Are wider tyres on performance road bikes really necessary for added comfort?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

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TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

I want to talk about your 25mm/110psi comment in the Emonda thread.

I sometimes ride my 25mm tubeless tires at 100psi in case it gives me a Crr advantage on hill climb attempts. In reality, I’ve never really gained a noticeable advantage doing this, and the ride quality is awful. On perfectly smooth roads, it’s “fine.” On anything but smooth roads, like slurry seal, it’s awful. When descending on slurry seal roads at 100psi, it’s downright spooky because the little lumps in the road surface are bouncing the tires slightly, reducing the contact patch and limiting the grip. Even on very smooth, dry descents, I’m slower at 100psi than I am at 80psi. I consider myself a very fast descender.

28mm tires have their uses. I’d say they should be default for anyone in my area who doesn’t ride competitively. The extra tire width increases comfort, grip and tread life. The lower tire pressure reduces the chance at perforation from debris. The higher volume reduces the likelihood of a snakebite/pinch flat. ...All at very little consequence.

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Nickldn
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by Nickldn

Karvalo wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:16 pm
Nickldn wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:56 pm
But are wider tyres really necessary (and beneficial) for pure performance road bikes, such as the new Trek Emoda and Specialized SL7 for example?
Nothing is necessary, that's really the wrong question. The word you're looking for is desirable, and that's always a personal thing. If you've tried it and it doesn't make any difference to you then it's not desirable. If you've tried it and think it's better, then it is desirable.
I think that you are trying to be far too reasonable :D

It seems many bicycle rewiewers do consider wide tyres, at least 28mm, to be **necessary ** to make a high performance road bike sufficiently comfortable to be usable. Bikes with 25mm and narrower tyres are painted as just too uncomfortable to be desired.

The purpose of this thread is to find out if members of this great WW forum agree with this narrative, or if they think it is damaging to the enjoyment of performance bicycles.
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GS100
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by GS100

Another perspective is that as a bigger guy, I'm constantly seeking stiffness in the bike when I'm out on a fast bike for a fast ride. Too wide (and I'll assume lower pressure) is going to feel vague to me. 23-25mm at 105-120 psi works for me when speed is the priority. Others will have different needs and experiences and I wouldn't presume to dictate what tyre widths they should use.

Ypuh
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by Ypuh

Miller wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:53 pm
A disappointing amount of sensible, reasoned answers so far :-)
Agreed. There are some arguments for going (slightly) wider or narrower.

Perfect roads; going fast; 1.5-4h rides and I'm fine with 25mm (measure more like 26/27mm anyway)
Bad roads; touring; 4h-6h+ rides and I'm fine with 28mm (measure more like 30/31mm)

Owning 2 or more bikes with different setups is handy, but having only one and one type of riding is way more common than the other, it's not really worth switching for me. Of the 4-5 rides I do a week, maybe once a month I take my bike out to another area and usually just stick to my go-to bike for that ride.

Difference in comfort is there, but slightly overrated.
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Zakalwe
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by Zakalwe

23mm tubs at 110-120psi still works for me. I don’t like change. Don’t really like comfort either

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synchronicity
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by synchronicity

The thing is, bicycle magazine editors are never happy. It's like they are looking for some non-existent holy grail of cycling (which doesn't exist).
When carbon bike frames were comfortable, they weren't stiff enough. When they were stiff enough they weren't light enough. When they were light enough they weren't aero enough. Pay no attention to them!

At this rate of new trends, all new top end road bikes will have dual suspension within two decades! :smartass: :lol:

Back in the day, I rode 20c tyres. :mrgreen:
I'm about to give 25c tyres a go (mainly because I am old and the road surfaces around here are terrible).
I feel that wider tyres do not really 'belong' on a road [racing] bike.
If you want more comfort, go to a touring bike or hybrid. On my hybrid bike I have 1.2" tyres (30c)... yet I can still feel road buzz.
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wheelbuilder
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by wheelbuilder

These are racing bikes with "hopefully" aggressive geometry and no towers of spacers. They are for performance. "Comfort" should not be the number 1 objective. If you are lacking comfort, get a gravel or endurance bike. Jeez. The stuff these cycling publications start, companies mimic, and end users parrot is really silly.

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LewisK
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by LewisK

I briefly changed from 23 @ 105psi to 25 @ 85/90psi, same tyres Corsa g+. Because of the size increase, I also had to get the bigger size tubes. Felt no difference in terms on comfort whatsoever, but they 'felt' slower and sluggish...back to what I've been riding for years which is 23mm.

petromyzon
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by petromyzon

Comfort means a lot of different things to different people and includes contributions from physical position, vibration damping and sensation of effort.

I wouldn't say aiming for comfort is silly - for example a 65kg pro who is super flexible and has a strong core and lower back may well be completely comfortable in their optimum position for aerodynamics and power production.

I don't like the front end to feel vague around fast corners or when pushing hard out of the saddle but the rest of the time I think that smooth is fast.
15 years ago when I started cycling seriously I was over-inflating. I don't need large tyres to run the pressures I want to run but the risk of pinch flatting or rim damage on 23c would be too high for me.

This thread is about comfort not about poor conditions but for wet, bumpy and debris-strewn descents I wouldn't touch my old 23c tyres with a bargepole, the diffence is night and day. It's not a myth propagated by the press, it is the biggest advance in cycling performance since brifters and clipless.

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by bm0p700f

So i have seen one person saying on my 21mm internal width rims i use a 23mm tyre. My heart sinks at this.

Other say wider tyres are more grippy yes and no. It depends on the tyre too.

The grippiest tyres i use are IRC formula pro tubeless. The next most grippy tyres but by far the most comfortable are dugast cotton tubulars. I do tend to use 25mm tyres and one that size at 25mm on my race bikes. Some have tubs others have tubeless. My commutor bikes or slow bikes have 28mm tyres because thats all they will take (i still use rim brakes mostly) because i want the extra comfort. I can't say i notice more grip on these bikes. My last slide a couple of weeks ago was on my old trek shod with 25mm dugast cotton casing paris roubaix. Perhaps it was black ice as that corner was very slippy but it was 5 degrees above freezing.

I am not convinced about wider tyres being more grippy in the sense you can have high cornering speeds on narrower tyres. It just depends on the tyres you use. Some tyres some claim as grippy to me are not.

Then there road surface. My favourite tyre at present for muddy shitty back passages oh er (i mean quiet country single track lanes where the tarmac is often holed and broken) is the irc marbella x guard. 26mm or 28mm and it has a gravel tyre tread. With these i can ride down a slimey muddy road and not slide when i apply the brake golden that.

Also with 25mm tubeless irc tyres i can use 60 psi comfortably. Im 90kg. Or 88kg yesterday. Therefore wider is not essential. I don't have vague feeling handling.

Tyres are something that require experimentation to see what works for you.

For me it irc tubeless and dugast cotton tubulars.

Pierre86
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by Pierre86

Depends what you're after for your performance bike.
My training wheels have 28c rubino tlrs at anywhere from 55 to 75 psi depending on what I'm doing and where I'm riding. Race wheels are 25c veloflex roubaixs at 90/95psi and I'd consider them to be comfortable enough if they were all I had.
I'm on a bike that's considered relatively harsh and don't have any real comfort issues with it so I might not be the best judge, it's far more comfortable than any track bike I've thrown a leg over.
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TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

Pierre86 wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:25 am
Depends what you're after for your performance bike.
My training wheels have 28c rubino tlrs at anywhere from 55 to 75 psi depending on what I'm doing and where I'm riding. Race wheels are 25c veloflex roubaixs at 90/95psi and I'd consider them to be comfortable enough if they were all I had.
I'm on a bike that's considered relatively harsh and don't have any real comfort issues with it so I might not be the best judge, it's far more comfortable than any track bike I've thrown a leg over.

Yep, horses for courses.

I use 25s on my 5.6s because they're 28mm wide and I usually care about aero. I use 28s or even 30s on my 202 NSWs because they're shallow and if a race is on crappy roads or has gravel sectors, they're definitely the way to go. If I ever get a TT bike, I'll chuck 23s on the 7.8s and buy a rear disc...if the road conditions allow.

Aryeh
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by Aryeh

I'm running 25mm internal 32mm external rims with 29mm enve tires on my Cervelo R5, with that combo, the tires measure 31.5mm which is almost identical to the external width.
I run 45-50psi tubeless and I love the added comfort.

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kytyree
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by kytyree

I rode 25's give or take tubed for a long time, maybe a decade. Then I moved and just couldn't find any decent regular clincher that was tough enough for the pavement and high amount of debris here. I've mostly moved to 28's tubeless on the road and that's worked so well. I haven't tried 25's but haven't been racing, I was doing some MTB and gravel stuff pre COVID but a few fondo type events a year were all on the road. I'd like to get back to road racing some, when that's an option, I might have to try 25's tubeless for that, you've all made me think.

I've got 17 and 19 inner road rims, I don't notice much between the two. I've got a set of 21 inner wheels but I've always used them on the gravel bike.

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by Mr.Gib

wheelbuilder wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:32 am
These are racing bikes with "hopefully" aggressive geometry and no towers of spacers. They are for performance. "Comfort" should not be the number 1 objective. If you are lacking comfort, get a gravel or endurance bike. Jeez. The stuff these cycling publications start, companies mimic, and end users parrot is really silly.
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Why not have both? Performance and comfort - they are not mutually exclusive. And nothing silly about it. Also not started by a cycling publication in my case. I had to find a way to kill road vibration due to nerve damage in my foot some years ago. The revelation wasn't the added comfort which I expected, it was improved traction, braking, descending speed, and speed on rough surfaces.
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