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wider vs narrower tires (again)

Old 11-03-10, 04:03 PM
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niakapa
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wider vs narrower tires (again)

I realize that this issue has been touched before, but I wanted to get people's reactions on this article on tire pressure and size: https://www.rivbike.com/article/components/tires The article pushes the idea that the current trend towards narrower tires is misplaced: they require high pressures and lose too much in comfort for small increase in speed.

The immediate context for me is that I am thinking of replacing the tires on my Trek 7.5FX and putting on Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. These would replace Bontrager racelite 700x32, which I like on flat pavement but find a bit jarring whenever I run into any unevenness, or have to go on the sidewalk occasionally. (I tried reducing the pressure to 95psi and that is indeed better. )

The question is whether to go for 700x32 in the supremes or 700x35 (which I understand is really 37 mm wide, also according to Schwalbe). I occasionally go on a packed dirt trail in town too.
Is the 35mm (really 37mm) going to be slower and not as much fun?

My bikes before the 7.5FX didnt have higher end tires, so the Bontrager racelite is my only experience with better tires.
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Old 11-03-10, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by niakapa View Post
I realize that this issue has been touched before, but I wanted to get people's reactions on this article on tire pressure and size: https://www.rivbike.com/article/components/tires The article pushes the idea that the current trend towards narrower tires is misplaced: they require high pressures and lose too much in comfort for small increase in speed.
Absolutely true unless you are a big time racer fighting wind resistance at constant speeds in excess of 22-23 mph.

Originally Posted by niakapa View Post
The immediate context for me is that I am thinking of replacing the tires on my Trek 7.5FX and putting on Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. These would replace Bontrager racelite 700x32, which I like on flat pavement but find a bit jarring whenever I run into any unevenness, or have to go on the sidewalk occasionally. (I tried reducing the pressure to 95psi and that is indeed better. )
Marathon Supremes are highly regarded by many, to the point they are the 'holy grail' of hybrid tires. I've never used them but you probably can't go wrong with them. The Bontrager Hardcase in 32c can take less than the 95psi you are currently using. if I remember correctly these tires take a max of 100psi. If it were me I would drop the pressures well below 95psi before springing for new tires. Because the Hardcase Race Lites are actually pretty good tires.

Originally Posted by niakapa View Post
The question is whether to go for 700x32 in the supremes or 700x35 (which I understand is really 37 mm wide, also according to Schwalbe). I occasionally go on a packed dirt trail in town too.
Is the 35mm (really 37mm) going to be slower and not as much fun?
You won't notice any difference in speed between 32c and 35c in the same tire. The 35c will not be slower and will actually be better on the packed dirt trail. Dirt trails, no matter how smooth, hate relatively high pressure tires ... and the skinnier they are the worse they will hate it.

Last edited by Talldog; 11-03-10 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 11-03-10, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by niakapa View Post
I realize that this issue has been touched before, but I wanted to get people's reactions on this article on tire pressure and size: https://www.rivbike.com/article/components/tires The article pushes the idea that the current trend towards narrower tires is misplaced: they require high pressures and lose too much in comfort for small increase in speed.

The immediate context for me is that I am thinking of replacing the tires on my Trek 7.5FX and putting on Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. These would replace Bontrager racelite 700x32, which I like on flat pavement but find a bit jarring whenever I run into any unevenness, or have to go on the sidewalk occasionally. (I tried reducing the pressure to 95psi and that is indeed better. )

The question is whether to go for 700x32 in the supremes or 700x35 (which I understand is really 37 mm wide, also according to Schwalbe). I occasionally go on a packed dirt trail in town too.
Is the 35mm (really 37mm) going to be slower and not as much fun?

My bikes before the 7.5FX didnt have higher end tires, so the Bontrager racelite is my only experience with better tires.
I will give you the results from real world testing, and I have read plenty of articles on this topic also. Here we
go, Schwinn Tourist 27 pounds, rider 184 , Cannondale F4 27 pounds with 185 pound rider, and ten pounds of extras, 700 x 28c on the Tourist which caliper out to 25c 100PSI , F4 26 x 1.95 Kendra Kwicks basically slicks in the middle 65 PSI. On about a 1 to 2 degree down hill, the 28c will roll just a little farther, AND I mean a little,
almost can not tell the difference, but they are faster. Now 700 x 38c Kendra Kouriers on a 32 pound bike with
10 pounds of extras, Now this bike has over 2000 miles on it, hubs been repacked, adjusted to perfection, 85 PSI
will out roll the 28c, easily, but the Tourist is new, and does not appear to be over tightened hubs etc..Now when the MTB tires were on the F4 and the over tightened hubs, the 28c dropped it like a hot rock..But the biggest
surprise was that when hubs adjusted, not tore down completely, and tires were changed to 1.95 basically
slicks, almost No difference ! Not enough to give up the versatility of the wider tires...These were home done test, but as fair as possible. So hubs and bearings play into this as much as the tire. Just My Personal Testing..
Richard

Last edited by xoxoxoxoLive; 11-03-10 at 05:25 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-03-10, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Talldog View Post
Absolutely true unless you are a big time racer fighting wind resistance at constant speeds in excess of 22-23 mph.



Marathon Supremes are highly regarded by many, to the point they are the 'holy grail' of hybrid tires. I've never used them but you probably can't go wrong with them. The Bontrager Hardcase in 32c can take less than the 95psi you are currently using. if I remember correctly these tires take a max of 100psi. If it were me I would drop the pressures well below 95psi before springing for new tires. Because the Hardcase Race Lites are actually pretty good tires.



You won't notice any difference in speed between 32c and 35c in the same tire. The 35c will not be slower and will actually be better on the packed dirt trail. Dirt trails, no matter how smooth, hate relatively high pressure tires ... and the skinnier they are the worse they will hate it.
I see the makings of a GOOD thread, if everyone will chime in on there own personal experiences about this.
Maybe we will all will learn something from this ! Richard : )
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Old 11-03-10, 06:33 PM
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Another link from that site

How to pick a tire:
https://www.rivbike.com/assets/full/0...ick_a_tire.pdf

I'll try lowering the pressure on the Race Lites some more.
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Old 11-03-10, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
I see the makings of a GOOD thread, if everyone will chime in on there own personal experiences about this.
Maybe we will all will learn something from this ! Richard : )
Don't go gettin' me in trouble now, Richard.
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Old 11-03-10, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Talldog View Post
Don't go gettin' me in trouble now, Richard.
You are one of the most humble posters on the forum ! It maybe me getting into trouble...( LOL ) Richard
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Old 11-04-10, 08:16 AM
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Here's my take on them - since I have been running Supremes for a few years now!

Go with the widest you can fit on the back - I run a 40 back there, at 92PSI. (I have a Crosstrail) Specialized 45s were OEM, and I notice no difference in comfort. I can't say the same for the 35s on the back, as they felt harsh. (Yes, I have more than 2 sets of both sizes)

On the front, the 40 Supreme felt the same as the OEM tire, just cornered better, and felt more planted.

Then, I tried the 35 on the front, and the bike was transformed. Steering was so much quicker and precise, and felt every bit as stable. I also run it at 92PSI, because that's where they roll the best! The 35 on the front is very comfortable.

Now, I'm absolutely sold on mixing sizes, to obtain comfort and load capacity with the wider rear, and notably improved steering and handling with the slightly narrower front. I lose no comfort with the narrower tire on the front, due to the rearward weight bias. I would not be afraid to try a 32 on the front - but am very happy with the 35 up there. I will keep a 40 on the rear, because of the notable comfort improvement, without sacrificing handling.

These tires really inspire confidence. I love wide tires at speed, as they really "grab" the road, never feeling twitchy.

In addition to the folders being light, they spin up fast, ride very nicely, have no transition zones since the "tread" wraps right around the side of the tire. The reflex sidewall is very bright. and traction wet or dry, is excellent. They wear very well, longer than anticipated.

At the risk of jinxing myself - the flat protection has been flawless, even though I have picked several flints out of the tread. (I used to average 2.5 flats a week one about every 100 miles!)

On an 18mm wide rim (internal), they measure within 1 mm of their stated width 700X35 (622-37) & 700X40(622-42), inflated. Mine measure extremely close to 35 and 40.

They are now my tire of choice - as well as the mix of sizes. Try the mix, by putting the widest you can on the back, with a narrower tire on the front, and I think you will be impressed.
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Old 11-04-10, 08:36 AM
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I recently switched from 700 x 28 Ultra Gatorskins to 700 x 32 Top Contacts. I normally ran the 28's at 110 PSIG in the rear and 100 on the front. I am running the Top Contacts at 85 PSIG on the rear and 80 on the front. I see no discernible difference in speed or effort but do see a difference (improvement with the Top Contacts) in comfort.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:42 AM
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I like the ride quality of my Michelin City 700x32s. Run them at 80psig.

Just sayin'. Don't have much experience with narrower tires as I've never seen the need to run narrower.
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Old 11-06-10, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Here's my take on them - since I have been running Supremes for a few years now!

Go with the widest you can fit on the back - I run a 40 back there, at 92PSI. (I have a Crosstrail) Specialized 45s were OEM, and I notice no difference in comfort. I can't say the same for the 35s on the back, as they felt harsh. (Yes, I have more than 2 sets of both sizes)

On the front, the 40 Supreme felt the same as the OEM tire, just cornered better, and felt more planted.

Then, I tried the 35 on the front, and the bike was transformed. Steering was so much quicker and precise, and felt every bit as stable. I also run it at 92PSI, because that's where they roll the best! The 35 on the front is very comfortable.

Now, I'm absolutely sold on mixing sizes, to obtain comfort and load capacity with the wider rear, and notably improved steering and handling with the slightly narrower front. I lose no comfort with the narrower tire on the front, due to the rearward weight bias. I would not be afraid to try a 32 on the front - but am very happy with the 35 up there. I will keep a 40 on the rear, because of the notable comfort improvement, without sacrificing handling.

These tires really inspire confidence. I love wide tires at speed, as they really "grab" the road, never feeling twitchy.

In addition to the folders being light, they spin up fast, ride very nicely, have no transition zones since the "tread" wraps right around the side of the tire. The reflex sidewall is very bright. and traction wet or dry, is excellent. They wear very well, longer than anticipated.

At the risk of jinxing myself - the flat protection has been flawless, even though I have picked several flints out of the tread. (I used to average 2.5 flats a week one about every 100 miles!)

On an 18mm wide rim (internal), they measure within 1 mm of their stated width 700X35 (622-37) & 700X40(622-42), inflated. Mine measure extremely close to 35 and 40.

They are now my tire of choice - as well as the mix of sizes. Try the mix, by putting the widest you can on the back, with a narrower tire on the front, and I think you will be impressed.
Interesting, on my GT I have a Specialized Nimbus 26x1.5 on the front, and Bontrager Select Invert 2.0 on the rear, just because it's what I had lying around. I'm happy with it, although I haven't messed around with other tires on it so I don't know how other combos compare.

I think just the effort of trying to remove the Racelite Hardcases would be enough to get me to leave them on. I could remove and put back on my Select Invert 50 times in the time it takes to do it once with those hardcases, and I don't even think that's exaggerating...
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Old 11-06-10, 03:35 AM
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Can I ask why everyone is running such high pressures? I pump my 32-35 tires up to 60psi in the back and 40 in the front. Am I missing something? What are the benefits of such high pressures for city riding/commuting, etc.?
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Old 11-06-10, 06:43 AM
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I can only speak for me - but my 92PSI, in my Supremes (85PSI tires), really roll fantastically at that pressure. It is very noticeable, as the bike just rolls effortlessly. This pressure is the best, for me, as higher yields no noticeable difference...... Found by trial and error, while, actually, experimenting with "lower" pressures! Front 700X35, rear 700X40.

By the weigh, I top out at 190#, bike about 40# ..... You may be different!
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Old 11-06-10, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich View Post
Can I ask why everyone is running such high pressures? I pump my 32-35 tires up to 60psi in the back and 40 in the front. Am I missing something? What are the benefits of such high pressures for city riding/commuting, etc.?
Because that is what road racers do.

The reason racers do it is because higher pressures always lower the rolling resistance of a tire. However above a certain point the decrease in rolling resistance with pressure becomes very small while the decrease in ride comfort becomes very large. Tire engineers recommend that you run your tires at the pressure where the height of the tire drops about 15% when the normal load is applied. This gives you the best balance of grip, handling, comfort, and rolling resistance. The pressure will vary with the weight so the pressures you run may be perfect for you. You can see an article about this here. You might run at higher speeds with higher pressures, that is the only benefit.

Ken
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Old 11-06-10, 08:01 PM
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I like narrow high pressure tires. I like the decreased rolling resistance. I don't know if it's because I can go faster with the same effort or because I can go the same speed with less effort. Probably more of the latter. Concerning comfort, the only significant discomfort I feel when riding is in my legs and lungs. Decreased rolling resistance correlates with increased comfort for me.
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Old 11-09-10, 06:52 AM
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3 Different style tires...
Richard : )
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Old 11-09-10, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by khutch View Post
Because that is what road racers do.
or, because at 240lbs I don't much like pinch flats?
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Old 11-09-10, 09:19 AM
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In all honesty - I can't tell much difference between 75-85# on my tires; but, the difference in roll, between that, and 92# is remarkable. No difference abopve that pressure was noted.

Conversely, the comfort level is the same, as they seem to ride comfortably between 70 and the 92 I currently keepin them. The biggest comfort changer is tire width on the back. 35s were harsh; while 40s and 45s are "smooth."

Wjile I was running those Specialized tires (45s) there didn't seem to be any difference in "roll" between 70-95, and they were comfortable everywhere = they just liked to flat a lot, and the Supremes were better in every measureable way.
s
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Old 11-09-10, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
or, because at 240lbs I don't much like pinch flats?
Yes, that is why you do it and a perfectly valid reason it is. But, that does not explain why everyone does it.

Ken
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Old 11-09-10, 10:37 AM
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My observations: My hybrid came with 700 x 32C Kenda tires. I liked the ride but I wondered if they were slowing me down. After several flats I switched to Schwalbe Marathon Pluses in 700 x 25C. They were faster... a little. But it came at the expense of handling and comfort. The just didn't seem to grabin the corners. Inflated to 100+ psi, they were hard was rocks and didn't seem willing to bite in the corners; I always felt like I was about ready to slide. The reality might have been different, but I just didn't trust them and slowed down in the corners. Also, I felt every little crack, bump and pebble in the road. I recently switched to Marathon Supremes in 700x 35C and maybe I'm a few minutes slower on my hour+ commute, but these tires FEEL so much better. I'm taking the corners much more agressively, and I can hit the little bumps in the road without jaw-jarring jolts. Maybe they don't accelerate as quickly, but once I get them up to speed they just kind of hum along. For a hybrid I can't see going back to 25s.
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Old 11-10-10, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich View Post
Can I ask why everyone is running such high pressures? I pump my 32-35 tires up to 60psi in the back and 40 in the front. Am I missing something? What are the benefits of such high pressures for city riding/commuting, etc.?
If the pressures are too low, you risk pinch flats, and rim damage, aside from the higher energy needs to keep the bike rolling. You don't want to go too low, just like you don't want to go too high.

I have skinny tires (700x25) and I keep my pressures around 110 up front, 115-120 in the back. I like the decreased rolling resistance, a smooth ride isn't as important as the trail system out where I live is excellent.
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Old 11-10-10, 04:10 PM
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Update: tried the switch

I am the OP in this thread. Thanks to all who responded. I tried the Bontrager hard cases at 80lb as was suggested earlier on. The comfort was better but the bike (Trek 7.5FX) lost some of its lively feel and also the rolling resistance seemed higher.

I decided to go ahead and splurge for the Schwalbe Supremes 700x35. After trying them for one day, I am sold. The comfort is much increased and the sporty feel is still there (the acceleration seems as good as the hardcases at high pressure). I am running them at 80lb (the rated maximum is 85). I weigh 150lb.

I think the supremes are a worthwhile upgrade for the Trek 7.5FX. Does anybody have any use for a pair of 700x32 hardcases (with matching inner tubes)? Used on paved roads about 3 months.
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Old 11-11-10, 10:40 AM
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My bike ain't exactly a hybrid but I use it as such. So I changed from the MTB tires to a 26X1.95 smoothy and that was good but noisy. Now I'm using Kenda 26X1.5 and they are quiet but I can't say at all faster(don't care). Typically I pump to 80% to 95% of the rated pressure or as close as I can read on my floor pump gauge. I like the way these feel and they have put my mind at ease so now I just consentrate on my riding and not the bike.
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Old 11-18-10, 07:08 PM
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Source for marathon supremes

FYI:

When I recently got the Marathon Supremes, I noted that they are kind of hard to get off the internet; most sources list them as out of stock. Here is a good source: https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/

Even with a shipping of $8 per tire to the US, their prices are pretty good. The tires arrived within a few days. When there was a problem with my order, customer service dealt with it promptly.

Last edited by niakapa; 11-19-10 at 10:02 AM.
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