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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.
56
23.14%
I tried tubeless 28's. I don't like them.
5
2.07%
I tried tubed 28's. I like them.
166
68.60%
I tried tubed 28's. I don't like them.
3
1.24%
I've never tried 28mm bike tires for very long.
10
4.13%
I'm not interested in going to 28's at all.
22
9.09%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 242. You may not vote on this poll

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

Old 12-09-19, 07:10 AM
  #1  
FlashBazbo
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28mm tires on paved roads . . . have you tried them? Do you like them?

It seems most people have made the switch to 25mm tires. But much of the cycling press would like us to believe that if 25mm is good, 28mm must be better! I'm about to mount up a set of tubeless tires on my general, all-purpose road bike. If you've tried 28's, I'm curious what you think of them. Do you run them the same pressure you would run 25's? Do you like them for the comfort or the speed? Do you think the comfort is worth the loss of speed (if any)? And are you tubed or tubeless? Let's keep this to paved roads (of whatever quality). Gravel changes the equation in a lot of ways. Have you tried 28mm tires long term on pavement? Do you like them? Do they live up to the hype?
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Old 12-09-19, 07:38 AM
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My first road tubeless were 25s, some top of the line Gavias. Great tires that rode wonderfully, though my frame of reference at the time was 23/25mm tubed tires.

Then I tried 30mm tires (Schwalbe G-One Speed) - suuuuper awesome for a bigger guy like me (~200lb at the time). Being able to run them at 70psi was a game-changer - long rides were much less fatiguing and they rolled really, really well; a magic carpet ride on so-so roads. I'd been so happy with them that I stuck with them exclusively for a few years and told myself that I wouldn't buy another bike unless the frame could clear them.

This year, I tried some 28mm Hutchison Fusion 5 Performance 11-Storm. My weight is down, so I've been able to run them at the same ~70psi, too. Not quite as cush as the G-One Speeds, even at the same pressure. They seem to roll about the same, though they feel notably more nimble (I don't know if it's a slight change in trail with the slightly smaller diameter or the lower weight, but it's certainly there).

On spirited group rides, neither has been a hindrance, neither in a straight line nor when thrashing out of the saddle (in a pinch, I have taken some 35/38mm tires out with the group and they were a *lot* more work). Solo, they're both definitely beneficial (faster) over longer rides (3+ hours) just because I'm fresher and less beat up. On shorter rides, I'm doubtful that any penalty (aero, weight, etc) would be statistically significant.

No desire to go back to 25s.
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Old 12-09-19, 07:41 AM
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Love my 28mm GP5Ks, they measure out to 30mm on my rims (20c) and are just as fast as the 23's I used to run. If anything, I can go faster because they're more comfortable/stable on the crappy roads here. I'll never go back.
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Old 12-09-19, 08:05 AM
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Unless you're of the die-hard C&V crowd, there's a fair chance you ride on 28s now. I'm on not-too-wide 19mm internal wheels, any my 700x25 tubeless Giant Gavias mount to 27.5mm wide. If I want to actually run 25, I need to buy a 23.

On my CX frame, a 700x28 is the narrowest I've ever run, and none of them mounted to 28 wide-- the Continentals I ran some years ago inflated to almost 31mm wide.

A wider tire is something of a trade-off: you're opting to beat your body up less at the loss of some aerodynamic efficiency. The added comfort is absolutely worth it.
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Old 12-09-19, 08:09 AM
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Related note: the new 2020 Schwalbe Pro One TLE Souplesse looks like it has finally hit some retailers. Really looking forward to trying them in a 28mm once the price dips to the $50-ish neighborhood.
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Old 12-09-19, 08:21 AM
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You think 700×28's are good riding? Wait till you go 27×1 1/4. As someone thats been into cycling for 50 years, it just makes me laugh. Now just waiting to see the next new thing, 5 speed cassettes! Great chain angles, more efficient, chains last longer, and what you do is vary your cadience more, which someone will do a study on and find its less fatigueing. We're all riding on a carousel of time.
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Old 12-09-19, 08:42 AM
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Old 12-09-19, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
You think 700×28's are good riding? Wait till you go 27×1 1/4. As someone thats been into cycling for 50 years, it just makes me laugh. Now just waiting to see the next new thing, 5 speed cassettes! Great chain angles, more efficient, chains last longer, and what you do is vary your cadience more, which someone will do a study on and find its less fatigueing. We're all riding on a carousel of time.
You're just fishing for an "okay, Boomer," aren't you?
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Old 12-09-19, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Unless you're of the die-hard C&V crowd, there's a fair chance you ride on 28s now.
Yes, my 25mm tubeless on ENVE SES wheels actually measure 29mm wide. But, for purposes of this thread, let's keep it to 28mm nominal (marked 28mm on the sidewall) tires.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:43 AM
  #10  
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Speed and comfort are not the only criteria for bike tires. In my opinion 28 or wider tires are more likely to ride over debris on the road than narrower tires.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:51 AM
  #11  
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I switched out my puny little anorexic 28mm GP40000 II's, which were a measly 30mm on my rims, and put on some Compass Barlow Pass 38mm and pumped them up real good to 35 psi in the front, 40 psi in the back. They "feel" a wee bit more sluggish, but my GPS data say otherwise. (Jan says people sometimes subjectively interpret a harsher ride as a faster ride.)
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Old 12-09-19, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
It seems most people have made the switch to 25mm tires. But much of the cycling press would like us to believe that if 25mm is good, 28mm must be better!
Most people have made the switch to 28mm tires at least, really, regardless of what the sidewall says.

I started on 28s; my first road bike was my grandfather's, and it originally came with 28s, so I stuck with that width. I first tried 23s when I got my Emonda.

If you've tried 28's, I'm curious what you think of them. Do you run them the same pressure you would run 25's?
No. The wider the tire, the less pressure it needs to feel composed on the road. I ride 28s at around 10% lower pressure than 25s.

When I do smooth road rides on my gravel bike (which has 53s), I don't inflate them above 40PSI. 40PSI would be extremely squirmy on a 25mm road tire, but feels fine when a tire is so big.

Do you like them for the comfort or the speed?
Comfort achieved through adequate compliance is speed.

But I wouldn't say that I notice much difference either way. 25s are big enough for most paved roads around here to achieve adequate compliance without feeling underinflated. I haven't noticed any performance differences from switching between tires in the 20s. (Even my gravel bike with its 53s performs within a mph of my Emonda, and there are likely factors other than tire width slowing it down.)
Obviously wide tires can compromise the aerodynamics of a wheel somewhat. On an aero wheel, I'd tend to run whatever the wheel manufacturer says it was made for.

And are you tubed or tubeless?
Tubed. I've only pinched once on the road, and we don't have quite enough pinhole stabby things to make tubeless seem worth it. Most of my friends are tubed, but I've actually spent more time on the roadside in the last few years waiting for friends to sort out problems with road tubeless setups than tubed.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Unless you're of the die-hard C&V crowd, there's a fair chance you ride on 28s now.
Even if you're of the die-hard C&V crowd, there's a fair chance you ride on 28s or bigger now. Until the mid-1980s, most road bikes could fit 30mm or bigger tires no problem.
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Old 12-09-19, 12:15 PM
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Like the way 28mm Pro One TL feel on the flats, rollers (30mm + mounted)
Went back to 25mm TL for 2 reasons, lighter, and climb much better (28mm + mounted)
Now on GP5000TL, (27mm + mounted)
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Old 12-09-19, 12:34 PM
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I've been riding 28c tires on my winter/rain/city fix gear since I went clincher on it 20 years ago. Three summers ago I went to then new 28c Vittoria G+ and have been sold from the first ride. But it is not just the width. Those are very high quality tires. I've ridden 28c's that were crap and that I took off as soon as I could.

My good fix gear is set up on the G+ but with 28c in front and 25c in back. (It has traditional biggish ti chainstays. When the wheel is slid all the way forward on the dropout, 25c's are close ans 28c's don't fit at all. On a big hill day, I will bring both the 12 tooth and 24 tooth cogs and use the entire dropout. Until i need to do something tire related, I cannot tell that I have different tires front and rear, The bike just feels right. (Rode Cycle Oregon on it last September. Had no tire issues at all and never thought about them; except the morning of day 4. Wet and below freezing! Had frozen water maybe inside my tires, Until things melted, a very disconcerting ride. It had been so wet that going into that freeze dry simply wasn't possible. This guy who has ridden a half dozen car-less winters in Michigan and Massachusetts saw some new wrinkles!)

Us old timers remember the silk Clemente Del Mondo tubulars (probably 30c though no one measured or talked about width numbers then). They were the ultimate luxury ride. They were faster than any clincher of the day and many of the cheaper and lighter cotton tubulars. The big G+ tires are the closest I've ridden to those tires in many decades.

Yes, those tires I like, the G+ (and now G 2.0) are expensive. But I only get to go around this life once. I want to do it on nice rubber. (Plus those G+/G 2.0s grip better and crash less than many/most other tires, making this go-'round that much better.)

Ben
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Old 12-09-19, 01:20 PM
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So what about going to 30mm or even 32mm? Are we hitting the point of diminishing returns going up in size for road bikes???
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Old 12-09-19, 01:29 PM
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Cram in as wide a tire as possible.

I just bought a frame that will allow for 55mm tires.
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Old 12-09-19, 01:51 PM
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28 mm nominal ballooned out to 33 mm actual on Enve wheels made for this. Love it.
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Old 12-09-19, 02:56 PM
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I ride 32mm on pavement all the time but I"m coming from MTB and wanted a little more comfort.
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Old 12-09-19, 03:03 PM
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Now, let me get this straight. On this forum, where nobody agrees with anybody about anything . . . nobody who has tried 28mm wide tires didn't like them??? EVERYBODY who tried them liked them?

The Apocalypse is near!
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Old 12-09-19, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
So what about going to 30mm or even 32mm? Are we hitting the point of diminishing returns going up in size for road bikes???
IMO, this is going to be determined by your weight, your roads and your comfort threshold.

For me, once I get to about 65psi, there's very little benefit of going lower, regardless of tire size (if we're talking strictly paved roads), it just doesn't meaningfully add to my comfort, so going bigger than 28/30 is just adding more rotating mass and a larger frontal section (though how much of an aero detriment this is depends on other things, too, like tire/rim profile).

If lighter guys feel perfectly comfortable at 80psi on 25mm tires, cool - in that position, I wouldn't up-size either. If heavier guys need 32s to run at their desired pressure, that's understandable, too.
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Old 12-09-19, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
So what about going to 30mm or even 32mm? Are we hitting the point of diminishing returns going up in size for road bikes???
It's probably too personal to pin down to any specific point. I went from ~25mm to 28-30mm about eight years ago, and pivoted almost exclusively to 38-42mm tires a couple years ago. They don't seem to slow me down much at the speeds I ride, and my body is much happier afterward.

I don't expect pros and the roadies imitating them to go much beyond 25-28mm for aero/weight reasons, though.

Thankfully, a combination of factors have gone into loosening up the clearances on road bikes, so everyone can find that sweet spot for themselves.
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Old 12-09-19, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
IMO, this is going to be determined by your weight, your roads and your comfort threshold.

For me, once I get to about 65psi, there's very little benefit of going lower, regardless of tire size (if we're talking strictly paved roads), it just doesn't meaningfully add to my comfort, so going bigger than 28/30 is just adding more rotating mass and a larger frontal section (though how much of an aero detriment this is depends on other things, too, like tire/rim profile).

If lighter guys feel perfectly comfortable at 80psi on 25mm tires, cool - in that position, I wouldn't up-size either. If heavier guys need 32s to run at their desired pressure, that's understandable, too.
​​​​​​That's the crux of the matter for me. More scenic roads to enjoy.
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Old 12-09-19, 04:10 PM
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On a road bike that is ridden on normal paved roads in decent condition, wider RB tires of a particular line and same model are, regardless of your weight, faster and more comfortable.
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Old 12-09-19, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BengalCat View Post
On a road bike that is ridden on normal paved roads in decent condition, wider RB tires of a particular line and same model are, regardless of your weight, faster and more comfortable.
Well.. maybe or not.. This is just rolling resistance -- weight and aero not accommodated.

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Old 12-09-19, 05:15 PM
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Weight doesn't matter on flat ground and the difference in weight we're talking about accounts for 0.0000001% up even the steepest paved road on the planet. Aerodynamics are a lot more complicated than just skinny good fat bad, the interface between the rim and tire are more important. On a set of SES 4.5 ARs, a 28 mm tire is more aero than a 25 mm.
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