Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Tandem Cycling
Reload this Page >

What tire width will yield least rolling resistance on a tandem road bike?

Notices
Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

What tire width will yield least rolling resistance on a tandem road bike?

Old 01-23-21, 06:35 AM
  #1  
RichinSC1
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 47
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 5 Posts
What tire width will yield least rolling resistance on a tandem road bike?

Currently I have 27 x 1.25 tires. I may want to go wider if they will fit and if they will be faster. Also what brand of tire do you like. Thanks
RichinSC1 is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 08:50 AM
  #2  
conspiratemus1
Used to be Conspiratemus
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Hamilton ON Canada
Posts: 1,500
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 290 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 161 Posts
A tire that is too big to fit into your current bike is always the solution. This leads you to become dissatisfied with what you were perfectly happy with up until the moment you read advertising about large tires. As intended, this soon becomes a compulsion to buy a new “gravel”, or “all-road” bike, not just new tires.

That’s pretty much it unless you are being paid to race. No tire, or any piece or equipment, will attenuate the effects of age and corpulence.
conspiratemus1 is offline  
Likes For conspiratemus1:
Old 01-23-21, 09:53 AM
  #3  
Joint Venture
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 83
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by RichinSC1 View Post
Currently I have 27 x 1.25 tires. I may want to go wider if they will fit and if they will be faster. Also what brand of tire do you like. Thanks
We used 27 x 1 & 3/8” tires on our 1st Gen Duet (like yours) in the early 90’s and I remember having plenty of clearance. Choices in 27” tires are pretty limited these days, so that may dictate what you buy as much as anything else.
Joint Venture is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 10:58 AM
  #4  
RichinSC1
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 47
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 5 Posts
Thanks for your reply
RichinSC1 is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 11:33 AM
  #5  
bobh123
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rolling resistence

Read Jan Heine's blogs at Rene Herse, subscribe to Bicycle Quarterly, or read his recent All-road bike revolution book. He has LOTS of information on this based on testing.
bobh123 is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 04:55 PM
  #6  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,778

Bikes: Willier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Calfee Dragonfly tandem, Calfee Adventure tandem; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Motebecanne Phantom Cross; Schwinn Paramount Track bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1135 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 143 Posts
If the goal is to go fast, you have to factor in aerodynamics along with rolling resistance.

Most aero wheels these days are optimized for 25mm tires. Admittedly there’s not a lot of tandem specific data. That said, my bet is the fastest overall option is a 25-28 mm tire on a rim optimized for that size tire.

Depending on your rims and how fast you ride, I think going wider than 1 1/4”, (32mm) is very unlikely to make you faster.
__________________
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

Last edited by merlinextraligh; 01-23-21 at 05:04 PM.
merlinextraligh is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 09:07 PM
  #7  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,754
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1744 Post(s)
Liked 294 Times in 213 Posts
Originally Posted by Joint Venture View Post
Choices in 27” tires are pretty limited these days, so that may dictate what you buy as much as anything else.
Exactamente. When I bought a C&V road racer (pristine Raleigh Team USA) from 1984 it was your typical 27" x 1-1/4" clincher deal. When I was looking for something sportier (27 x 1-1/8) about all there was was Continental and Kenda. The Kenda's were something like 22TPI and so I went for the Continentals. I had to boot the front tire on the first ride I took on them. I had never booted a tire in 45 years of riding bikes. I had to boot the rear tire a couple of rides later. I GAVE the bike away this year because it was a Garage Queen that I never got around to converting to 700C. Rather than worry about what 27" tire has the lowest rolling resistance (they are all awful) I'd be thinking hard about a 700C conversion. In 27" there are only three sizes that survive into the 21st Century and none of them are made with the kind of quality or technologies that lead to a low rolling resistance.
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 09:11 PM
  #8  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,754
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1744 Post(s)
Liked 294 Times in 213 Posts
Originally Posted by bobh123 View Post
read jan heine's blogs at rene herse, subscribe to bicycle quarterly, or read his recent all-road bike revolution book. He has lots of information on his biased testing.
fify ...
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 09:46 PM
  #9  
Joint Venture
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 83
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
I'd be thinking hard about a 700C conversion. In 27" there are only three sizes that survive into the 21st Century and none of them are made with the kind of quality or technologies that lead to a low rolling resistance.
That’s exactly the reason we converted our 1990 Burly Duet (exact same tandem the OP is restoring) to 700c wheels around 1995. Using the Shimano LX V-brakes of the time, the 700c wheels required no mods for fitment of the slightly smaller diameter rims as the brakes accommodated a slightly lower pad position. I can only imagine how rare 27” tires are now 25 years down the road because they were getting rare back then! So many great 700c tires these days in wider tandem-friendly sizes ...
Joint Venture is offline  
Old 01-23-21, 11:13 PM
  #10  
OneIsAllYouNeed
Long-term wear tester
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seacoast, NH
Posts: 752

Bikes: Cycles Chinook travel/gravel/family tandem, KHS CX200 road/gravel, Voodoo Agwe fixie commuter, Gunnar Sport travel/road, Motobecane Boris fatbike

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 232 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by RichinSC1 View Post
Currently I have 27 x 1.25 tires. I may want to go wider if they will fit and if they will be faster. Also what brand of tire do you like. Thanks
This tire optimizer will tell you the fastest size for your weight and terrain.
https://www.cycleschinook.com/tire-optimizer/
Once you've got the size, you'll want a supple, high quality tire like Rene Herse tires, Panaracer Gravelking (slick), Continental GP5000, Schwalbe E-One, or Schwalbe G-One Speed.
OneIsAllYouNeed is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 06:06 AM
  #11  
RichinSC1
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 47
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 5 Posts
This tire optimizer will tell you the fastest size for your weight and terrain.
https://www.cycleschinook.com/tire-optimizer/


what a great tool! Thanks
RichinSC1 is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 02:02 PM
  #12  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,778

Bikes: Willier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Calfee Dragonfly tandem, Calfee Adventure tandem; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Motebecanne Phantom Cross; Schwinn Paramount Track bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1135 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 143 Posts
Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
This tire optimizer will tell you the fastest size for your weight and terrain.
https://www.cycleschinook.com/tire-optimizer/
Once you've got the size, you'll want a supple, high quality tire like Rene Herse tires, Panaracer Gravelking (slick), Continental GP5000, Schwalbe E-One, or Schwalbe G-One Speed.
I wouldn’t put much stock in that calculator. There’s nowhere on the site that explains the methodology of the calculator. And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t consider aerodynamics.

That calculator says we should use 33 mm wide tires for road riding.

We’ve raced our tandem a fair amount, including state and national championships. We use 23mm wide tires to Time Trial because the Zipp wheels we have are optimized aerodynamically for 23 mm tires ( some new aero rims would work with 25mm) and otherwise run 25 mm. I’ve never seen anyone TT with wider than 28 mm tires, and most are on 23-25mm.

The aerodynamic disadvantage of 33mm wide tires would overwhelm any theoretical rolling resistance advantage at anything approaching racing speed.
__________________
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.
merlinextraligh is offline  
Old 01-24-21, 04:14 PM
  #13  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,754
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1744 Post(s)
Liked 294 Times in 213 Posts
Post #12 beat me to it. Darn this 3 hour time difference. I see that calculator as a sales gimmick. Nothing more. In any case, I don't see any mention of 27" tires. Or much mention of 26" tires. Like it or not, a lot of teams are rolling on 26" wheels/tires. IMO, unless you are actually racing, the 'fastest' tire is the one you don't have to stop and fix flats for! We have 700C x 28mm Schwalbe Marathons on our drop bar conversion Raleigh Coupe. This is a thoroughly modern (2005) road bike with disc brakes and all the rest of it. We find ourselves coasting in sections where all the teams around us are pumping to keep speed so I don't think we give much away in rolling resistance.

For a team that never leaves pavement, a tire wider than 28mm is unnecessary for performance reasons. We 'might' consider 32mm this year for some additional comfort and I doubt we will take much of a speed hit. Wider tires than 32mm simply will not fit under fenders and fenders are a must have in Portland, OR. The Domane's and Diverge's have full fenders here. My road racer came with 23's, it might take 25's but I have fenders on it so 23's it has to be. A lot more goes into speed than tire size. We keep the Marathons at 100psi. We have another tandem with 26" x 2" x 50psi for daily urban commuting, shopping and errands. We can hit 25mph to catch a stale green, if we want, on these "comfort tires".
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 01-26-21, 01:38 PM
  #14  
longpete
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 33
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
In my experience the optimum rolling resistance with a schwalbe marathon comes with a 37-622 tyre, It rises once u go to 40-622. Pressure is 5 to 6bars.
But if u lower the pressure for more comfort the larger diameter the tyre has the less rolling resistance.
longpete is offline  
Old 01-26-21, 07:43 PM
  #15  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,644

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3014 Post(s)
Liked 932 Times in 706 Posts
Why are the OP and most posters measuring tire sizes in inches? What rims is this tandem running? What make and year of tandem? Because if this is an old tandem running hookless rims, then the answer will be totally different. There are no modern 27" wheels, only 700c or 622mm, and thus no modern tires.

If they're 700c, then the answer is certainly Conti 5000 32mm tires. If they're 27" than, as above, change the rims out to modern hooked rims, and run the Contis. Check with your bike shop to be sure that your brakes can be adjusted to suit the new rims. We've been running Conti tires in 32mm size, both 4000Iis and 5000 and like them very much. Quite flat-resistant which may be a bit counter-intuitive, but they are. I think it's the rubber compound more than anything.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 02-12-21, 06:40 PM
  #16  
mddobbs
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: 92821
Posts: 12

Bikes: Comotion Primera

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rim Width Study - Bicycle Rolling Resistance

Just Released

Real rolling resistance data on different rim and tire widths, different pressures has just been posted on the Bicycle Rolling Resistance website. Well done!
mddobbs is offline  
Old 02-13-21, 05:30 PM
  #17  
JulesCW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Upper third of the central USA
Posts: 71

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 26 Posts
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Exactamente. When I bought a C&V road racer (pristine Raleigh Team USA) from 1984 it was your typical 27" x 1-1/4" clincher deal. When I was looking for something sportier (27 x 1-1/8) about all there was was Continental and Kenda. The Kenda's were something like 22TPI and so I went for the Continentals. I had to boot the front tire on the first ride I took on them. I had never booted a tire in 45 years of riding bikes. I had to boot the rear tire a couple of rides later. I GAVE the bike away this year because it was a Garage Queen that I never got around to converting to 700C. Rather than worry about what 27" tire has the lowest rolling resistance (they are all awful) I'd be thinking hard about a 700C conversion. In 27" there are only three sizes that survive into the 21st Century and none of them are made with the kind of quality or technologies that lead to a low rolling resistance.

Although there are few 27" tire options, the tried and true Panaracer Pasela is available in 27 x 1/18 and 1 1/4 and is a pretty good tire with fairly low rolling resistance. Swift tire markets essentially the same tire made by Panaracer in 27 x 1/3/8. If the OP has an older tandem those are perfectly decent tires.
JulesCW is offline  
Old 02-13-21, 05:34 PM
  #18  
JulesCW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Upper third of the central USA
Posts: 71

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 26 Posts
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I wouldn’t put much stock in that calculator. There’s nowhere on the site that explains the methodology of the calculator. And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t consider aerodynamics.

That calculator says we should use 33 mm wide tires for road riding.

We’ve raced our tandem a fair amount, including state and national championships. We use 23mm wide tires to Time Trial because the Zipp wheels we have are optimized aerodynamically for 23 mm tires ( some new aero rims would work with 25mm) and otherwise run 25 mm. I’ve never seen anyone TT with wider than 28 mm tires, and most are on 23-25mm.

The aerodynamic disadvantage of 33mm wide tires would overwhelm any theoretical rolling resistance advantage at anything approaching racing speed.

The OP did ask about faster tires, but also said they're on a tandem with 27" wheels, so are likely not racing, and certainly do not have Zipp carbon wheels. Context is pretty important. A fairly light team racing or training on smooth roads might find 23-35c tires to be well suited to them and their intended purpose. A large team on poor roads would be ill-advised to go that narrow -- if they are touring such narrow tires would be a disaster. I have no idea where the OP falls in the range of size and use, but "fast" is only fast if you're not denting rims and flatting a lot, so that's why I say context matters.

Last edited by JulesCW; 02-13-21 at 05:36 PM. Reason: typos
JulesCW is offline  
Old 02-14-21, 07:34 AM
  #19  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,778

Bikes: Willier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Calfee Dragonfly tandem, Calfee Adventure tandem; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Motebecanne Phantom Cross; Schwinn Paramount Track bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1135 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 143 Posts
Originally Posted by JulesCW View Post
The OP did ask about faster tires, but also said they're on a tandem with 27" wheels, so are likely not racing, and certainly do not have Zipp carbon wheels. Context is pretty important. A fairly light team racing or training on smooth roads might find 23-35c tires to be well suited to them and their intended purpose. A large team on poor roads would be ill-advised to go that narrow -- if they are touring such narrow tires would be a disaster. I have no idea where the OP falls in the range of size and use, but "fast" is only fast if you're not denting rims and flatting a lot, so that's why I say context matters.
No doubt context and intended use matters. And the context of my post was in regard to the linked calculator that supposedly answers the questions of what is the fastest tire.

My point, which I used our personal example to illustrate, is that the calculator is way over simplistic and appears to ignore aerodynamics. I stand by my assertion that that particular calculator is over simplistic to the point of about being useless, and appears to basically be a marketing tool for that site.

I would take its results with a very big grain of salt. And as you suggest, make my tire choice on what’s best for my team’s wheels, intended use, weight, and budget, not what that calculator says.
__________________
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.
merlinextraligh is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.