Really wide Schwalbe tires for a roadie
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  1. #1
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Really wide Schwalbe tires for a roadie

    I have a Specialized AWOL, which is an "adventure touring" bike, which I decided would be more useful than a strictly "gravel" bike would. It also allows some seriously wide tires to be mounted. It came with 45mm wides that had lugs on the side, and I didn't like those. Got a deal on some Conti 42's which were less 'luggy', but they were more of a tire for E-mopeds, and were only 42mm wide. I still wanted more, so I got myself a set of Schwalbe Big Apples in 50mm width.

    I ride a combination of rail-trail singletrack, paved MUT, and a lot of urban streets here in upstate NY. Pavement is potholed and broken, singletracks trails are mostly un-maintained, and even the paved MUT has periodic root damage. These [email protected]$$ed tire ride smoothly over everything, don't sink in the occasion dirt or mud, and don't howl like a banshee like MTB tires on asphalt usually do. They don't weigh a ton (although, at 50mm width, they ain't light, either). Even took them out in the rain the other day, and was impressed at their wet-handling abilities.

    After years of riding 23mm road tubulars over crappy urban pavement, I'm really surprised that nearly doubling the tire size seems to be the best solution. Also, with my fenders, etc, the big-wide Schwalbes just look damn cool.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  2. #2
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    Apparently, they even go up to 2.35" (60mm) with these:

    https://www.modernbike.com/schwalbe-...tire-29-x-2.35
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  3. #3
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Yeah, I thought anything over 50 would be 'pushing it' a bit. Still need to fit inside my Velo Orange fenders. Might fit without them on this bike, though....
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  4. #4
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    With tires that large you can probably get away without the flat protection and get a far better ride. The larger the tire the better the chances of the tire standing up to debris that would puncture a smaller tire.

    Large volume low pressure allows the tire to deform around the debris before puncturing.
    Too old to ride plastic

  5. #5
    changingleaf
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    The right tires can really make a bike more versatile.

  6. #6
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    With tires that large you can probably get away without the flat protection and get a far better ride. The larger the tire the better the chances of the tire standing up to debris that would puncture a smaller tire.

    Large volume low pressure allows the tire to deform around the debris before puncturing.
    Well, I do have Orange seal in the tubes. Too much crap on the roads here to tempt fate by going unprotected.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  7. #7
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    40mm is the biggest I've tried.
    They are definitely a little slower on asphalt then 25mm Corsas with latex tubes. How much of that is size and weight vs TPI and only finding crappy big tubes to use with them I have no idea.
    I have a feeling that if all else was equal (same casing, rubber and tubes) I wouldn't feel much slower on asphalt group rides with the 40s like I do now.

    For riding solo and having the ability to go anywhere my bike skills allow for they are fantastic and a blast when I come across trails that I would otherwise not even think about trying.

    One thing surprised me a little. I knew tire size had an impact on gear ratio but didn't think it would be big enough to actually notice. I definitely do though. The gearing that would get me up those 20ish percent hills with 25mm tires is not enough with 40mm tires so I bought a new cassette for use with the 40s.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    40mm is the biggest I've tried.
    They are definitely a little slower on asphalt then 25mm Corsas with latex tubes. How much of that is size and weight vs TPI and only finding crappy big tubes to use with them I have no idea.
    I have a feeling that if all else was equal (same casing, rubber and tubes) I wouldn't feel much slower on asphalt group rides with the 40s like I do now.
    If you wanted to experiment Compass\Rene Herse tires can be had in 700c in 26mm, 38mm and 44mm of the same construction, among others. Paired with comparable tubes you could get a clearer idea of the difference in ride characteristics.

    It could be a pricey experiment, but if done when tires needed replacing it's doable.
    Too old to ride plastic

  9. #9
    [REDACTED]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    One thing surprised me a little. I knew tire size had an impact on gear ratio but didn't think it would be big enough to actually notice. I definitely do though. The gearing that would get me up those 20ish percent hills with 25mm tires is not enough with 40mm tires so I bought a new cassette for use with the 40s.
    Yep, this is one thing I noticed with my gravel bike. Although I recently built up a 650b wheel set which I am using 47mm tires on. 650b x 47 tires are about the same diameter as 700c x 30 tires. So now I have nearly the same gearing as on my road bike which I use 700c x 28 tires on.

    Of course going with a smaller diameter rim only works if your bike has disc brakes. No-can-do with rim brakes.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Yep, this is one thing I noticed with my gravel bike. Although I recently built up a 650b wheel set which I am using 47mm tires on. 650b x 47 tires are about the same diameter as 700c x 30 tires. So now I have nearly the same gearing as on my road bike which I use 700c x 28 tires on.

    Of course going with a smaller diameter rim only works if your bike has disc brakes. No-can-do with rim brakes.
    Not 100% true.

    My wifes Univega Specialissima originally had 27" wheels that I replaced with 700c. I needed to swap the brakes for a set with more reach but it's doable. And there are plenty of cyclists that are converting older steel framed 700c bikes to 650b by going to longer reach brakes, something like the Tektro R559 or one of many different center pulls. The 650b conversions are limited to tire size but even that can be dealt with, to a point, by indenting the chain stays.
    Too old to ride plastic

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Not 100% true.

    My wifes Univega Specialissima originally had 27" wheels that I replaced with 700c. I needed to swap the brakes for a set with more reach but it's doable. And there are plenty of cyclists that are converting older steel framed 700c bikes to 650b by going to longer reach brakes, something like the Tektro R559 or one of many different center pulls. The 650b conversions are limited to tire size but even that can be dealt with, to a point, by indenting the chain stays.
    Interesting.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



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