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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 12-09-19, 05:19 PM
  #26  
Sy Reene
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
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.
Yeah ok, but where is the evidence that wider is faster and more comfortable, which is what I was saying.. 'maybe not'.
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Old 12-09-19, 05:23 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Yeah ok, but where is the evidence that wider is faster and more comfortable, which is what I was saying.. 'maybe not'.
https://www.renehersecycles.com/how-...e-herse-tires/
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Old 12-09-19, 05:23 PM
  #28  
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I think before you can find evidence that wider is more comfortable, you're going to have to define "comfortable" in a measurable way. In terms of tires, wider:
  1. soaks up more road buzz
  2. gives better grip through corners and braking, which are psychologically more comfortable when you don't have air bags
You can let some air out of skinnier tires, but you can only go so far with that. You can let even more air out of wider tires to get even more of #1 .
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Old 12-09-19, 05:29 PM
  #29  
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Yeah.. ok if the OP meant this as paved roads, you might be onto something
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Old 12-09-19, 06:38 PM
  #30  
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Do you really think everybody is wrong about this? Or that we're all lying? I mean almost everybody in here talking about how they're using 28s now and like it, was riding 23s a decade ago. It's not like adults' bodies tend to feel better as they age...

Those don't look very different from chip seal roads. When they lay down smooth new pavement, people will go out of their way to ride it, but Seattle's streets look like they've survived a war complete with bombing raids. Are yours smooth like glass? If so, you want to put me up for a visit?
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Old 12-09-19, 06:53 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Well.. maybe or not.. This is just rolling resistance -- weight and aero not accommodated.

That doesn't account for suspension losses, which can be quite significant. Listen to the Cycling Tips (I think) podcast on tire pressures.
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Old 12-09-19, 06:58 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Do you really think everybody is wrong about this? Or that we're all lying? I mean almost everybody in here talking about how they're using 28s now and like it, was riding 23s a decade ago. It's not like adults' bodies tend to feel better as they age...

Those don't look very different from chip seal roads. When they lay down smooth new pavement, people will go out of their way to ride it, but Seattle's streets look like they've survived a war complete with bombing raids. Are yours smooth like glass? If so, you want to put me up for a visit?
It's exceptionally rare for me to be on a road where I can't tell a night and day difference when I hop in to the right wheel track of the automobile lane - that's an easy way to demonstrate how bumpy even a "good" road is.
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Old 12-09-19, 08:25 PM
  #33  
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I have nominal 25s on 21mm ID rims, which measure at just > 28. I run them at about 65 psi. They feel pretty good and the extra confidence descending on bad pavement is important, but my ass kills me after 50 mi the way it has for 40 yrs. At 65 kg, I see no need to use anything bigger and might not have the clearance on the road bike anyway. I commute and ride rough stuff on 36s, so I know what I’m missing.
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Old 12-09-19, 09:36 PM
  #34  
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I don't know. I used to ride 28-32mm tires back in the day. I took a decade off from riding due to various things, and my new bike to get me back into pedaling had 40mm tires. They were very comfortable and when the bike was crushed in a car accident, the replacement bike had 35mm tires, also very comfortable. I wore out the 35mm tires and mounted leftover 40mm tires from the dead bike. I'm very happy with the ride. My old Bridgestone with 23mm tires rattles my bones, but I can ride 50 miles on the 40mm tires and I'm not sore, and I don't ache. As for speed, I often have to slow down so my fiancee riding 23mm tires can catch up. Increased rotational mass be damned. At 61, she matches me mile for mile riding 23mm tires while I, at 67, ride 40mm tires. But I think I have a more comfortable ride.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:18 PM
  #35  
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not rocking tubeless any time soon. have done 28's for light gravel/dirt and currently have a front 28 and rear 25 (28 won't fit rear) on an 85 pinarello road bike,
25's are okay but i find 28's unresponsive and heavy riding on pavement. not that i'm ever concerned with speed/segment times but still...like to rock 23's on my
usual roadie steed and double wrap the handlebars to somewhat compensate for a rougher ride. works for me.
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Old 12-10-19, 06:49 AM
  #36  
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Both this thread and most of the discussion of wider tires are guilty of over-simplifying the issue of tire width. (But the thread and poll intentionally over-simplify it. Otherwise, you can't have a valid discussion.)

I think the fact that many forget is that you can get greater comfort (at significantly lower pressures) from a wider tire OR you can get less rolling resistance (at the same pressures) from a wider tire, but very rarely if ever can you get both at the same time. As the chart above shows, at the same "comfort level" or state of sag, rolling resistance is also the same. And, it is entirely possible to inflate a wider tire such that it is both less comfortable AND slower rolling than a narrower tire -- the worst of both worlds -- and that's BEFORE accounting for weight and aerodynamics issues. Then, let's talk about differences in tire construction based on sizes within a line -- because that's another variable that can make all the assumptions faulty. And let's face it . . . there's also a dollop of placebo effect at work for a lot of us.

I haven't tried nominal 28mm width tires yet. But I've ridden for some time on nominal 25mm tires that measure 28 or 29mm when mounted. And I've ridden nominal 32mm tires that measure 33.4mm. The difference between the 25/28mm tires and the 32/33mm tires is pretty pronounced. I'm more convinced than ever that the "sweet spot" for the road is somewhere between 25mm and 28mm tires. If I want to narrow it down from there, I probably need to invest $100 and test it for myself. (And realize that my results will not hold true for every brand/model tire on every brand/model wheel.)
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Old 12-10-19, 07:06 AM
  #37  
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I can't recall where I read it but there was a study that determined 28 to 32 tires were faster up to about 20mph, then the aerodynamics took a hit. As stated above that's a simplified generalization but the research does seem to support the benefits of a wider tire over 23's. Certainly for a mere mortal like myself.
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Old 12-10-19, 10:33 AM
  #38  
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Also don't forget the role that casing plays in rolling resistance. If it were simply width and PSI, then bicyclerollingresistance.com could just fold up shop. So it is possible with a tire to get both lower rolling and more comfort at lower pressures, in comparison with other makes/models, if the casing has better RR properties. Now I'm not a scientist so I don't know what those are, but apparently companies like Continental and Vittoria do because their offerings tend to be on the low end of BRR's ratings (meaning lower RR, so "faster") even at wider widths and lower PSI than other makes and models that may be thinner and inflated higher.

And yes, at some point wider widths do incur an aero penalty, especially in some purposely-designed aero wheel/tire ecosystems, like certain aero wheels where they're designed around a certain tire width (usually 23-25mm). So you could put 28mm or 32mm but the resulting sidewall bulge from those tires introduces an aero penalty on that wheel/tire setup in comparison to if you went with the recommended width.

But as wirides rightly points out, for us mere mortals who aren't even entering races, let alone sniffing the podium, these differences are minimal and aren't really going to be felt in a normal ride. There are many other areas for me to improve (my own weight, conditioning, strength, technique, riding position, etc.) where a couple of watts due to wider tires isn't going to make any tangible difference to me, so I choose the tire brand, width and setup that gives me the best ride-feel in terms of comfort with minimal impact on speed. Right now on my road bikes that is a Continental GP5K TL 25s at 70psi on one (because it can't support a wider tire) and 28s at 65psi on the other. My gravel/commute bike has Panaracer GravelKing SK TLC 38s at 45psi because I obviously do very different style of riding on it. Surprisingly though, even on that gravel bike, on my normal route I can get maybe 85-90% of my typical speeds (according to Strava) so even with a chunkier bike and tires...not as big a drop-off as I thought I'd have.
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Old 12-10-19, 10:49 AM
  #39  
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I won't go less than 32mm on my tires on paved roads.
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Old 12-10-19, 12:07 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
My gravel/commute bike has Panaracer GravelKing SK TLC 38s at 45psi because I obviously do very different style of riding on it. Surprisingly though, even on that gravel bike, on my normal route I can get maybe 85-90% of my typical speeds (according to Strava) so even with a chunkier bike and tires...not as big a drop-off as I thought I'd have.
Really? That's a huge drop-off to me.

Earlier this year, I had to send out my rear wheel for service. While without it, I popped on my gravel wheels, with 35mm G-One All-arounds, and continued with my normal rides. I didn't think that the drop-off was anywhere near 85-90%, so I poked through my Strava to look at the same bike, the same route, the same relative effort and the same time of year but with the different wheels. I did find a couple rides within a few watts of each other. Here's the normal wheels -



And the gravel wheels/tires -



All that said, the bike really does feel different with the additional rotating weight - just feels more sluggish in terms of overall handling and particularly when accelerating out of the saddle.
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Old 12-10-19, 12:28 PM
  #41  
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Just to be clear, that's about 90% (85 might have been a little low, just a couple of mph slower at the top end speeds I get on the flats and slight descents on my routes) on a totally different bike, not just a tire width and PSI change.

So when I say I'm 90% of my overall speed, that's on my nearly 20lbs Revolt with gravel tires vs. my TCR and S3, both of which are 2-4 pounds lighter and the S3 is aero. To me that's not a huge drop off considering the vast differences in bike types, weights, riding position, etc. And I had the same relative effort (I don't have power meter on the Revolt so I have to go by feel), I'm sure if I pushed hard I could match my speed and times on the road/aero bikes but I'd be very out of breath at the end.

I experienced an additional 2mph dropoff (compared to the Revolt) on my Trek FX S6 since it is a flat bar bike which made me an wind-sail...which is why Pro's Closet has it now.
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Old 12-10-19, 01:35 PM
  #42  
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I run 28mm tires on our steel tandem, 31mm inflated to 95 lbs. on 23mm outside rims, all up weight 325 lbs., love the ride. On my '99 carbon single, I run 23mm tires at 80/100 lbs, on the same rims as our tandem, all up weight 172 lbs., love the ride. If I were commuting in Seattle, I'd ride a different bike for that purpose with a somewhat more upright position, plus much wider tires at lower pressure. But I don't do that.

On my single, the load/mm is about 3/4 of that on the tandem, which already has a great ride. I don't see why I should reduce the load/mm any further at the expense of handling and aero performance. My butt was fine after doing 400s in my 60s, 15-18 hr. ETs. I wouldn't think that they'd have engineered the compliance out of new carbon bikes, but maybe so? Or not - I run the same tires on my rain bike, an alu $125 Bike Nashbar frame. I guess I don't understand the issue. If it ain't broken . . .

Maybe position makes a difference? I run a good bit of drop and lots of reach. My hands don't really notice any vibration, alu stem and bars. Oh yeah, all my bikes ride horribly on rumble strips, are only OK on the local chipseal, but there's not that much of it. For sure Texas and Montana chipseal is another animal.
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Old 12-10-19, 01:46 PM
  #43  
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I'm riding 22mm tubulars on packed gravel almost every day. I also have a 'cross bike that I recently fitted with (fatter) 28mm clinchers. The fatter tires make the bike ride like a farm tractor. The narrow tires are significantly lighter, absolutely climb better, and feel much faster even on the flats.

If your ride fast enough, all road surfaces smooth out.
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Old 12-10-19, 01:59 PM
  #44  
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My bike came with 28s (tubed) and I have felt no reason to go smaller (or larger). They handle fine on the road and if I do run into some light gravel, I don't hesitate.
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Old 12-10-19, 02:58 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I'm riding 22mm tubulars on packed gravel almost every day. I also have a 'cross bike that I recently fitted with (fatter) 28mm clinchers. The fatter tires make the bike ride like a farm tractor. The narrow tires are significantly lighter, absolutely climb better, and feel much faster even on the flats.

If your ride fast enough, all road surfaces smooth out.
20psi on 33mm tubular cross tires feel great for the appropriate conditions

And, thick 28mm clinchers on heavy alu wheels feel heavy when climbing out of the saddle
Wide is not ALWAYS better, horses, for courses
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Old 12-10-19, 05:33 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by RedBullFiXX View Post
thick 28mm clinchers on heavy alu wheels feel heavy when climbing out of the saddle
Wide is not ALWAYS better, horses, for courses
+1

28mm gatorskins will always feel like tractor tires. 30mm Schwalbe G-One Speed(tubeless) tires roll fast, and are smoooth as buttah.
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Old 12-11-19, 04:15 AM
  #47  
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When I bought my 1973 Windsor Pro from a bike mechanic , it came with a new set of Bontrager 700 x 28 tires. They looked fat to me as I was running 23’s on most of my bikes. I thought that I would use them until they wore out and change to 23’s later. I did the Eroica California in Paso Robles that year and by the end of the ride I was hooked! I now run 25 minimum and a couple of my bikes I switched to more classic 27” wheels and 1”, 1 1/8”, or 1 1/4”. My Mondia allows for the widest tires and I am running Michelin Pro Tech 27”x1 1/4” on Super Champion rims and with 75lbs they measure 39mm. I did a15 mile ride home yesterday and it was great. I have been running them for more than a year and I love riding that bike. Joe. joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 12-11-19, 04:29 AM
  #48  
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I have 28s on one bike and 32s on the other. I predict both will have 32s in the future.
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Old 12-11-19, 07:09 AM
  #49  
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I keep saying that my next set of tubeless will be 28s but I still havent pulled the trigger. Not sure what my GP5000s measure on my Light Bicycle rims. Maybe someone here with the same rim can tell me (I think there are a few).

I will try next go around Im sure of it!
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Old 12-12-19, 11:14 PM
  #50  
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28's on my lemond = yummy.
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