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Should I go with 700x28 or 700x32 for my 2016 Tarmac?

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Should I go with 700x28 or 700x32 for my 2016 Tarmac?

Old 03-19-20, 02:19 PM
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jdishner
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Should I go with 700x28 or 700x32 for my 2016 Tarmac?

I recently moved from Illinois to Maine, and the roads are much worse here; much smaller shoulders and lots more potholes and broken pavement, so I want to go with larger tires. I am currently using Specialized S-Works 70026 and I am going to buy Continental Gatorskins as I have had good luck with them in the past.
I'm attaching two pictures- what is on the back right now is a 700x23 that I use for my indoor trainer. The bike is a 2016 Specialized Tarmac Sport, it has Axis wheels (2.0 on the front, older equivalent version on the rear) and came with 70025 if I remember correctly. It looks like I have plenty of room for a 28 but now I'm wondering if I should try for a 32 because the roads are really bad here. Does anyone have firsthand knowledge of attempting this? Any recommendations of one size versus the other? Thank you in advance.

Front

Rear
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Old 03-19-20, 03:49 PM
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woodcraft
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I have 2008 Tarmac, & 32mm will definitely not fit- seat tube, chainstays.
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Old 03-19-20, 04:14 PM
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August West
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Can't help with your Tarmac but I ride a bunch of really bad roads around here and have settled on 32mm as my tire of choice. Running them at a lower pressure really helps smooth things out some. I normally run GP 4 Seasons which are similar to Gatorskins and have found they run much bigger than the stated size on my wheels. The 28c were 31-32 on my 22mm wide rims. The 32c are 33.25mm on my 19.5mm rims and 34mm on my 22mm rims. So as long as you have room OK but don't be surprised if they run bigger than advertised.
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Old 03-19-20, 08:10 PM
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A more supple tire, like a GP5000 would also help, Gatorskins are way too hard imo, unless you just absolutely need the puncture protection. Our pavement here is pretty bad, and I haven't had any issues with 28mm GP5Ks, ride and handle great. I'm thinking about trying 32's, but I have plenty of room on my bike.

As mentioned, your clearance pinch point probably isn't going to be the brakes, but rather the chainstays.
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Old 03-19-20, 11:26 PM
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I have 32mm GP 5000 TL on my gravel bike and they are comfortable. On my road bike I can only fit 25&28mm. The 32s are much more comfortable.
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Old 03-20-20, 01:06 AM
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That fork definitely does not look like it will take a 32mm, sadly. If it will, then definitely go 32mm, if not, then hopefully it at least takes a 28mm. That will be nice.
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Old 03-20-20, 07:05 AM
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WhyFi
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Going from a nice, supple 26 to a rides-like-**** 32 isn't going to help your overall ride quality much.

If you are looking for improvements in ride quality, because of cracks, seams, potholes, choppy pavement, go to a larger tire of the same or better quality, run at a lower PSI. If you also need flat protection, consider tubeless if your rims support it.

As has been mentioned previously, some tires will measure out differently than their nominal size. Some tire manufacturers, like Schwalbe, do have a 30mm options between 28 and 32mm, though, so you'll have a little better chance of maximizing your tire clearance with the smaller size increments.
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Old 03-20-20, 07:41 AM
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Lrdchaos
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I would run a 28 in a good quality tire like the gp5000, which I currently run and like really well, or a Schwalbe pro one.
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Old 03-20-20, 07:53 AM
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I'd also recommend a more better tire. While I have not ridden Gatorskins, everything in their spec tells me they will be a harsh riding tire compared to the "faster" more supple tires. I used to run Continental Ultra Sports and the difference in ride was amazing when I went to Vittoria Rubino Pro's. However they don't make that specific tire anymore and I'm not wanting to try their new version of that model. So I too am going to Continental GP 5000's which are on sale at bike closet. I'm happy with 25 mm tires though I thought hard about trying 28's.
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Old 03-20-20, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Going from a nice, supple 26 to a rides-like-**** 32 isn't going to help your overall ride quality much.
+1

I might go to the nearest LBS, and ask what the locals are using.

Gatorskins would be the last resort.
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Old 03-20-20, 08:38 AM
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Yes.
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Old 03-20-20, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Going from a nice, supple 26 to a rides-like-**** 32 isn't going to help your overall ride quality much.
^ Yup. I briefly used 32mm Gatorskins. I thought I could run them at lower pressure, but they felt terrible. Once pumped up firm, they felt terrible in a different way. Nowhere near as smooth riding as a suppler 28mm tire. And Gatorskins seem to run for about the same price as GP5k if you shop around, which is crazy.
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Old 03-20-20, 07:54 PM
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First of all a sincere "thank you" to everyone who took the time to read my question and type a response. I really appreciate all of your comments and insights, it's actually kind of heart warming to have this type of engagement around cycling with people I've never met.

That being said I looked at the chainstay on my bike and realized that would be the tightest point, so I think 28 is going to be as large as I can get away with. I used to ride on Gatorskins in Chicago because of the glass so that was my fallback but I am going to look into the GP5Ks that have been recommended by a few of you. I do want to ride as efficiently and quickly as possible, but need something tough enough to handle broken pavement and gravel spread on pavement, but not a lot of glass.

So thank you all again, I really appreciate your input, time, and assistance. Will update when I have finished the change.

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Old 03-20-20, 10:08 PM
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I think 28's are about as far as you'd want to go anyway. I know its popular these days to say higher volume tires are just as fast as lower volume tires but in my totally unscientific personal experience they aren't. If you want a little extra volume to combat rough roads and still want to ride fast 28's are a good choice. OK, everyone pile on.
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Old 03-21-20, 07:27 AM
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On my vintage steel frame racers I really like 28's. We also have some pretty bad roads here and the 28's seem to handle it well. I like the Bontragers on my Windsor Pro. I did Eroica California back in 2016 up in Paso Robles California and it was at least 30% dirt and gravel. I was able to power through quite well with very little slipping. Joe
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Old 03-21-20, 02:01 PM
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Consider michelin power endurance tires. They are very long wearing, with some extra puncture resistance, but still supple for a good ride.
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Old 03-21-20, 06:41 PM
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David in Maine
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I just got back from a ride on some of those Maine backroads you're talking about. Riding Compass extra light 28c on my Ti road bike. Handled the rough pavement pretty well. I have another bike running 650B x 42 which I use in the rain and if I plan to hit some off-road trails. The 28's definitely feel quicker, although it might be placebo. Come on up to Brunswick and join some Merrymeeting Wheelers group rides once the social distancing is relaxed!

David
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Old 03-21-20, 07:30 PM
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I am usually a 32+ tire guy but for fun I wanted to try a 28mm. Like David above, I purchased Compass Chinook Pass Extra Lights. Supple tires can give a nice ride but at the expense of durability. Kind of like pick your poison. The tires ride beautifully and I don't regret the expense.
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Old 03-23-20, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
I am usually a 32+ tire guy but for fun I wanted to try a 28mm. Like David above, I purchased Compass Chinook Pass Extra Lights. Supple tires can give a nice ride but at the expense of durability. Kind of like pick your poison. The tires ride beautifully and I don't regret the expense.
I've been riding the Compass extra light tire in the 32mm size. I was interested to see if I'd have durability problems because of the extra light and supple casing but so far so good. I'm probably at like 1500+ miles so far on them. My suspicion is that with the lower pressure and hence the larger contact page, the actual ground pressure at any given point on the tire that runs over something is lower, so a little less likely to stab on through the tire tread. They were expensive, that's for sure, but I was willing to try them out and see if they were worth it, and so far I've loved them.

The OP was asking about GatorSkins. I think given the photos of his chainstays and fork I think he's going to be very lucky if he can fit a 28mm tire, and I won't be surprised in the least if he's stuck at 25mm max. He may wish to try the GP5Ks as an alternative to the GatorSkins. I rode GatorSkins before I knew any better, but now I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than ride them. Unless the OP rides in an area where someone's riding directly in front of him spreading bushels of caltrops in his path, I'd think he should be able to ride something like a GP5K and be just fine. If I were putting together a bike to be used for casual commuting just a few miles each way on really crappy and garbage-strewn roads, and absolute reliability were the only priority, I might consider the Gatorskins, but for more recreational long-distance riding, no way.
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Old 03-23-20, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Consider michelin power endurance tires. They are very long wearing, with some extra puncture resistance, but still supple for a good ride.
+1

If you dont want to go tubeless, Power Endurance or Pro4 Endurance are a good choice.
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Old 03-29-20, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
A more supple tire, like a GP5000 would also help, Gatorskins are way too hard imo, unless you just absolutely need the puncture protection. Our pavement here is pretty bad, and I haven't had any issues with 28mm GP5Ks, ride and handle great. I'm thinking about trying 32's, but I have plenty of room on my bike.

As mentioned, your clearance pinch point probably isn't going to be the brakes, but rather the chainstays.
Thank you so much, I took your advice and ordered GP5000s in 28mm. Rode on them for the first time in the morning, they were amazing. Handled the rough pavement exceptionally well, almost shocking. Didn't have to worry about every little break, crack, loose gravel on the road, and bump. Didn't throw me around on the descents either.

Last edited by jdishner; 03-29-20 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 03-29-20, 08:35 AM
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jdishner
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Originally Posted by Lrdchaos View Post
I would run a 28 in a good quality tire like the gp5000, which I currently run and like really well, or a Schwalbe pro one.
Good advice, thank you. Loving the 28mm GP5ks.
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Old 03-29-20, 08:37 AM
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Good call, thank you for steering me away from the Gatorskins and for mentioning bikecloset. I used them to buy the GP5000s, a new light, and tubes. Bike Closet was great and the tires are awesome, thank you very much.
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Old 03-29-20, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by David in Maine View Post
I just got back from a ride on some of those Maine backroads you're talking about. Riding Compass extra light 28c on my Ti road bike. Handled the rough pavement pretty well. I have another bike running 650B x 42 which I use in the rain and if I plan to hit some off-road trails. The 28's definitely feel quicker, although it might be placebo. Come on up to Brunswick and join some Merrymeeting Wheelers group rides once the social distancing is relaxed!

David
Thanks David, once I get used to riding up and down all these hills and mountains and know I can keep up on a group ride (and the way things are right now have passed) I will be glad to come and ride with you.
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Old 03-29-20, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
I've been riding the Compass extra light tire in the 32mm size. I was interested to see if I'd have durability problems because of the extra light and supple casing but so far so good. I'm probably at like 1500+ miles so far on them. My suspicion is that with the lower pressure and hence the larger contact page, the actual ground pressure at any given point on the tire that runs over something is lower, so a little less likely to stab on through the tire tread. They were expensive, that's for sure, but I was willing to try them out and see if they were worth it, and so far I've loved them.

The OP was asking about GatorSkins. I think given the photos of his chainstays and fork I think he's going to be very lucky if he can fit a 28mm tire, and I won't be surprised in the least if he's stuck at 25mm max. He may wish to try the GP5Ks as an alternative to the GatorSkins. I rode GatorSkins before I knew any better, but now I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than ride them. Unless the OP rides in an area where someone's riding directly in front of him spreading bushels of caltrops in his path, I'd think he should be able to ride something like a GP5K and be just fine. If I were putting together a bike to be used for casual commuting just a few miles each way on really crappy and garbage-strewn roads, and absolute reliability were the only priority, I might consider the Gatorskins, but for more recreational long-distance riding, no way.
Thank you - you were absolutely right about the GP5KS, I rode them today and they were amazing. Also, thanks for the laugh, the sharp stick comment was good.
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