What's the best tire size- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What's the best tire size

    I currently have 26x1.9 on my bike, and although I have not had any problems, I am thinking of going to a 26x2.1 or 2.2. Is bigger better? If so why? What are the pros and the cons to a wider tire.

  2. #2
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    You've told us nothing about your bike (ie,,, what will actually fit), style of riding (XC, AM, DH?), or type of terrain (sandy, mud, etc).

    I'll take a shot in the dark and just say...... 650B X 2.3 Hope that helps.

    Here's an example of a better way to ask this question:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ght=tire+width

  3. #3
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    I have a Gary Fisher Wahoo, 18 inch frame, Judy TT forks, currently no disc brakes, but I will be changing that soon. I ride thru anything i can find, as well as commute. Probably most important to me is cross country, but I travel a lot so sand, mud, rocks, asphalt, grass and pretty much anything else, I ride on. With that said is a wider tire better? If so why? What are the Pros? What are the Cons?

  4. #4
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    I have a Gary Fisher Wahoo, with and 18 inch frame and Judy TT forks. I am not picky about where I ride and I travel a lot. Cross country is probably most important to me, but a well rounded size that will work for all my needs, sandy, muddy, rocky, asphalt, grass, concrete or anything else in front of me at any given time. With that said Is wider better? If so why? What are the Pros to a wider tire? What are the cons to a wider tire?

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    nvm

  6. #6
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    In general, a wider tire will give you greater grip and higher rolling resistance. I say generally, because there are a lot of other factors, such as the tread design, tire compound, and other things I don't even know to consider.

    Some benefits of a wider tire include:

    * more grip
    * more cushion - the bigger a tire, the more volume it has, and generally the lower air pressure you can run without damaging the wheel or pinch flatting

    Some disadvantages:

    * weight: A 26x2.2 tire will be heavier than the same model tire in a 2.0 size.
    * rolling resistance: more tread on the ground means there's more surface in contact, which means you have to work harder to move it. Will most people notice the difference? Assuming they don't go from a 2.0 XC tire to a 2.5 DH tire, probably not.

    Some considerations:

    * If you go too wide, the tire may not fit in your fork or frame
    * If you go too wide, you may need to buy bigger tubes as well
    * If you go too wide for your rim, you could create a dangerous situation where you may be more likely to suffer a severe loss of control if you get a flat
    * Not all tires are the same width, even if the size is labeled the same. One 2.2 width tire may be wider, or more narrow, then another 2.2 tire. This is another factor that could change rolling resistance and grip between two similarly sized tires.

    FWIW, I use 26x2.2 on my full suspension bike, and 29x2.2 on my rigid single speed. For me, where I ride, how I ride, and my bikes, that width seems to work well. I previously had 26x2.0 on the full suspension bike, and much prefer the 2.2.

    Here's a handy-dandy Sheldon Brown page on tire sizing (there's a chart about tire width to wheel width, and some other talk about sizing and standards that may be helpful): http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
    :wq

  7. #7
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    Thanx Nachomc, you answered all my questions even a few I hadn't known to ask

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenixdadeadhead
    I have a Gary Fisher Wahoo, with and 18 inch frame and Judy TT forks. I am not picky about where I ride and I travel a lot. Cross country is probably most important to me, but a well rounded size that will work for all my needs, sandy, muddy, rocky, asphalt, grass, concrete or anything else in front of me at any given time. With that said Is wider better? If so why? What are the Pros to a wider tire? What are the cons to a wider tire?

    Much better, and I think you got a great answer from nach.

    For you I think 2.3" should be the widest you'd want to consider. 2.1 or 2.2 would probably be a little better for your riding.

    My AM bike has 2.3" (I may try 2.4" on my next set) and I'm running 2.1" on my other bike which is more for XC rides and commuting.
    Last edited by cobi; 11-16-2009 at 07:47 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nachomc
    In general, a wider tire will give you greater grip and higher rolling resistance. I say generally, because there are a lot of other factors, such as the tread design, tire compound, and other things I don't even know to consider.

    Some benefits of a wider tire include:

    * more grip
    * more cushion - the bigger a tire, the more volume it has, and generally the lower air pressure you can run without damaging the wheel or pinch flatting

    Some disadvantages:

    * weight: A 26x2.2 tire will be heavier than the same model tire in a 2.0 size.
    * rolling resistance: more tread on the ground means there's more surface in contact, which means you have to work harder to move it. Will most people notice the difference? Assuming they don't go from a 2.0 XC tire to a 2.5 DH tire, probably not.

    Some considerations:

    * If you go too wide, the tire may not fit in your fork or frame
    * If you go too wide, you may need to buy bigger tubes as well
    * If you go too wide for your rim, you could create a dangerous situation where you may be more likely to suffer a severe loss of control if you get a flat
    * Not all tires are the same width, even if the size is labeled the same. One 2.2 width tire may be wider, or more narrow, then another 2.2 tire. This is another factor that could change rolling resistance and grip between two similarly sized tires.

    FWIW, I use 26x2.2 on my full suspension bike, and 29x2.2 on my rigid single speed. For me, where I ride, how I ride, and my bikes, that width seems to work well. I previously had 26x2.0 on the full suspension bike, and much prefer the 2.2.

    Here's a handy-dandy Sheldon Brown page on tire sizing (there's a chart about tire width to wheel width, and some other talk about sizing and standards that may be helpful): http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
    There is a lot of common wisdom in the above posting that I would of told you too until I read this study: http://www.bernhansen.com/Tester/Dek...20schwalbe.pdf

    Turns out wider tires actually roll faster, so much faster it makes up for the weight! So wider tires with less pressure seem to be the best option offroad for all users.
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  10. #10
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    Very interesting test. I've always wondered why many of the better riders I know seem to be on rather flat tires and still speedy....I thought it was pure fitness and iron legs, but maybe there is something to running lower air pressures after all !

    Damn, just bought 2.1" Maxxis Crossmarks, maybe I should go bigger.
    Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"

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    Currently I am running 26x1.95. I ride singletrack and I would say it is medium to hard ground, nothing soft. What pressures should I be running? I have some old Kendas with tread specific patters for front and rear.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robmc7759
    Currently I am running 26x1.95. I ride singletrack and I would say it is medium to hard ground, nothing soft. What pressures should I be running? I have some old Kendas with tread specific patters for front and rear.
    What tires? and what is the pressure ratings on the sidewall?

    Your weight will also be an important factor in that equation. . . . .

  13. #13
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    Sorry to impede on the thread...But I've been looking at buying some Continental traffic tires for my stock Trek 4300 '09. I use the bike for commuting also, and mainly hard packed dirt. Should I purchase the 1.9 or 2.1?

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    Quote Originally Posted by manoffew
    Sorry to impede on the thread...But I've been looking at buying some Continental traffic tires for my stock Trek 4300 '09. I use the bike for commuting also, and mainly hard packed dirt. Should I purchase the 1.9 or 2.1?
    i would purchase the 1.9 size because you ride commuting also, it will be fine as long as its not too muddy

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildkyle90
    i would purchase the 1.9 size because you ride commuting also, it will be fine as long as its not too muddy

    Sounds good, thanks.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    What tires? and what is the pressure ratings on the sidewall?

    Your weight will also be an important factor in that equation. . . . .
    Some old Kenda Bear Claws. The pressure rating on the side is 25-65 psi. I weigh 180 pounds.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTail
    Very interesting test. I've always wondered why many of the better riders I know seem to be on rather flat tires and still speedy....I thought it was pure fitness and iron legs, but maybe there is something to running lower air pressures after all !

    Damn, just bought 2.1" Maxxis Crossmarks, maybe I should go bigger.
    Even though Maxxis dropped a lot of their sponsorships last year I do like those tires. Try them in a 2.3 and time yourself on your favorite loop, you might be surprized.
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  18. #18
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    I weigh 185 and run 28f and 30-33R with tubes. Did you see my earlier post with the tire pressure/tire width study? It shows that wider tires with less pressure actually roll faster offroad than skinner tires w/more pressure. Check it out.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterRide
    There is a lot of common wisdom in the above posting that I would of told you too until I read this study: http://www.bernhansen.com/Tester/Dek...20schwalbe.pdf

    Turns out wider tires actually roll faster, so much faster it makes up for the weight! So wider tires with less pressure seem to be the best option offroad for all users.
    That study is less than conclusive on the matter, and the research methods used are a bit questionable. I'd hardly consider this masters thesis as solid proof of anything since it was conducted by a person specializing in Physical Education. I'm not saying it's impossible for its claims to be valid, the study just doesn't appear to be conducted well.

    OP, 2.2 is usually a safe bet as far as width is concerned.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus
    That study is less than conclusive on the matter, and the research methods used are a bit questionable. I'd hardly consider this masters thesis as solid proof of anything since it was conducted by a person specializing in Physical Education. I'm not saying it's impossible for its claims to be valid, the study just doesn't appear to be conducted well. .
    It is the best study I have seen but I agree it isn't the best possible. I have always wanted a tire company to do a simple study involving coasting. Set up a bmx style gate on mild pitch of bump trail and time a 100 meter coast with the same rider and bike just change tire pressure and tire size. I am more concerned with the % improvement less than .5% difference wouldn't really sway me one way or the other (but for an xc racer that would be huge!) but if someone could prove a 1% or more difference that starts to really add up even for a casual rider.

    In tests with teammates of equal weight on the same bikes, wider tires (which in this case were also taller) definitely seem to roll faster but that is not the most scientific way to go about this.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterRide
    I weigh 185 and run 28f and 30-33R with tubes. Did you see my earlier post with the tire pressure/tire width study? It shows that wider tires with less pressure actually roll faster offroad than skinner tires w/more pressure. Check it out.
    The tire width/pressure study you posted compared road, grassy meadows, and gravel. The latter two were used to make the point that wider, lower pressure tires rolled faster. They picked two surfaces that have little to do with mtb. Both are surfaces that a wider tire has the advantage in being able to "float" on the surface, rather than push through. While grassy meadows and thick gravel may occasionally be a part of MTBing, they are hardly the norm. This "study" is the perfect example of manipulating data to support a false idea.
    While running wider tires/lower pressures does have advantages(comfort/handling) rolling resistance is not one of them.

  22. #22
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    I was wondering the same about the study. Has anyone from real-world experience noticed less rolling resistance with wider tires versus narrow?

    I used to run the narrowest tire with a descent tread, but have since settled on 2.1" Maxxis Crossmarks. They seem to strike a pretty good balance between traction, comfort and rolling resistance. Kind of curious now to try the 2.35" version to see if I'm working less on long climbs.
    Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"

  23. #23
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    Switched my tires from a 2.1 Bontrager to a 2.3 Specialized today noticed the difference immediately. For me they were a lot slower more grip on the sides but a lot more work. I may have not had the right psi (35 front and back) but have a hard time believing big and low run faster.

  24. #24
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    Given you experience, what brand tires are working for you these days?
    Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"

  25. #25
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    my quick 2c.

    The bigger the tyre the better,
    I can run a large volume tyre with a fast tread and have more grip and less drag than a thinner tyre with a grippy tread.

    weight isn't an issue for me.

  26. #26
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    I actually have two wheelsets that I swap, depending on the type of riding I'm doing.

    When I'm riding hardpack or paved surfaces, I go with Michelin Country Rock tires in 26 x 1.75 on the Alexrims DP-17 that came stock on my Haro Sonix (rims stock, not tires).

    When I'm doing anything technical, I go with Kenda Nevegal tires in 26 x 2.3 on Sunrim Rhyno Lite rims.
    Now go home and get your ******* shinebox.

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