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How do you know how big of tire is TOO big for your bike?

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How do you know how big of tire is TOO big for your bike?

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Old 09-30-18, 09:04 AM
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barnabaas
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How do you know how big of tire is TOO big for your bike?

Noob here so I apologize in advance for lots of stupid questions. I have 700x23 tires and I plan on commuting so I want to get bigger tires that are big enough to withstand the day to day abuse...but also small enough for speed and weight. I was thinking about doing 700x28's but I'm not sure they'll even fit? Is there a basic or proper way to check clearances? Where would I measure to make sure?

Also does anyone have tire recommendations? I see a Continental Gatorskin's are popular so was considering those. Anything else I should look into?
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Old 09-30-18, 09:12 AM
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Firstly, I think that 28c is a good spot for that comfort/speed balance and that you're on the right track. I recently switched from 23c to 25's for my road bikes (all three) and I'm a road racer. Just as fast and more comfortable. I ride 25's on my Wabi and am considering 28's as well. I might build up a beater/town bike soon with an indexed 10-speed Shimano downtube shifter groupset and wheels I have lying around, def. will go 28c for that.

To check clearance, there's not much else you can do outside of install a tire on your rim and see if it clears the frame. Different rim/tire combinations have slightly different dimensions when installed. Having said that, I"m looking down at my Classic right now and almost certain that it could clear at 28. Prob not much more than that though. I'll bet if you google searched this question you would find many hits and answers about this specific topic - as the Classic complete has had a lot of commercial success.

Lastly, how long is your commute? Also, when looking at the time you will spend on the bike, what is the commuting/recreation split? You might not want to go *too* wide if you plan on spending a chunk of time riding for fun and wanting to go fast. I commute on 25's on crappy roads and do just fine.

Lastly, for quick questions I recommend using our "Ask the community" thread located here: Ask the Community. This post is a bit more open-ended and so it warrants a separate thread IMO, just wanted to put that out there for future quick QnA type stuff.

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Old 09-30-18, 09:59 AM
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Different tyres have different profiles: some are tall and some are not; some are rounder in cross section; the width is only a guide. Also, the width of the rim will affect how the tyre sits.

All of that said, the simplistic answer is

28 – 23 = 5 so the new tyre will be at least 5 mm wider than the one you have now.

You will need clearance on both sides of the tyre, so 5/2 = 2.5

How much more than 2.5mm clearance do you have on each side of your current tyre?

How much clearance will you need with your new tyre? For example, if you ride on muddy paths, you will need enough clearance for the mud that sticks to the tyre.

If unsure, see if you can borrow a tyre (or a pair of wheels with similar rims, and with 28mm tyres fitted) and see if it fits!

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Old 09-30-18, 10:28 AM
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^
+1 great advice
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Old 09-30-18, 05:47 PM
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When it doesn’t fit.
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Old 09-30-18, 06:07 PM
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Thanks guys...

Tmonk,
Thanks that all makes sense. I'll check out that "ask the community" thread too...still getting my bearings around here for whats what. Thanks for writing all that up and pointing that stuff out. For my commute it's fairly short and not muddy at all - just bumpy in a few places. I'd say it's roughly 4-5 miles round trip each day.

Mikefule,
That makes sense too...is that info listed on the tires. Simliar to how car tires list their height, width etc? Thanks for the tips!

Seamuis,
Also makes sense, thanks. lol
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Old 09-30-18, 06:55 PM
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Tires generally won't have specifics about height and profile listed on them because those measurements are variable depending on the width of the rim. They'll generally just give the nominal width of the tire, ie 23, 25, 28mm, etc.

Gatorskins -- a lot of people like them for their puncture protection. I'm not a fan. My go-to is the Vittoria Rubino Pro, but it's kinda more of a roadie tire. For a commuting bike, I'd probably go for something a little more burly like Vittoria Randonneurs or Panaracer Pasela PTs. I've heard the Panaracer Ribmos are pretty indestructable too, but I've never used them.
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Old 09-30-18, 07:39 PM
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Tire size should also be based on rider weight, and larger in the rear than front. A 25mm tire in the rear is plenty for a relatively lightweight person like myself who weighs only 135 lbs, but a 200 lb rider would want at least a 28mm tire.
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Old 09-30-18, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
Tire size should also be based on rider weight, and larger in the rear than front. A 25mm tire in the rear is plenty for a relatively lightweight person like myself who weighs only 135 lbs, but a 200 lb rider would want at least a 28mm tire.
not true well maybe with some tires I commute on a road bike 15 miles each way use a set of Conti grand prix all season in six months not one flat and tires look almost new still and I'm 230 lbs tires are a bit pricey but you get good results the regular grand prix 11 tend to have a week sidewall
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Old 09-30-18, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by barnabaas View Post
Thanks guys...

Tmonk,
Thanks that all makes sense. I'll check out that "ask the community" thread too...still getting my bearings around here for whats what. Thanks for writing all that up and pointing that stuff out. For my commute it's fairly short and not muddy at all - just bumpy in a few places. I'd say it's roughly 4-5 miles round trip each day.

Mikefule,
That makes sense too...is that info listed on the tires. Simliar to how car tires list their height, width etc? Thanks for the tips!

Seamuis,
Also makes sense, thanks. lol
in my defence, I was only being partially sarcastic. I squeezed 700x35mm into a frame designed around 23mm tires that doesn’t have any dimpling on the inside of the chainstays for clearance. What kind of frame are you riding? Is it supposed to be a ‘track’ frame, with tight clearance? What size tires did it come with? What rims are you riding on? What is the rims width? What type of tire are you looking at? What about your brakes? Do they have clearance for the tire? There are a lot of variables that have to be known, before anyone could genuinely help you answer your question on clearance/fit.

as far as what size/type is best, well as a commuter myself I would say that your weight and the extra weight of anything you might be carrying on the bike (groceries? Work stuff?, etc) needs to be taken into account. The heavier the load, the larger volume tire you’ll need. If your tires are too small, you’ll be getting pinch flats on the regular and that’s no fun. If youre a lightweight person and you don’t plan on carrying a lot of load you might get away with smaller tires, but I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than 28mm for commuting. If you feel you’ll need larger tires, you may need to consider purchasing a bike more dedicated for commuting so that you can fit larger tires. As for type, I would recommend avoiding expensive racing tires, that includes gatorskins. Unless you ride somewhere that getting actual punctures is a risk, tires like that won’t do anything but empty your wallet. Puncture protection does nothing to stop a pinch flat. Again, I speak from years of experience. Gatorskins are racing tires. You’re not racing. I would strongly recommend you look at Schwalbe tires. https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/road_tires They have a large selection of really great tires geared toward commuting, and they’re quite affordable by comparison to dropping $60+ per tire To equip your bike with unnecessary racing tires. What you really want in a good commuting tire is long lasting tread, versatility in riding environment, so say good tread for being able to confidently ride on dirt, loose gravel, sand, water, etc. You want a tire with a heavier, stronger sidewall. Pretty much the exact opposite of everything a racing tire is. Racing tires just don’t do well as commuter tires. Anyone who says the opposite is either lying or has no clue what they’re on about.

For everyday use a 28 or 32 (I prefer 32) is a good size. If you’re heavier you should lean towards 32. My personal preference is that a 35 is the best all around size for a commuter, and there’s a long history of the use of 700x35 for utility bikes, to back that up. If you can’t fit a 28, then you need to accept that your bike isn’t a good choice for commuting and start with a frame that can fit larger tires.

Last edited by seamuis; 09-30-18 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 09-30-18, 11:35 PM
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There's a huge element of "fashion in thought" that goes on. Many years ago, tyres were 27"(rather than 700c) and the widths were in increments of 1/8".

At that time, utility bikes has 1 3/8" wide tyres (35 mm) and keen riders had 1" tyres (25mm), with various choices in between.

The pendulum is swinging back towards the comfort of wide tyres. It will swing back and back again.

You can ride what you've got or upgrade/adjust if you can afford it. Wider tyres will be more comfortable and probably have fewer punctures and slightly wider tyres may even be a tad faster in real world conditions. However, don't forget that, for many years, huge numbers of riders rode happily on 23mm tyres.

The important thing is to ride.
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Old 10-01-18, 07:25 AM
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Another advantage of a wider tire is that you can run a lower air pressure without the risk of a pinch flat, particularly in the rear. The maximum pressure in any of my tires is 90 psi, and usually a lot less. I notice no significant increase in rolling resistance at lower pressures, but get a much smoother ride on rough surfaces.
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Old 10-01-18, 08:05 AM
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Sorry I can't quote yet....
Seamuis,
no defense needed but thanks for adding that extra info. Sorry I left a lot of info out. I'm not new to riding but I'm def. new to proper setups and maintenance - I have a lot to learn but I'm excited to get into all this. I have a Wabi Classic which came with 700x23's Kenda tires. Brakes are Tektro R540 calipers. I did have a commuter bike before this...well still do, a Cannondale Quick 5 with Schwalbe tires in fact. They're 700x35's actually...and I agree with what you said about them, solid tires and I do really like them for commuting. The downside to that bike was just the weight, I got the Wabi for a lightweight commuter since I have to take my bike on the train, carry it around, etc. I won't be carting much with me usually. It's also for simple fun rides with the kids when possible. So I'm kinda looking for that balance. I was leaning towards 700x28's after all this discussion, which brand / style is still up in the air as I learn more about each one so I appreciate the suggestions. I only weight around 145-150 so I don't think I need anything TOO beefy but enough to not get those pinch flats you mentioned.

seau grateau,
Thanks, hadn't heard of those.

Mikefule,
I feel like I see that trend as well. I can afford it but I'm not gonna rush out today or anything to make the change because like you said, I'm just too eager to ride the thing at the moment. However when I start commuting with it more and more I might just want a little extra insurance if possible.

TejanoTrackie,
Good point, a little wiggle room for when I'm lazy and forget to check or keep my tire pressure in check.

Thanks all!
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Old 10-01-18, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by barnabaas View Post
Sorry I can't quote yet....
Seamuis,
no defense needed but thanks for adding that extra info. Sorry I left a lot of info out. I'm not new to riding but I'm def. new to proper setups and maintenance - I have a lot to learn but I'm excited to get into all this. I have a Wabi Classic which came with 700x23's Kenda tires. Brakes are Tektro R540 calipers. I did have a commuter bike before this...well still do, a Cannondale Quick 5 with Schwalbe tires in fact. They're 700x35's actually...and I agree with what you said about them, solid tires and I do really like them for commuting. The downside to that bike was just the weight, I got the Wabi for a lightweight commuter since I have to take my bike on the train, carry it around, etc. I won't be carting much with me usually. It's also for simple fun rides with the kids when possible. So I'm kinda looking for that balance. I was leaning towards 700x28's after all this discussion, which brand / style is still up in the air as I learn more about each one so I appreciate the suggestions. I only weight around 145-150 so I don't think I need anything TOO beefy but enough to not get those pinch flats you mentioned.
Well based on your equipment, you should be able to handle a 700x32, depending on how accurate wabi is with measuring, you might even be able to fit 35. Wabi specifically lists 32mm and I don’t see any reason why your brake wouldn’t clear it (though I can’t be certain about that.) so you should be good to go as a commuter. The wabi classic is a really good frame, so I can see you spend your money wisely. Excellent choice. If you want to run 28’s, at your weight, I’d say you’re fine, but I would still recommend you choose 32mm to better ‘future proof’ your setup if you start carrying more weight. With the right tires you won’t notice any increase in weight between a 28 and a 32, just an increase in smoothness of ride and a reduced chance of pinch flats. I can’t stress enough, that one of the main reasons people get pinch flats is riding on tires that are too small in volume. Of course not keeping proper pressure more or less creates the same effect and increases pinch flats.

as far as recommendations go, well the schwalbe marathon plus, is the gold standard for commuting tires and for good reasons. Of course it’s a heavier tire that doesn’t lend itself well for anything else. But if you want something that can pull double duty for commuting and for more fast&fun riding there are a few I could recommend, all of which can be had in both 28 and 32mm: panaracer RiBMo, panaracer pasela protite, vittoria randonneur (and the pro version), soma shikoro, continental top contact II, schwalbe durano, and if you really want the closest thing to a racing tire, you could go for the continental grand prix 4 season, but it will cost you more and likely have to be replaced sooner.

if a good balance of speed performance and reliability as a commuter is important, then vittoria probably has the widest choice of tires: https://www.vittoria.com/us/tires/ur...nd-beyond.html but I should stress again, that one of the most important aspects of a commuting tire is tread life. A thicker tread, or at least a tread compound designed to wear slower is best. No racing tire is going to properly give you that, by design.

anyway, update us with photos when you’ve got it all sorted eh? Cheers, mate.

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Old 10-01-18, 10:48 AM
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Will do! Thanks so much for the recommendations.
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Old 10-01-18, 05:00 PM
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OK - Since we're all still here, when looking at some tires, some say 'folding' while others don't. Can anyone explain that simply? Or is there one that's preferred over the other for everyday riding?

Google tells me things but sometimes it complicates it even more for me. heh.
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Old 10-01-18, 05:11 PM
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That's about the bead, the part of the tire that sits inside the rim. Folding tires have a kevlar bead, while not folding ones have a steel wire bead. The wire beads are heavier, and therefore sometimes a bit cheaper. They can also be tougher to mount on the rim.
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Old 10-01-18, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by barnabaas View Post
OK - Since we're all still here, when looking at some tires, some say 'folding' while others don't. Can anyone explain that simply? Or is there one that's preferred over the other for everyday riding?

Google tells me things but sometimes it complicates it even more for me. heh.
folding tires have a Kevlar bead that allows the tire lay flat and to literally fold up. This has the added benefit of saving weight, but it pretty much always costs more. A non folding tire usually has a steel bead, and as you might guess, it doesn’t fold. Basically it’s more like a motorcycle or car tire, in that it comes in the shape of a tire, as you’d expect it to be.

Steel bead tires are almost always cheaper, BUT you can get hit with more cost in shipping because of the oversized boxes they need to be shipped in. If you’re buying them online of course. They are of course slightly heavier as well, but in every other aspect they will perform the same. If you want to save a negligible amount of weight, and spend a bit extra, there’s no reason not to buy folding tires. Most high end racing tires that aren’t tubulars, are folding. Most cheaper tires or commuting/city tires are steel bead.

as for the commonly held belief that folding tires are typically easier to mount? I think it’s complete nonsense. I don’t think there is any evidence to back that up, and it usually comes down the the actual sizing of the tire, and the particular rim. Some manufacturers (Challenge brand tires are notorious for this) make their tires slightly smaller than the size it’s supposed to be. say, slightly smaller than 622mm for a 700c, as an example. This is to help it seat better and hold better to the rim lip. Pretty important for high pressure clincher racing tires. Most tires, I think you’ll find are about equal in any difficult or lack there of, wether they’re folding or not and mostly depends on the brand of tire, not specifically it’s bead. For what it’s worth, in my personal experience, a steel bead tire usually makes it a bit easier to put a tube in, but depending on your tire and rim combo, it may not be the case.

In short, you won’t get any real benefit from a folding tire as a commuter, but there’s nothing wrong with it or a steel bead type. Folding tires have the most benefit to bicycle tourers, because they can carry a spare tire or two on the bike very easily.

Last edited by seamuis; 10-01-18 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 10-01-18, 06:14 PM
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I prefer folding tires just because I find it easier to store spares.
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Old 10-01-18, 07:03 PM
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all of that makes sense, thanks again for all the explanations.
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Old 10-01-18, 07:18 PM
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@TMonk you can fit 32s on your Classic
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Old 10-01-18, 07:44 PM
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Not sure, haven't tried. running 25's right now and there's def. tons of room.
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Old 10-05-18, 12:00 PM
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In the same boat, wondering if a Paké Rumrunner with a stock fork will run 30mm tires(semi knobby).
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Old 10-11-18, 06:09 AM
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One thought to consider is the relative difficulty of changing a flat with a larger tire. I was running 28C's tires on my Wabi Lightening, and learned that the tire had to be partially deflated to slide between the brake calipers. This isn't a problem if you're in the comfy environment of your home bike shop where you can release the brake cable, but a different matter if you're doing a roadside flat repair on a cold night. Changing the rear tire on a fixie is complex enough, leading me to drop back to a 25C's.
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Old 10-11-18, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rjmcgovern View Post
One thought to consider is the relative difficulty of changing a flat with a larger tire. I was running 28C's tires on my Wabi Lightening, and learned that the tire had to be partially deflated to slide between the brake calipers. This isn't a problem if you're in the comfy environment of your home bike shop where you can release the brake cable, but a different matter if you're doing a roadside flat repair on a cold night. Changing the rear tire on a fixie is complex enough, leading me to drop back to a 25C's.
LOL. If you get a flat, it is by definition already deflated. So this scenario would never happen. Did you really not think about this at all? Also, there are plenty of brakes that open wide enough for a 28 or even a 32 to pass through. Makes no difference to me what size tires you run mate, but you clearly didn’t use your head with this. And there’s nothing complex about changing a fixed or ss rear tire. If you think it is, then you need more practice. Now, changing a rear tire on an IGH 3 speed on a frame with fenders and a chaincase, is complex.
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