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28mm tires on paved roads . . . have you tried them? Do you like them?

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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway
View Poll Results: Have you tried 28mm tires? Do you like them better than 25's? (Vote all that apply)
I tried tubeless 28's. I like them.
57
21.92%
I tried tubeless 28's. I don't like them.
5
1.92%
I tried tubed 28's. I like them.
183
70.38%
I tried tubed 28's. I don't like them.
3
1.15%
I've never tried 28mm bike tires for very long.
10
3.85%
I'm not interested in going to 28's at all.
23
8.85%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 260. You may not vote on this poll

28mm tires on paved roads . . . have you tried them? Do you like them?

Old 06-20-20, 05:02 AM
  #101  
popula
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When I first built my bike I put 25 Conti Ultra Sport IIs. Ive got around 20 punctures in 6 months, some were sharp objects, but mostly pinch flats. I ran them first at 6.5-7 bar but after so many pinch flats I increased the pressure to 7.5-8 Bar, which was noticably less comfortable and flats happened anyway. This season I switched to tubeless 28 Pirelli Cinturato Velos, at 5 bar. No flats whatsoever. A few times i lost pressure overnight after riding, but the sealant did its job and I just pumped them back up. Tubeless setup was a faff but after doing it once Im done for months and months. Comfort and confidence on descents are vastly improved. Rolling resistance seems the same on smooth and better on rougher asphalt, while gravel riding is night and day difference. After tires the best upgrade was carbon seatpost, a chinese VCLS knockoff. It added roughly the same amount of comfort as new tires did.
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Old 06-20-20, 09:37 AM
  #102  
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The only thing I don't like about the wider tire craze is that many of the bikes Id love to pick up used would barely clear 25s let alone 28s!

I'm happy moving to 25s and will likely try to test fit 28s on at least one of my two rides.
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Old 06-20-20, 09:48 AM
  #103  
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I have 28mm tires on my 1987 Bianchi, since that is about as wide as I can manage. My modern road bike permits 38mm tires, so I have Barlow Pass or Steilacoombs on that one. They were a great improvement over the 28mm tires in terms of comfort and off-road rideability, and I am unable to detect any performance hit with the Barlow Pass vs. 28mm GP4000II. (Admittedly, I am slow to begin with.)
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Old 06-20-20, 11:54 AM
  #104  
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I hadn't been paying much attention to road bike technology for the last 12 years or so, being largely happy with the bikes I have. Because I'm heavy, I have been riding 25s for the last 15 years, and because I learned most of I knew about bikes in the late 90s, I pumped them to the max. inflation. This year I start paying attention to road bike tech again, and suddenly my 25s are no longer a source of shame! AND they're overinflated! So, I'm trying different things.

I started out dropping the pressure in the tires on my CF Bianchi by about 10psi, from 110/120 f/r to 100/110. There's a section of my regular ride that was repaved last fall - sounds great, but the bike lane is so rumbly that I had found myself constantly looking for the smoothest strip, where everyone else rides, because of the constant annoying rattle if I don't. First ride with 25s at lower pressure, that was gone. I could still feel the difference between the worst and smoothest part of the shoulder, but it was so muted that I no longer felt compelled to ride in the smooth strip.

Next thing I tried was putting 28s on one of my steel bikes, pumped to 85/95, and rode the same route. This was even better! There are a number of patches of broken up asphalt on the route and instead of avoiding those, I rode right over them, barely noticing. This route is flat-rolling. Tomorrow I'm taking this combo on a longer ride with some climbing and fast, nontechnical descending. I'm curious how it feels compared to what I'm used to!

The acid test will be my Columbus MAX bike. I will have to see if I can squeeze 28s between the ginormous chainstays.....
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Old 06-20-20, 12:24 PM
  #105  
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On my road bike (2008 Cannondale Synapse AL 105) I've used (in chronological order):
25mm Gatorskins
23mm Gatorskins
23mm GP4000
25mm GP4000
28mm GP4000sII
28mm GP5000

On my hybrid:
38mm no-name (Treaded)
25mm Armadillo Elite
32mm GP 4 Season
40mm WTB Nano (Knobby Treaded)

I really love the feel of 28mm tires on my road bike. And even though I do a fair amount of climbing, I still feel that any weight disadvantage is far outweighed by the improved handling, sure-footedness, vibration absorption, and durability. I've done rides up to 100 miles on 23mm, 25mm, and 28mm tires with this bike, and the 28mm tires are the best choice for me.

I also really love the feel of the 32mm tires on my hybrid. I swap 32mm slick and 40mm knobby on that bike depending on the day. I've done rides up to 30 miles on this bike with the 32mm slicks. They feel so nice compared to thin tires. In fact, if Continental ever made the GP4Season or the GP5000 in a 35mm size, I'd use that size the next time my 32mm tires are due for replacement.

28mm is the widest I can fit on my road bike. Otherwise I might actually contemplate 32mm tires for it. The hybrid can take up to 45mm, so I'm not constrained on size there. 32mm on the hybrid for paved roads is great. I'd probably be really happy with 35mm in that application too.

I weigh about 185, and my bikes are both aluminum Cannondale (Synapse with 105, and Quick CX with Alivio). That Quick CX is one stiff frame, which is fine because I ride it for commuting or loaded with groceries. In that application, nice luxurious wide slicks are great.
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Old 06-20-20, 02:26 PM
  #106  
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Tried them on an endurance bike, I just don't see the point, and you lose speed for, well, no good reason. Frankly, there's just no point to it if you're a 70 kilo rider (that's what, 145 lbs). GP5000s (so, true to size, older 4000s were wider), 23mm in front and 25mm in rear, comfy up to 250km (that's what... 150+ miles) on normal roads. If I know I'm going on terrible roads I just drop the pressure to about 90 to 95 psi, on nice roads about 100-105 psi, and if I venture offroad by bad route planning, I'll just press on the valve and let some air out "by feel".


For heavier riders where pinch flats with 23mm or 25mm might be an issue with a comfortable pressure, sure, but if you're not a heavy rider you can simply lower the pressure on 23mm / 25mm tires. If you have pinch flats issues when you shouldn't, wouldn't hurt to take a look at the rim tape, btw. Sometimes cheap rim tape coming a bit unglued can be the culprit of strange flats; I changed it to veloplugs on one of my wheels, and the problem completely disappeared.
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Old 06-20-20, 04:17 PM
  #107  
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So for the "bigger is better" crowd, what's the optimal size? You're not on fat-bikes so it can't be a truly unlimited thing. Is it 32mm? 40mm? 47mm? What would you all like to ride and say "yeah, this is the right size"?

I mean, for the record, I'm good with the 28mm Michelin Power Protection+ I use, but I'm also literally just trying to work as hard as I can every morning so the efficiency of anything isn't important.
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Old 06-20-20, 06:23 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by Bah Humbug View Post
So for the "bigger is better" crowd, what's the optimal size? You're not on fat-bikes so it can't be a truly unlimited thing. Is it 32mm? 40mm? 47mm? What would you all like to ride and say "yeah, this is the right size"?

I mean, for the record, I'm good with the 28mm Michelin Power Protection+ I use, but I'm also literally just trying to work as hard as I can every morning so the efficiency of anything isn't important.
Like anything, it depends. I've become a fan of 28s - they give me enough cush and I don't feel the weight of them when out of the saddle (primarily in spirited group rides). If I were going to put together a dedicated bike for long, solo rides, I'd probably go a little bigger - 30-32mm, most likely - more cush for long days in the saddle and it's not an issue if they feel a little more ponderous.
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Old 06-20-20, 09:44 PM
  #109  
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I live in NYC and ride Conti 4 Seasons 28s. Since so much of our streets are ripped up asphalt bull, these tires feel SO much safer than the 25s I used to ride.
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Old 06-20-20, 10:06 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Bah Humbug View Post
So for the "bigger is better" crowd, what's the optimal size? You're not on fat-bikes so it can't be a truly unlimited thing. Is it 32mm? 40mm? 47mm? What would you all like to ride and say "yeah, this is the right size"?

I mean, for the record, I'm good with the 28mm Michelin Power Protection+ I use, but I'm also literally just trying to work as hard as I can every morning so the efficiency of anything isn't important.

I've heard it said for Compass/Rene Herse tires, 38mm might be the sweet spot. I'm pretty happy with 38mm.

Just for the hell of it, I bought some 55mm Antelope Hill tires, because my touring bike will allow them. They felt a bit weird, but remarkably, they don't seem to slow me down (at least relative to the 38mm tires on that touring bike). My kid, who is a stronger rider, had a similar experience. We then put them on his cross-country mountain bike, which despite being full suspension, allowed him to kick my sorry arse on a recent 25 mile road ride.

I think the more important aerodynamics becomes, the less likely you are to want a really wide tire.

If you want to preserve the geometry of the bike, but run a really fat tire, you might be better off with 650b.
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Old 06-21-20, 08:28 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Bah Humbug View Post
So for the "bigger is better" crowd, what's the optimal size? You're not on fat-bikes so it can't be a truly unlimited thing. Is it 32mm? 40mm? 47mm? What would you all like to ride and say "yeah, this is the right size"?

I mean, for the record, I'm good with the 28mm Michelin Power Protection+ I use, but I'm also literally just trying to work as hard as I can every morning so the efficiency of anything isn't important.
I think that if I really never planned to leave the pavement and just needed tires for stuff like rough pavement and chipseal, I would likely stick with 35mm Ban Jon Pass tires. Since I have some gravel in the mix, I go a little bigger.
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Old 06-22-20, 08:54 AM
  #112  
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I still can't believe I used to ride 75+ mile rides on 23mm tires pumped up to 110+psi on a super stiff aluminum race geometry frame.

I was on GP4000 25mm and made the switch to 28mm a few years ago. I liked how that size felt, but didn't realize I was actually riding a tire closer to 32mm size.
Recently I bought GP5000's at 28mm size assuming they'd be the same size as the 4000's, and found them to be a bit narrower. They're fine, but my next set will probably be GP5000's in 32mm size.

I currently run my 28mm at around 65-70psi. I'm 160lbs. I also have no problem acknowledging that the increase in tire size likely corresponds with my shifting priorities about comfort vs speed as I get older. But also the wider tires don't seem to be any slower.
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Old 06-22-20, 09:13 AM
  #113  
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Did a ride on Saturday, 75 miles 10,000ft of climbing. Did it last year on 25s, this year I was on 32s. One of the biggest things I noticed was my comfort/confidence descending, especially in the hairpin turns where it's so steep you feel like your back wheel is going to come off the ground lol Braking and handling were much better on the 32s. Climbing speed was not affected, but comfort and handling are much better. I won't be going back to smaller tires. Probably around 215lbs total system weight, running 68/75psi.
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Old 06-22-20, 11:32 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by ABQIan View Post
I put 28 Gatorskins on whatever road bike will fit them. Seems to hold up better here in the land of glass and goatheads than narrower models -- it might be in my head but they seem to impart a certain security and I don't notice a speed penalty.

Same situation here in Napa, CA glass,etc and Goatheads. I averaged three flats a week until I put on 28 Gatorskins. Only one flat in four months. The ride is great on the Gatorskins.
I wasn't sure of the 28's, I was using 25's before but I don't notice a speed penalty either with the 28's and they absorb the road vibrations from our poorly paved streets around here much better. So put me in the 28 camp.
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Old 06-22-20, 01:40 PM
  #115  
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Yesterday I rode 28s at 85/90 f/r on the same 35 mile route I'd done the previous week on 25s at 110/120. Same average speed, same average and max HR, similar 'zone' profiles. Much more confident on the downhills, especially hitting raised expansion joints at 30+ mph! I also didn't find myself searching for the smoothest part of the shoulder, which I realized I've been doing since they repaved one particular section and left the bike lane 'textured'. No issues with broken asphalt, and even hitting the same bumps (I'm a pothole magnet!) didn't kick me out of the saddle. I'm now a confirmed fan! What do I do with my old 25s now?
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Old 06-23-20, 03:56 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Yesterday I rode 28s at 85/90 f/r on the same 35 mile route I'd done the previous week on 25s at 110/120. Same average speed, same average and max HR, similar 'zone' profiles. Much more confident on the downhills, especially hitting raised expansion joints at 30+ mph! I also didn't find myself searching for the smoothest part of the shoulder, which I realized I've been doing since they repaved one particular section and left the bike lane 'textured'. No issues with broken asphalt, and even hitting the same bumps (I'm a pothole magnet!) didn't kick me out of the saddle. I'm now a confirmed fan! What do I do with my old 25s now?
Try riding them again but not overinflated this time. The corresponding pressure for 25s which would provide a similar amount of cushioning as your 85-90 psi 28s, would be about 95 psi in 25s (wider tires act as a bit stiffer spring at the same pressure, so to get the same amount of tire drop you need a bit less pressure in them).

That's what puzzles me; people are going for wider tires at lower pressure which is perfectly reasonable, but why not lower the pressure of your existing tires? Overinflated tires are inefficient on anything which isn't a freshly paved road or a velodrome and uncomfortable, but it seems like people need to switch to 28s just to, well, stop overinflating tires.

Last edited by Branko D; 06-23-20 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:57 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
Same situation here in Napa, CA glass,etc and Goatheads. I averaged three flats a week until I put on 28 Gatorskins. Only one flat in four months. The ride is great on the Gatorskins..


You wont find many that agree here.
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Old 06-23-20, 08:09 AM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I think that if I really never planned to leave the pavement and just needed tires for stuff like rough pavement and chipseal, I would likely stick with 35mm Ban Jon Pass tires. Since I have some gravel in the mix, I go a little bigger.
I bet you could make the 35mm work. I have 38mm Barlow Pass, and it works great on almost everything but the most rough/steep stuff.

But if you can fit the wider tires in, you should. The Barlow Pass are my default on-road tires.
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Old 06-23-20, 08:35 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I bet you could make the 35mm work. I have 38mm Barlow Pass, and it works great on almost everything but the most rough/steep stuff.

But if you can fit the wider tires in, you should. The Barlow Pass are my default on-road tires.
I’ve run both the Bon Jon 35s and the Barlow 38s. Yes, the Bon Jons were perfectly fine on gravel and were as big as my last bike would fit. But the Barlow are significantly better on dirt and gravel, IMO, And those are what I run on my current bike because they will fit.

However, the question I was answering was “what is the biggest tire you (wide tire people) want for pavement”. The "for pavement" part was not asked explicitly, but that is what the OP was asking about. And the answer to that for me is 35mm Bon Jons. That does not mean I would never leave the pavement with them.

Last edited by Kapusta; 06-23-20 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 06-23-20, 10:14 AM
  #120  
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Yeah that's super high pressure for 25s holy moly.
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Old 06-23-20, 12:17 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
Try riding them again but not overinflated this time. The corresponding pressure for 25s which would provide a similar amount of cushioning as your 85-90 psi 28s, would be about 95 psi in 25s (wider tires act as a bit stiffer spring at the same pressure, so to get the same amount of tire drop you need a bit less pressure in them).

That's what puzzles me; people are going for wider tires at lower pressure which is perfectly reasonable, but why not lower the pressure of your existing tires? Overinflated tires are inefficient on anything which isn't a freshly paved road or a velodrome and uncomfortable, but it seems like people need to switch to 28s just to, well, stop overinflating tires.
I have run the 25s at reduced pressure, on a different bike. I was curious about 28s after reading so many positive things about them, so I snagged a pair for cheap from Excel. One reason is that I weigh a little over 100 kg (sounds better in metric!), and I'm a little less worried about snakebiting 28s than 25s. There are a pair of unavoidable raised expansion joints on my weekend route at the bottom of a hill where I'm going about 30-33 mph, and the idea of flatting there at that speed.....

This week I'm planning on running the 25s I have on my Battaglin MAX bike at the reduced pressures. I love the thing, but it's not especially compliant.
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Old 06-24-20, 09:54 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
..made the switch to 28mm a few years ago. I liked how that size felt, but didn't realize I was actually riding a tire closer to 32mm size.
Recently I bought GP5000's at 28mm size assuming they'd be the same size as the 4000's, and found them to be a bit narrower.
Same here. I was on GP4000 28mm that were much wider than stated. I actually want 28mm wide tiresso I bought the GP5000 in 700x25, and the actual size is 25mm?! Oh well, live and learn.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:24 PM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by Wooderson View Post
Same here. I was on GP4000 28mm that were much wider than stated. I actually want 28mm wide tiresso I bought the GP5000 in 700x25, and the actual size is 25mm?! Oh well, live and learn.
Some of the newer tires, like the GP5k and new Schwalbe Pro1 Addix, are now being sized with wider, more modern rims in mind. Schwalbe, specifically, says that they're sized with 19mm internal width rims in mind, so adjust up or down from there based on your rims. I recently mounted some of the Pro1s on my 17mm wide (internal) rims and, true enough, they measured ~26mm when mounted and inflated.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:29 AM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Some of the newer tires, like the GP5k and new Schwalbe Pro1 Addix, are now being sized with wider, more modern rims in mind. Schwalbe, specifically, says that they're sized with 19mm internal width rims in mind, so adjust up or down from there based on your rims. I recently mounted some of the Pro1s on my 17mm wide (internal) rims and, true enough, they measured ~26mm when mounted and inflated.
What size Schwalbe Pro1 Addix are you using?
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Old 06-26-20, 07:42 AM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
What size Schwalbe Pro1 Addix are you using?
28mm.
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