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23 Skiddoo!

Old 08-09-22, 06:41 AM
  #1  
BobbyG
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23 Skiddoo!

I just rode on 700x23 tires for the first time in a dozen years, and it was not what I expected.

I recently bought a lightweight road bike, an aluminum/carbon Felt F65 (2002-2006), to eventually replace my 1984 Nishiki International. The Nishiki is pretty banged and bodged up. Although I have three dedicated commuters with fenders and racks (2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer & 2007 Dahon Boardwalk) I still like to take a road bike to work for variety. The old Nishiki was okay for parking in an unused room like I did at my old job. But at the new job, the only indoor parking is in my office, in plain sight behind my desk. When I started I upgraded the space from its casual dorm-room/cave motif, and although the Felt is almost 20 years old, it is at least of this century and is office presentable as are the Charge and the Dahon.

When I acquired the Nishiki in 2009 it wore 700x23 tires which I kept at 100psi. The ride was jarring and harsh in one way, but supple in another thanks to the very flexible thin steel frame, especially the seat and chain stays. But eventually I switched to the biggest tires that would fit...28s which really softened the ride.

The Felt F65 wouldn't accept the 28s, but that's okay because the fork, seat post and seat-stay are carbon fiber. The frame is aluminum (except for the seat stay). But the carbon really soaks up the sharp hits and road chatter in a way I didn't expect. and when I first rode it, I knew it wouldn't beat me up. I also am running the tires at 90 psi for now. And it came with a non-OEM slightly padded seat with a cutout which makes my 60-year-old butt happy.

Yesterday I rode it to the office for the first time. I don't have a speedometer yet ,so while it felt much faster that may just be the road chatter of the 23s talking. I didn't have lights on it yet, but I have lights on my helmet. I also won't be putting a mirror on it, as I have a glasses mounted mirror. I also didn't have the bottle holders on yet. But I did mount an AirZound airhorn which came in handy a couple of times in traffic.

As with the rackless Nishiki International, I wore my backpack to the office. I can't wait till the weekend when I can go for an extended ride without my commute bag.

Thanks for letting me share...my wife is tired of hearing about it.


Last edited by BobbyG; 08-09-22 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-09-22, 07:00 AM
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I run 700 x 23s, and may go narrower. I run my tires at a much higher pressure, much to the consternation of many on this board. Enjoy the light and responsive ride! It's a pretty cool looking bike.
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Old 08-09-22, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
I run 700 x 23s, and may go narrower. I run my tires at a much higher pressure, much to the consternation of many on this board.
Ride your ride and enjoy what works for you...and share it! That's one of the great things about bikeforums!
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Old 08-09-22, 01:04 PM
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Not sure what the point of this post is other than you needed to share with us because your wife no longer wants to listen to you.
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Old 08-10-22, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I just rode on 700x23 tires for the first time in a dozen years, and it was not what I expected.

The Felt F65 wouldn't accept the 28s, but that's okay because the fork, seat post and seat-stay are carbon fiber. The frame is aluminum (except for the seat stay). But the carbon really soaks up the sharp hits and road chatter in a way I didn't expect. and when I first rode it, I knew it wouldn't beat me up. I also am running the tires at 90 psi for now. And it came with a non-OEM slightly padded seat with a cutout which makes my 60-year-old butt happy.

Yesterday I rode it to the office for the first time. I don't have a speedometer yet ,so while it felt much faster that may just be the road chatter of the 23s talking.
Lots of people (like SMD4) think that the feeling of harsher tires is faster. The Pro Peleton and all their mechanics thought this for decades until the research proved them wrong. When you wear out these 23mm tires, try 25mm if they will fit. Every bit wider helps with improved comfort and traction, longer tire wear, and no penalty in rolling resistance. The data don't lie.
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Old 08-10-22, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
Lots of people (like SMD4) think that the feeling of harsher tires is faster. The Pro Peleton and all their mechanics thought this for decades until the research proved them wrong. When you wear out these 23mm tires, try 25mm if they will fit. Every bit wider helps with improved comfort and traction, longer tire wear, and no penalty in rolling resistance. The data don't lie.
Yup. 32s are even faster. The harsh jarring of those thin tires slows you down more than you think.
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Old 08-10-22, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
Lots of people (like SMD4) think that the feeling of harsher tires is faster. The Pro Peleton and all their mechanics thought this for decades until the research proved them wrong. When you wear out these 23mm tires, try 25mm if they will fit. Every bit wider helps with improved comfort and traction, longer tire wear, and no penalty in rolling resistance. The data don't lie.
Then why not just ride a mountain bike? Most of you guys are basically converting your thoroughbred racing bikes to hybrids anyways.

But anyway, that's not what I think at all, KerryIrons. I actually LIKE the feeling of narrower, higher-pressure tires. I like the feeling of responsiveness and non-sluggishness. I have no interest in going fast--I enjoy leisurely rides. But I do know that true racing bikes weren't built to be "comfortable."
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Old 08-10-22, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Yup. 32s are even faster. The harsh jarring of those thin tires slows you down more than you think.
You're right--I can barely break a brisk walking speed!
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Old 08-10-22, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Yup. 32s are even faster. The harsh jarring of those thin tires slows you down more than you think.
Depends on how smooth the road is, doesnít it?
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Old 08-10-22, 10:07 AM
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I've not been on 23's in a while, but I like riding 25's on a couple of my bikes. I no longer max out the psi, around 15% under, or so. I enjoy the feeling of the skinny tires occasionally, feels like what a fast road bike was supposed to feel like for so long, fast and agile. and comfortable on good pavement. I believe one does get a sense of more feedback from the road surface. I do not want ride skinnies all the time, but I like it for a change of pace.
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Old 08-10-22, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Then why not just ride a mountain bike? Most of you guys are basically converting your thoroughbred racing bikes to hybrids anyways.

But anyway, that's not what I think at all, KerryIrons. I actually LIKE the feeling of narrower, higher-pressure tires. I like the feeling of responsiveness and non-sluggishness. I have no interest in going fast--I enjoy leisurely rides. But I do know that true racing bikes weren't built to be "comfortable."
So the question is whether you don't understand or you are just willfully misrepresenting what is going on. The research clearly shows that wider tires (not MTB tires) can be just as fast as narrower tires but offer more comfort, better traction, and longer tire life. If you like being beat up by narrow tires pumped to high pressures, knock yourself out. But don't try to convince folks that this is somehow "better." You might take notice that racing bikes, as ridden by the pros, are now using wider tires. But don't let facts get in the way of your beliefs.
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Old 08-10-22, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
So the question is whether you don't understand or you are just willfully misrepresenting what is going on.
What am I misrepresenting? That I like the feel of narrow, high-pressure tires? So I'm misrepresenting things to myself? Got it.

Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
The research clearly shows that wider tires (not MTB tires) can be just as fast as narrower tires but offer more comfort, better traction, and longer tire life.
Why can't we include MTB tires? Surely, if wider and lower pressures rule, they must be the best, by definition. And who are you to say I'm not comfortable? Presumptuous much? And I have no problem replacing tires when they wear out. This isn't a hobby for the cheap, and if you can't afford certain things--like tires--you shouldn't be running with the big dogs. Traction has never been a problem for me, either.

Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
If you like being beat up by narrow tires pumped to high pressures, knock yourself out.
Why do you presume that I am being "beaten up?" Stop imagining that you know what's right for EVERYONE.

Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
But don't try to convince folks that this is somehow "better." You might take notice that racing bikes, as ridden by the pros, are now using wider tires. But don't let facts get in the way of your beliefs.
The pros were racing on 25mm tires in a lot of the TdF. That's pretty narrow in your book. And I don't need to convince anyone of anything--except to get off other peoples' back who may not enjoy cycling EXACTLY LIKE YOU DO!

Last edited by smd4; 08-10-22 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 08-10-22, 10:36 AM
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'Wider is faster' depends on the 2 tires compared, inflated pressure and the road surface ridden.

25 or 27mm should be faster than 23s on paved road conditions, but some people have extrapolated that to say 32, 35, 38mm are faster - even when run at much lower pressures. On paved surfaces.

How wide are tires designed for wooden track races?
Don't think they are running 700X48mm @ 25psi, but maybe I'm wrong. . The rider probably would 'feel better' after racing 48s @25psi, .

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Old 08-10-22, 10:46 AM
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I took the 23mm tires off my wife's bike which she generally rode at 95/100psi, and installed 25mm tires and pumped them up to 85/90 psi. She didn't notice the tire change (same brand and model, just different widths) and she asked me what I did to make her bike so much faster.
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Old 08-10-22, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
How wide are tires designed for wooden track races?
They probably only have tires because the rules say they have to. I kid, mostly. But at some level of skinny and pressure you might as well have an o-ring.

I find carbon bike parts "stiff and dead," they don't vibrate but they don't absorb that first hit any more than anything else. Also BobbyG's bike is a proper road bike with light and skinny parts that can flex. The fork on my gravel bike is a cargo hauling beast for 3-pack or low rider racks and disc brake so it probably needs that 43mm tire because it's never gonna be "whippy." Which is how you start making the case for suspension forks on gravel bikes... but that's a different thread
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Old 08-10-22, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
But at some level of skinny and pressure you might as well have an o-ring.
Obviously pneumatic tires behave and feel vastly differently--even if pumped to high pressures--than a solid rubber ring. And they are obviously far, far lighter.
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Old 08-10-22, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Obviously pneumatic tires behave and feel vastly differently--even if pumped to high pressures--than a solid rubber ring. And they are obviously far, far lighter.
You are not imagining a skinny enough o-ring
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Old 08-10-22, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Why can't we include MTB tires? Surely, if wider and lower pressures rule, they must be the best, by definition. And who are you to say I'm not comfortable? Presumptuous much? And I have no problem replacing tires when they wear out. This isn't a hobby for the cheap, and if you can't afford certain things--like tires--you shouldn't be running with the big dogs. Traction has never been a problem for me, either.

Why do you presume that I am being "beaten up?" Stop imagining that you know what's right for EVERYONE.

The pros were racing on 25mm tires in a lot of the TdF. That's pretty narrow in your book. And I don't need to convince anyone of anything--except to get off other peoples' back who may not enjoy cycling EXACTLY LIKE YOU DO!
MTB tires, very wide with knobbies, are completely irrelevant. But of course you know that. By definition a higher pressure results in a rougher ride. You just don't want to acknowledge that. I ride on 25 mm tires, that mount at 28 mm. It's a big step from 23 mm. 10-15 psi lower pressure, and maybe more.
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Old 08-10-22, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
By definition a higher pressure results in a rougher ride. You just don't want to acknowledge that.
I ACKNOWLEDGE IT ALREADY!! How often do I have to say I LIKE THAT FEELING! I WANT to feel EVERY INPERFECTION in the road! Why don't you want to acknowledge that some people prefer a different ride than you? That some people prefer a Ferrari to a Cadillac?

So let's move on to the next topic: My largest sprocket is 23T. Go:
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Old 08-10-22, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by darth lefty View Post
you are not imagining a skinny enough o-ring
Got me. :d
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Old 08-10-22, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
So let's move on to the next topic: My largest sprocket is 23T. Go:
Indeed, thatís way too big. An 18 should suffice. 😀

Otto
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Old 08-10-22, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Indeed, thatís way too big. An 18 should suffice. 😀
I run a 9-speed, starting at 12T, so I can only go as low as 20.
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Old 08-10-22, 01:15 PM
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If you insist on skinny tires and high pressure, then do it the right way and switch to tubulars. Skinny clinchers = an evolutionary dead-end.
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Old 08-10-22, 01:39 PM
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Love the photo - bike looks great
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Old 08-10-22, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
If you insist on skinny tires and high pressure, then do it the right way and switch to tubulars. Skinny clinchers = an evolutionary dead-end.
WAY too much of a pain!

Besides, why would I do that when I get 90% of the benefit as-is? Why would I want to spend money for new rims, new tubulars, new spokes, glue, spend time building the wheels and truing them? I've got enough NOS tires to last me the duration, and tubes are cheap. I may be crazy, but I'm not insane. But thanks for the "suggestion."
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