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Tires: How Wide is too Wide?

August 3, 2014

I have been reading several articles about wider tires. I used the 25 mm tires on the Ride the Rockies tour thinking I would get a more comfortable ride and fewer flats. I didn’t flat the entire 6 days of riding. This is a good read on the topic.  I did notice the 25 mm tires required a bit of adjustment to the breaks.

Off The Beaten Path

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How wide a tire is too wide for optimum performance? Our research shows that wider tires don’t give up anything on smooth roads, and gain a significant advantage on rough roads. This has been shown for tires up to 31 mm wide.

It’s now a well-established fact that wider tires roll faster than narrow ones. Professional racers now use 25 mm tires, which are 20% wider than the tires that most racers used just 20 years ago. Will this trend continue? Can we expect racers to be on 30 mm tires in the future? No matter what the pros do – they are influenced by many factors that have little to do with science – the real question is: Up to what point are wider tires faster?

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It is obvious that the tires in the photo above will not roll very fast. Clearly, at some point, the performance benefits of…

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