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

Sweet Spot Tire width for 26 inch Wheel Light Road Touring ?

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.

Sweet Spot Tire width for 26 inch Wheel Light Road Touring ?

Old 02-07-19, 01:19 AM
  #1  
pakeboi
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Sweet Spot Tire width for 26 inch Wheel Light Road Touring ?

Sweet Spot Tire Width for 26 inch Wheel Light Road Touring ?
pakeboi is offline  
Old 02-07-19, 10:42 AM
  #2  
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,580

Bikes: Downtube 8H

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
I don't think there's a sweet spot. There's what you like. I ride on 26 x 2.15" tires when commuting or when touring. That's perfect for me because it's about as wide as I can get and still pack everything in my S & S case and, when necessary, put my bike on the front rack of a city bus. Other people are happier with something much narrower if they're going to stay on pavement. I would actually go wider if not for the packing and bus rack issues.
Rob_E is online now  
Old 02-07-19, 10:44 AM
  #3  
3speed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 3,349
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 309 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I'd guess it's the same width as in 700c. For me, that's about 28-32mm for light weight touring on the road. 35-38mm for a "full load" consisting of camping gear and clothes to be out for an indefinite period of time.
3speed is offline  
Old 02-07-19, 12:14 PM
  #4  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

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: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
The narrowest 26 inch tire I have is the Schwalbe Marathon (with Greenguard) and is labeled as 26 X 1.5. Also labeled as 40 - 559 mm. It worked well for me on pavement tours, I used that for the Glacier Waterton Loop and also for a trip in Southern Florida in Big Cyprus, Everglades and Florida Keys.

I am not saying it is the best one, but it is the only one that I have used that is narrower than 50 mm. I thought it had a good balance of flat protection (I had one flat in Florida) and rolling resistance. Also did not wear too badly. The flat I had was with a construction staple that would have flatted any tire with the possible exception of one of the Schwalbe "Plus" tires.

I use a wider tire for gravel trips, but the 40 mm tire is my choice for pavement trips. But if you are traveling really light, you might find a good narrower tire? I do not recall what fender width I have, but the fenders are sized for 50 mm tires.

Unfortunately you can't see the tread in the photo, but you can see how big the tire looks on the rim. You can see the 40-559 label on the tire.

Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 02-07-19, 01:27 PM
  #5  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,660
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1320 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 29 Posts
2"
alan s is offline  
Old 02-07-19, 02:52 PM
  #6  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6833 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 213 Times in 178 Posts
1,75..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 02-07-19, 09:12 PM
  #7  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,224
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1211 Post(s)
Liked 102 Times in 62 Posts
When I look at 26" road tires for touring 1.75 often comes up as the default.
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 02-07-19, 10:11 PM
  #8  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,199
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 246 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
For many years I toured on a smooth tread 26 X 1.5" when staying mostly on pavement. For me, anything larger was undesired weight and unnecessary contact patch. When more off road, 1.75-2.0" with tread.
robow is offline  
Old 02-07-19, 10:18 PM
  #9  
mtbikerinpa
Shimano Certified
 
mtbikerinpa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 1,840

Bikes: 92 Giant Sedona ATX Custom

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I like my 1.75 slicks for road and used to be a diehard 1,95" trail tire user til I got a set of Bontrager XR-4 tubeless 2.3". They are shoehorned into the frame but oddly feel almost as smooth as the slicks and not a terrible lot of drag for being a dirt tire. The lowest drag pavement tread I ever used was WTB's All Terrain 1.95". Even though it was wider than the 1.75 it is still a lower drag by a hair. Only reason I switched to the Bontrager 1.75 was it has Hard-case tread armor and glass sux.
mtbikerinpa is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 08:09 AM
  #10  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,271

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3590 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Eh, I find that with the 26", the width doesn't matter as much as the tread pattern and compound. I've used a few between 1.75 and 2.15, that were "slicks", width didn't really matter

I like the ones @fietsbob mentioned above, although I did find them rather particular to pressures.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 08:10 AM
  #11  
BlarneyHammer
Senior Member
 
BlarneyHammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 273

Bikes: Invictus, Valeria, Jackie, and Vanguard

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
32 - 38 mm is generally a common range for road touring on 700c tires. That translates to (roughly) 1.25" - 1.5". There aren't a whole lot of 26" tires thinner than 1.5", so I suppose go with that. It'll still be somewhat on the wider side for road touring, and it'll have slightly more volume than a 700c x 35 mm tire.
BlarneyHammer is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 08:24 AM
  #12  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 8,877
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1087 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 38 Times in 30 Posts
I've ridden a lot on 26in bikes, commuting, med touring and heavy touring. From my experience, for light touring I prefer a 1.5, simply because as someone else brought up, there aren't a lot of narrower 26in tires out there, and the 38-40mm range is nice when going over rougher roads compared to 28, 32 or even 35mm, but there are so many variables of how heavy is bike, what sort of roads, what narrower 26 in tires are available, so a regular old 1.5 is an easy answer.

of course, putting on a lighter, more supple tire is always going to be nice for riding feel and better rolling, so a lighter slick 1.5 ish tire is going to feel and be a lot faster than a 1.5 super heavy duty stiff tire.

take a peek at my longish term review of the schwalbe supreme, I used 2inchers, but they come in a 1.6in , pretty impressive tires, but pricey, 50 bucks online, about 90 in stores.

Schwalbe Supreme26x2 followup #2 roughly6000kms

perhaps give more details of your expected riding, bike, load, roads, etc
djb is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 02:35 PM
  #13  
mtb_addict
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,012
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3011 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 26 Posts
Factory Surly LHT has 26x1.5" tire...so that must be the sweet spot.
mtb_addict is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 04:24 PM
  #14  
seeker333
-
 
seeker333's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,752

Bikes: yes!

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
For 26" wheeled bikes, 26 x 1.4-1.8" tires usually work best for primarily paved surfaces. Anything smaller tends to wear out really fast; more than 1.8" seems to just add more rotating weight with no significant benefit. This obviously depends a great deal on the particular tire, but the good ones again are in the 1.5-1.75 range. Furthermore, most 26" bike frames/forks do not permit use of tires over 2".

Newer 27.5" wheeled bikes with >2" tires are likely better for non-pavement tours.
seeker333 is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 07:21 PM
  #15  
pakeboi
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
For 26" wheeled bikes, 26 x 1.4-1.8" tires usually work best for primarily paved surfaces. Anything smaller tends to wear out really fast; more than 1.8" seems to just add more rotating weight with no significant benefit. This obviously depends a great deal on the particular tire, but the good ones again are in the 1.5-1.75 range. Furthermore, most 26" bike frames/forks do not permit use of tires over 2".

Newer 27.5" wheeled bikes with >2" tires are likely better for non-pavement tours.
So , at 26 x 1.5 -1.75 , which ones are the sweet spot between fast rolling / comfort / puncture protection ? (with the bias towards fast and comfort)
pakeboi is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 09:44 PM
  #16  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 8,877
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1087 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 38 Times in 30 Posts
Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
So , at 26 x 1.5 -1.75 , which ones are the sweet spot between fast rolling / comfort / puncture protection ? (with the bias towards fast and comfort)
As per the bias you are putting the emphasis on, Supremes are great---but a 1.5 greenguard marathon is half the price and is still a perfectly fine tire that rolls well enough. I've put lots of kms these 1.5 regular marathons, and they certainly meet that sweet spot of price/performance.

That said, the supremes will be a bit faster and a bit more comfortable.

And there surely are other brands tires that are nice also.
djb is offline  
Old 02-08-19, 10:02 PM
  #17  
Hondo Gravel
Voted For Pedro
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Hondo,Texas
Posts: 1,033

Bikes: Motobecane Boris Fatbike, Motobecane Omni Strada Pro,Fantom Pro CX, Fantom X7 MTB, Gravity SS MTB.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 526 Post(s)
Liked 80 Times in 63 Posts
26x1.5 on my old MTB when riding gravel and roads. 700x35 or 40 on my gravel bike but mostly a 35.
Hondo Gravel is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 07:26 AM
  #18  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

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: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
So , at 26 x 1.5 -1.75 , which ones are the sweet spot between fast rolling / comfort / puncture protection ? (with the bias towards fast and comfort)
Originally Posted by djb View Post
As per the bias you are putting the emphasis on, Supremes are great---but a 1.5 greenguard marathon is half the price and is still a perfectly fine tire that rolls well enough. I've put lots of kms these 1.5 regular marathons, and they certainly meet that sweet spot of price/performance.

That said, the supremes will be a bit faster and a bit more comfortable.

And there surely are other brands tires that are nice also.
Within the Schwalbe range, I think Djb is spot on. I mentioned above that I used the Marathon (with Greenguard), I have never used the Supreme but that tire has a loyal following. Comparing the bar charts between the two models, the Supreme would probably fit your bias better. You can do better on pricing than listed on the company website however.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_t...rathon_supreme
https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_t...s/marathon_420

I ride enough gravel trails that I generally want more tread than the supreme has. Nobody promoted the Mondial, which is more oriented towards mixed on and off road. That tire replaced the Dureme and the Extreme. And it likely rolls slower and has poorer road grip than you want. I bought some of these but have not yet ridden them, the Hutchinsons that they will replace are not completely worn out yet.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_t...rathon_mondial

Nobody mentioned the Vittoria Randonneur Pro, I bought a folding one to carry as a spare, have not ridden it so I can't comment on it.
https://www.vittoria.com/us/randonneur-pro-city-and-beyond.html?___store=us_en&___from_store=us_en
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 07:47 AM
  #19  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 8,877
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1087 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 38 Times in 30 Posts
That Vittoria Randonneur Pro looks nice, 1.5in is 510g which is very similar to the supremes.
I'm fairly certain that I mentioned in my supreme review that the sidewall is flexible but thin, so you have to keep this in mind, for not riding your bike up against sharp rocks, the classic "miss something with your front tire but scrape the sidewall of the rear tire against it" thing.
So rough and sharp large rock trails and or sloppy riding in general against any stuff is not a good idea with supremes.
djb is offline  
Old 02-19-19, 08:43 AM
  #20  
LeeG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,912
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
So , at 26 x 1.5 -1.75 , which ones are the sweet spot between fast rolling / comfort / puncture protection ? (with the bias towards fast and comfort)
You should be focusing on tire type more than just size. Tire size relates to load and type of road. 1.5” is fine for a light load and there are many light tires with decent puncture protection. When you say light I asume 150lbs or less.
No offense to bobfiets but the 1.75 Continental Travel Contact is a tough, thick tread and not so fast tire for light load. Continental had a 26” x 1.4” tire that was fast and light, not expensive. Can’t find it now but the Speed Contact looks similar. Here it is. SportContact/SpeedContact. If it’s the same Sport Contact as ten yrs ago the puncture resistance isn’t that impressive given its weight.

https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/continental-contact-speed-reflective-tire-26-inch?fltr=3750&sg=500

Schwalbe Supreme is a good tire if you were looking for a touring tire but for a light rider and light load I might look for something with better road feel. I weigh 220 and use it on the rear of my LHT with a 1.75” Panaracer T-Serv on the front. At my weight it gives me the fastest tires I need but still large enough for a load of groceries.

Maybe a Kojak or Marathon Racer would work well for you.

Just looked and Panaracer makes the T-serv in 26” x 1.5” and 1.25”. That’s the one, nice riding, durable enough and not Schwalbe expensive. That’s been a favorite tire for me in 700-32/35 as well. I’ve ridden through glass with them with no problem. For light touring use they’re almost ideal. Btw what is the total load on the tires going to be?

https://www.panaracer.com/lineup/urban_touring.html

Last edited by LeeG; 02-19-19 at 09:07 AM.
LeeG is offline  
Old 02-20-19, 01:54 PM
  #21  
Philly Tandem
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: SE Penna., USA
Posts: 1,095

Bikes: Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion Pangea S&S, Co-Motion Nor'wester S&S, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ellsworth Enlightenment Carbon, Niner EMD9, old-school C'dale F2000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've used Schwalbe Marathons in 26x1.25" for years for all sorts of touring, including riding lots of gravel (like the GAP trail) and plenty of pavement. My wife has the same thing, but in 1.5" on her bike, because she feels more confident on a wider tire. I'd say either works fine. If you are riding more gravel/dirt, then go with the 1.5".
Philly Tandem is offline  
Old 02-20-19, 10:16 PM
  #22  
Rick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 346
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 147 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 28 Times in 24 Posts
I wore out my second set of Marathon Supreme Tires recently. I just put on Marathon Mondial Evolution tires. I use the 2' wide ones. I have had only one flat in four years. I am heavy and have lost some weight. I will still stick with the 2" wide tires. There may be some more rolling resistance but they hold the road and absorb rod shock better than a narrower tire.
Rick is offline  
Old 02-21-19, 08:19 AM
  #23  
Bikesplendor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Wider is better than a lot of people think. Faster, more comfortable, more sure-footed, more versatile.

2.3's.

Maybe even a bit larger.

Ms. Cools has something to say on the subject:
​​​​

Henry Wildeberry explains the choice of tire size in the comments section below the video (in answer to a question by Rudi van Desarzio).

Ms.Cools talks about why she likes those tires and their size in another video. She says they are a bit like riding on pillows, among other things.

In my experience, wider is much better on gravel and rough surfaces, and not slow on pavement.

There seems to have been a longstanding prejudice toward narrower tires. It's changing somewhat, but it seems to me that a lot of people are still reluctant to go "too wide" when it really isn't too wide. So even if they are open to somewhat wider tires, they aren't open to taking it further.

Henry Wildeberry has another video in which he does the math, with results that also point toward wide-phobia as a widespread syndrome. He has an engineering background, and his analysis supports the choice of wider tires.
Bikesplendor is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
MiloFrance
Classic & Vintage
2
09-25-14 11:50 AM
xcracer13
Mountain Biking
5
09-14-07 04:22 AM

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

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.