700×23 vs 700×25 for commuting

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boostuv
Participant
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Currently Ive got 700×34 Bontrager Jones CX tires on it and their a pretty aggressive tire considering 100% of my riding right now is at the Highland Park bike track or on public roads. Im trying to decide on which street tire I should get but Im stuck at the 23 vs 25 debate. Im 135lbs so the extra strength of the 25 isnt necessary but at the same time the extra strength seems like a good precaution since the roads here are so shitty. What are your guys opinions?


RickyTickyTac
Participant
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700×28 at least for Pittsburgh roads. Unless you can hover really well…


brian j
Participant
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There is no reason to commute on 23s. I’d ride 28s, even for go-fast riding.


BradQ
Participant
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Yeah, the only bike I run 23s on can’t fit anything larger.

25 is cool. 28 is better.


sloaps
Participant
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too much broken glass and pot holes for a soft ride on 23’s. I cut through snow and ice pretty well on slick 25’s, but need extra padding for my seat.

28’s are a noticeably softer ride than the others.


rsprake
Participant
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Heh, I am thinking about moving up to 38s on my commuter bike.


Andrew
Participant
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My bike can only fit 25’s. If I had my choice I would be running 28’s or 32’s


cburch
Participant
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I’ve been on 23s for so long everything else seems weird.


dmtroyer
Participant
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Right now I’m 32 in the rear and 38 up front (the 38 is an emergency tire buy from a tour this summer when I punctured the sidewall of my marathon).

Oh, and wider tires roll faster.

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/bicycle-tires-puncturing-the-myths-29245


Lyle
Participant
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Nothing is slower than a flat tire. I used to ride 19s in Boston but I can’t imagine that I’d get two blocks on them in Pittsburgh (plus I was skinnier then). I’m riding 25s now but I’m with Andrew — I’d go bigger if they’d fit.


myddrin
Participant
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My fair weather cycle is 23’s because that is what came with it. I’ve never had an issue as long as I stay to the non-cobblestone roads in and around PGH.

When I wore them out, I replaced them w/ 23s without even really thinking about it. (Although, I don’t think my bike would take much bigger anyway….)

I agree w/ @cburch, at this point anything else feels weird… switching to my winter bike (26″ x 2.x”) was really hard this year.


brian j
Participant
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I’m currently running 47s on my commuter.

I also subscribe to the theory that air is cheap suspension.


superletour
Participant
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Been riding 23s in Pittsburgh for 4+ years or so except in the winter. I don’t seem to get more flats than most people but I think I’m also proactive about replacing my cheap tires before they get down to the threads. I’ve also tried bigger tires and they feel weird/too slow.


cburch
Participant
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when the weather is crappy i just ride my hardtail mtb instead. unless im feeling goofy, then i ride one of the big squishy bikes and go REALLY slow.


Mick
Participant
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@superletour I’ve also tried bigger tires and they feel weird/too slow.

Someone once wrote here with a link to an article taht said bigger tires felt slower – but weren’t. The stiffness of the tiny tire ride makes them feel faster than they are. Anyone recall where that was from?


edmonds59
Participant
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IMO go with 25’s, but get good quality, good 25’s will be faster and beat the crap out of you less than cheap 23’s.

I have some kind of Vittoria 28’s on my most general purpose bike.

30 mm silk sew-ups ride like God is smoothing the road for you with a putty knife, but most of you will not experience such a thing. nyah.


Lyle
Participant
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…not even god’s putty knife can smooth the holes on these roads :(


HiddenVariable
Participant
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i have also ridden 23s long enough to feel weird on anything else. i got my hybrid in working order this winter, and it felt like i was riding on sand. i’ve all but abandoned it, even though it has fenders and my road bike doesn’t. it doesn’t matter if the actual speed is the same–the road bike is just more fun to ride.

oh, and i haven’t had a puncture or pinch flat in like a year and a half.

regarding god and his putty knife: i walked to work today, and stepping on morewood, on the same road surface i bike on every day, it felt like i was walking on the surface of the moon. you could do some serious damage to an ankle, let alone a bike.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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What’s the opposite of god’s putty knife… the devil’s mother-in-law’s rusty rasp?


brian j
Participant
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@Mick: I’m pretty sure that came from Bicycle Quarterly. A half-hearted search yielded nothing for me, though. There is some propaganda^H^H^H^H^Hinformation on the Rivendell website, too, though that doesn’t include the hard data that the BQ article likely has.


reddan
Keymaster
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Not the aforementioned BQ experiment, but here’s some info that pertains.


Mick
Participant
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@reddan: Cool article.

Foir pittsburgh riders this sentence may be teh most relevant “Unless you’re a pure climber and solely focused on weight, the takeaway message here is that you’ll go generally faster on wider rubber even if it’s slightly heavier.”

We aren’t “pure” climbers here, but we do go up a lot of hills.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Jan Heine is the pressure guy

Bicycle Quarterly

Adventure Cyclng


dwillen
Participant
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I moved from some 35ish cross tires to 35mm studded tires to (this weekend) 25mm commuter slicks. I was flying on my way into work yesterday. I especially noticed a huge difference in acceleration from a stop and going up hills. Not much difference between the cross tires and the 25s going down the hill though. I don’t have enough experience on them to comment beyond this. I might come to hate them after hitting a few cobbled roads and potholes – we’ll see.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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for that wider vs. narrower tires comparison, did they run them at the same pressure? i admit i didn’t make it through the full article, but i was curious about their methodology. narrower tires are generally regarded to have less rolling resistance because they are used at a higher pressure.


John
Participant
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@HiddenVariable, yes wider tires have less rolling resistance, all other things being equal including pressure, casing and tread.

One thing the article doesn’t mention is that narrower tires, in addition to being lighter, are more aerodynamic. Also, wider and/or more supple tires (higher tpi casings, less/softer tread) usually corner better. Unless you’re racing almost none of this really matters.

FWIW, I run: 28mm for general city and light touring use, 25mm for training, 23mm for road racing, 20mm for time trialing.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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One thing the article doesn’t mention is that narrower tires, in addition to being lighter, are more aerodynamic.

actually, it does mention this! i read that part. the bikeradar article, i mean.

incidentally, if a 23 and a 25 are inflated to the same pressure, one is not properly inflated. it would be all but negligible, to be sure, but one must strive for accuracy.


brian j
Participant
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Unless you’re racing almost none of this really matters.

+1

Take him or leave him, this is really Grant Petersen’s point in much of what he does/sells at Rivendell–much of the cycling market is geared toward racing (though we’ve seen this change a bit in recent years), and that’s not what most cyclists do. My biggest pet peeve with the cycling industry is the lack of “sensible road bikes” that have clearance for bigger tires and fenders.


John
Participant
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The all time low point in popularity of “sensible road bikes” seems to have been around the early-to-mid 00’s.. around the time Lance Armstrong was so popular. I suspect this isn’t a coincidence. :-)


Mick
Participant
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@johnwheffner The all time low point in popularity of “sensible road bikes” seems to have been around the early-to-mid 00’s..

Yeah, I recall feeling like I was really becoming a really weird old guy cause there was nothing like my high-handlebar, fendered, racked, lit, low-geared bike at any of the bike racks.

Everything I had made sense, but was I just kidding myself? No one else had the need for these things. Crazed geezer turf.

Then I went to Germany…


meaculpa
Participant
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I’ve ridden 32s for years now which is fine since I don’t race anything ‘cept traffic. But dwillen’s comment about acceleration makes me think that, for keeping pace in traffic, I should come down to 28.

Yet every day I bash something with my front tire, the edge of potholes mostly, so maybe a 28 on the rear would be the way to go…

All in all, the feeling that I’m “riding in sand” seems to come and go and I can’t chalk it up to any one reason (fatigue, tire pressure, cold, …). My point is I’ve not yet been bothered enough to go to skinnier tires.


Lyle
Participant
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@mick: ytilasuac

@meaculpa: I tend to go a little wider on the rear because it’s easier to avoid obstacles with the front wheel than with the rear one.


salty
Participant
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I ride 32s and I’m debating going to 28s when they wear out. For Vittoria Randonneurs the 28s are rated for an extra 10psi – so I think it will make a little difference but nothing huge. Although, considering I haven’t had a flat yet (~1700mi mostly on city streets), I’m loath to mess with that.

I have no doubt going from 35mm studded to 25mm slicks is a huge difference – going from the 54mm knobbies on my MTB to 32mm slicks made me feel like I had a rocket strapped to my back. But, 32/28 (or even 25, 23) certainly isn’t going to be that kind of difference. I think when I get that “riding in sand” sensation it’s usually the wind that’s to blame.


edmonds59
Participant
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I checked on some tires that I am running.

I have some Vittoria “Tecno Sport T.T.’s”, 700×28 that I love (avatar photo), Kevlar belted, I don’t think I have ever flatted on them. But I don’t know if you can get them anymore.

I also have some Vitt. Randonneurs 700×28 (on a fixie/free) but they feel like tank treads, really stiff construction, dead feeling. Excellent on crappy roads, though.

Vitt. Zaffiro Pro’s, 700×25 on a fast road bike, have some tread siping, not smoothies, very, very good, recommend them.


brian j
Participant
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My experience with the Randos is the same. They are nails, but definitely ride like hoses wrapped around my rims.

When I had a road-ish bike, I found 28mm Specialized tires to be quite good. I forget the model–I bought them from Matt Chester.


reddan
Keymaster
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I beat the Schwalbe drum quite a bit, but I’ve been real pleased with the Marathon Racers in 700×30. I’ve only flatted ’em when I wear them down to nothing; never get pinch flats, and have only gotten one or two wire-fragment punctures in 4-ish years of use.

I usually get 3-4K miles out of one before I replace, and could probably get an extra 1K before I NEEDED to replace.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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I think when I get that “riding in sand” sensation it’s usually the wind that’s to blame.

that’s a good point. another big difference between my road bike and my hybrid is that a) i’ve got clipless pedals on my road bike and my feet slide all over on the hybrid (this is again a feel issue rather than a performance issue), and 2) my hybrid forces a vastly more upright riding posture. i can feel the wind beating against my chest when i ride it.

still, whether you’re flying or not, if you like going fast it matters little whether you actually are as long as it feels like it.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’ve never thought much about what type of tire to use. When I see threads, I get the size of the existing tire, and take the first one off the racks whose size matches. Probably not the best way to do it, but I suspect I’m not alone.

When I think about it, though, I have a fairly complex “typical” use. While 98% of my riding is on paved roads, the beginning and end of every ride out put those tires to a test.

That first mile is on an unimproved two-tracker backwoods trail, often on very soft ground, occasionally snow or ice covered. The trip home involves a tight left turn from a steep downhill onto a steep uphill, and the faster I dare make that turn, the less I have to climb a 15% grade, so wipeout-free cornering is important (assuming I miss the gravel).

So, riding a razor-thin tire is not going to do me any favors on the trail, and I don’t know what to think about that last turn, but 98% of the time, I just want a smooth ride that isn’t going to drain all my strength.


RickyTickyTac
Participant
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To a certain extent, a thinner tire could do you good on a mucky trail. When I was a backwoods hick off-roading in pickup trucks a lot of times the guys with big fat tires would get stuck in mud holes and the guys with skinny tires would make it through. The fatter tires would just sit on top of all the mud and spin, while the skinnier ones would sink through to something more solid to get traction on.


helen s
Participant
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The monster truck tire analogy might be good if we generated massive horspower and spun our rear wheel down to make contct with something solid. When my rear tire starts to spin, I usually just pick up my bike and walk a few steps.

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