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Thread: 23c vs 25c

  1. #1
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    23c vs 25c

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of 23c versus 25c tires for endurance riding?

    My assumptions are that 23c is lighter, but 25c will roll a little smoother and perhaps less rolling resistance, or more grip in sketchy conditions?

    I'm 170 lbs now, hoping to get down to 155, mostly concerned about performance for metrics+ (thinking of doing a triple-metric later this summer), other than that its casual afternoon rides, light training, etc. I don't race on the road anymore, but I might pick up a few crits in the spring, but not really a factor in how I choose components. Roads here are all paved, no gravel within 50 miles so also not a factor. I usually just get what I can find for a good deal at the bike swap, but wearing tires out mid-season, looks like I could take my time and pick the 'right' tire this time.

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    I do a few 6 or 7 hour rides a month and my bike of choice for them has 23s. I have 25s on the other bike but that's just because I use it for bad weather and riding to work. I cant fit 25s on my fast bike the chain stays are just too tight. But I don't mind I like 23s allot more. I find them to be faster. I know lots of people will tell you 25s are faster. But my experience has been the other way.

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    Advantages of 23c:
    *lighter weight
    *if you are riding outside your normal area and need to replace a tire, more likely to find a high-end 23 in stock at a local shop than a 25 since they are the "standard" size

    Advantages of 25c:
    *more comfortable
    *better traction, cornering
    *can run less air pressure to achieve the above with less fear of pinch flatting
    *no slower than 23 in my experience (and several tests I've read claim they are faster)

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    As others have said, I ride 25s because of better traction in wet and during cornering. I will say that I am sure they saved me when my rear tire slid sideways on a small patch of water on a downhill at 41mph with an abrupt crosswind. Not only that, but I can hit potholes and road cracks and retain stability much more than I could previously on my 23s. I weigh 180lbs, ride on 23mm HED C2 rims, and the 25s work great for me.

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    haole from the mainland
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    Any particular 25s you all like? I had already been planning on ordering a pair of Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CXs in 25s when my current tires need to be replaced.

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    Continental GP 4000s. I hear Vittoria's ride great, but I have also heard they wear out fast and puncture easily. I am curious to hear about other rider's experiences, as I have never tried them. If you have great roads and don't ride in the country like I do, they might be a great choice. The thought of shredding a tire far from home does not appeal to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgy View Post
    Any particular 25s you all like? I had already been planning on ordering a pair of Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CXs in 25s when my current tires need to be replaced.
    I ripped open a Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX in only 3 rides. When the Vittoria rep looked at it he told us it was really a race day only tire.

  8. #8
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    The best tires I have ever ridden where Conti GP 4000 25c. I have 23c now due to availability, but I really liked the 25c. I think I put 10,000miles on them before the rear tire finally suffered a tear. Now I have Conti Force 24c on the back because I needed something in a pinch. I like GP better.

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    I'm currently on my second pair of 25mm Open Corsas. The first set were the newer 320 tpi tyres, and the current are the older 290 tpi version. I weigh 72kg, inflate them to about 90/95 psi (f/r), and use them for normal road riding with a little gravel/hardpack mixed in.

    They've been great tyres, and have the best ride of any road tyre I've ridden, but I think I'm going to try the 24mm Vittoria Diamante Pro Radial next just to see how they compare.

    The first set lasted around 3000 km until they started getting frequent punctures, but I didn't track the usage very closely. The current pair have been on for 1019.2 kms. So far, no punctures and no problems. The front is showing minimal wear, and the rear is showing wear in the center, as you'd expect (front on top, rear on the bottom):

    Dave
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    Take a look at the Michelin Pro Optimums. They are 700x25 and I have been very happy with them on my bike. I've been using them for both training and racing. They are designed as a pair so that they wear equally.

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    If you're training I would use a Conti Gatorskin. I've used the 25cc for my daily training tire for several years now. If you're riding a lot miles over varied terrian I even make my own tire liners out of Fedex mailing envelops, the stuff that uses DuPont Tyvek. With this combo I have a fairly light tire that holds up very well to sharp rocks and other stuff that might interrupt my ride.

    For me I won't go back to riding anything smaller than 25cc, because the ride is just too harsh and I haven't noticed any drop off in speed.

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    I actually rode with 24c Duro Fixie Pops on my old fixed gear... When I got my new road bike, my friend begged me not to put them on... When I get a little bit more smackers, I'm going to get a pair.

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    I have been riding Michelin Krylion 25's and liked them a lot, smooth ride, comfortable and minimal flats. They have been discontinued but you can probably find them online if you look. I am now running the Michelin Pro 4, its lighter and seems a little wider, definitely comfortable. I doubt they will last as long as the Krylions. I was going to buy the Pro 4 Endurance but they were not in stock when I ordered them. They are a little heavier but they cost less and will probably last longer.

  14. #14
    newb
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    just fyi the Pro 4 Endurance and Michelin Krylions are almost the same tire with the difference being the endurance is the newer improved version supposedly.

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    I will be interested reading any website presenting data showing conclusively that 25 roll faster than 23. If that is the case, then would 28 roll faster than 25? and 32 roll faster then 28? and the peloton would be wise to ride a 32 on every flat course?

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I will be interested reading any website presenting data showing conclusively that 25 roll faster than 23. If that is the case, then would 28 roll faster than 25? and 32 roll faster then 28? and the peloton would be wise to ride a 32 on every flat course?
    No the 28cc and bigger is when you start noticing the weight of the tire. I use 28cc on my commuter cyclocross bike and they roll fast enough, but they add more weight and I can tell they are a little sluggish when accelerating. However they sure help to soak up the bumps and cracks in the road and they last a long time. Of course I've got heavy conti touring tubes in those 28cc tires as well, so that adds weight. Most road bikes don't have the clearance in the forks or chainstays for tires bigger than 25cc.

  17. #17
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I will be interested reading any website presenting data showing conclusively that 25 roll faster than 23. If that is the case, then would 28 roll faster than 25? and 32 roll faster then 28? and the peloton would be wise to ride a 32 on every flat course?
    Many popular web sites and books geared to the general public make that claim. But what many of them neglect to mention is the fact that a larger tire will have less rolling resistance than a smaller one only if they both are inflated to the same pressure. Since no one inflates larger tires to the same pressures as smaller ones, the claim (as you correctly suspect) is bogus in the context of bicycle performance. To turn it around: if you run a test and find that a larger tire has less rolling resistance than a smaller one, than either the smaller tire was underinflated or the larger tire was overinflated.

  18. #18
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser955 View Post
    I ripped open a Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX
    That's hardly a fault of that brand of tire. I have three years on those tires and just three flats - none from tread or sidewall penetration. No tread cuts either.

    When the Vittoria rep looked at it he told us it was really a race day only tire.
    Not from my findings. For me they're a top end everyday tire. Life's too short to ride low end tires.
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  19. #19
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    Be aware that some 23mm tires are closer to 24mm, and some 25mm tires are also closer to 24mm
    Also consider rim width in the equation, you don't want a wide tire on a narrow rim or a narrow tire on a wider rim etc.
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    That's hardly a fault of that brand of tire. I have three years on those tires and just three flats - none from tread or sidewall penetration. No tread cuts either.


    Not from my findings. For me they're a top end everyday tire. Life's too short to ride low end tires.
    I have never been a fan of Vittora any way. I like the Vredestein fortezza tricomp quattros. They are the best tire I have ever ridden.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    Be aware that some 23mm tires are closer to 24mm, and some 25mm tires are also closer to 24mm
    And my 28mm Conti 4-season are narrower (actually measure 25mm) than my 25mm Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX (actually measure 26mm) so I dunno what it all means.
    .
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I will be interested reading any website presenting data showing conclusively that 25 roll faster than 23. If that is the case, then would 28 roll faster than 25? and 32 roll faster then 28? and the peloton would be wise to ride a 32 on every flat course?
    Take a look at the results found here:
    Bicycle Quarterly: Performance of Tires | Off The Beaten Path

    At some point a wider tire will become slower due to increased rolling resistance and weight (on climbs). But I'm not sure anyone is really knows where that occurs.

    I just finished a long (700+ miles in 8 days) ride on 38mm tires. Before the ride I was concerned that the extra width would slow me down. However, I had no issue at all keeping up with riders on 23 and 25mm tires. By the 3rd or 4th day I decided that any "disadvantage" that I had due to the extra weight during climbing was more than offset by the extra comfort of the wider tires - my butt seemed to be less sore than others, and when the pavement was crappy I continued at the same speed while others slowed down.

    For long multi-day, I'd say that narrower tires are at a disadvantage because comfort is much more important to continued speed. I'd likely opt for 23-25mm tires on a one-day ride (especially if there were lots of hills), but I'm not sure that a wide tire really has any disadvantages on a flattish ride.

  23. #23
    kg1
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    Wide Tires Won't Slow You Down

    I ride the Vittorias that you are considering, and they are the most comfortable tire I've ever been on. I used to ride the Conti 4 Seasons in 25mm exclusively (German engineering and all). The Vittorias roll more smoothly, to the point where I noticed it almost immediately. The new tires were the only change to the bike, and I was running them at the same pressure I run all my tires -- 100 front/110 rear. I haven't had a flat with these tires after about 1500 miles, but the roads I ride on are very good roads, so flats have never been much of an issue for me. The rear tire is showing wear after about 1500 miles and has squared off, but we have a lot of hills and I'm 190. You may see less wear if you are lighter or don't have a lot of hills to get over. I will buy these tires again.

    I ride brevets with a guy who rides 38mm tires at very low pressures on the brevets, and he swears by them. He also has a bike that he has 25s on. He seems just as fast on the 38s as he is on the 25s. In both cases, I'm struggling to keep up.

    Good luck with your search.

    Thanks.

    kg1

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I will be interested reading any website presenting data showing conclusively that 25 roll faster than 23. If that is the case, then would 28 roll faster than 25? and 32 roll faster then 28? and the peloton would be wise to ride a 32 on every flat course?
    it also depends on the smoothness of the roads you are riding, a wider tyre with lower pressure will be smoother and faster if the roads are particularly rough. that is why people will let air out of their tyres when they take their vehicles off-road.

  25. #25
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    Great thread and talking points. I ride Continental Gatorskins and 4000S black chili. I can get 3,000 miles out of a set of these easily at 90 psi. I've ridden other brands in 25mm but really enjoy the overall handling on every type of terrain the Continental's offer. In 25mm they're very light too [folding bead].
    • -Take into account rim width [check]
    • -Take into account terrain because a narrower tire for some conditions could leave you stranded [check]
    • -Lower tire pressure [usually 90 psi] on a 25mm can allow greater traction and better control on uneven or washboard conditions [you'll have more road contact, less bounce and ride faster]
    • -Some tire manufacturers misstate their tire sizing [Continental 4000S are 24mm not 25mm]-aclinjury
    • -Most riders train with heavier tires and race lighter [pendent conditions]

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