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What's the current thinking on optimal tire width for rough paved roads?

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What's the current thinking on optimal tire width for rough paved roads?

Old 04-23-17, 12:53 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by therealjoeblow
I don't understand this logic at all.

If it's flat, it won't make any difference if it's 25 or 28 (or 32mm for that matter). It will come out without pulling a brake pad.

When you reinstall it, put it back on BEFORE you inflate it.

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Doah! Never thought of that. Simple solution. Just need to remember to do that--I change tires more often than patch tubes.
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Old 04-23-17, 01:06 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
Why aren't triathletes on 53mm tires if testing found no difference in watts required to go a certain speed?
There's no point, and appropriate equipment doesn't exist anyway. The fastest road bike that I could possibly build with 23mm tires would having me cruising a bit faster on them than my 53s, since there exists aero racing equipment designed around 23mm tires. Also, the high speeds of time trialing would probably increase the favorability of narrowness.

I'm not saying that 53mm tires perform the same as 23mm tires in all setups and circumstances. I'm saying it's complicated, and that in most circumstances the effects of width are much smaller than they're often made out to be.

Why are the really fast xc mountain bikers running narrower and higher pressure tires than one would expect?
What would one expect?

The extreme accelerations in MTB should be expected to put much higher priority on rotating mass than most road riding. Also, on a micro level, the surface of many XC courses isn't all that rough.

Yet 150-pound riders are frequently running 2" tires.

Lastly, remember that Jan Heine is European and an academic, so the capitalist motivations that would normally be easy to paint someone running both a tire reseller as well as tire testing publication do not apply.
BQ's early tire tests were published four years before Heine got into the business of selling bicycle equipment, so the conflict of interest is somewhat fuzzy there. Obviously that's not the case with the recent stuff, which is part of why I qualified that my own experiences seem in line with it.

Last edited by HTupolev; 04-23-17 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 04-23-17, 01:33 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
It seems like there should be a consensus for a curve representing width, speed and vibrations. It would have saved me a lot of effort and experimenting over the last 8-10 years.
We were waiting for you to finish testing and let us know your conclusions ....
Originally Posted by wphamilton
So when I liked the narrower tires better, I was mostly liking the higher quality tires I was migrating to and the more supple casings. I now have 25's on my road bike and 23's on my commuter, decent but by no means quality tires. When I wear them out I'll be full circle back to 28's but I'll get the best quality I can without choking on the price tag.
I am actually in the middle of this comparison. I have three grades of 23-mm tires, ranging from double-digit TPI to 290, on three bikes. depending on wear, durability (puncture resistance) and ride ...

I also have cheap 28s on my touring bike. I really cannot compare because that whole bike is so different ... but if I do learn anything ... I will publish my findings.

I wonder of I can convince my wife that I need a new bike in the interest of science .....
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Old 04-23-17, 02:34 PM
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23mm tops or go home. I think I have some 18/19mm around here somewhere.

J
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Old 04-24-17, 06:29 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain
23mm tops or go home. I think I have some 18/19mm around here somewhere.

J
Sorry, ur ancient tires are no good. Zipp now recomends 25mm.
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Old 04-27-17, 07:29 PM
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I've found 32s to be the sweet spot.
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Old 04-27-17, 07:43 PM
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I currently have Giant P-X2 700-35 tires on. I'll be switching in about two weeks for Continental Grand Prix 4000 II 700-28 tires. I'll be able to compare then. Some of the roads I take a pretty rough.
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Old 04-27-17, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy
Sorry, ur ancient tires are no good. Zipp now recomends 25mm.
They would not fit.

J
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Old 04-27-17, 09:50 PM
  #34  
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My current commuter bike is a long wheelbase recumbent with Michelin 26x 1.4 wild run'r tires and that combo is not overkill for the worst sections of crappy Indy road surfaces that I encounter.
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Old 04-27-17, 11:24 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by catgita
The wider the tire, the fewer the flats. I used to ride puncture resistant skinny, hard tires, just like everyone else. I averaged a flat every 100-200 miles year round. Basically 2-3 a month, shredded in 6 months. I now use 42mm Compass tires for daily commuting, and have not had a flat in over 6000 miles. A record for me, several times over, and these are not at all "puncture resistant" construction. No cuts or sidewall damage either. The narrowest tire I use now on the road is 38mm, which transitions to gravel just fine.
That is a lot of flats. I suppose I used to get quite a few before I could get puncture resistant tires. It is hard to say now, maybe a flat ever one or two thousand miles. Multiple causes. Sometimes pinch flats, sometimes wires or glass. It seems like any 500 mile ride or so will have at least one flat. But, otherwise, I can go months without a flat. 100 to 200 miles would mean a flat once a week, or about every third short ride.
Originally Posted by Maelochs
The heavier the tire, the fewer the flats perhaps .... not sure how many fewer, either. A radial tire wire can go through anything, as can a nail or screw. Maybe if yo have a really thick casing you might get fewer glass punctures.

Thing is, I can feel the weight of the fat tires, and the general inefficiency of high-volume tires---to me at least they feel like they absorb more energy. Particularly in a commuting setting where A.) I am always carrying a load and B.) there tend to be more stops for turns and traffic, reaccelerating those big, heavy balloons seemed to take an awful lot of energy.
I can't remember ever picking up a nail or a screw. They certainly aren't high on my list of things to worry about. Glass, radial wires, really sharp bumps, etc are much more of a problem.

I don't put a lot of miles on wider tires, so it is hard to do a good comparison. However, really thick rubber can hold a lot of glass without punctures. At least that is Schwalbe's Marathon Plus theory. However, I do have a theory that the thicker the material, the bigger the slashes. One of my biggest pieces of glass I picked up was in a brand new Marathon Plus, which eventually led to the premature demise of that tire. I have a Tannus solid tire I've been experimenting with on my winter bike. More or less a homogenouos solid rubber/foam all the way through, and it has some big/deep cuts.

===============

As far as the tire size, it depends on personal preference, weight, terrain, etc. I tend to ride a mix of 23mm and 25mm tires. Sometimes 23mm on the front, 25 on the rear. I don't particularly like chipseal (mostly pea gravel size), but I do put a lot of miles on it.
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Old 04-28-17, 05:01 AM
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Tire construction is at least as important as size, as long as you aren't comparing 23 to 35's or something. One of my vintage bikes has 27 inch wheels with 1 1/4 Paselas, which equates to a 32c. They're 66tpi with a soft sidewall. Two other bikes have 27c Vittoria Open Paves. They're open tubular tires with 320tpi. I run them all at 60/70psi (I weigh 170). I ride rough chipseal roads and really the open tubulars are smoother.

I never get flats, my last one was three years ago. The same time I started running lower pressures. I used to run @ 75/90ish and flatted on a regular basis.
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Old 04-28-17, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by blue192
I actually prefer 35~38 in terms of tire width. Nice and comfy for the bumps and I know I can stop at the supermarket etc to do some shopping along the commute in addition to carrying all the work stuff.


^this. Right in the sweet spot using a durable tire like Schwalbe Marathon Plus. It'll handle uneven transition strips and other obstacles well. Of course, that's for every day riding...
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Old 04-28-17, 06:17 AM
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Last fall I put WTB Horizon tires on one of my commuter bikes. They are so-called "road plus" tires at 47 mm wide on 650b rims. I love the result. Super comfortable on some of the bad pavement that I ride. I've run them as low as 20 psi, but 30 psi seems a little better for where I ride.

If I hadn't had the 650b rims laying around, I'd have gone with 36 or 38 mm tires, which can fit the bike while still leaving room for the fenders. It's not just a rough pavement thing. Wider tires increase cornering stability. That was actually the first thing I noticed going out on my first test ride.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain
They would not fit.

J
I can't remember what tires I ran in the 80's. IMO those machines rode like crap but sure looked pretty

As far as tires are concerned, The widest tire the frame will accept and then dial the pressure for speed vs comfort. IMO

Comparing different brands of tires is VERY difficult and subjective. ie - Some people rave about how good Gatorskins are but my experience is that they are rough, slow and have very weak sidewalls. I love michelin pro4's for speed with great durability as well as bontrager aw-3 hardcase (slightly slower)for similar reasons whereas some really dislike those.

This site lists many different tires where they tested rolling resistance and puncture resistance. Forgive me if this is a repost. Bicycle Rolling Resistance | Rolling Resistance Tests
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