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-   -   Agonizing over tire size: is 32mm hilariously thin in 2021? (https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1226011-agonizing-over-tire-size-32mm-hilariously-thin-2021-a.html)

adam.schwartz4 03-18-21 08:56 AM


Originally Posted by Doug64 (Post 21971910)
If 32 mm tires were good in 2012 what made the undesirable in 2021?

I did a lot of touring on my Volpe with 28 mm tires, including a ride across the U. S. The 28 mm tires handled everything we encountered without and problems, including a lot of construction gravel.

We went to 32 mm tires when we did a 3-month Europe tour. During that trip we rode over 500 miles of dirt and gravel roads and trails. We also had 35 days of rain during that trip; so we did get our share of wet dirt roads. On the same trip we also road over 400 miles on sett, cobble and paver stone roads and trails.Since then we switched to 32 mm tires for all our touring bikes. They seem to be a good compromise between weight, durability, and comfort.

32 mm tires handled wet cobbles well, and were comfortable on a fully loaded bike.

These pics (which I had to remove since I'm <10 posts deep on bikeforums) are great! Thanks for the insight. Curious about your tire of choice as it looks like we do similar touring. What's your favorite?

robow 03-18-21 12:27 PM


Originally Posted by niliraga (Post 21972536)
You might try Marathon Supremes in 32.

Bought a pair of Supremes 32mm last fall and plan on running them this year. Though they're no Marathon Pluses (thank God), they do seem to be a fairly robust tire but they do measure a little small on my Mavic 719 rims.

djb 03-18-21 01:55 PM


Originally Posted by adam.schwartz4 (Post 21973146)
Super helpful, thank you djb! Curious, what conditions/environments do you use 45/50s for? Not touring, I'm assuming?

I used the 50mm on some trips where I knew the riding surfaces would be all over the map, and I wanted the extra cushion etc of a wider tire.

re 32 vs 35 vs whatever. I just got home from commuting the first time on my bike with 35mm regular Marathons, and I think its fair to say that its really up to you to know if you would prefer wider than 32's. Like Doug, I too have toured a lot on 28's, and have ridden on gravel roads with them, but I do have to say that I like how wider tires make an easier ride over rough and loose stuff---but again, really only you can make the judgement call.

I've found over the years that it was only from basically taking a chance and trying out different tires and or tire widths , that I was able to get more of an idea of what preference I have for a given type of riding / touring weight / different surfaces.
It's pretty much impossible to really know without riding on something to know how you like or not like it, internet opinions can only go so far.

Doug64 03-18-21 03:24 PM

David, Based on a one ride sample, what was your opinion of the 35 mm Marathons vs. the 32 mm tires. I'm currently using the 32 mm, Marathons, but have thought about going to a little wider tire. Last tour, pre-covid 2019, we ended up replacing my wife's rear tire. The closest the shop had to the 32 mm she was riding was a 35 mm. I meant to take it off when we got home, and just realized the other day when airing up her rear tire the the 35 mm was still on her bike. She just read this over my shoulder and said, " that why I'm a little slower than you on the hills" :)

djb 03-18-21 07:33 PM

Well, I guess the differences are small, but fur sure the 35 must be heavier, I'm fairly certain I use a heavier tube, so that adds a bit more weight. I certainly do notice that the 35s have that bit more air volume, and over the rough Montreal roads I ride on I find it takes the edge off jolts a bit.....BUT the bike they are on is an older steel frame bike that has pretty good frame "give", so this is an added factor too.

from touring with the really wide 2inch Supremes, I could see the 35s being faster on rough roads, easier on the rider, and a tiny bit more sure footed over looser stuff.....but geez, how much, who knows?
I suspect the difference is really small 35 vs 32, and on good roads maybe the 32s are faster, from being lighter.

on my bike with 28mm gatorskins, I bought one 32mm supreme to try out, to see if it's smoother and faster. I'm fairly certain that the thinner sidewall supreme should be more supple and nicer riding than the gatorskins, but I'll see.

TiHabanero 03-19-21 01:58 AM

adam.schwartz4, I prefer Continental tires as I get good results with them. All my bikes have Conti's as they wear well and don't flat easily. The current 38's on my touring rig are City Ride. I know, with a name like City Ride who would use them for touring? Thus far they have had one flat and have been on the bike for about 1000 miles. Schwalabe Marathons are well regarded in the touring community, but I have never lived with them. Have ridden others bikes that have them, but that is it.

bikewilltravel 03-19-21 04:34 AM

I tour with 40mm tires, nice balance of speed and comfort for me, but it is a matter of personal preference.

wgscott 03-19-21 04:45 AM


Originally Posted by adam.schwartz4 (Post 21970672)
Informal poll here. in 2012 I bought a Bianchi Volpe and at the time it was the most expensive thing I'd ever purchased. Used my FSA which was due to expire and incredibly wrote off the Italian steed as an expense....hope the wrong people don't see this.

Anyway, back then 32mm was a solid sized tire, and my chainstay spacing is proof of that lol. But my things have certainly changed. I've been loyal to Schwalbe Marathons for over a decade, but 5K miles later through all sorts of NYC streets and upstate gravel, it's finally time for a change. I really want to go up in size, but I am SUPER reluctant to remove my fenders just for a test (they get in the way when I try to see the fit with my commuter wheel with Pasela 38s). Adjusting fenders is my nightmare wrench activity...

Either way I highly doubt I can jam anything bigger than 38 in there!

So here's my question: am I really missing out by riding 32s? Is it worth even the nominal gain in tire size to go 35?

I feel like even 38 is considered thin these days and I wanna know if I'm missing out! I do lots of touring over summer, mostly road with some light gravel. I'm deeply inspired by the Jan Heine Bicycle Quarterly way of thinking and if anything want to get some supple shoes with solid flat protection on my Volpe. Thinking the Soma Shikoros....or just saying screw it and buying another pair of Marathons. Discuss!

I finally feel like I over-did it with his 55mm Antelope Hill tires, but only just. I would cram as wide a tire in there as possible. If you have the cash, get a second wheelset -- 650b, and run even wider tires. That has the merit of giving you a sane outside diameter, so you don't feel like you are riding a clown bike -- the handling will change, presumably for the better, as it will behave more like a bike with anorexic 700c x 32mm tires. Plus, you can keep your fenders in place. Win/win/win.

Tourist in MSN 03-19-21 05:13 AM


Originally Posted by wgscott (Post 21974654)
I finally feel like I over-did it with his 55mm Antelope Hill tires, but only just. ....

57mm Marathon Extemes:

https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...2427af95b6.jpg

niliraga 03-19-21 09:21 AM

a few years ago i made exactly that change to my regular commuter - 28mm gators to 32mm supremes. knew nothing about supremes going into it, and I kinda figured it would be interesting but not conclusive change. i remember almost laughing at certain points in my commute, from the heady mix of faster rolling *and* more comfort. sold the gators on craigslist two days later and have never put them on another daily-duty bike since.


Originally Posted by djb (Post 21974320)
on my bike with 28mm gatorskins, I bought one 32mm supreme to try out, to see if it's smoother and faster. I'm fairly certain that the thinner sidewall supreme should be more supple and nicer riding than the gatorskins, but I'll see.


djb 03-19-21 02:32 PM


Originally Posted by niliraga (Post 21975010)
a few years ago i made exactly that change to my regular commuter - 28mm gators to 32mm supremes. knew nothing about supremes going into it, and I kinda figured it would be interesting but not conclusive change. i remember almost laughing at certain points in my commute, from the heady mix of faster rolling *and* more comfort. sold the gators on craigslist two days later and have never put them on another daily-duty bike since.

I've toured a lot on wider Supremes and love the feel and how they roll.
seriously impressed by their wear pattern and my excellent flat experience with them, given where I've used them.
totally love them.

3speed 03-20-21 01:29 AM

OP, I've always been happy with a decent quality 32-35mm tire. The cheap or Heavily armored ones are gonna suck, but something with some protection, but a supple sidewall in the low-mid 30mm range is the sweet spot for me. Big tires are sluggish handling and needlessly heavy. Fat bike tires are like riding on a cloud, but there's a reason you don't see people doing road tours on them.


Originally Posted by fishboat (Post 21971438)
I had a 2006 Volpe and ran Voyager Hypers on it in 35mm(no fenders). Nice, fast, (road) tire with a plush ride..I wish they still made them.

I'm So disappointed they stopped making that tire. I have one brand new pair in 35mm that I've had set aside for a couple years now, waiting for my next big road tour. Have you found anything close as a replacement?


Originally Posted by wgscott (Post 21974654)
the handling will change, presumably for the better, as it will behave more like a bike with anorexic 700c x 32mm tires.

lol Those silly anorexic, better handling, lighter weight tires that are completely sufficient and comfortable for all but Really bad roads, and even perfectly fine for most rail-trails that I've experienced...

Tourist in MSN 03-20-21 06:02 AM


Originally Posted by Doug64 (Post 21973954)
... opinion of the 35 mm Marathons vs. the 32 mm tires. ...

Have you seen this?
https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...on-32-37-40-47

Doug64 03-20-21 11:28 AM


Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN (Post 21976151)

Thanks, that is a great site.

djb 03-20-21 01:52 PM

I suspect many of you have read similar findings before about how wider tires can FEEL slower, but in reality this is not the case.
Yes, more flexible tires make all the difference here, and why I have been in love with my wider Supremes for a few years now, but here is a good article that addresses this whole issue, it's worth the read.
In the Jan Heine "myths about bike riding" etc series.

https://www.renehersecycles.com/12-m...es-are-slower/

robow 03-20-21 05:00 PM

Side question, those running Marathon Supremes, what psi are you running your 32 or 35 mm at when touring ? Thanks

mstateglfr 03-20-21 09:13 PM


Originally Posted by fishboat (Post 21972370)
If memory serves, I think I contacted Vittoria (couple 2-3 years ago) about "Hyper" replacements and they directed me to the current "Voyager" and sort of implied it was the same tire. It's not..not even close. The last set of Hypers I got was from (??) Planet Cyclery?? in the UK for $15 a tire..cough..should have bought many more than just a set..didn't know then what I know now.. Shortly after that order..5 years ago..they discontinued them.

(not a great tire on a damp/slick off-road rail-trail-ish though)

I have some hypers on one of my bikes right now. I think it's the size that is listed as 37 and measures 35.
Love em.
And they are nothing at all like the base Vittoria Randonneur tire(I assume that's what you refer to).

I wish I bought half a dozen more Hyper tires a couple years ago from Planet X when they were something like $15 each.

fishboat 03-21-21 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by 3speed (Post 21976044)
Vittoria Hyper tires..
I'm So disappointed they stopped making that tire. I have one brand new pair in 35mm that I've had set aside for a couple years now, waiting for my next big road tour. Have you found anything close as a replacement?

Nope..not from Vittoria. I've looked at their lineup a couple times over the last few years(been quite a while since I've done it) and I don't see any place where the Hypers "went".

Unfortunate

comfort rider 03-22-21 02:25 PM

Yes, it's hilariously thin.

Bill in VA 03-22-21 03:09 PM

From reading all the responses, and being a Volpe rider, my take is "hilariously thin" is only a thing if you are letting trends and advertising affect what you do. If you are satisfied at your current tire width and inflation pressure with your preferred tire it is a non-issue. By all means experiment, but the original question seemed more towards being trendy than that based upon need or practicality.

I used to ride towpaths and dirt roads on 25mm tires before gravel was a thing, and 32s were for older bikes. I did one ride with rear panniers with 25s. I no longer do loaded touring, and use 32s for all my riding, but not heavy duty tires, but extra-supple light tires (Rene Herse) and I have not had flat issues. Fortunately, Volpes are very flexible at many things and can fit a fairly large tire.

Sorcerer 03-23-21 12:43 AM

IN Case no one has said it, tubeless 33 tires exist and have a great ride. Of course you'll need tubeless rims though. That's what I did to my old bike and it's groovy as heck. That said, my wife and I toured fully loaded on 28's with tubes back in the day, and that's fine as far I'm concerned.

mstateglfr 03-23-21 06:42 AM


Originally Posted by 3speed (Post 21976044)
I'm So disappointed they stopped making that tire. I have one brand new pair in 35mm that I've had set aside for a couple years now, waiting for my next big road tour. Have you found anything close as a replacement?

Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass 35. Multiple casings and consistently viewed as quite fast rolling.
Panaracer GravelKing Slick 35 and 38. I have 2 pairs of slick(28 and 32) and a pair of SemiSlick in 43. I wouldnt think twice about using the slick 38mm once my Hypers are done. The GK tires are a smidge lighter and basically the same rolling.
Continental Terra Speed 35. Some tread knobs, but rated very fast on drum machine

fishboat 03-23-21 07:45 AM


Originally Posted by mstateglfr (Post 21980586)
Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass 35. Multiple casings and consistently viewed as quite fast rolling.
Panaracer GravelKing Slick 35 and 38. I have 2 pairs of slick(28 and 32) and a pair of SemiSlick in 43. I wouldnt think twice about using the slick 38mm once my Hypers are done. The GK tires are a smidge lighter and basically the same rolling.
Continental Terra Speed 35. Some tread knobs, but rated very fast on drum machine

I/we switched to GK slicks in 28 & 38mm, depending on the bike...it's our std tire at this point. They're very good for our purposes, but I think the Hypers felt faster...though they're gone so a moot point. GKs of any type are better off-road than the Hypers(not designed for off-road). We also run the GK SKs if the terrain needs it. Bikesmiths in Milwaukee often has very good pricing on ebay or their website. The pricing moves around often..just picked up a pair of GK slicks 38mm black for $70/free shipping.

JonGapes 03-24-21 09:31 AM

Schwalbe Marathon
 

Originally Posted by djb (Post 21973794)
re 32 vs 35 vs whatever. I just got home from commuting the first time on my bike with 35mm regular Marathons, and I think its fair to say that its really up to you to know if you would prefer wider than 32's. Like Doug, I too have toured a lot on 28's, and have ridden on gravel roads with them, but I do have to say that I like how wider tires make an easier ride over rough and loose stuff---but again, really only you can make the judgement call.

I've found over the years that it was only from basically taking a chance and trying out different tires and or tire widths , that I was able to get more of an idea of what preference I have for a given type of riding / touring weight / different surfaces.
It's pretty much impossible to really know without riding on something to know how you like or not like it, internet opinions can only go so far.

Hi there,

I'm looking to change my semi-slick Vittoria tyres in 28C to the Schwalbe Marathon (regular, not Plus) and was thinking about going for 700 x 35c.
I don't really feel safe riding around London's potholed roads on 28C tyres and they're also not great in the wet - they've caught me out a fair few times. How do you (and anyone else who'd like to comment) find the Marathons for grip in the wet and in general?

I'm not a cycle tourer, but I like to exercise on my bike, cycling fast on roads and by the River Thames. I also tackle some hills from time to time. Surfaces are mostly London roads but also canal towpaths with gravel - the current 28C tyres do not handle this well at all. How is the performance as I've read many people say the tyres are sluggish when pulling away, despite having good rolling resistance? I don't do racing per se but do enjoy some quick acceleration with the factory fitted Vittoria tyres at the moment. My bike (Whyte Shoreditch) is 10.2kg.

Thanks,
Jon.

djb 03-24-21 03:00 PM

Jon, I suspect what you consider very potholey as a Londoner is not what I think is potholey, but really though, a 35mm regular marathon is going to be heavier than the tires you ride now, and how you would find them would be very personal (although with such a light bike, you may really be bothered by the weight and feel of heavier tires.)

Tourist in MSN 03-24-21 03:56 PM

I am going to guess that your Vittoria and Marathon tires will have about the same grip on wet tarmac. But the 35mm tires are less likely to get pinch flats from hitting a pothole and should be much better on towpaths. I have a fairly smooth Vittoria tire on my rando bike, one of my touring bikes has 26 inch wheels and 40mm wide Marathons (with Greenguard).

But most of my riding is on dry tarmac and I can't remember the last time I had a lack of grip on wet tarmac. Thus, I can't really give a good comparison of the two tires on wet tarmac.

JonGapes 03-24-21 05:17 PM

Thanks for the replies so far.

I've been looking at other tyres but keep coming back to the Marathons. Bike shops seem to wholeheartedly recommend them too, but I have my doubts because of their weight. I really just want something a bit safer and better on towpaths than what I have now. I'm worried I might regret going the Marathon route as I'm not a tourer and not carrying much weight, just a rucksack. I want good cornering and a good feel to my generally fast rides (but not racing) across varied terrain.

feejer 03-29-21 10:11 PM


Originally Posted by headwind15 (Post 21971706)
I have a number of touring bikes and 700 x 32 is my go-to size for road and gravel. I would not consider any wider. I feel sorry for tourists who torture themselves with wider/heavier tires. Don't forget a pound saved in your tires is like five pounds on your frame/ gear. (or something like that).

I'm in the process of building up a bike with Velocity Cliffhanger rims and 2" tires. They weigh noticeably less than the stock Bontrager wheels with 32's on my Trek FX. Noticeably less. And in just one test ride so far the ride quality just absolutely blew away the FX with 32's. I'll never look back, and feel sorry for those that have yet to see the light. ;)

robow 04-04-21 06:25 PM

I recently got back from a trip where we spent a great amount of time and hundreds of miles on state highway shoulders. Those shoulders, though wide, were filled with a ton of metal scrap, far more than usual for whatever reason. You couldn't avoid running over some of this stuff, time and time again. It was a case of pick your poison, the frustrating and likely failed effort of dodging steel scraps or play chicken with the logging trucks. I am literally amazed that I didn't suffer a flat or worse yet, a cut sidewall with my Schwalbe Marathon Supremes 32mm considering all the stuff I ran over and kicked up. Though it's no long term review, they definitely passed this test with flying colors.

djb 04-04-21 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by robow (Post 22000221)
I recently got back from a trip where we spent a great amount of time and hundreds of miles on state highway shoulders. Those shoulders, though wide, were filled with a ton of metal scrap, far more than usual for whatever reason. You couldn't avoid running over some of this stuff, time and time again. It was a case of pick your poison, the frustrating and likely failed effort of dodging steel scraps or play chicken with the logging trucks. I am literally amazed that I didn't suffer a flat or worse yet, a cut sidewall with my Schwalbe Marathon Supremes 32mm considering all the stuff I ran over and kicked up. Though it's no long term review, they definitely passed this test with flying colors.

glad to hear. Touch wood but I love riding on them.
I still will stop sometimes and finger brush them to dislodge stuff.


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