsh tire is actually slower than a tire inflated to a level that absorbs the road imperfections.
I'm 5'6" and am 164 lbs. in weight. I may need to check into these tires. Do you know if they have any flat protection? The tires I'm using do have an inner lining for flat protection.
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Old 01-24-17, 12:28 PM
  #23  
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I'm using 25mm in front and 28mm aft most of the time. If roads get awful, such as in late Winter/Spring with lots of debris and even more potholes on roads, I prefer a 28mm on the front as well. My take is that a fatter tire will ride through or over poor road conditions, (sticks, gravel - what have you) easier and with more control than skinnier tires. I actually have a 28mm Specialized Turbo on the back right now but it measures 29 1/2 mm on a Velocity A23 rim. This tire is fine and long wearing. I expect to get 3500 miles out of it.
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Old 01-24-17, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
IF EVERYTHING ELSE IS EQUAL (and it never is), a wider tire will actually have lower rolling resistance. Your mechanic is wrong.

A narrower tire will both handle and require a little higher air pressure to keep from pinch flatting. The higher air pressure will also improve rolling resistance but at the expense of ride quality. The narrower tire also has less frontal area so it's more aero. In this case, people will tell you that 4mm is 12%, but it's still only 4mm. That's not very much.

Bottom line, they're tires and they're going to eventually wear out. Whatever you pick, you can undo next time.
bravo, well said.

my "race" bike has 25mm up front and 28mm rear. my commuter has 25 up front and 32 rear. I, like you, am big. Out of season (currently) I'm over 200lbs, and in peak season I'm around 190. I'd like to be less, but such is life. wider rear tires allow me to run much lower pressures and more even pressures across front/rear tires. the 32 on my commuter helps carry the weight of loaded panniers. otherwise, I don't "feel" the difference, especially when combined with all the other geometry, aero, and equipment differences of the frame and components are stacked up.

I generally feel that if you are a larger rider, get the widest tire that fits your frame comfortably, and feel free to go wider in the rear if frame geometry allows. put another way: when I sprint past my friends, tire width has nothing to do with it. if/when I get dropped, my tire width has absolutely nothing to do with it.
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Old 01-24-17, 12:38 PM
  #25  
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I'm interested in this because I currently have 25's on my bike, but want something a little wider for gravel. I'm planning on going up to 28's when my current tires wear out so I'll be a bit more stable on gravel roads. I have ridden my 25's on gravel and they seemed to do OK thanks to the two tire tracks we commonly have on our country roads, but if I come upon a road that's recently been graded or has a bunch of thick, loose gravel, I'm going to have a bit of difficulty on my narrow tires.
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