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23 v. 25 vs. 28 mm tire width?

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23 v. 25 vs. 28 mm tire width?

Old 05-13-21, 09:22 AM
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motopokep
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23 v. 25 vs. 28 mm tire width?

I'm looking at a tire that comes in two widths, 25 or 23 mm. What is the most widely used tire width for road cycling? I understand the thinner the tire, the less contact with the road = more speed. The thicker the tire = better handling on unpaved surfaces. Why would someone want the "thicker" 25 mm or even a 28 mm tire? I don't imagine having to ride on any gravel or grass, should I go with a 23 mm tire?

Aside from performance, how does width affect stability and durability (in terms of getting flats)? Also, will a 23 mm tire fit all standard 700cc rims that come with a 28 mm stock tire?
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Old 05-13-21, 09:38 AM
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If you do a search I think you will find information that suggests the old "narrow tire = faster speed" belief is no longer considered to be accurate.
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Old 05-13-21, 09:44 AM
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If you ride one till they wear out then try the same model tire in the other width, then you'll know first hand.

It wasn't much to talk about when I tried it as some have made the great debate sound.


As for the size rims, it depends on the internal width of your rims. But a rim with an internal width of 15 mm will probably fit all of those tires with no issue.

Last edited by Iride01; 05-13-21 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 05-13-21, 11:18 AM
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just do the 25.
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Old 05-13-21, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by motopokep View Post
I'm looking at a tire that comes in two widths, 25 or 23 mm. What is the most widely used tire width for road cycling? I understand the thinner the tire, the less contact with the road = more speed. The thicker the tire = better handling on unpaved surfaces. Why would someone want the "thicker" 25 mm or even a 28 mm tire? I don't imagine having to ride on any gravel or grass, should I go with a 23 mm tire?

Aside from performance, how does width affect stability and durability (in terms of getting flats)? Also, will a 23 mm tire fit all standard 700cc rims that come with a 28 mm stock tire?
I used to believe that, too. So did most of the road cycling world. It turns out that it's not exactly true, especially if you are riding on imperfect surfaces (like a typical street).

If you're willing to make the effort to learn a little more about it, this is something that was helpful when I was trying to wrap my head around it... https://cyclingtips.com/2016/08/cycl...-and-pressures.

As a racer-boy from the early 2000s, I used to run 23mm at 110psi all the time. I'm currently on 25mm tubeless at 80/85psi, and they're very good. I'm curious to try 28s, but I don't know if they will fit on my bike.

Last edited by Eric F; 05-13-21 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 05-13-21, 11:28 AM
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This is for the Eurobike?
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Old 05-13-21, 12:03 PM
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Lots of variables to consider: riding style, rider weight, road quality, rim width, tubeless vs clincher,bike type etc. These days for the solo recreational riding I do, I use the widest tires I can comfortably fit on my 2 bikes, so 25c on one and 30c or 28c on the other. In general wider tires can run lower pressures so they give a plusher ride and are better suited for poor roads and even light dirt.
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Old 05-13-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
This is for the Eurobike?
Some people are determined to find out just how much lipstick one can put on a pig.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:11 PM
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I'm running 26 (thank you Pirelli) on my bike. A little wider at a lower PSI does offer some additional comfort. On rolling resistance, the data suggests that at similar PSI, wider tires have lower rolling resistance. If you run them at a little lower PSI for comfort, some of that advantage goes away. The reality is that most of us mere mortals won't be terribly affected by the minimal difference in rolling resistance from running a little lower PSI. I can say my 26mm tires set up tubeless running 70-75 PSI are about as comfortable as the 28mm tubed running 80 that I had on before, though the wheels are different.

In short, no, you do not need to run 23s - I wouldn't recommend it. You'd be more comfortable and just as fast on 25s or 28s, provided you lower your pressure within guidelines.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:24 PM
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I can’t understand this never ending topic of increasing road tire width. I ride 23 mm for years on not perfect roads. First clinchers, then tubeless since last year. Around 85 kg “system” (rider+bike). 90/80 PSI back/front tire. Never had a pinch after some 50000 km. I’m absolutely sure that even at 80 / 70 PSI (which I surely had 10-20% of time, after 5-6 days of not inflating the tires), I’m still far from taking a pinch. I could go even further down with the pressure without a pinch, but I really don’t need it.

Besides, in terms of aero - drag, increasing tire width might not be optimal on shallow rims (e.g.: if tire profile exceeds rim width). So, I think the whole system rim-tire can make a difference, but the gains/loses in performance are hard to monitor and imperceptible for amateurs rides.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ericcox View Post
I'm running 26 (thank you Pirelli) on my bike. A little wider at a lower PSI does offer some additional comfort. On rolling resistance, the data suggests that at similar PSI, wider tires have lower rolling resistance. If you run them at a little lower PSI for comfort, some of that advantage goes away. The reality is that most of us mere mortals won't be terribly affected by the minimal difference in rolling resistance from running a little lower PSI. I can say my 26mm tires set up tubeless running 70-75 PSI are about as comfortable as the 28mm tubed running 80 that I had on before, though the wheels are different.

In short, no, you do not need to run 23s - I wouldn't recommend it. You'd be more comfortable and just as fast on 25s or 28s, provided you lower your pressure within guidelines.
As I understand it, the increased absorption of road imperfections afforded by a wider tire at lower pressure makes up for the small increase in rolling resistance. In other words, smooth is fast. That said, there is a tipping point where too squishy starts to be detrimental to the net result.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:45 PM
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The entire road cycling world moved away from 23s starting about 10 years ago. There's a reason. Actually there are a lot of reasons.
I ride 28s.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:48 PM
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I feel like this was a big and hotly debated topic when I went on my cycling hiatus almost a decade ago, and we're still talking about it. It seems, as Eric mentioned above, that the smoother the surface the narrower and harder tire you want to run. You'll still see 23mm and narrower at the velodrome, but most riders are favoring wider tires out on the streets these days.
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Old 05-13-21, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I feel like this was a big and hotly debated topic when I went on my cycling hiatus almost a decade ago, and we're still talking about it. It seems, as Eric mentioned above, that the smoother the surface the narrower and harder tire you want to run. You'll still see 23mm and narrower at the velodrome, but most riders are favoring wider tires out on the streets these days.
Fully agree. But I think that amateurs (and all readers of this forums are amateurs) should think whether it is really relevant for them.
Ignoring that amateurs never run Paris Roubaix, never run 150-200 km races and most often don't have the financial and mechanical grounds to correctly fit expensive rims with tires, is the way of useless spending of money for imaginary (or, in the best case, imperceptible) gains in performance.
That's just my opinion, please don't shoot!
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Old 05-13-21, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet View Post
Ignoring that amateurs ... never run 150-200 km races
Yeah, amateurs do races of that length, and longer.

The now defunct Everest Challenge was 120 miles, 14,700' day 1; 85 miles, 12,500' day 2. Spectacular ride.

I don't race but entered the 40+ open race for fun on a 24-lb touring bike, wound up with the jersey.


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Old 05-13-21, 04:01 PM
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For me the trend of wider, higher volume tyres has simply made the ride quality so much better without any obvious loss in speed. I don't see any reason to run 23 mm tyres on a modern road bike with enough clearance for 28 mm or above. I prefer running tubeless too, but that's a whole debate by itself!
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Old 05-13-21, 04:05 PM
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Forget about the size, just buy the cheapest tire you can find. Trust me.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet View Post
Ignoring that amateurs never run Paris Roubaix, never run 150-200 km races and most often don't have the financial and mechanical grounds to correctly fit expensive rims with tires, is the way of useless spending of money for imaginary (or, in the best case, imperceptible) gains in performance.
I've got a 227 km race on the schedule this year and, the last time I checked, I don't get paid to race.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet View Post
Fully agree. But I think that amateurs (and all readers of this forums are amateurs) should think whether it is really relevant for them.
Ignoring that amateurs never run Paris Roubaix, never run 150-200 km races and most often don't have the financial and mechanical grounds to correctly fit expensive rims with tires, is the way of useless spending of money for imaginary (or, in the best case, imperceptible) gains in performance.
That's just my opinion, please don't shoot!
I get your opinion (and it is 100% correct as far as I'm concerned), but just can't resist responding to your absolutes.

Events like the Furnace Creek 500 or Voodoo 500 are races, and most (if not all) participants are amateurs.

I have yet to meet a current pro on the forum, so it would be fun to try and find one. Better yet, I'd want to know what their mechanic has to say about equipment more than they do!

Finally, imaginary, imperceptible, whatever. We just want to know what's perceived as the "best" and spend our expendable income on it, then let the placebo effect make us "right".
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Old 05-13-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Forget about the size, just buy the cheapest tire you can find. Trust me.
Size doesn't matter?
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Old 05-13-21, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Size doesn't matter?


I will say though that I am guilty of doing exactly what Tomato Coupe suggested. Every time I plan on buying a 25mm tire for my road bike, I see that the 23mm is on sale for less (no surprise considering the trends) and choose to save $10 or $20 rather than save my butt.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:35 PM
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ok, i got it, i'll go with either 25 or 28mm size. for the 2 posters who were trying to be sarcastic with lipsticks and pigs and asking for which bike this is...this is for my fat bike...I'm going to try to put 25mm tires in place of my 4 inch tires on the fat bike. that will turn heads. i'm sure those tires will beat everyone in the trails, as they make less contact with the rocks.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet View Post
Fully agree. But I think that amateurs (and all readers of this forums are amateurs) should think whether it is really relevant for them.
Ignoring that amateurs never run Paris Roubaix, never run 150-200 km races and most often don't have the financial and mechanical grounds to correctly fit expensive rims with tires, is the way of useless spending of money for imaginary (or, in the best case, imperceptible) gains in performance.
That's just my opinion, please don't shoot!
I'm no racer, but pretty much all my amateur events are in the 150-200 km endurance range. It is exactly this kind of event that suits wider, more comfortable tyres. I'm not sure what you mean about correctly fitting expensive rims with tyres? Pretty much all new road bikes come with wider tyres as standard these days. My 2019 bike came with 28s and I'm now running 32 mm. I did a 150 km event a few weeks ago on some pretty rough UK backroads and was very glad of the extra tyre volume. It would have been a bone-shaking ride on old-school 23 mm tyres. Maybe on super smooth tarmac it doesn't matter so much what width tyres you run, but our local roads are often rough and full of potholes.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet View Post
Ignoring that amateurs never run Paris Roubaix, never run 150-200 km races and most often don't have the financial and mechanical grounds to correctly fit expensive rims with tires, is the way of useless spending of money for imaginary (or, in the best case, imperceptible) gains in performance.
That's just my opinion, please don't shoot!
You might think it's a clever dodge to state a fact then claim that's only your opinion, but most aren't fooled. Saying amateurs never run 150-200 km races is a statement of fact [false] not an opinion. To say that effects of tire choice are imaginary is a statement of fact [false] not an opinion. Finally, saying the effects are at best imperceptible is not only false, but shows a lack of awareness of what testing is able to measure these days. Just because you can't conceive of making these measurements doesn't mean others can't. They can, and have carried them out.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by motopokep View Post
ok, i got it, i'll go with either 25 or 28mm size. for the 2 posters who were trying to be sarcastic with lipsticks and pigs and asking for which bike this is...this is for my fat bike...I'm going to try to put 25mm tires in place of my 4 inch tires on the fat bike. that will turn heads. i'm sure those tires will beat everyone in the trails, as they make less contact with the rocks.
If you decide to try 28's make sure your frame has clearance for them to fit.
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