Let’s talk a bit about road tires. Pretty boring stuff from the outside looking in but really your tires make a huge difference in your road ride.
Back in the day we were all on 23c. Cuz thats what was available. Or at least we thought. A few of us started using 25c tires quite a few years ago. Maybe it was around 2012 for me. When the racer dudes saw those tires they just could not fathom such a big tire. They thought bigger contact patch and more weight equals a slower breakfast ride.
I didn’t care cuz they were so much smoother. You could feel the difference. That tire, along with dropping pressure 10 pounds was so much more comfortable. And as far as the pressure drop, you just did not notice it due to the higher volume of the tire. More volume equals less pressure. To take this to extremes just look at a fat bike tire. It’s huge but only need 5 pounds of air. Same thing here. At least to a degree. Also with all the wider rims being all the rage these days the 25 or 28c tires fit much better than in years past.
So fast forward 5 years and now almost everybody is on 25c road tires. Maybe a few hard core holdouts on 23c’s. The same guys that said 29in MTB wheels were never going to take off.
So now that everyone is on 25’s what do I do? Well, its now 28c for me. Im exclusively on 28c tires now at 100 pounds of air. And not that Im a fast guy cuz Im not but I do not feel any slower on the bigger rubber. Most road bikes now come with 25c tire stock from the manufacturer. Some, like my Trek Domane came with whopping 32c tires. The BMC’s I sell now are 28c from the factory.
Same thing with the MTB. And I dont mean fat bike. Back in the day I would race on 1.9in MTB tires. 29er of course. But smaller tire with like 50 pounds of air. Remember Im a bigger guy…
Today I look at a 3in plus tire and it looks normal if not small to me. True, I’ve been exclusively on a fat bike for years now and if I still raced MTB’s I most likely would be smaller but overall, even on stock bikes spec’d from the factory, the tires are all getting bigger. 2.2 or even 2.3’s on everything now. Even the cross country rigs.
Cross bike? In years past I was on the very commen 34\35c tires. Today its nothing less than 40c. And we dont call them cross bikes anymore, even tho they they are. Now its a gravel bike. Unless you race it, then its a cross bike. But if you just ride and dont race its a gravel bike. I’ve never understood that but for the sake of marketing I have jumped on the gravel bike bandwagon. Call it what you like, its a road bike with wider tires.
So if you have been cycling for over 20 years throw away all that you know about tires and get bigger. Especially if you are getting up in years as I am. It will make your riding experience safer in the woods and comfortable on the road.
Had a great 40 mile ride this morn. Those longer morning rides kinda wear me down for the rest of the day. But I dont mind.
It’s all part of the experience.