Help: Tire width vs. frame/fork width question
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  1. #1

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    Help: Tire width vs. frame/fork width question

    I've got a friend who just put some Conti Ultra Gatorskins on his bike and they are 28cc wide. He loves them and says that for rough roads they add a lot "cushion" and an increased level of flat protection. I have a 2006 Jamis Ventura Elite (http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/...turaelite.html ) and took it to my local bike shop and they said 28cc tires wouldn't fit on my bike. My friend's bike is a 2005Cannondale R1000 (with a standard CAAD 8 frame and fork, hardly a cross bike), and he can fit them on his bike. Should I find another shop to go to, or are these guys right? Will 28cc tires fit on my bike? Thanks, TBone

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBone
    I've got a friend who just put some Conti Ultra Gatorskins on his bike and they are 28cc wide. He loves them and says that for rough roads they add a lot "cushion" and an increased level of flat protection. I have a 2006 Jamis Ventura Elite (http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/...turaelite.html ) and took it to my local bike shop and they said 28cc tires wouldn't fit on my bike. My friend's bike is a 2005Cannondale R1000 (with a standard CAAD 8 frame and fork, hardly a cross bike), and he can fit them on his bike. Should I find another shop to go to, or are these guys right? Will 28cc tires fit on my bike? Thanks, TBone
    Grammar alert: That's 28 mm (millimeters) not 28cc (cubic centimeters). An easy mistake to make, given the "700x28C" designation. The "C" doesn't stand for anything... there used to be a 700A and 700B, both of which are long defunct. The idea was that all three rims, with tires mounted, would measure 700 mm outside diameter. "A" and "B" used smaller rims and wider, taller tires. The only place where this old system still exists in it's entirety is in the 650 size. 650A is the old 26" Schwinn road wheel and old Raleigh three speeds (smallest rim, biggest tire), 650B is the French touring size (in the middle), and 650C is the size used on tri-bikes and some small road bikes. All three sizes are still in production. In the 700 sizes, 700C (622 mm rim diameter) is the only one that's survived.

    Tires and frames: I haven't seen a road bike that couldn't fit a 700x28 Gatorskin. If memory serves, they measure about 26 mm mounted and inflated. Typical clearance problems are at the fork crown and rear brake. In the rear, it depends on where the brake bridge ended up when the frame was built. It's a tough dimension to hit exactly, every time, which is why most builders aim for a mid-slot placement. It gives them a few mm's of leeway. Look at where the pads are in the slots. If they're right up near the top, you're more likely to have issues. Tire clearance, especially on mass-produced frames, is a bike-to-bike thing. When you're pushing the limits, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Only your frame knows for sure.

    Tire width: Wider tires at decent pressures are a really, really good thing. They're faster (less rolling resistance), corner better (they tend to be rounder, and the contact patch is shorter and wider, thus putting more rubber on the road in the direction you want it in), more comfortable (the air in your tires is your only suspension), and protect the rims better. 26 - 28 mm is probably the best all-around road bike size. The only downside is a bit more wieght, since it takes more stuff to make more tire.

    90 psi front and rear is good starting point... vary slightly by rider weight and road conditions.

    Gatorskins: Great tires. Flat-resistant (no tire is flat-proof), good grip, and wear like iron. I prefer the 26 mm Performance Forte Kevlars (made by Panaracer, who makes great tires), because the casings are not as stiff as the 'skins, and they're noticeably rounder, at least on my rims. But the 'skins are a great choice... I sold a ton of 'em, and never had any complaints. We used 700x28 'skins on 48 spoke wheels for one of our customers, a 300 pound ex-Chargers lineman (O or D, I don't recall), and completely solved the wheel problems he was having on his R400 'dale. He was breaking 1-3 spokes per ride, and getting about a month out of his rims. 28 spoke wheels, 23 mm tires, 300 pound rider... not a good combo.

    Hope that's useful...

    --Shannon
    Last edited by tube_ee; 07-23-2007 at 01:28 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Shannon!!!

    And sorry for the Grammar "flub-up". This is VERY useful information, and much appreciated. Take care, TBone

  4. #4
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    Swap it

    Quote Originally Posted by TBone
    And sorry for the Grammar "flub-up". This is VERY useful information, and much appreciated. Take care, TBone
    Why don't you just stick your friend's wheels on your bike for 10 seconds. Then you would know if the larger tires would fit. Your bike shop could be right, or it could be that they don't stock 28 mm tires, or it could be that they're incompetent. Bypass the middleman.

  5. #5
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    The Gatorskins are definitely wider than the Vittoria Action HSD's that came stock on my bike (Felt F4c). I used Gatorskins on my last bike and they were great...so when the Vittorias wore down, I replaced them with Gatorskins. After installing, I noticed I don't have a lot of clearance towards the crown of the chainstay on my Felt. Well, I left for a ride on Friday after work and about 12 miles in I really knocked my rear wheel out of true. It was rubbing severly against the non drive side of the chainstay. The shimano rims on my bike require a special spoke wrench, which of course, I didn't have, and to boot was a PAIN to find (needless to say the 12 mile ride home was fun). I trued my wheel yesterday and even with a true wheel, there is not a lot of "wiggle room". We'll see how it holds up.

  6. #6
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    Tire size varies between brands. The Easton SL fork on my Pego Fina wouldn't clear a 25mm Specialized Roubaix, but it would clear a Conti 25mm Gatorskin. IME, Continental tires run at the lower end of the size spectrum. It is hard to distinguish between a 25 and 28mm Conti tire by looking at them. Specialized run a little wider than most for the same size. I have no problems at all with the Reynolds fork on my BLE, I could easily run 28mm if I wanted to.
    Retired sailor

  7. #7
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    Well, it's confirmed that the 28mm Gatorskins don't fit my bike. Went for a ride today and, under weight, the tires rub. I checked the Vittorias that came stock and they are 23mm. I'll jump down to the 23mm Gatorskins and that should solve the problem.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfar14
    Well, it's confirmed that the 28mm Gatorskins don't fit my bike. Went for a ride today and, under weight, the tires rub. I checked the Vittorias that came stock and they are 23mm. I'll jump down to the 23mm Gatorskins and that should solve the problem.

    If you can find them, try the Ultra Gatorskins. I have 23mm size on my road bike and they are good at everything (rolling resistance, cornering grip, weight, etc). I got a pretty good cut on the rear tire back in April. Two thousand miles later, the tire is still good to go. Never even got a flat. I hope to wear the tread down the point that the cut is barely noticeable. That should happen somewhere around 4000 miles.
    Retired sailor

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