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Ultra distance tire size choices

Old 05-27-19, 12:54 PM
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XXLHardrock
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Ultra distance tire size choices

There seems to be a trend towards wider tires for localized randonneuring, at least thatís my impression from what I read. My personal experience is very limited as I canít get to group events very easily so I donít often see what people are riding. However, when one looks at the tire sizes on bikes used in Ultra distance events, they all seem to be 25 & 28mm wide. If the wider tires offer such an advantage, why do the top riders in these events roll on 25 and 28mm tires?
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Old 05-27-19, 06:45 PM
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what events are you talking about? RAAM?
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Old 05-27-19, 08:25 PM
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Events such as the Trans Continental, Indi- Pac, Trans Am.

I believe Mike Hall rode around the world on 28ís as well.
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Old 05-27-19, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by XXLHardrock View Post
There seems to be a trend towards wider tires for localized randonneuring, at least thatís my impression from what I read. My personal experience is very limited as I canít get to group events very easily so I donít often see what people are riding. However, when one looks at the tire sizes on bikes used in Ultra distance events, they all seem to be 25 & 28mm wide. If the wider tires offer such an advantage, why do the top riders in these events roll on 25 and 28mm tires?
The fact that you're talking about 25-28mm tires and not 20-23mm tires is indicative of the progress being made against the "skinny tires are faster" myth.
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Old 05-27-19, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by XXLHardrock View Post
If the wider tires offer such an advantage, why do the top riders in these events roll on 25 and 28mm tires?
The case for wider tires is far more subtle than this, and this explains your confusion. You can go read Jan Heine's blog for more explanation. The short version is that high quality wider tires are more comfortable and don't slow you down for long distance riding.

when I first started randonneuring, I counted on people riding 19 and 23mm tires to have flats so I could have someone to ride with

I suspect there are people riding bigger tires in those races, maybe not 650bx44mm. Someone go to the start of TABR with a caliper. Seems to me that a lot of the people on TABR are riding all-road bikes, and it would be a little weird to put 28mm tires on a bike like that.

I am randonneuring on 32mm tires now. Got tired of pinch flats. I have 40mm tires on another bike that I use for randonneuring, I'm still trying to tell if they are slowing me down or not. So far it seems like they don't
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Old 05-27-19, 09:08 PM
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I spent most of tens of thousands of miles on 23c Axial Pros, and while I loved how they felt, insofar as getting power to the ground and general handling, on an aluminum 'cross bike riding over chip and seal roads, a wider tire would have been far more comfortable. But, we were all convinced that narrow and high pressure were the way to go.

Jake's getting 32s for a bit.
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