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

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

Moderator: robbosmans

Mr.Gib
Posts: 4072
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

LewisK wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:24 am
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.
This impression is exactly correct. Softer tires feel slow because they are faster, and harder tires feel fast because they are slower. Of course I am comically presenting the common sensation the many cyclist get when riding a hard tire. The fact that it is bouncing and skittering along the road makes if feel fast, when the opposite is the case. Every bump or vibration you feel is from the energy you create with your legs. And all of these bumps and vibrations are vertical and do not contribute to forward propulsion and in fact impede forward movement. If you can feel it, it is slowing you down - suspension loses. (Not denying that their is a balance in there somewhere and softer is not always faster. Except on gravel - Silka did a good roll down test IIRC.)
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

by Weenie


Butcher
Shop Owner
Posts: 1226
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:58 am

by Butcher

I seriously doubt if many people here push the tire to the limits of adhesion regularly. I'm certain I have never come close. There's something in the back of my mind that says 'Are you F'ing nuts"? I do not see extra traction a benefit for me.

Although I've had many century rides this year, after 100 miles, I doubt if having a slightly larger tire would make me feel like I want to do another 100.

I usually run 23's. I have a tubeless wheelset that I tried the new 5000's on. They do not make a 23 tubless size so 25's were installed. Like others have said, it feels like I got a low tire and sluggish. I'm certain I could get used to it, but I doubt if I would feel that much better after 100 miles.

Larger tires is just another sale pitch. A lot like disc brakes.

rudye9mr
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 12:01 pm

by rudye9mr

Think it is user dependant to balance feel, puncture resistance and weight depending on one's training goals...

A fair bit of reviews need Tbps of salt else outfits may not get product releases to review...

TheRich
Posts: 840
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:36 am

by TheRich

Mr.Gib wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:51 pm
LewisK wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:24 am
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.
This impression is exactly correct. Softer tires feel slow because they are faster, and harder tires feel fast because they are slower. Of course I am comically presenting the common sensation the many cyclist get when riding a hard tire. The fact that it is bouncing and skittering along the road makes if feel fast, when the opposite is the case. Every bump or vibration you feel is from the energy you create with your legs. And all of these bumps and vibrations are vertical and do not contribute to forward propulsion and in fact impede forward movement. If you can feel it, it is slowing you down - suspension loses. (Not denying that their is a balance in there somewhere and softer is not always faster. Except on gravel - Silka did a good roll down test IIRC.)
This subject is just one of many that shows how cycling in general and road cycling in particular irrationally sticks to tradition.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.co ... comparison

When the facts change...

DHG01
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:14 pm
Location: Madrid

by DHG01

I am not too fond of using tyre size or pressure to seek comfort. I rather balance between rolling resistance (including the bouncing referenced to before) and grip (if required).

Tarmac where I live is pretty good and on road need for grip is limited (not so on gravel).

Where I do find a big difference in comfort is with latex inner tubes. I run all wheels on tubular; both in CX or road bikes, latex inner tubes are more supple than butyl.

I assume tubeless is a step further in that direction - less rolling resistance with more grip and comfort.

sigma
Posts: 260
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:12 am

by sigma

Around me in Utah on the roads, I can ride 23 - anything and feel relatively comfortable. Tarmac is in great shape. I normally run 25-28 for road at the appropriate pressure on a 19-21 inner width rim. In the Chicago area, when I am back, the road conditions resemble the cobblestones of Europe. I use the widest tire I can fit on the lowest pressure. A hardtail mountain bike would be a better choice for sure. I have bent so many wheels hitting potholes I don't bother with expensive rims anymore. When I used to ride my old R5 with 23s there, I would have to ice my hands after any rides post a few hours. The next bike I will ride there will be one of the aeoroad bikes that can handle a 32 and I will definitely that size happily. Anyone from around that area will sympathize with the minefield avoidance mentality we need to adopt to "road" cycle!
S-works Tarmac SL6
S-Works Venge
Factor VAM 02 disc
Trek Domane 2016 SLR
Open U.P. gravel 2016
Factor One rim v2
Factor LS in progress
Cannondale Black Inc Scalpel 2017

Mr.Gib
Posts: 4072
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

DHG01 wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:34 pm
Where I do find a big difference in comfort is with latex inner tubes. I run all wheels on tubular; both in CX or road bikes, latex inner tubes are more supple than butyl.

I assume tubeless is a step further in that direction - less rolling resistance with more grip and comfort.
Nope, tubeless tires just are not supple enough to equal the ride quality of supple cloth tire with a latex inner tube. Tubeless is more than good enough, but not quite there yet.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

LewisK
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:11 pm

by LewisK

Mr.Gib wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:51 pm
LewisK wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:24 am
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.
This impression is exactly correct. Softer tires feel slow because they are faster, and harder tires feel fast because they are slower. Of course I am comically presenting the common sensation the many cyclist get when riding a hard tire. The fact that it is bouncing and skittering along the road makes if feel fast, when the opposite is the case. Every bump or vibration you feel is from the energy you create with your legs. And all of these bumps and vibrations are vertical and do not contribute to forward propulsion and in fact impede forward movement. If you can feel it, it is slowing you down - suspension loses. (Not denying that their is a balance in there somewhere and softer is not always faster. Except on gravel - Silka did a good roll down test IIRC.)
I'm not saying they were slower, I have no means of accurately measuring the rolling resistance. However, they 'felt slower' and heavier overall which was enough for me to switch back.

DaiD
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:01 pm

by DaiD

TheRich wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:47 pm
Mr.Gib wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:51 pm
LewisK wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:24 am
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.
This impression is exactly correct. Softer tires feel slow because they are faster, and harder tires feel fast because they are slower. Of course I am comically presenting the common sensation the many cyclist get when riding a hard tire. The fact that it is bouncing and skittering along the road makes if feel fast, when the opposite is the case. Every bump or vibration you feel is from the energy you create with your legs. And all of these bumps and vibrations are vertical and do not contribute to forward propulsion and in fact impede forward movement. If you can feel it, it is slowing you down - suspension loses. (Not denying that their is a balance in there somewhere and softer is not always faster. Except on gravel - Silka did a good roll down test IIRC.)
This subject is just one of many that shows how cycling in general and road cycling in particular irrationally sticks to tradition.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.co ... comparison

When the facts change...
I don't understand your point. At the recommended air pressure the narrower tyres have less rolling resistance, and the same at the same 'comfort level', which excludes weight and aero penalties.

All my rides are over various road surfaces from smooth to crappy, but I stick to 25mm or 23mm for my fast bike. I've currently got GP4000S in 28mm on my winter bike and I'm just waiting for them to wear out so I can go back to 25mm, because it was an experiment to try out wider tyres 3 years ago, and they're slower both in feel and speed for the same power versus 25mm.

DHG01
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:14 pm
Location: Madrid

by DHG01

Mr.Gib wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:37 am
Nope, tubeless tires just are not supple enough to equal the ride quality of supple cloth tire with a latex inner tube. Tubeless is more than good enough, but not quite there yet.
Isn't suppleness closely related to rolling resistance?
I notice change from butyl to latex inner tube (Vittoria is a good example, where they used to have equivalent carcass with both types of tubes).

I assume no inner tube at all is even more supple. I don't have much experience with tubeless. Contis set as TL have lower rolling resistance than any tubular - shouldn't that make them more or equally supple at accordingly pressure?

andreas
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:21 pm

by andreas

TheRich wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:47 pm
This subject is just one of many that shows how cycling in general and road cycling in particular irrationally sticks to tradition.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.co ... comparison

When the facts change...
Thank you, I was about to lose my mind at all the anecdotal "evidence" provided in this thread when scanning through it, and was about to link the same test.

The conclusion should just replace OP's post and all replies should be deleted :D
bicyclerollingresistance wrote:A bigger road bike tire (at least the Continental GP 4000 and GP 5000) provides a lower rolling resistance at the same air pressure. You do have to realize that at the same air pressure, a bigger tire will provide a less comfortable ride.

At the 15% tire drop air pressures, which are very close to the recommended air pressures for a given size, the tables are turned and a bigger road bike tire will have a higher rolling resistance. The higher rolling resistance of the bigger tire is because it provides more comfort at the 15% tire drop air pressure.

We feel the ultimate test is adjusting all tires to the same comfort level. When all tires are adjusted to the same comfort level, rolling resistance is nearly the same (0.2 watts max) for all sizes of the GP 5000.

We now feel picking the right size tire is more a matter of looking at what level of comfort (and grip) is required. At some point, a smaller tire isn't able to provide the same comfort level (and grip) as its bigger counterpart because it will start bottoming out.

If you want to go as fast as possible, choose your required comfort level and pick the smallest tire that can provide that comfort for you.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 7027
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

DHG01 wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:59 am
Mr.Gib wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:37 am
Nope, tubeless tires just are not supple enough to equal the ride quality of supple cloth tire with a latex inner tube. Tubeless is more than good enough, but not quite there yet.
Isn't suppleness closely related to rolling resistance?
I notice change from butyl to latex inner tube (Vittoria is a good example, where they used to have equivalent carcass with both types of tubes).

I assume no inner tube at all is even more supple. I don't have much experience with tubeless. Contis set as TL have lower rolling resistance than any tubular - shouldn't that make them more or equally supple at accordingly pressure?

Contact patch, internal friction, tread grip, etc. A rock hard tire with no grip has very little rolling resistance, but isn't supple at all. People have been lubing latex tubes with talc forever. Maybe someone can make artisan latex or poly tubes with super slick surfaces and more lubricious nano/micro scale solids...like Vittoria's graphene infused tubes, but taken up a notch. Or someone can sell extra fancy "Tube Lube" to regular clincher users.

kervelo
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:58 am
Location: Finland

by kervelo

DHG01 wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:59 am
I assume no inner tube at all is even more supple. I don't have much experience with tubeless. Contis set as TL have lower rolling resistance than any tubular - shouldn't that make them more or equally supple at accordingly pressure?
It depends. In many cases the TL version of the tyre is not the same as the tube version; this is the case with the Conti 5000 and Conti 5000 TL, for example. The TL version usually has stiffer side wall than the tube version, which makes the comparison of suppleness more difficult.

DHG01
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:14 pm
Location: Madrid

by DHG01

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:39 am

A rock hard tire with no grip has very little rolling resistance, but isn't supple at all.
Thanks Tobin

That is right! But what I find interesting about tubeless is that they achieve the low rolling resistance with equivalent or lower pressure than the Vittoria Speed. And Vittoria Speeds are not even made for typical road riding!

Kervelo - that is a good point you bring up. And more so how to compare suppleness.

I recently got a pair of tubulars, Sammy Slicks. Very little info on them. I eventually bought them given discounted price and urgency. After 2 days of riding on them I was scratching my head wondering how could they be so supple. Just by chance I looked into the sidewall to find printed in very small font "latex inner tube". Beats my why someone would place them and not advertise them, but they do make a difference.

by Weenie


TheRich
Posts: 840
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:36 am

by TheRich

DaiD wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:40 pm
TheRich wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:47 pm
Mr.Gib wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:51 pm
LewisK wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:24 am
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.
This impression is exactly correct. Softer tires feel slow because they are faster, and harder tires feel fast because they are slower. Of course I am comically presenting the common sensation the many cyclist get when riding a hard tire. The fact that it is bouncing and skittering along the road makes if feel fast, when the opposite is the case. Every bump or vibration you feel is from the energy you create with your legs. And all of these bumps and vibrations are vertical and do not contribute to forward propulsion and in fact impede forward movement. If you can feel it, it is slowing you down - suspension loses. (Not denying that their is a balance in there somewhere and softer is not always faster. Except on gravel - Silka did a good roll down test IIRC.)
This subject is just one of many that shows how cycling in general and road cycling in particular irrationally sticks to tradition.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.co ... comparison

When the facts change...
I don't understand your point. At the recommended air pressure the narrower tyres have less rolling resistance, and the same at the same 'comfort level', which excludes weight and aero penalties.

All my rides are over various road surfaces from smooth to crappy, but I stick to 25mm or 23mm for my fast bike. I've currently got GP4000S in 28mm on my winter bike and I'm just waiting for them to wear out so I can go back to 25mm, because it was an experiment to try out wider tyres 3 years ago, and they're slower both in feel and speed for the same power versus 25mm.
My take is that it's more of an argument against 23mm tires than anything else.

Post Reply