Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Wider tire front or back?

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Wider tire front or back?

Reply

Old 11-24-15, 04:44 AM
  #1  
imi
aka Timi
Thread Starter
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 2,856

Bikes: Bob Jackson World Tour (touring) and a Miyata 100 (commuting)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Wider tire front or back?

I've got two SMP's lying around, a 28mm and a 32mm.

I'm thinking of doing some local touring as snow hasn't come yet this year. It's wet and windy, occasional frost in the mornings and small patches of ice and frozen leaves. Perfect touring weather in other words!

I'm debating whether the wider tire on the front - or back - will have any relevant advantage/disadvantage; traction on slippery surface, braking etc.

I have two rear panniers, rack-bag and handlebar bag. Pretty light, (not UL) and a bit heavier with winter gear of course.

The bike is a Bob Jackson World Tour, normally I ride Gatorskins or Hardshells 28 mm but I think the SMP's will be better in these conditions.

I'm absolutely not going to buy different tires, or front panniers, so can we keep alternative suggestions out of this? Cheers

Thanks for any advice!
imi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 06:36 AM
  #2  
gerryl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
I would put whatever tire offers the most transaction in the front. All of my winter mishaps have occurred when the front wheel slips out from under me.
gerryl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 06:37 AM
  #3  
jeffpoulin 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,288
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
With your gear setup, you're probably looking at 60-70% weight on your rear tire and 30-40% up front, so I'd put the bigger tire on the back. However, there are some caveats. If you plan to go on unpaved roads, or ride in slippery conditions, a wider front tire may help.
jeffpoulin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 06:45 AM
  #4  
chasm54
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uncertain
Posts: 8,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Really interesting question. My immediate reaction was wide/rear, because of the extra weight and that's the drive wheel. But in slippery or loose surface conditions that's probably not the right answer, you want the most rubber on the road when turning or braking. In the latter case your weight shifts onto the front wheel irrespective of where your panniers are, so I'd say wider tyre on the front.
chasm54 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 07:19 AM
  #5  
Wanderer
aka Phil Jungels
 
Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Aurora, IL
Posts: 8,000

Bikes: 08 Specialized Crosstrail Sport, 05 Sirrus Comp

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 139 Post(s)
I like the wider on the rear for capacity and comfort. The narrower on the front gives more precise and quicker and more stabile steering.
Wanderer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 09:51 AM
  #6  
dh024
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 301
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
I say go with the wider tire on the front, which will provide you with the option of dropping your front tire pressure, if needed, to add some extra traction and stability on sketchy road surfaces.
dh024 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 11:03 AM
  #7  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 39,487

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 164 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6154 Post(s)
Whats an SMP?

Seas between you and Denmark even let it be warm enough to worry about tires on your Touring bike right now?

I'm looking at pumping up the tires on my Studded tire MTB .. for when a rainy day is followed by a cold one and the roads Ice over.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-24-15 at 12:18 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 11:46 AM
  #8  
imi
aka Timi
Thread Starter
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 2,856

Bikes: Bob Jackson World Tour (touring) and a Miyata 100 (commuting)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Wider tire front or back?

Fietsbob: Not quite sure if I understand what you mean... but, yes there is a sea between me and Denmark, whatever that has to do with anything!

I'm planning an overnighter along the swedish coast north of Gothenburg for this weekend... and just thought it would be interesting to hear you guys thoughts about this minor tire decision.

Up to now it seems about 50/50... probably makes near zero difference in practice... but hey, that never stopped a BF thread before!!

edit: my studded winter bike is ready for when snow does come, but I'm not planning snow tours.
imi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 11:56 AM
  #9  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 39,487

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 164 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6154 Post(s)
Ocean currents alter the weather a lot .. EG without the Gulf Stream clockwise, across the north Atlantic ,

there would be no seaport at Murmansk Oblast.
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 12:06 PM
  #10  
imi
aka Timi
Thread Starter
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 2,856

Bikes: Bob Jackson World Tour (touring) and a Miyata 100 (commuting)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Wider tire front or back?

Ah ok Fietsbob, gotchya now. Yes, this is why the climate along the coast is warmer than inland. In Gothenburg we get much less snow than just about anywhere else in the country I believe, even than the south (Skåne).
imi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 12:13 PM
  #11  
KLiNCK
Optically Corrected
 
KLiNCK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Posts: 494

Bikes: 2012 Specialized Sirrus , 2012 Specialized Roubaix Comp

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
I say go with the wider tire on the front, which will provide you with the option of dropping your front tire pressure, if needed, to add some extra traction and stability on sketchy road surfaces.
^Definitely this.
KLiNCK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 12:18 PM
  #12  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,159
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 221 Post(s)
One thing I would consider if you do a lot of riding and descending on steeper hills, that you should strongly consider putting the better condition tire on the front irrespective of its width. I know we often like the better tire on the rear because it reduces the chances of a flat but you really don't want a sudden flat on the front when descending at higher speeds (scars on my one leg will attest to this)

If both are in similar condition and/or you rarely ride among steeper hills, you've got some fine ideas posted already.
robow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 12:47 PM
  #13  
Biketouringhobo
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Riverside, CA
Posts: 898

Bikes: Surly LHT 26in 52cm 2008

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Whats an SMP=Schwalbe Marathon plus Tires

Seas between you and Denmark even let it be warm enough to worry about tires on your Touring bike right now?

I'm looking at pumping up the tires on my Studded tire MTB .. for when a rainy day is followed by a cold one and the roads Ice over.
Schwalbe marathon plus tires
Biketouringhobo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 12:56 PM
  #14  
imi
aka Timi
Thread Starter
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 2,856

Bikes: Bob Jackson World Tour (touring) and a Miyata 100 (commuting)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Wider tire front or back?

Robow: They're both in similar good condition.
Thanks all. I'll be putting the wider one on the front.

This time of year it's all too easy to spend too much time indoors, so I'm really looking forward to a couple of days on the road and a night in a tent!

Last edited by imi; 11-24-15 at 01:00 PM.
imi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 12:56 PM
  #15  
Teamdarb
Senior Member
 
Teamdarb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 69

Bikes: 94' Barracuda A2M, 83 Ross 294 signature, 93 MB3, '87 BS 300 mixte, '86 420, '12 Trek 520, 92 720 and more

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Front. Though I'm betting once mounted they both measure 30 depending on age of the tires.
Teamdarb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 12:58 PM
  #16  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 39,487

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 164 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6154 Post(s)
Ok but I have pairs - the same size - on any given bike..

60% Of the over the rear your butt may like the lower PSI wider tyre.

brake clearance over the tire another factor .. fork crowns often closer than the seat stay mounting .

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-24-15 at 01:04 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 01:08 PM
  #17  
imi
aka Timi
Thread Starter
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 2,856

Bikes: Bob Jackson World Tour (touring) and a Miyata 100 (commuting)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Wider tire front or back?

Teamdarb: The difference is probably pretty negligible. SMP look much wider (for the given size) than Gatorskins, though I've never measured them.

Fietsbob: Yes, I otherwise use same f/b too.

32mm rear with fenders is as wide as my bike can take. Front, I don't know. Would be interesting to see if one of my 35mm studded tires would fit the fork. Thanks for the idea!
imi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 01:11 PM
  #18  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,536

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1140 Post(s)
Originally Posted by imi View Post
...
Thanks all. I'll be putting the wider one on the front.
...
Even though you plan to travel light, would you not risk pinch flats with a 28mm on the rear?
Tourist in MSN is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-15, 01:15 PM
  #19  
imi
aka Timi
Thread Starter
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 2,856

Bikes: Bob Jackson World Tour (touring) and a Miyata 100 (commuting)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Originally Posted by imi View Post
...
Thanks all. I'll be putting the wider one on the front.
...
Even though you plan to travel light, would you not risk pinch flats with a 28mm on the rear?
Not been a problem with my normal set-up and a guitar on the rear, which will be about the same as my winter gear without a guitar... Though it wouldn't surprise me if I get a pinch flat now that I've written that!
imi is offline  
Reply With Quote

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