Are traditional road tires really better than high volume fast rollers?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Are traditional road tires really better than high volume fast rollers?

    How much speed is really gained with popular road commuting tires around 28c or 32c over, say, 29er WTB Vulpines or Big Apples?

    Given that many of the popular touring/commuting road tires are actually quite heavy and that above a certain speed, wind resistance is the biggest force to overcome, I'm curious how much quicker a 28c commuter road bike is compared to a drop-bar 29er, Vaya or Fargo kind of bike.

    I've got Vulpines on my 29er and they're surprisingly fast, and feel wind resistance from the upright riding position, not tire width, is what really slows me down.

    It seems like you give up a lot of versatility with the skinny-tired commuter road bike for not much performance gain. If your drop-bar commuter with fat slicks is almost as fast, yet lets you bomb through everything, why aren't more people using this kind of bike?

  2. #2
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    I have a pair of 25's and a pair of 35's. The 25's are noticeably faster. I ride mustache bars so wind on my body is a big deal, but still there is a significant difference in the feel. I can only imagine it gets worse with high volume slicks, but I've never had any so I really don't know.
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  3. #3
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    I have a set of 23 c and 32 c tires. I would say the main differences are felt when pedaling and coasting. It takes less effort to take the bike up to a good speed and maintain it. I'd imagine the jump from a Big Apples to a narrow road tire would be immense.

  4. #4
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    23's on my Roubaix and 28's on my Coda. The roadie is faster, but is it because of the tires? Maybe I can do a comparison.....1 week on the 28's and 1 week on the 23's on the Coda, let the computer calculate average speed for the whole week. I think I will try that for fun. Will report back in a couple weeks.

  5. #5
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbigisbudgood View Post
    23's on my Roubaix and 28's on my Coda. The roadie is faster, but is it because of the tires? Maybe I can do a comparison.....1 week on the 28's and 1 week on the 23's on the Coda, let the computer calculate average speed for the whole week. I think I will try that for fun. Will report back in a couple weeks.
    Cool- sounds interresting. Looking forward to seeing the results.

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    For road riding I run 26"x2.5" Maxxis Hookworms on my Surly Big Dummy cargobike, and 24"x3.45" 3GBikes Hoggy-G tires on my Surly 1x1. I was a hardcore roadie for just over 20 years, by the way, but now I realise that more rubber under your butt means a fatter safety margin.
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  7. #7
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    I'd say tire choice depends on how smooth your commute is. For nice roads use skinny tires but for medium to bad roads use the fat ones.

    My route has medium condition roads with lots of crap to the right and no shoulder so I generally use my mountain bike tho I'm easily faster on my road bike.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Cool- sounds interresting. Looking forward to seeing the results.
    Week 1 on the 700X28 Vittora Corsa - 24,2 Kph average

    I am afraid the results will be a bit inaccurate because I felt like I was still recovering from my under 5 hour century ride the weekend before.

    23's are mounted, will report at the end of the week.

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Sub 5 hour century? Gnarly!
    Still interrested. For your next assignment, run the same speed with two different tire sized and report back on what Powertap says about the wattage difference.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoastieTX View Post
    How much speed is really gained with popular road commuting tires around 28c or 32c over, say, 29er WTB Vulpines or Big Apples?

    Given that many of the popular touring/commuting road tires are actually quite heavy and that above a certain speed, wind resistance is the biggest force to overcome, I'm curious how much quicker a 28c commuter road bike is compared to a drop-bar 29er, Vaya or Fargo kind of bike.

    I've got Vulpines on my 29er and they're surprisingly fast, and feel wind resistance from the upright riding position, not tire width, is what really slows me down.

    It seems like you give up a lot of versatility with the skinny-tired commuter road bike for not much performance gain. If your drop-bar commuter with fat slicks is almost as fast, yet lets you bomb through everything, why aren't more people using this kind of bike?
    You have answered your own question.....people use the skinner tires cause on pavement they are faster and lighter.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toff View Post
    I'd say tire choice depends on how smooth your commute is. For nice roads use skinny tires but for medium to bad roads use the fat ones.

    My route has medium condition roads with lots of crap to the right and no shoulder so I generally use my mountain bike tho I'm easily faster on my road bike.
    The proper skinny slick is far more puncture resistant than a fat tire.

    Gravel is of course the nemesis of the skinny.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbigisbudgood View Post
    Week 1 on the 700X28 Vittora Corsa - 24,2 Kph average

    I am afraid the results will be a bit inaccurate because I felt like I was still recovering from my under 5 hour century ride the weekend before.

    23's are mounted, will report at the end of the week.
    I could only get 3 days of data this week. I rode my daughters bike today (has a rack which I need) and I leave for the US tomorrow morning.

    24,4 Kph average with the 23's.

    The bike felt a bit quicker, but it didn't feel overall faster.

    Frankly, I prefer the comfort of the 28 over the 23 when commuting.

    Remember there is human error involved here.

  13. #13
    weirdo
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    Hmmm...
    Thanks, Big.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toff View Post
    I'd say tire choice depends on how smooth your commute is. For nice roads use skinny tires but for medium to bad roads use the fat ones.

    My route has medium condition roads with lots of crap to the right and no shoulder so I generally use my mountain bike tho I'm easily faster on my road bike.
    I agree - I have ridden my road bike on my commute many times, and it's a bunch faster (esp. on the flats) - however, lots of sand on the hike/bike trail I cross town on makes skinny tires somewhat less than ideal (esp. since my morning commute is in the dark) - I use wide slicks on a mtb I am using as my commuter.

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