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28c or 32c Tires for Commuting?

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28c or 32c Tires for Commuting?

Old 12-07-10, 02:01 PM
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spudston
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28c or 32c Tires for Commuting?

I recently purchased Continental Gatorskin tires in 700 x 28c to replace the Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires in 700 x 32c on my Trek hybrid, but I'm wondering if I made a good choice in downsizing. They don't make Gatorskins larger than 28c, so I took what the shop had. After reading many posts here about tire sizes & commuting I'm thinking that returning the unused Contis and getting some Panaracer Pasela Tourguards in 32c might be a better match for my riding conditions. My commute is 7.5 miles round trip in suburban streets and MUPs, usually in dry weather. I also ride about 30 miles most weekends. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 12-07-10, 02:18 PM
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return shipping is a cost .
why not ride what you have, buy the other for replacement, or have both on hand,
and do one one week, 1 the other and form your own opinion.

I have only used Conti Gator skin supplied in 47-559 [26''] travel contact , the 622 version is a 35 wide.
A good slick center band tire with some small knobs for aiding gravel road traction. It's their Touring tire , and Quite light for its purpose..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-07-10 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 12-07-10, 02:20 PM
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How heavy are you & your bike? Is speed important?

Speed seekers will like the lighter weight of the smaller tire. Larger tires are a bit more stable on damaged pavement and softer surfaces, IMO.
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Old 12-07-10, 03:16 PM
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Personally, I don't feel a significant difference between 28 and 32c in the same model tire- they both are pretty good sizes. You really start to notice a cushier ride when you go to like 35 or 38c. Honestly, I think a fatter tire doesn't affect your speed much if at all. If anything I go faster with fatter tires and lower pressures, because I'm not bouncing around as much (choppy roads here in New England). Especially in the winter time, I like fatter tires. My commute is 16 miles each way and I appreciate the smoother feel of fat tires. You seem to have the same preference if you're not sure about the 28's.

Sorry for the long reply.... in summary, if your choice is 28s or 32's, I say go with the 32's.


Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
How heavy are you & your bike? Is speed important?

Speed seekers will like the lighter weight of the smaller tire. Larger tires are a bit more stable on damaged pavement and softer surfaces, IMO.
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Old 12-07-10, 03:19 PM
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If I was choosing between the two, I'd go with the 32's, but if I already had the 28's in hand, I probably wouldn't bother swapping. It's only 4 mm.
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Old 12-07-10, 03:22 PM
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Up to 35c, speed difference is minimal. 28-30-32-35 feel quite close to me. Going from 28 to 35 I loose maybe 1 mph of top speed. But going higher then that cuts speed pretty quick. I use 35's for commuting on my 28" bike. Hybrid, drop bars.
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Old 12-07-10, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by spudston View Post

I recently purchased Continental Gatorskin tires in 700 x 28c

I'm thinking that returning the unused Contis and getting some Panaracer Pasela Tourguards in 32c might be a better match for my riding conditions.
It's a trade off, you might prefer one over the other for any number of reasons, but the 28s certainly aren't a mistake.

BTW, Pasela 32s are really about 28 or 29 anyway so that would be a pointless trade.
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Old 12-07-10, 03:35 PM
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Not much difference between 28s and 32s. The only reason I don't have 32s on my commuter is that 32s don't fit under my fenders - they're supposed to, but don't. I've had no problems with 28s at 200+ lbs, and my bike with commuting load sure seems to be 40+ lbs.
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Old 12-07-10, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by spudston View Post
I recently purchased Continental Gatorskin tires in 700 x 28c to replace the Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires in 700 x 32c on my Trek hybrid, but I'm wondering if I made a good choice in downsizing. They don't make Gatorskins larger than 28c, so I took what the shop had. After reading many posts here about tire sizes & commuting I'm thinking that returning the unused Contis and getting some Panaracer Pasela Tourguards in 32c might be a better match for my riding conditions. My commute is 7.5 miles round trip in suburban streets and MUPs, usually in dry weather. I also ride about 30 miles most weekends. Any advice would be appreciated.
I do 24 miles round trip each day 4 days a week and like the same tires I would for any other riding

Unless riding on gravel:

At 145 pounds, I preferred a 23 around 95 front and 100 rear. With or without 15 pounds of back pack. Rolls fast, absorbs small stretches of chip seal, corners fine.

At 185 pounds, I like a 25 around 95 front and 100 rear. With or without a 15 pound pannier.

At 215 pounds, a wider tire would have been better than an extra 10-15 PSI.

The Continental Gatorskins are sufficiently puncture proof (I've put one piece of tire wire through one in the 2000+ miles since changing from Continental Ultrasports in April 2010) and roll well for such a durable + long lasting tire. They're also good enough in rain.

As foot notes:

1. The same tire is faster in a wider width at the same pressure until the lower rolling resistance (increasing with speed) is offset by aerodynamic drag (increasing with the square of speed).

2. There's a 20 Watt difference at 18-19 MPH in rolling resistance between the best and worst slick tires which can make a 15% difference in how much effort you need.

If your weekend rides are with groups, you may want a "fat" version of a fast tire which limits you to 25-28mm in 700C.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 12-07-10 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 12-07-10, 04:55 PM
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I run 28 front 32 rear for my commuter. The fatter rear is great at absorbing road imperfections and the thinner front slices through air nicely.
But most importantly, fatter rear tire allows me to put down my monster torque on the asphalt.
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Old 12-07-10, 07:05 PM
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I say you should run with the 28's I have a similar commute, 6 miles each way with 3 of those miles through a park. I run 700x25 gatorskins and I find them very comfortable and best of all faster than the stock kenda 700x28c tires I had on my bike.

Just use the tire you have and when they wear out get the 32's if you are dis-satisfied with the gatorskins
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Old 12-07-10, 08:30 PM
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Love my 28 Gators on my summer bike.
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Old 12-07-10, 09:55 PM
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i switched from 32s to 28s on my hybrid commuter, and the only benefit is a bit more clearance on the fenders. other than that I wish I'd stuck with 32s
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Old 12-08-10, 08:48 PM
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Well, It looks like I'll stick with the Gatorskins in 700 x 28c since I already have them. I'll report back in several months on the Gatorskins vs. the Bontragers, once I make the switch, FWIW. Thanks everyone for the input.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:29 PM
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I have 700x28 Vittoria Rando Cross tires on my commuter bike, which is a cross bike, and they're a great compromise. Thicker would be better for gravel, but less good for long weekend rides. I'll probably replace them with 32s when they wear out, though, since I have a road bike, too, now.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:35 PM
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I ride Schwalbe Marathons in both 28 and 32s. The 28s are a little better for speed and OK for good pavement. 32s are nicer for rougher roads or if you want a slightly more comfortable ride at lower pressure. I ride th 28s at 100psi and the 32s at 95.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:40 PM
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28s and 32s feel almost identical to me. Like everything else in life, choose the fatter one if you have any doubts.
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Old 12-08-10, 11:52 PM
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I'm using gatorskins in 28 too, love them. Was using t-serv messengers in 35 for a bit and while it was a softer ride, the gatorskins feel much faster.

I could of sworn I saw gatorskins in 32 on the conti site by the way.
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Old 12-09-10, 12:20 AM
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The fatter the tire, the easier it is for the tire to find that stray nail/screw a careless construction worker left lying on the road.
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Old 12-09-10, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by diff View Post
I'm using gatorskins in 28 too, love them. Was using t-serv messengers in 35 for a bit and while it was a softer ride, the gatorskins feel much faster.

I could of sworn I saw gatorskins in 32 on the conti site by the way.
Continental is just coming out with Gatorskins in 32 for their 2011 line according to their catalog downloaded in .pdf form, but they aren't available yet at the store where I bought mine. Hmm, maybe I ought to check back at the store in case they've got new stock....
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Old 12-09-10, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
The fatter the tire, the easier it is for the tire to find that stray nail/screw a careless construction worker left lying on the road.
I think this may be true because my current Bontrager 32s have only gotten one puncture in the center tread, a tack, and the other three or so have been on the shoulders. It stands to reason that the smaller the tire the less area to pick up puncturing objects.
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Old 12-09-10, 04:32 AM
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Continental GatorHardshells are going to be my next tires for Touring, Commuting (except in ice/snow)

up to 32mm, 'though I love 28s, better puncture protection than Gatorskins... My dream tire

shame they don't have reflective walls 'though
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Old 12-09-10, 08:29 AM
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It depends on your commute route -- how hilly it is, the quality of pavement, whether there's any gravel or dirt. For my commute, I would take the Gatorskins hands down because they are lighter and roll faster than Paselas. However, my commute is very hilly with pretty decent pavement the entire way. I tried Paselas for a while and they felt slow, heavy and sluggish. I commute now mainly on Conti 4 Seasons and GP 4000s and rarely ever get flats with excellent tire wear.
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Old 12-09-10, 10:14 AM
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Gatorskins 28s is my new standard for a fat tire, 700c. If I go larger it's on a 26" rim. 700 x 32cm tires do feel different to me, downright sluggish, though I had a very workable combination with a marathon 32 on the back of one bike...pretty comfy ride. This year I took the turn for lighter, faster, simplier.
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Old 12-09-10, 12:14 PM
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So much depends on the tire. Gatorskins and Paselas are different enough that the width is probably a very minor factor in comparing the two.

A lot of people have talked about wide tires feeling sluggish. I've got 29x2.0 Marathon Supremes that do not feel particularly sluggish. I bought them to replace 29x1.6 Continental TownRides that did feel sluggish. Sluggishness comes from many factors. Tread squishiness is probably the biggest contributor of sluggishness, followed by weight. Wider tires, in general, tend to have more pronounced tread patterns and weigh more than skinnier tires.
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