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Modern Tire Width Preference
#1
Times are changing and a lot of people are switching up their styles from old times. Roads used to be dominated by sew up enthusiasts doing whatever it takes to get 18c tires on the tarmac. 20c and 23c later became the new gold standard with safety concerns for better handling; running at high 130psi ranges for speed. And now, even though many people still swear by their 25c/23c tires; I honestly feel like 28c has become the new gold standard; running at the 100psi mark.

I ride as an urban commuter, which is like a battlefield. I have been using 32c Pirelli P7 Sport. They have been everything I could hope for in switching to 700c road wheels from 26" wheels running 1.5" Specialized Nimbus 2 Sports. They can take lots of abuse from bad roads, small gravel pits, bumps/cracks/protrusions. They can handle having to hop curbs. While still maintaining great speed and response potential—running at 87psi. I also have the 26c versions of these, which I plan on putting on a full road style bike I'm building. I question if they'll be able to handle what the city has to dish out. But otherwise, I have been thinking about downsizing from 32c to 28c on the main commuter. Most people will say they're about the same, but I can't imagine not experiencing a little lossyness somewhere (likely with impact, absorption, and suppleness). Who here can compare 28c to 32c?

So what are everyone's preferences these days? Do you feel the size you run gives you everything you're looking for?

Any add-ons or take aways from the size you're currently running?

I look forward to the great feedback.
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#2
From my experience, you'll definitely experience a difference between 32c and 28c. Not a huge difference, but it will be noticeable.

Now, the question is what do you value more? You'll need to sacrifice either speed or comfort, depending on which direction you go, but I think 28c offers a good balance between the two.

Personally, the narrowest I went was 25c and while there was an obvious speed advantage, I was suffering in terms of comfort. I then realized that I don't aspire to race or ride professionally, so I started experimenting with wider tires and loved riding 28c tires.

More recently, I went even more extreme with 35c Schwalbe G-One Allround tires and I love how comfortable they are, despite chipping away 3-4 km/h off of my average speed.

Considering you ride as an urban commuter, I think you should consider sticking with 32c. You won't see a massive improvement in average speed with 28c, but you'll see a decline in comfort.
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#3
Interesting thing is, I have ridden on both 23c and 25c.

I can relate to the notion of comfort, as they did feel very rigid and ungiving. I would question though if this has to do with the thread count. They were Kenda tires both times with low thread count, attributing poor suppleness, which becomes especially uncomfortable on narrow tires.

My 32c Pirelli P7 Sport have low thread count also, but they feel incredibly supple, comfortable, and responsive—with incredible grip to boot—both wet and dry. Obviously, the compound might also play a factor in the suppleness of a tire, and not just the thread count and width.

Given this, I don't think it's fair enough yet to say narrower tires can't be comfortable, but should the experience needed soon enough to say for sure.
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#4
I regularly switch between 28c and 25c and I feel like I'm numb now to the differences between the two, I notice a bigger impact though between training tires and race tires versus width, maybe I'm just weird like that
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#5
My road bikes are a mix of 25c and 28c. I enjoy the 'snappy' feel of the 25 but the 28 is noticeably more comfortable, which is a big deal on the outrageously bad roads we have here in the UK.

However, nothing compares to the glorious comfort and 'to hell with potholes' ability of my gravel bike on gumwall 43c Panaracer GravelKing Semi Slick TLCs. It is SO much fun to cruise along on something that sneers at bumps, cracks, and detritus in the road.
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#6
(07-13-2024, 01:29 PM)enkei Wrote:  My road bikes are a mix of 25c and 28c. I enjoy the 'snappy' feel of the 25 but the 28 is noticeably more comfortable, which is a big deal on the outrageously bad roads we have here in the UK.

However, nothing compares to the glorious comfort and 'to hell with potholes' ability of my gravel bike on gumwall 43c Panaracer GravelKing Semi Slick TLCs. It is SO much fun to cruise along on something that sneers at bumps, cracks, and detritus in the road.

I'm an idiot. Just checked my road bikes, and they're all 25c. I could have sworn one of them was 28mm, LOL. So now the question is, which of these mysterious bikes has the "noticeably more comfortable" ride from #fakenews 28c tires?
  Reply


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