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

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

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Toby
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:30 am

by Toby

whosatthewheel wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:02 pm
Why do you need comfort?

I do understand if you are into long distance... Audax or you want to do the TCR, but for your average weekend ride, why do you need extra comfort? It's not an Audi, it's a race bike...
There are roads here in Texas that are rough enough I worry about bolts backing out. I think a lot of this stems from people not understanding road conditions others are dealing with and getting snotty about it.

by Weenie


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

by sigma

whosatthewheel wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:02 pm
Why do you need comfort?

I do understand if you are into long distance... Audax or you want to do the TCR, but for your average weekend ride, why do you need extra comfort? It's not an Audi, it's a race bike...
LOL. My Audi RS7 which is chipped up can hit 0-60 in sub 2.7 seconds....now onto your point :) Road conditions in one of the places I reside are horrible. To the point where you will find yourself having a difficult time maintaining power when becoming that uncomfortable riding or find yourself, as I did, changing lines to dodge potholes and bad surfaces. I ride plenty of technical mountain bike trails and gravel trails in the Utah mountains, but nothing causes more fear for me than an Illinois / Chicago pot-hole riddled street. It's impact plus potential damage to equipment all in one, and it does get fatiguing very quickly. So, think of the comfort quest as a way to put nice shock absorbers on your race car so that the engine and suspension can deliver in an efficient way. Interestingly enough, you will see the same thread among many of the professionals (not that we should try to emulate those who spend their entire days on bikes) of taking comfort over marginal performance gains to preserve both physical and mental energy.
S-works Tarmac SL6
S-Works Venge
Factor VAM 02 disc
Trek Domane 2016 SLR
Open U.P. gravel 2016
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Factor LS in progress
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mrlobber
Posts: 1262
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:36 am
Location: Where the permanent autumn is

by mrlobber

Toby wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:36 pm
I think a lot of this stems from people not understanding road conditions others are dealing with and getting snotty about it.
This.

Even though my country (at least internally) is famous for bad roads, the fact we don't have proper highways where cycling is prohibited, means that I often ride my bike on roads classified as of European importance (Exxx), which generally are surfaced very well. So it is only the last couple of years when I've started to slowly move towards 25mm+ tyres everywhere, but I still have a fair share of 23mm tubs with me, which I ride on those roads without any major problems, and (from Strava stats), on average much faster than most of amateur-racing people in my country, some of whom are way stronger than I am. This in turn creates a hard-to-resist urge for me to participate in wider tyre internet debates by saying that these wider tyres are generally unnecessary, until I remind myself that the biggest factor influencing your desire for comfort are the roads you're riding on.
Ex-bikes: Cube Aerium C68 SLT 2018 / Cervelo S5 2015 / Felt AR FRD 2014 / Cannondale SS HM 2014 / Scott Addict SL 2014 / Scott Plasma Premium 2014 / Orbea Orca 2008 / Look 596

ericlambi
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 6:16 pm

by ericlambi

I think most wheels are going to be optimized for speed using 23c or 25c, depending on wheel details and riding conditions (high yaw conditions are problematic for fatter tires). I trained all year on 28c this year for the first time (pumping to 70psi, though I don't tend to pump daily). I don't notice an improvement moment to moment compared to 25 or even 23c, but definitely if I do some gravel it's better on the 28c and the bigger difference is just at the end of a long ride I am much less beat, especially noticeable in my shoulders and back.

TLN
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

by TLN

sigma wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:54 am
You know I am starting to draw the same conclusions about the importance of the wheel inner rim width and tire combination taking strong precedence over the bike frame. Some of my older bikes had only room for super narrow wheels and tires by today's standards, but from this point on, it's 30 minimum for me. I will check out the Strada Bianca - my old Domane is rim so I am not sure it will clear it (i run 28s now), so thanks for the suggestion. I do find the isospeed to be quite effective - my original Domane was the rear only, but a Chicago parks and recs worker armed with a rolling leaf blower sent that bike to an early grave, so Trek replaced it with the last rim version which has isospeed in the front and rear. It's great - I have taken it to Europe and on Ride the Rockies and I really enjoyed it.
I found isospeed pretty effective as well. I bet new Madone with 28c on wide rims will be plush to ride. But unlike tires, you cannot remove it, if you decide you'd want something stiffer and more fun. With tires you can easily back out and get something smaller to tune your preferences.
His: Specialiez S-Works Tarmac SL5 Disc.
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rudye9mr
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 12:01 pm

by rudye9mr

@ sigma...understand where you're coming from...wide inner width seems to contribute to lower pressures and a more commfy ride..

Thinking the 19mm internal is the goldilocks as it should accomodate 23 to 28mm..just confirm the exterior width for aeroeness...

Can then go down the rabbit hole of tire compound choice...cottons...vulcanized...tubeless etc...never ending possibilities...

TLN
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

by TLN

rudye9mr wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:04 pm
Thinking the 19mm internal is the goldilocks as it should accomodate 23 to 28mm..just confirm the exterior width for aeroeness...
Why 19 internal? Are there any rims with 19 internal and 29-30mm external? I'd say 21mm interlnal, which is still not that common.
If we're talking about comfort, it currently starts with 28c tires, that will measure 29-30 on 21IW rim. Perfect for something like Roval CL/CLX and similar wheels. You can still go fast with 25c tires (recommended option fot CLX rovals) or with 30c for extra cofort if that's what you're after.
His: Specialiez S-Works Tarmac SL5 Disc.
Hers: Cannondale Synapse HM Disc

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

by rudye9mr

The campys/fulcrum disc lines run a 19mm internal...and a 27mm ext iirc...can finetune fit with 25/26/27/28mm depending on comfort/aeroness for user...hence my thinking on 19mm...

21mm int/25mm ext can work as well...HEDs seem to have been doing this on jet+ rims a while now...

Thing is as tire size increases, so does weight..so that's another factor to consider in right set up..

Alumen
Posts: 148
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:47 pm

by Alumen

My 2cts / humble experience...

Comfort is mostly coming from good quality high TPI tyres and the tyre width does not matter too much. According to my opinion the whole wide tyre for comfort is a hoax.

Well, yes, I do ride 28mm on 19c, on my performance bike - but that is because this set up improves the overall ride quality compared with more narrow rims/tyres.

Btw I have never felt any difference between 23mm and 25mm in terms of ride quality (and as former MTB rider I can call myself a tyre freak), though 28mm is a different ball game. 28mm is the real 25mm...
CAAD 13 Disc
CAAD 10 2015 R.I.P.
28, the real 25

DaveS
Posts: 3132
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:26 pm

by DaveS

I switched from 23mm tires with 100 psi pressure to 25mm with 80 psi and now to 28mm tubeless with 19mm internal width rims and 70-75psi. The latest change is really noticeable. I ride quite a bit of chip seal, but almost no potholes to worry about in Northern Colorado. Pinch flats due to rocks on the road side are the biggest problem. With tubed 25mm tires, I've had two pinch flats and no punctures in the last 10,000 miles.

tomato
Posts: 190
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:37 pm

by tomato

sigma wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:09 am
whosatthewheel wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:02 pm
Why do you need comfort?

I do understand if you are into long distance... Audax or you want to do the TCR, but for your average weekend ride, why do you need extra comfort? It's not an Audi, it's a race bike...
LOL. My Audi RS7 which is chipped up can hit 0-60 in sub 2.7 seconds....now onto your point :)
My RS7 had massaging seats ... and was a pretty cushy ride.

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

by sigma

tomato wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:24 pm
sigma wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:09 am
whosatthewheel wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:02 pm
Why do you need comfort?

I do understand if you are into long distance... Audax or you want to do the TCR, but for your average weekend ride, why do you need extra comfort? It's not an Audi, it's a race bike...
LOL. My Audi RS7 which is chipped up can hit 0-60 in sub 2.7 seconds....now onto your point :)
My RS7 had massaging seats ... and was a pretty cushy ride.
Sacrilege to swap the sport seats for the comfort ones! Sort of like running 30 tires on a race bike :)
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

MoPho
Posts: 673
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:48 pm
Location: NorCal

by MoPho

whosatthewheel wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:02 pm
Why do you need comfort?

I do understand if you are into long distance... Audax or you want to do the TCR, but for your average weekend ride, why do you need extra comfort? It's not an Audi, it's a race bike...
For your average weekend ride, why do you need a race bike?






sigma wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:44 am

Sacrilege to swap the sport seats for the comfort ones! Sort of like running 30 tires on a race bike :)
Sports seats and lot of power doesn't really make an RS7 any less of a luxury car ;)



.

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

by DHG01

I came across this video around bike comfort.
There are components to it I find interesting. Measuring vertical spring, how the "softest" spring is the key contributor to compliance; eg an exposed seatpost on a high pressure thin 23mm tyre or the wide low pressure tyre on a mountain bike.

But there are other findings I wonder about. The video suggests that frame material does not contribute towards comfort, but caveats that ride feel or quality is out of scope. Being comfort "vertical compliance" and not defining ride feel or quality of the different materials.

Fork is not mentioned, I think it plays an important role (particularly visible on gravel ones), I also thought a fair amount of flex comes through the stays.

Anyway, I think it is a interesting and well elaborated video and good food for thought.


https://youtu.be/Lb4ktAbmr_4

by Weenie


Beancouter
Posts: 800
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:04 pm

by Beancouter

To add my observations, I have 2 ‘nice’ bikes, a SSE 2020 rim brake and Spec Roubaix 2020 (with futureshock 2.0).

I bought the roubaix as my local roads are shocking, giving it 28mm turbo cotton tyres. As you would expect, it is comfortable and fast over what can be roads that are pretty cut up.

I bought the SSE as the last chance to own a latest gen rim brake bike before they went disc only. It started life with 25mm GP5000.

At the time both had tubolito inner tubes.

The comedy is that, whilst the SSE doesn’t have the suspension and was running less rubber, I wouldn’t say it is discernibly less comfortable than the Roubaix on 80% of the roads I ride (and they are far from perfect!). The SSE somehow just works for me. The combination of frame and tyres, my riding style, the conditions, etc just make it the bike I will pick first to ride.

I have more recently put the Turbo Cotton 28mm on the SSE and 32mm GP5000 (tubeless) on the Roubaix and it hasn’t changed my mind!!

Confession, I am more a Cannondale fan than Spec, the SSE is also a kilo lighter, so it might be psychological!


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