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23 or 25mm Tires??

OK, I plan to ride my road bike at the prevailing speed, not fast or slow per se. I realize 23mm tires at 120 psi will require less effort overall, and 25mm tires at say 95 psi will provide for a cushier ride in exchange for a little more work. Do experienced repeat riders tend to prefer one size tire to another for RAGBRAI?

22 Replies

Michrider !!!, May 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

I prefer to ride 28 mm tires! I’m a larger rider (6′ 200 lbs). I believe the 28’s handle rough roads better, especially those nasty center of the road seams! It’s all personal choice!

#207903

dpackboy, May 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

I dont see a real difference between 23s vs. 25s. If you are gonna purchase new tires for the ride, maybe a puncture resistant tire like Gator Skins would be the better investment.

3 RAGBRAI’s under my belt and the only flat was when I pulled the stem outta my tire trying to get the pump off.

I have fixed a lot of tires for other folks not using puncture resistant tires.

just sayin.

#207912

Av8tor, May 11, 2012 at 11:46 am

Michrider:
I prefer to ride 28 mm tires!I’m a larger rider (6′ 200 lbs).I believe the 28′s handle rough roads better, especially those nasty center of the road seams!It’s all personal choice!

Hmmm,

I weigh in at 150lbs, not sure I would need 28s. But you’ve got me scared of those center seams now!

#207922

Av8tor, May 11, 2012 at 11:47 am

dpackboy:
I dont see a real difference between 23s vs. 25s.If you are gonna purchase new tires for the ride, maybe a puncture resistant tire like Gator Skins would be the better investment.

3 RAGBRAI’s under my belt and the only flat was when I pulled the stem outta my tire trying to get the pump off.

Yep, I was planning on Gator Skins, just trying to figure out what width.

I have fixed a lot of tires for other folks not using puncture resistant tires.

just sayin.

#207923

mentor58, May 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm

The counter-intuitive thing is, for the same brand / make of tire, the wider tire actually has a lower rolling resistance on roads that are anything less than pretty much glass smooth tarmac. It boils down to the fact that the wider tire can easier “bridge” the small little gaps and pits in the road, where the narrower tire tends to drop in a bit more. The fact that a wider tire has less deflection / bulge as it rolls down the road also contributes to this.

For a ride like Ragbrai, I’d go with the widest tires, within reason, that I could fit on my rims and not have any interference problems. I’d go with a good belted or otherwise reinforced tire around 28mm or so if I was still riding a traditional bike.

Hope this helps,

Steve
Who suspects that you’ll lose more time fixing a flat than 23mm Ultra-light tires will save you over the ride.

#207956

Iceman, May 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm

mentor58: The counter-intuitive thing is, for the same brand / make of tire, the wider tire actually has a lower rolling resistance on roads that are anything less than pretty much glass smooth tarmac. It boils down to the fact that the wider tire can easier “bridge” the small little gaps and pits in the road, where the narrower tire tends to drop in a bit more. The fact that a wider tire has less deflection / bulge as it rolls down the road also contributes to this. For a ride like Ragbrai, I’d go with the widest tires, within reason, that I could fit on my rims and not have any interference problems. I’d go with a good belted or otherwise reinforced tire around 28mm or so if I was still riding a traditional bike.Hope this helps,SteveWho suspects that you’ll lose more time fixing a flat than 23mm Ultra-light tires will save you over the ride.

You are correct about the lower resistance. That also applies – for rough road conditions – to running your tires at a lower psi.

That’s one reason why I am using “tubeless clinchers.” I’m about 235lbs so normally I run clinchers with tubes at 120psi. With the Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless clinchers, you can run them at 95 to 100 psi for my weight. The ride is more comfortable at the lower psi AND the rolling resistance is less since the higher psi tubed tires “bounce” off each imperfection in the road, thereby losing some “grip” and therefor requiring more effort to pedal. I did not believe it till I tried them.

Also, pinch flats impossible (you have no tube) and if you use sealant, it’s very difficult to have a flat as the sealant seals cuts, thorns, nail holes, etc.

#207976

Tony, May 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Back on the tubeless and snot kick again eh. Anyhooo… The tire size and pressure you need is determined by load. You also need to match tire width to rim width. I weigh 250 and ride both 23mm and 25mm tires at 125psi. Just like semi’s, the heavier the load the higher the tire pressure. I use tube clinchers. I match tire width to rim width. I have zero issues with pinch flats. for that matter I rarely get a flat. I suggest a training/sport tour tire. They have lower thread counts. Low thread counts mean the casing is thicker. Less prone to punctures. If your worried about punctures. Get a tire like gatorskins with a Kevlar band. I swear by Ultra Sports and Equinox tires. I have no problems with these. I find no difference in roll out between 23mm and 25mm tires. I just get longer life out of the 25’s as the weight is distributed on a larger road contact surface area. You might want to consider a 23 in the front and a 25 in the rear.

Road hazards do play a factor on any bike ride. You must be total aware of the road in front of you. Concrete roads have expansion joints in them. This includes the center lines. You can avoid it or cross them at a 30-45 degree angle safely. If the gap is wide enough and you cross at a shallow angle. You will drop into the gap and flip you bike. Riders have been seriously injured or killed by this. Hitting chuck holes and cracked pavement will damage wheels. It could also cause a crash. You just have to pay attention to the road. The locals authorities try to mark road hazards with paint. Riders ahead will point them out. Ride smart and you will be OK. If we happen on a crappy section of road just slow down.

Please read this article from the guru of bicycling to better understand bike tires.

Sheldon Brown on tires.

#208034

Browner, May 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

In my limited experience, I would go with as wide a tire as you can fit, like mentor said. I had 33 mm small knobby tires on my cyclocross bike and ride mostly paved trails. I swapped out to 28 mm Continental road tires thinking it would ride easier. It actually rode rougher with the higher air pressure and seemed to be less efficient. So now I am swapping out to 40mm Schwalbe Marathons to see how they ride. Hopefully I can gain back the shock absorbtion and still roll easy.

On a ride like RAGBRAI, comfort beats out efficiency. It’s not a race, and does a 2 mm diference in 23 vs. 25 really gain you that much?

#208047

Iceman, May 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Tony, poor Sheldon Brown – God rest his sole – is dead. But if her were here, he’d be backing me up. I have no doubt. You just won’t bow to the inevitable.

Why do you still use tubes for road tires? It’s simple economics. Most of the tire manufacturers want to sell tires and tubes. But they still lost out to tubeless tire designs 40 years ago for autos and trucks and tractors and they’re losing on the same issue on mountain bikes which have been converting to tubeless for the past five or so years. And road bikes are right around the corner.

I guarantee you within 5 years (all depends on when Continental and Michelin finally have to give in – which they already have for mountain bikes), you’ll have a hard time finding tubes on road bikes.

And that “tire snot” (as you call it) is a choice, not a necessity. No, it’s not Slime. Sealant is now more for prevention of flats or for sealing them if you have a flat. A tubeless tire like a Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless which is matched up to a Campy 2 Way Fit wheel or a Shimano tubeless clincher rim normally hold air without the “tire snot.” So you can run a tubeless clincher with or without sealant – or are you so blind to technology (Shimano and Campy are not) that you put sealant in your auto tires? It’s the same rim and tire design!

So get over it. I had some wheels built recently – Campy Record hubs with Stans Alpha 340 rims and DT double butted spokes and Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless tires. And even with sealant installed, they are lighter (yep – lighter) that the same set up with tubes and Continental 4000 tires which I still really like. And I can run the tubeless at a lower psi which means they are faster AND more comfortable and if I hit some glass (which I did last Saturday) they seal themselves with only about 10 lbs of air loss. I would have been on the side of the road fixing my tubed Continental – and foreget those Conti Gatorskins and whatever brand Armadillo tires – using my tires with sealant is much more durable.

You are a slave to the bike manufacturing gods. Well, so am I guess since I have to use the Hutchinson tires or nothing else – right now. Who knows if Michelin and Conti will do better? Still, I’d like more of a choice. I cannot wait for the day when I can buy some Continental Road tubeless clinchers. I love those Conti tires but until then, I guess I’ll have to “suffer” through my current set up with the Hutch tires. My tubeless set up is still superior to my other tubed clinchers on the Open Pro rims/Campy hubs I keep around.

And – to be frank – I’m don’t believe anyone who claims never not to have had a pinch flat in the past five or so years (from twisting a tube while installing) is telling the truth.

#208056

kicks9, May 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I ride 23mm because that is what fits between my brakes without changing anything on them. I rode the last 2 years and have not had a problem. Ride what you are used to and what you have ridden all year leading up to RAGBRAI. I do not believe in changing a bunch of things before I go ride 500 miles in a week. Everyone says get a tune-up right before you go. I dont agree with that either. Get a tune-up at least a couple weeks to a month before you go so that if anything is out of whack you can have it perfect in IA.

Kicks9

#208070

Av8tor, May 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm

mentor58:
The counter-intuitive thing is, for the same brand / make of tire, the wider tire actually has a lower rolling resistance on roads that are anything less than pretty much glass smooth tarmac.It boils down to the fact that the wider tire can easier “bridge” the small little gaps and pits in the road, where the narrower tire tends to drop in a bit more.The fact that a wider tire has less deflection / bulge as it rolls down the road also contributes to this.

For a ride like Ragbrai, I’d go with the widest tires, within reason, that I could fit on my rims and not have any interference problems.I’d go with a good belted or otherwise reinforced tire around 28mm or so if I was still riding a traditional bike.

Hope this helps,

Steve
Who suspects that you’ll lose more time fixing a flat than 23mm Ultra-light tires will save you over the ride.

It didn’t even occur to me to think of going as wide as 28mm–as suggested in a number of the posts. But, I’m not sure if I can go any wider than 23mm now that I look at my rims. My Weinmann rims say 700cc X 18c/23c. Does that mean 23mm is as wide a tire as I can have on that rim without buying new wider rims?? I’m not sure I want to spend the $$ for new rims plus tires.

#208079

Browner, May 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The rim width is usually the smallest you can go. So if the rim width is 23 mm you should not run anything smaller than that or it may not seat properly. The max width is limited to what will fit between your caliper arms or forks. Usually with 28s on a road bike, you may need to loosen the caliper or deflate the tire a little to get the tire in and out between the brake pads.

#208103

Michrider !!!, May 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Browner:
The rim width is usually the smallest you can go.So if the rim width is 23 mm you should not run anything smaller than that or it may not seat properly.The max width is limited to what will fit between your caliper arms or forks.Usually with 28s on a road bike, you may need to loosen the caliper or deflate the tire a little to get the tire in and out between the brake pads.

As I said in an earlier post, it’s all about personal preference! I used to ride 23’s and 25’s on my road bikes. However, now that I’m older and more finicky, I prefer the ride of 28’s. I will be riding a custom frame that was designed to handle the 28’s! Go with what you know and with your own comfort level!!!! See you on an Iowa Kurb!!!!

#208132

Av8tor, May 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm

kicks9:
I ride 23mm because that is what fits between my brakes without changing anything on them.I rode the last 2 years and have not had a problem.Ride what you are used to and what you have ridden all year leading up to RAGBRAI.I do not believe in changing a bunch of things before I go ride 500 miles in a week.Everyone says get a tune-up right before you go.I dont agree with that either.Get a tune-up at least a couple weeks to a month before you go so that if anything is out of whack you can have it perfect in IA.

Kicks9

Figures, I had it backwards. Thanks for straightening me out. I hope I don’t start the ride at Clinton. I’ll check with my LBS to see if 28s will fit with my brakes etc.

#208164

Av8tor, May 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Michrider: As I said in an earlier post, it’s all about personal preference!I used to ride 23′s and 25′s on my road bikes.However, now that I’m older and more finicky, I prefer the ride of 28′s.I will be riding a custom frame that was designed to handle the 28′s!Go with what you know and with your own comfort level!!!!See you on an Iowa Kurb!!!!

Yep, 70-80 miles a day for 7 days in a row means I want as cushy a ride as possible, all things equal. So 28s may just be the ticket for me.

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