Tires, how wide is too wide
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  1. #1
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    Tires, how wide is too wide

    For most cross races I am able to ride my cross bike, but I have some wrist issues and on bumpy courses I will ride my 29er hardtail because the front suspension helps my wrists. I run Ritchey Speed Max tires 32 wide on my cross bike. Would I be at a big disadvantage running the Speed Max in 40 wide or even something wider like this WTB Vulpine on my 29er
    http://www.wtb.com/products/tires/29er/vulpine29er/ which looks like a bigger Speed Max. The courses we race on are mostly grass with some dirt, asphalt and sand. I am in Southern California so generally there is not much mud, but there have been a few muddy races. Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Wider tires are slower on grass, float better on sand. Knobbie treads are what slow you down on pavement and packed dirt.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbiker3111
    Wider tires are slower on grass, float better on sand.
    Wider tires have lower rolling resistance on all surfaces except pavement: http://smtp.schwalbetires.com/wider_faster_page

  4. #4
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    One question is how big of tire can you run in your frame. I can get 45mm with a little rub when hammering, many have a hard time with 35+ tires. I really like tires in the 34-35 range for racing but some courses it can be an advantage to run larger. In most situations, I don't think a 40mm vs a 32mm is going to keep you off the poduim. This year, I will be running my cross bike in short track race with about a 40mm tire.

  5. #5
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    The Schawlbe article on rolling resistance was very interesting.

    I have plenty of tire clearance so I figured a bigger tire would help smooth out the bumps and I could also use the same tires for trail riding. I just don’t want to be slower (at least not noticeably slower).

    It is apparent that wider tires will be slower on the asphalt sections but might make up for it on the dirt sections. Is there an easy way to measure the rolling resistance of various tires on various surfaces?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott D
    The Schawlbe article on rolling resistance was very interesting.

    I have plenty of tire clearance so I figured a bigger tire would help smooth out the bumps and I could also use the same tires for trail riding. I just don’t want to be slower (at least not noticeably slower).

    It is apparent that wider tires will be slower on the asphalt sections but might make up for it on the dirt sections. Is there an easy way to measure the rolling resistance of various tires on various surfaces?
    Even the tire companies can't do this with accuracy. There is a new company that is being use by some of the tire manufactures but this is for Road tires only to my understanding. Here is a link http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/...f-wheel-energy.

    I still think there is some voodoo stick and sharks fin involved.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott D
    Is there an easy way to measure the rolling resistance of various tires on various surfaces?
    Find a hill, roll down it, and time it.

    Also, you could run a standard course with a power meter, time it, then plot joules vs. time.

  8. #8
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    That cyclingnews article was also a very interesting read.

    “Find a hill, roll down it, and time it.”
    That could work for testing tires on asphalt, as long as all of the variables are minimized, like wind and rider position.

    Testing tires on grass hill would be more difficult because you would have to take exactly the same line each time. But rolling over the same line, smoothes out that line making it faster.


    “Also, you could run a standard course with a power meter, time it, then plot joules vs. time.”
    I have set-up up race cars by timing laps and it works really well. And it would probably be worthwhile to test cross tires this way. I think I would really be testing which cross tires I was fastest on (which is really what is important) and not testing rolling resistance.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott D
    I think I would really be testing which cross tires I was fastest on (which is really what is important) and not testing rolling resistance.
    The power meter tells you how much work you're performing, primarily against rolling resistance.

  10. #10
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    It would be interesting to try to test using an automotive racing type, GPS data acquisition system. That way you could compare your speed, power and cornering g's at various points on the course

  11. #11
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    Anyone know if USA cycling is going to adopt the 35c tire width rule for '11/'12?

  12. #12
    J-K
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    Get some Schwalbe Furious Fred's. They are stamped with 29x2.0", but the real width is more like 1.8" if not less and they weigh next to nothing, in the 330-360gr range. Do not put too much air pressure in them and you will have a very fast rolling tire with more than enough grip on the surfaces you describe.

    The problem with wider cross tires is: up to 35mm was allowed in UCI races, up from about 44mm is 29er racing territory, but in between, all you have are some heavy wire beaded low tech tires, most of which are meant for touring bikes*. It makes no sense for a tire company to make a racing tire sized 35 to 42, so if you want to have a light, fast rolling, responsive tire, keep out of that range.

    * Check the catalogs! Good luck finding a non-steal wire beaded 700x40mm tire.

  13. #13
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    Thanks JK I have not seen the Schwalbe Furious Fred's before. They are really light, the only drawback is they are not very puncture resistant, Maybe some stans will solve that.

  14. #14
    m_s
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    Little Alberts are well below 2.0 too. A bit grippier and more versatile. Have heard they set up tubeless well. Maybe one of those on the front and a FF out back?

  15. #15
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    Bontager XR are 45mm and very light and no wire bead.

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