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The Truth About Wide Tyres And Wide Rims On Road Bikes

The Truth About Wide Tyres And Wide Rims On Road Bikes


now if you paid much attention to bike tech at all you will be well aware of the huge push to wider ties and wider rims now you might not be clear as to why there’s this huge push but that’s okay because we’re going to dig in and find out the reason we’ve been thinking about this recently though was because of the arrival of n B’s new and really rather lovely SES 4.5 aar disc wheels the other day now at first glance they are typically mb they’ve got the different rim profiles front and back and they’re laced to Chris King hubs but they’re envies with a difference because these are breaking new ground in a really exciting way for start they have a disc specific rim profile and then they’ve also quite frankly that why this rims I’ve ever seen on a road bike measuring in a 31 and a half mil wide width crucially 25 mil internal rim width as well the design has only been possible following a recent developments in road bike design itself so the fact that they are dis specific means that they can be wide because there’s no restriction on rim width from brake calipers and then again being dis specific you can have much greater tire clearance because again you’re not restricted by those brake calipers so that is why we’ve been thinking about it what about our initial question then why this drive to wider tires and wider rips [Music] [Music] now one of the most intriguing but also significant benefits is actually that wider tires generate less rolling resistance it’s hard to know what we’ve only really just gotten onto this bagg given that rollin existence data has actually been out there for quite some time but nevertheless it is there and a 28 C tire is shown to roll 2 to 3 watts faster on average than its equivalent 25 C tire and that is per wheel and at 40 K now and the difference is even greater on 23 and the reason or at least the theory is that is because of the shape of the tires contact patch and so that as a tire gets wider the contact patch gets shorter and that therefore improves at the rolling resistance now what’s really important to note though is that you need a wide rim as well as a wide tire in order to maximize these benefit because actually the cross-sectional profile of the tire is really important when thinking about that contact patch shape but also the cross-sectional profile is also important to minimize deflection in the tire which is kind of a little bit like that squirming feeling that you get when you pressures are really low because deflection means friction and friction in this case it means increase rolling resistance so you’ll see with this 28 C Schwalbe on this wide entry rim which now actually the time measures up close to 31 you’ll see the cross-sectional profile is really square really well supported and actually well rear that also means it’s more aerodynamic to now in a lab setting using finely tuned equipment it is easy to quantify these results but what is becoming increasingly interesting is actually testing out on the open road spearheaded by bicycle quarterly they pointed out that lab tests miss a crucial aspect of riding and that is vibration and it’s the road buzz that really slows us down and it’s funny isn’t it because when we ride across cobbles or pave it seems clear that the jarring and the vibration is slowing us down we can really feel it but why then when looking at ordinary tarmac did we not draw the same conclusions well unfortunately bicycle quarter lead if and when they tested it out they found that a wider tire with less pressure rolls significantly faster than a harder one when we say less pressure we really mean it I’ve got just 50 psi in these 28 and the reason is because in a lab setting a harder tyre rolls faster because there’s less hysterical loss so that tyre deflection and the friction generated that we just talked about where as out on the open road those losses are more than offset by the gains made a reduction in vibration or what Y School quarterly determing suspension losses what you need to remember though is that you stop letting pressure out your tires when they start squirming because at that point you’re going to be going slower again now I appreciate that reducing rolling resistance isn’t going to be the be-all and end-all for all of us but it seems pretty clear that a fairly major benefit to reducing vibration it’s going to be increased comfort for us Lacey you can run the most comfortable frame in the world but if you’ve got narrow hard tires on it it’s never going to be as comfortable as a stiff racy frame with plush 28c tires on it now that’s not got you thinking that wider tires yet I’m still not finished wider tires give you more grip when cornering now it comes back again to that whole contact patch thing but also a softer tire is more secure on the road now I’ll admit sometimes feel like I’m getting a little bit old I don’t really want to test this one out thoroughly but even at my current speeds I feel more secure leaning in there is one other aspect to wider ties there should be a tangible benefit to all of us and that is puncture resistance because a wider tire means increased air volume which should mean you’re much less likely to pinch flat even at lower pressures and then when you add into the mix that these wheels of designs we run tubeless well simply pretty well insured against flats which you find out [Music] now on comment that we see quite regularly is why if why the ties are so good a pros still running 25 and it’s a good point pros tend to gravitate to whatever is fastest so it must be downsides right well firstly and foremost as I said earlier you do really need a disc brake bike in order to get baptized in gold and so pros obviously can’t use those but then of course there’s the fact that wider tires are slightly heavier these ones are about 20 grams per wheel weightier than their 25 brothers and then there’s also the fact that there is a slight aerodynamic penalty for wider tyres admittedly it’s really small on these because they’ve been designed to accompany wider tires but if you try and fit a wider tire on a rim design for a 23 or 25 the penalties are much bigger and then of course there is tradition the pro peloton could sometimes be described as being like an oil tanker in there it takes them a very long time to change direction we just witness the amount of pros that are still not using Aero bikes despite the obvious advantage to them what tires are probably a little bit like that it’s gonna be interesting though to see where this all ends up I mean how fat are we going to go and who is going to get onboard certainly haven’t seen the data it’s hard to argue with it so I think the future probably looks a little bit better now if you want to see a bit more information about these wheels I’m riding and we’ve got an unboxing video with just these very set just up there but mitad Li you can’t winner anymore so apologies for that or to see the out-and-out Guru behind MV wheels in the wind tunnel click just down there otherwise make sure you subscribe to GCN to do that just click on the globe

100 thoughts on “The Truth About Wide Tyres And Wide Rims On Road Bikes”

  1. I ride 25mm at 110psi…anything below 85 feels terrible and like I’m going to get a flat at any moment. Do you get pinch flats at 50psi?

  2. I ran 115psi max in my Giant deft with GP4000s 28mm, I dropped to 90 front to 100 rear (yes I'm a but chubby) but the bike was noticeably smoother and felt quicker

  3. I have a motorized bike, and I run a 28c in the front, and a 35c in the rear. I keep the front tire nice and hard, while keeping the rear on the soft side. This allows me responsive steering input, while maximizing grip and squish in the rear. It's a 60 pound bike that goes 40mph, and still no pinch flats after a year of riding.

  4. Marketing. pure and simple. They need to give you a reason to change and buy something more, or something different – but just keep buying! Both wider and narrower wheels have benefits and drawbacks. Fatter = comfort, better cornering, but loses out on weight and aerodynamics, thinner = the opposite. I have 25's and they're fine for me

  5. Great idea! I have gravel bike Specialized Sequoia with rims 25 internal width. It will be possible to mount this Shwalbe one tires on my rims? Or maybe different not so expensive tires? Now I have 700x42C tires but I'm looking something faster for a long road trips. I was thinking I have to buy road set wheels. But if I correctly understand this movie I will be able to mount 700×28 tires on my Specialized wheels?

  6. I am a big guy 230… I had 28's but when time to replace them i have gone with 32 gatorskin. I like my psi at 110-125. Is this advisable? it feels sluggish at say 80-100psi

  7. This might explain why I didn't experience – although a friend of mine who happens to be an excellent cyclist and a bike seller predicted the contrary – a lack of comfort and performance while using Schwalbe Marathon Plus on my bike. I experienced no performance loss and no impression of much increased friction. The contact with the ground is obviously wider than with a traditional tire, but I think it might be compensated by the effect you describe (a rounder contact zone)…. another explanation would be that I'm suddenlly getting stronger, but I doubt it.
    Now OK, they are much heavier than my former tires – but hey, I'm no pro some grams won't make a big difference – and above all I was fed up with the flat tires (three on the same week this summer).

  8. I wonder if you could help me? I am trying to buy new inner tubes for my road bike .the side of the tyre say's 26X1 1/4 but all i seem to see is measurements like 26×1.75 can you help please.Cos I'm thick as pigs " )

  9. The weight of the bike and rider must be considered too; with 75kg or 95kg (bike & rider) tyre pressure plays a role. Heavy riders (>75kg) should ride wider at lower pressure. All you lard-asses out there use a 28mm with 5bars/50 psi. Makes me wonder 26 and 27mm is hard to get (clincher). 28 won't fit all bikes. If it does not fit: Use 25mm and use latex innertyres.

  10. What is the impact of wider rims on tire height ? I am trying to fit wider tires in my giant defy and have a pair of tires which don't fit by a slight margin.Would a wider rim profile reduce the height ?

  11. By far one of my favourite GCN Presenters.
    Thank you for the clip and info.
    BTW, your bikes are usually very well fitter, especially the ease with which you are reaching out to the cockpit.
    What is your height and leg length and which Canyon/Rose fame sizes are the most "up to" your requirement.

  12. Lower pressures give pinch flats. How is that better.like i said if you fall for it they have achieved what they set out to do.sell you more tyres. A fool and his money and all that…

  13. If we don't considerate the weight of the tyre, is it also true with even larger tyres then 28c, like gravel or travel tyres that could be up to 47 ?

  14. Years ago 23mm was considered the norm, 31mm is almost cyclocross. Here in Madrid with the Cobblestone 28+mm would be an attractive thing. I looked at Alberto's bike and he runs 26mm. I have been learning about tire pressure on my gravel bike and it takes a while to dial in, I never considered less pressure being a good thing before.

  15. I had 2.5 inch wide tires (max psi 45psi) felt like a heavy slow tank – slow and lumpy. Changed to 1.25 inch (at 95 psi) and MUCH faster & nimble. The only negative was the obvious less traction.

  16. I did a test against my mates top of the range Malone, with fat tyres against my 2002 principia with Michelin pro race 23s. We were going 10mph at top of 3% hill after 500yrds I was 50 yard ahead . He same weight as me too. Didn't expect to be so far ahead .

  17. Are w going to see 5” wide fat bike style tires on road bikes? I think the advantages of wider tires are limited by other factors.

  18. I just got onboard with this idea myself. I couldn't afford the ENVE wheels though, instead I got the new Boyd 36 Carbon rims built up with White Industries CLD Hubs. The Boyd 36 rims have a 22mm inner width and a 29mm outer and they recommend a 25mm tire which actually measures 28 when mounted. I dig the look and the feel is okay too, I'm not going to complain if the end result is less flats. But I don't feel the cracks and small objects like twigs and stuff when I roll over them now. The ride is smoother. Oh and I got the wheelset on Black Friday and saved $400. Awesome.

  19. I like the idea of added comfort. I’ve used 23s for years. Can I just swap them out for 25s on standard mavic cosmic rims?

  20. Wide tyres for comfortable and long tyre life but heavy weight and less efficient(Wide tyre had flexible with low pressure). Narrow tyres for efficient(low coefficient air drag, light, stiff with high pressure), but had less comfortable and tyre life. Same tyre and rim width is improve aerodynamics(Example: 23 mm tyre with 23 mm rim had smooth surface together). But need different sizes for different conditions. Thank You for video.

  21. GCN's goal seems to be to get you to watch more videos from GCN. I stopped watching this one at 2:15 while they were revealing the shocking finding that narrower tires have more rolling friction. Well duh, I hope so if pressures are equal. So pump those 23's up another 20 psi and get less rolling friction than the 28's! These people are dealing in half truths.

  22. The reason there is a trend toward wider tires is because the newest top of the line carbon frames, wheels and other components are stiffer than ever before. As such, these carbon bicycles transfer even the smallest vibration to the rider. Vibration is uncomfortable but also consumes energy that would be better used to move the cyclist and bike forward so vibration needs to be absorbed and damped before it causes the whole bike to vibrate. Pneumatic tires are the only remaining component that will act to absorb and damp vibration and thinner tires are not sufficient on the newest top of the line bikes. It's different with a beautiful old steel frame because steel is elastic, unlike carbon, so running skinny tires on these old bikes is fine and faster as long as they have 140 or 160 psi. The Tour de France pros are now running 25's and 26's at 100 or 120 psi whereas back in the day they ran 19's. It's because frames have stiffened that preferred tires have gotten wider.

  23. Stop saying "28c tyre". It is a 700c wheel with a 28mm tire. There was a 700a wheel and a 700b wheel but we use 700c now. What is a "c" that your tyre has 28 of them? There is no "c" on a tyre and everyone gets it wrong because they do not stop to think about what they are saying.

    Narrow tyres stink because the 25 and especially the 23mm get stuck in cracks, expansion joints and fall through sewer grates. Additionally, the higher pressures required to avoid pinch flats give a harsh ride and people look for new frames, padded pants, maybe an air hockey saddle to stop the pain. Inflations of over 90 psi are literally a pain in the arse and I have experienced it. I went to 28mm and 75psi years ago with Conti 4 seasons. I am looking into 32mm now because there are rough wood bridges that traverse swamps for hundreds of feet in my area.

  24. I have a question for the GCN show my bike has 25 tires on them. I cannot get a larger tire on the back of the bike but I think I could get a bigger one on the front like a 28. Is there any advantage or disadvantage to using 2 different size tires? Let me know thank you

  25. rolling resistance is a bitch to understand, thinner tires give to less structure the support less raised contact area, larger tires give you more structure to support less contact area.

  26. Emotional speaking is OK but for foreigners it's almost impossible to understand. My question is wether it worth to use Canyon suspension seat post on grave road? Does it save the ass?

  27. Where I live the roads are terrible, I often have flats… I love my road bike but I'm sick of the expense and effort to repair… Im gonna either try get fatter tires of just get a mountain bike.

  28. While you might think a wider tire is faster its not . I'ts just easier to pedal because you change the gear ratio with larger tires .To have one in the back make sense but to have one in the front doesn't it should be smaller. Continental got it right with the set that runs 22mm front 24mm in the rear but the biking community is fashion and trend orientated this won't make it. I'm 55 and to hear people talk about comfort in racing? theirs no such thing if you want to win. He's also selling high end rims that he didn't pay for.

  29. Bullshit. I’ve ridden everything from 20c’s to 28c’s on my road bikes, fixed geared or single speed bikes. Putting 28c’s on any of them slow them down compared to 23c/25c tires. The reason tri-athletes ride 20c’s is for their low rolling resistance. And if you underinflate a tire it rolls slower, that’s why we run tires with 130psi, sew-ups, etc., but if we run wider rims all of that is turned on it’s head? WTF? The cornering is correct as long as you are not under inflated then you can roll a tire; I’d have to ride them I guess.

  30. Soooooooo sick of the wider is better! People are so gullible and believe anything! Measure 31!? Might as well ride a trail bike! 50psi in a 28 mmr tire? That's basically running half flat. There is a reason for the max psi on the side of each tire. I am a heavier rider and and am using FLO 60mm rim's these days with 23mm tires. They expand close to 25 to basically match the rim width. That is as wide as any road bike would ever need. Would be a quite humorous for somebody with 31mm tires filled to 50 psi to pull up next to me with my 23mm's pumped to 120psi and ask to race. Guarantee you they would get smoked like a country ham every time! Stop believing theorys. You ride my set up, then ride a ridiculously wide set up with 50 to 80 psi, and you will fell like you are stuck in the mud! Riding 23's or 25's with max psi may be a bit stiff and uncomfortable, but they are also rock hard, which in turn means I NEVER flat either! 😳🚴‍♂️

  31. That is the biggest gripe I have with 23c is ride comfort at 100psi every bump and rock gets transmitted right up my spine, so I end up riding out of the saddle then in.

  32. Just ordered som continental Grand Prix 4 season 700c 28 for my cannondale.. Awesome they be here soon from wiggle .. plus a new videoed on my channel of them …

  33. here is a good video that really explains it well, you guys are off, repeating same marketing BS as everyone else: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqwFz8z7nsM

  34. I ride 33c Soma Supple Vittesse mostly on roads with some dirt. Its a cotton tubular casing tire. Its like a magic carpet ride! Really fast, comfortable and grippy. These tires, on my fixed gear ‘cross bike need a cog 2 or 3 teeth smaller or I spin out. All this at no more than 60 psi. Id never go back to skinny tires. Best of both worlds!

  35. Failed to mention the cost of these wheels. In doing so most would have turned off instantly. Ridiculous.

  36. Instead of using a bike that's out of reach of normal cyclists, why not use one that's relavant to 99.9% of your audience😕😤 to prove the point

  37. It's not that complicated. Higher pressure gives lower rolling resistance. Narrow tires handle higher pressure without being over inflated. So to go faster you go with the narrowest tires you can tolerate for the road conditions. It's simply a trade off between rolling resistance and vibration. If vibration is too much of a problem you give up some of that low rolling resistance by going to a wider tire. Then you'll still be better off because the vibration reduction will outweigh the increased rolling resistance.

  38. That ”I really need a new bike” thing just bit me. I was never going to buy a new road bike until the cycling world got past that ridiculous skinny tire obsession. I think we’re there.

  39. I today equipped my aero focused endurance bike with the ENVE 4.5 AR that I got on a good deal and 30c Tubeless Schwalbe Pros. This is by far the best ride feeling I have had. I rode 100k on them without stopping once and it was fantastic. Cornering, stopping and accelerating, comfort and rolling was on point.

  40. I ran 28's in the 1970's. For the last 15 years or so I've settled on 40's. They're just more utilitarian, more comfortable and they wear longer. I couldn't care less about 4 watts, lol.

  41. Unless you're a fanboy, or you're getting paid to say 28+c tires are faster than 19/21/23c… then you know the truth here boys.
    Strict rolling resistance tests aren't real world and never will be… fuck off with this propaganda.

  42. Interesting stuff. I personally lower the tire pressure slightly down from 110 psi to around 85 – 90 because I find the ride SO much smoother and therefore faster.

  43. You've got 50 psi in those 28s?
    Sorry but that's unacceptable, the drag simply ain't worth it, no way and if anyone is that desperate, then get a frame that will deal with it. (cannondale synapse).

  44. FWIW My wife is absolutely obsessed with cycling, but not for fitness or speed or endurance, just for the sheer enjoyment of it (she'd hoped it would help with her weight but in fact it's made no difference at all, but that hasn't dampened her enthusiasm one bit). Anyway, when her last set of 25's wore down I persuaded her to go up to 28's because I thought she'd get a bit of extra comfort out of them. I wasn't expecting her to go any faster because she doesn't have the aero wheel to go with them and she's not really into speed anyway, but in fact her rides are now faster purely because she's more comfortable and less fatigued. Her bike frame can only support up to 28's or I'd try her on 32's

  45. Wow! This totally upends everything every bicycle book and magazine told me back in the 70s and 80s.

    Something tells me that one thing he is leaving out is that new materials are allowing this to be done. My guess is that with the materials from the 70s and 80s the skinny tire with high pressure was more efficient. But now, with new materials (about which I can only guess) it is possible to go for a wider tire and still get lower rolling resistance.

  46. So now everyone goes out and buys new frames to accommodate the new, 28, wheels and tyres…then someone 'discovers' 32s.

  47. So, you are saying that 32 mm with a 630 mm diameter wheel set is better. Eventually you'll figure out a steel frame, with a 2 x 5 crank set is better also, and you'll be smack dab, back in 1972. I always knew, in my heart, that my Korean made Sears "Free Spirit" 10 speed was the fastest bike EVER! So glad I never got rid of it 🙂

  48. Nicely explained, still for me is 28 tyre slower, than my current 23 pressured to 10 bar. Yeah, they are brick hard under such pressure, but since I ride on a very nice bumps free roads, it doesn't matter that much and the increased pressure sort of changes the profile in which you showed, how 28 is getting less resistance. It would, under same pressure, but that is just not happening.

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