Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Optimum tire width (700c) for commuting and light touring on paved trails.

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Optimum tire width (700c) for commuting and light touring on paved trails.

Old 01-18-22, 07:43 PM
  #1  
blurcovenky
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 40

Bikes: 2006 Surly LHT / 2003 Look KG 461 / 1993 Novara Corsa / Trek 4300 / Handsome Devil / Cannondale ST 600

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 17 Posts
Optimum tire width (700c) for commuting and light touring on paved trails.

I'm building a bike (Handsome 'Devil") which I intend to use for commuting and some light touring. Any suggestions as to what tire width is a good balance between speed and comfort.
blurcovenky is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 07:46 PM
  #2  
chaadster
Thread Killer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 11,405

Bikes: '15 Kinesis Racelight 4S, '76 Motebecane Gran Jubile, '17 Dedacciai Gladiatore2, '12 Breezer Venturi, '09 Dahon Mariner, '12 Mercier Nano, '95 DeKerf Team SL, '19 Tern Rally, ‘21 Breezer Doppler Cafe+, ‘19 T-Lab X3

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2012 Post(s)
Liked 1,098 Times in 665 Posts
It really depends on rider weight, but it’s probably 30c.
chaadster is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 07:49 PM
  #3  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 9,751

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2808 Post(s)
Liked 1,967 Times in 1,305 Posts
My theory is as wide as you can go comfort and tire choice (not width but quality) I think is most important especially for speed.
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 01-18-22, 08:21 PM
  #4  
base2 
Doesn't brain good.
 
base2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 1,937

Bikes: 5 good ones, and the occasional project.

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1002 Post(s)
Liked 652 Times in 387 Posts
On paved trails, I don't really think tire width matters as much as orthodoxy suggests it should within reason, of course.

There is 2 schools of thought with commuting.

One school is: Indestructible flat proof tires like Gatorskin Hardshells or Marathon Supreme, or any other number of similar tires that air or not the sidewalls are stiff enough, you *could* ride to work even if you were fortunate enough to come across something that could make 'em flat.

The other school is: Decent rolling tires with supple sidewalls set up tubeless.

In either school, the proper width/pressure is usually a width that allows compression about 15% of the tire height when loaded & is somewhere near the middle/two-thirds/three-fourths of the tires pressure rating.

I commute on tubeless
Compass, 559x58's@35psi,
Gravelking, 700x38@50psi &
Grand Prix 5000 TL, 700x25@85psi, 19 miles one way, mostly road 30% bike trail. The lower pressure of tubeless also mitigates any puncture risk that would motivate a person to go to school one. Then the self-sealing nature seals the deal for reliability.

Any of the above rolls nicer & is faster than the tubed indestructible Gatorskin Hardshells 700x23@110psi or even decent Panaracer Gravelking SK 559x52@35-40psi, tubed.

My general recommendation based on my own personal experience & needs for an all-round nominal tire setup is 700x28-38 tubeless, Preferably a high quality tire made by Panaracer, regardless of what actual brand has their name printed on the side...but I have no idea what you weigh, where you ride, how far you commute, what your bike will accommodate, or what your local hazards are.

The absolute most miserable combinations I have come across all involved Mr. stuffy style liners &/or/in addition to thorn-proof tubes. Second to that, big low quality tires at high pressures.

Last edited by base2; 01-18-22 at 08:50 PM.
base2 is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 08:36 PM
  #5  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 7,441

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1847 Post(s)
Liked 1,106 Times in 701 Posts
Pavement may not be quite as variable as gravel (is that pea gravel, crushed gravel, 1" rocks, or a fire road that hasn't been repaired since that fire back in '53?). But it still isn't a single word descriptor.

My Fair City calls all of these paved:
- Fresh pavement in the last year
- Small potholes
- 9" wide potholes 6" deep (a killer on rims if you don't miss it!)
- Longitudinal cracks wide and deep enough to trap 25 mm wide bike tires
- Something allegedly paved that resembles the surface of the aforementioned fire road interrupted by patches of asphalt

Optimum tire width might vary from 20 mm wide (fresh pavement, 2 pounds of load on you back and you weigh 110 pounds when you get rained on) to a 60 mm wide 29er (that's still 700C!), the latter applying if you're riding the allegedly paved road and weight over 300 pounds.

TL/DR? It depends.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 08:37 PM
  #6  
nick_a
dingus
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: NOVA
Posts: 17

Bikes: 2020 New Albion Privateer, 1983 Schwinn Super Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I'm a big fan of wide slicks for paved riding. It looks like your new bike will handle 700c x 38, and that would be my recommendation. If you have concerns about punctures, maybe go with an armored offering, like the Soma Shikoro or Panaracer Gravelking+.
nick_a is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 09:01 PM
  #7  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 5,075
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4932 Post(s)
Liked 7,114 Times in 3,084 Posts
31.639mm.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 01-18-22, 09:09 PM
  #8  
blurcovenky
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 40

Bikes: 2006 Surly LHT / 2003 Look KG 461 / 1993 Novara Corsa / Trek 4300 / Handsome Devil / Cannondale ST 600

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by base2 View Post
On paved trails, I don't really think tire width matters as much as orthodoxy suggests it should within reason, of course.

There is 2 schools of thought with commuting.

One school is: Indestructible flat proof tires like Gatorskin Hardshells or Marathon Supreme, or any other number of similar tires that air or not the sidewalls are stiff enough, you *could* ride to work even if you were fortunate enough to come across something that could make 'em flat.

The other school is: Decent rolling tires with supple sidewalls set up tubeless.

In either school, the proper width/pressure is usually a width that allows compression about 15% of the tire height when loaded & is somewhere near the middle/two-thirds/three-fourths of the tires pressure rating.

I commute on tubeless
Compass, 559x58's@35psi,
Gravelking, 700x38@50psi &
Grand Prix 5000 TL, 700x25@85psi, 19 miles one way, mostly road 30% bike trail. The lower pressure of tubeless also mitigates any puncture risk that would motivate a person to go to school one. Then the self-sealing nature seals the deal for reliability.

Any of the above rolls nicer & is faster than the tubed indestructible Gatorskin Hardshells 700x23@110psi or even decent Panaracer Gravelking SK 559x52@35-40psi, tubed.

My general recommendation based on my own personal experience & needs for an all-round nominal tire setup is 700x28-38 tubeless, Preferably a high quality tire made by Panaracer, regardless of what actual brand has their name printed on the side...but I have no idea what you weigh, where you ride, how far you commute, what your bike will accommodate, or what your local hazards are.
I do have another bike I run on Gatorskin - 700x32, which is what I use for my regular commute. No flats, but not the most comfortable. I was considering the Panaracer T-serve protite 700x32 or the 35, because I was looking at having a tire with some tread for rainy days. I weigh 150 lbs.
blurcovenky is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 09:10 PM
  #9  
blurcovenky
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 40

Bikes: 2006 Surly LHT / 2003 Look KG 461 / 1993 Novara Corsa / Trek 4300 / Handsome Devil / Cannondale ST 600

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
31.639mm.
Panaracer T-serve protite 700x32?
blurcovenky is offline  
Likes For blurcovenky:
Old 01-18-22, 09:16 PM
  #10  
blurcovenky
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 40

Bikes: 2006 Surly LHT / 2003 Look KG 461 / 1993 Novara Corsa / Trek 4300 / Handsome Devil / Cannondale ST 600

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Pavement may not be quite as variable as gravel (is that pea gravel, crushed gravel, 1" rocks, or a fire road that hasn't been repaired since that fire back in '53?). But it still isn't a single word descriptor.

My Fair City calls all of these paved:
- Fresh pavement in the last year
- Small potholes
- 9" wide potholes 6" deep (a killer on rims if you don't miss it!)
- Longitudinal cracks wide and deep enough to trap 25 mm wide bike tires
- Something allegedly paved that resembles the surface of the aforementioned fire road interrupted by patches of asphalt

Optimum tire width might vary from 20 mm wide (fresh pavement, 2 pounds of load on you back and you weigh 110 pounds when you get rained on) to a 60 mm wide 29er (that's still 700C!), the latter applying if you're riding the allegedly paved road and weight over 300 pounds.

TL/DR? It depends.
I weigh 150 pounds. By your standards you reckon the Panaracer T-serve protite 700x32 would work? Minneapolis trails are paved pretty well, even if I wanted to ride all the way up to Grand portage (320 miles) I'm guessing I would not have to encounter much gravel.
blurcovenky is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 09:19 PM
  #11  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 5,075
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4932 Post(s)
Liked 7,114 Times in 3,084 Posts
Originally Posted by blurcovenky View Post
I weigh 150 pounds. By your standards you reckon the Panaracer T-serve protite 700x32 would work? Minneapolis trails are paved pretty well, even if I wanted to ride all the way up to Grand portage (320 miles) I'm guessing I would not have to encounter much gravel.
You're overthinking it. Put on some decent thirty-something millimeter wide tires and ride yer bike. Just make sure they fit in your frame and fork.
Koyote is offline  
Old 01-18-22, 09:26 PM
  #12  
blurcovenky
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 40

Bikes: 2006 Surly LHT / 2003 Look KG 461 / 1993 Novara Corsa / Trek 4300 / Handsome Devil / Cannondale ST 600

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
You're overthinking it. Put on some decent thirty-something millimeter wide tires and ride yer bike. Just make sure they fit in your frame and fork.
True that I might be 'over thinking it'. I'm also working on a budget and hoping to get it as close to right the first time, hopefully, with inputs from other people who have had similar experiences. Thanks anyway.
blurcovenky is offline  
Likes For blurcovenky:
Old 01-18-22, 09:43 PM
  #13  
3alarmer 
Friendship is Magic
 
3alarmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Tomato
Posts: 20,425

Bikes: old ones

Mentioned: 292 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23140 Post(s)
Liked 6,496 Times in 4,662 Posts
.
...I ride all over town here in Sacramento on 700x25 Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres. There is plenty of glass and crap in the bike lanes on public streets here. Youi do have to stay alert to it, and dodge around the worst of it. In wetter conditions, I usually end up on a bicycle set up with 700x28 Ruffy Tuffy tyres, or the more recent 700x33 Jack Brown's. I think the latest iteration of the Jack Brown tyre is 700x25, but they are rated at lower pressures than I prefer.

There's no one right answer to this that fits everyone, and the oly way you'll figure out your personal preference is by experimentation. But if you weigh 150 pounds, and itsounds like you will be riding mostly paved surfaces, 700x28 is plenty wide enough, and 700x25 in a decent tyre like the Vittoria's will probably work OK for you. I weigh considerably more than that.
__________________
3alarmer is offline  
Likes For 3alarmer:
Old 01-18-22, 09:55 PM
  #14  
Kedosto
Callipygian Connoisseur
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,383
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 563 Post(s)
Liked 346 Times in 189 Posts
Originally Posted by blurcovenky View Post
I'm building a bike (Handsome 'Devil") which I intend to use for commuting and some light touring. Any suggestions as to what tire width is a good balance between speed and comfort.
Whats the waist size of your pants (measured in inches)?
Your tires should be as wide (or wider) measured in millimeters.
Pay the money for quality tires.
Kedosto is offline  
Likes For Kedosto:
Old 01-19-22, 03:22 AM
  #15  
Germany_chris
Im a little Surly
 
Germany_chris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Southern Germany
Posts: 1,786

Bikes: Two Cross Checks and a Karate Monkey

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 424 Post(s)
Liked 741 Times in 375 Posts
One bike has 42's, another 44's, and the last 55's
Germany_chris is offline  
Old 01-19-22, 04:50 AM
  #16  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 3,255
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1537 Post(s)
Liked 1,644 Times in 1,047 Posts
28-32 mm is all good for me. But more important to choose a good tyre. Pirelli Cinturato Velos are a great all-round road tyre. Grippy in all conditions, very puncture resistant, comfortable and reasonably fast. Can run them tubed or tubeless too as you prefer. If your frame has clearance for 32 mm I would go for those. You give up very little, if any, speed for added comfort.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 01-19-22, 07:03 AM
  #17  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,220
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1313 Post(s)
Liked 1,123 Times in 687 Posts
30 or 32mm GP5000 tubeless. Fast and reasonably long lasting. I would easily expect 4-5,000 miles on a 32mm
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 01-19-22, 08:07 AM
  #18  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 7,441

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1847 Post(s)
Liked 1,106 Times in 701 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
You're overthinking it. Put on some decent thirty-something millimeter wide tires and ride yer bike. Just make sure they fit in your frame and fork.
What he said.

If you ride enough, you'll wear out whatever you put on first and you'll have an opportunity to try a different tire.
pdlamb is offline  
Likes For pdlamb:
Old 01-19-22, 08:14 AM
  #19  
sloppy12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 480
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked 247 Times in 145 Posts
38 minimum for me.
sloppy12 is offline  
Likes For sloppy12:
Old 01-19-22, 08:14 AM
  #20  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 27,236

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r, Trek FX Alpha 7.0

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4510 Post(s)
Liked 2,117 Times in 1,447 Posts
when I commuted a lot, it was mostly on 28mm tires, w/ some kind of puncture resistance / protection. now-a-days ... my road bike is more of a "joy-rider" so when I do bike to work, 22 miles ea. way, I'm on 25mm tires. only ride stopping incident has been a rear broken spoke
rumrunn6 is offline  
Likes For rumrunn6:
Old 01-19-22, 08:48 AM
  #21  
Branko D
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 612
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 259 Post(s)
Liked 324 Times in 192 Posts
For commuting I use my gravel bike with 33mm gravel tires set up tubeless but I've also used my road bike with 25mm GP5000, also tubeless. At a reasonable pressure both are comfortable.

Gravel bike has flat pedals which is more convenient than changing shoes when I get where I'm going. For light touring I'd just put stuff in my backpack and use the road bike though.
​​​
​​​​​

Last edited by Branko D; 01-19-22 at 09:29 AM.
Branko D is offline  
Old 01-19-22, 08:53 AM
  #22  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6,815
Mentioned: 65 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2261 Post(s)
Liked 1,311 Times in 858 Posts
It really depends on whether or not you'll be doing any CAT 6 racing. That's the most important factor.
seypat is offline  
Old 01-19-22, 09:01 AM
  #23  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 14,284

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7807 Post(s)
Liked 4,763 Times in 2,756 Posts
Originally Posted by blurcovenky View Post
True that I might be 'over thinking it'. I'm also working on a budget and hoping to get it as close to right the first time, hopefully, with inputs from other people who have had similar experiences. Thanks anyway.
32 to 38mm will work fine and be a pretty good mix between wide for comfort and not too slow.
But more important than width for speed is tire construction. A 35mm wide tire that is quality can roll faster than a 25mm cheap tire, for example.

Personally I would buy a 35-38mm quality tire. Itll roll fast with tires pumped up and give you comfort if you drop the pressure a bit.
mstateglfr is online now  
Old 01-19-22, 09:05 AM
  #24  
RH Clark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 452
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 237 Post(s)
Liked 228 Times in 117 Posts
I would want to run 38mm Reneherse Barlow Pass,but could be happy with 32's.
RH Clark is offline  
Old 01-19-22, 09:13 AM
  #25  
Iride01
MotuekaCascadeChinook
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 10,410

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4196 Post(s)
Liked 2,723 Times in 1,897 Posts
Originally Posted by blurcovenky View Post
True that I might be 'over thinking it'. I'm also working on a budget and hoping to get it as close to right the first time, hopefully, with inputs from other people who have had similar experiences. Thanks anyway.
Are you not planning on riding it very much?

Tires wear out if you ride often. You'll have all sorts of chances to get it right. However if you are happy with the suggested size of others and you to put that size on and never change them you'll never know whether there might be a better size that suits your preferences.
Iride01 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.