Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Stupid tire question

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Old 12-14-05, 05:09 PM
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Shut up & ride
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Stupid tire question

My stock tires are 700/23. I got a separate wheel for my trainer and put a 700/20 on it because it was cheap and seemed durable.

What's the implication of riding with a 23 on the front and 20 on the rear? Handling issues? I don't need to. Mostly curious.

Thx for putting up with the occasional dumb question.
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Old 12-14-05, 05:56 PM
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Avalanche325
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I am sure there is a effect on handling. The tire will most likely have a different height along with the width.

Now, is the effect measurable or will you even notice???? Probably not? Just don't bomb down a hill at 40+ mph the first time out on it.

MTBers often use mismatched tires. But they are looking for different traction qualities in the front and rear.
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Old 12-14-05, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Shut up & ride
What's the implication of riding with a 23 on the front and 20 on the rear? Handling issues?.
nah, it's no big deal. I've got that setup on 3 of my steel bikes because I have some 20s that I wanna get some use out of and I can barely notice any handling difference, only a little comfort difference.
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Old 12-15-05, 12:19 AM
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Skinny tires require more air pressure to avoid pinch flats. 20mm on the rear will give you a harsher ride than a wider tire.
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Old 12-15-05, 01:06 AM
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I used to ride with 20 on the front and 23 on the rear due to a fork that was unusually narrow. I experienced no issues or problems of any kind.
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Old 12-15-05, 09:11 AM
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According to Sheldon Brown,

Mixing/Matching Tires

Most bikes come with identical tires front and rear. This is all right for general use, but if you want to optimize your bike, you should consider using different tires front and rear. The front and rear tires have different loadings and different requirements.

*
Narrower Front, Wider Rear
If lightness is the primary goal, tire width/weight is limited by the risk of pinch cut flats, a.k.a. "snake bites." Since there is more weight carried on the rear tire, you can get away with a slightly narrower tire in front than you can in back.

*
Wider Front, Narrower Rear
A wider front tire makes sense in many applications, however, when handling and ride comfort are considered. A wider tire will generally provide better cornering traction than a narrower one, assuming appropriate inflation pressure.

A wider tire also provides superior shock absorbency. I personally prefer a slightly wider tire in front, since I suffer from some wrist discomfort on occasion.

*
Off-Road Issues
Bikes that are used some of the time on loose surfaces often benefit from a wider front tire, with a fairly agressive tread, coupled with a somewhat narrower, smoother rear tire.

The wide, knobby front tire will provide the all-important front wheel traction. If your front tire skids, it almost always leads to a crash. For riding in soft conditions, such as sand or mud, a wide front tire is essential. If the front tire sinks in and gets bogged down, you're stuck. If the front tire rolls through a soft patch OK, you can generally power the rear through to follow it.

The narrower, smoother rear tire will have lower rolling resistance. Since most of the weight is carried by the rear tire, rolling resistance is more important on the rear than the front. If the rear tire slips, in most cases the worst that will happen is that you'll have to get off and walk.

This is a great idea that developed out of BMX racing.

Some mountain bike tires come in matched sets, with diffrerent tread front/rear. The front tires tend to have the knobs set up more or less parallel to the direction of travel, for improved lateral grip and better steering control. The rears tend to have transverse knobs for driving/braking traction.
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Old 12-15-05, 09:51 AM
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Continetal Attack/Force is set up as 22mm front, 23mm rear.

The narrower rear tire will make your vehicle more prone to trailing throttle oversteer (oh sorry that's my car.)
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