You’ve been riding your road bike, and an experienced cyclist suggests that you use 28mm tires. However, you keep wondering if you should do so.
You ask other riders, but you get conflicting answers. Therefore, you will find it more confusing.
You’re not the only one with a problem. Several cyclists also want to know if 28mm tires on road bike is a good strategy.
Fortunately, you can get your needed information from this article. So kindly read on to learn more.
Is Wheel Size Important in Putting 28mm Tires on a Road Bike?
A road bike is light and more responsive with acceleration. In addition, compared with other popular bikes, it has slimmer wheels.
This bike used to have 18mm tires, but professional racers now install 25mm wheels.
Cyclists believe that the larger the tires, the more comfortable the ride is. Moreover, wider tires provide less rolling resistance and better grip.
Road bikers prefer wider tires because they reduce road vibration, thus making the trip comfortable.
Moreover, cyclists love wider tires because they have better control and grip on the bike. In addition, these wheels are more energy efficient because they roll with less resistance.
Bigger tires also allow riders to overcome more significant hindrances smoothly. For example, they’re not vulnerable to pinch flats.
Therefore, if you have a road bike, you should pick the correct road tire size.
Top Considerations in Choosing Wider Tires on a Road Bike
Many bicycles have an allowance for wider tires, but you should ensure first that your bike has one. Then, measure the space between the non-wheel part and the road bike tire.
The clearance should be the shortest distance from the forks, brake bridges, and chainstays. You can buy wider tires if your measurement is greater than 5mm.
Ensure that your bike’s rim width is narrower than your tire. For instance, your wheel should be at least 20mm wider than your bike’s rim width.
Therefore, to upgrade to 28mm tires, you can do so because the road bike rim is narrower.
Can You Use 28mm Tires on Gravel?
You may have passed by dirt roads with your road bike. If you have 28mm tires, can they handle the gravel?
Fortunately, a 28mm tire is better on gravel than slimmer tires because it carries air at a lower pressure and smooths the rough terrain effects.
28mm tires are better for road bikes because they’re more comfortable. In addition, they have low PSI with larger air volumes.
A 28mm wheel absorbs shock better and is relatively springy. In addition, wider tires limit road vibrations for a more comfortable ride.
A road bike with wide tires can quickly and gently pass over obstacles.
Why Use Wider Tires
A wide tire isn’t susceptible to a pinch flat even if you lower the pressure. Therefore, your ride is more comfortable because of increased cushioning from the road.
Your tires should effortlessly roll with less energy lost through rolling resistance, which refers to the required power to flex the tire body as it touches the ground.
Wider tires roll faster because they have shorter flattened areas. Therefore, they maintain their round shape for quicker and better rolls.
Moreover, broad tires absorb road shocks better, saving the rider’s energy.
Instead of considering the tire in terms of aerodynamics, you should think the rim and tire together.
Wheel rims have become wider primarily because of the demand for wider tires.
Your choice of a tire depends on which you prefer to prioritize traction, comfort, grip, coefficient of rolling resistance, or aerodynamics.
If your goal is aerodynamics, you should go for a narrow tire. But, on the other hand, choose a wide tire if you want to enjoy its ride quality.
A broad rim provides better mechanical support.
Do Lower Air Pressures and Wider Tires Make You Go Faster?
Wide tires alone won’t make your bike go faster because they need the other parts of the wheel system to work.
To optimize tire performance, you should consider the rim dimension. For instance, if you fit a wide tire on a narrow trim, you’ll feel unstable as you ride your bike.
If you reduce the tire pressure, you’ll have a squirmy feeling when you drive around a corner, thus making you lose confidence.
Tire pinching occurs when you fit a wide tire on a narrow rim, thereby failing to maximize the increased air volume inside the wheel.
A wide rim makes the tire beads further from each other to create a more upright sidewall. This situation provides more structural stability and increases the air volume.
You reduce the squirmy feeling and the risk of pinch punctures at low pressures. In addition, a wide tire shape improves overall aerodynamics.
You go faster if you have an aerodynamic wheel. However, you can also improve the speed in other ways: rolling resistance, road surface, and rider’s expended energy.
Wider tires have lower rolling resistance at an equal pressure because the contact patch is more expansive and shorter than a narrow tire.
A high-pressure tire will have unwanted movements on a rough surface. For example, expect the tire to lose forward momentum.
If you weigh 75kg, the front tire carries 35kg, while the rear tire carries 40kg.
Your optimal tire choice should be 28mm, with rear air pressure at 79 to 84psi and front tire pressure at 75 to 79psi.
Should you use 35mm or 45mm tires on your road bike?
Unfortunately, other wider tires, such as 35mm and 45mm, won’t fit many road bikes. Moreover, even if they do, they won’t work aerodynamically with current rims.
Wider tires add to the rotational weight of the wheel, and they dull the acceleration.
However, the 28mm tires roll faster because manufacturers have more bicycles with disc brakes.
Maintenance and Replacement of Road Bike Tires
Many cyclists preferred 23mm and 25mm tires five years ago. However, the former is obsolete except for some specific purposes.
Today, 28mm and 32mm road bike tires are now widespread. But, if you haven’t used wider tires, you may wonder if it’s harder to peddle.
A wider tire has less rolling resistance at the same air pressure. Therefore, it’s suitable to ride using a 28mm tire at a lower pressure to experience a more comfortable ride.
However, an older bike using rim brakes won’t accommodate 28mm tires because these tires are best for road bikes with disc brakes.
You should also check the wheelset. For instance, you won’t get the benefits if you put a wide tire on a narrow rim.
Expect poor performance if you fit a 28mm tire on a bike rim for a 23mm tire.
Which Is Better for a Road Bike: Tube or Tubeless Tires?
Unfortunately, you don’t get the same benefits from tubeless tires if you have a road bike. So again, check the pros and cons of a tubeless tire.
- Reduces rolling resistance to make the tires move faster
- Eliminates pinch flats and reduces blowouts with the liquid sealant
- Lower pressure without sacrificing performance for a comfortable ride
- Hard to fit because of high pressure and tight seals
- Heavier with thicker sidewalls
- Racers prefer not to use them because of the added weight
How to Select a Road Tyre
Your choice of tire width depends on the terrain you ride. Generally, you can select between 23mm to 32mm wide if you’re into racing and road training.
The rim’s inner width will tell you which tire you can use. A narrow internal width causes the tire to take the lightbulb shape.
On the other hand, a wide inner width makes the tire stand stall. In addition, these two widths reduce performance and stability.
Check with your manufacturer for its suggestions for maximum tire width. Generally, road bike frames and wheels accept between 25mm and 28mm tires.
If you always ride on smooth roads, you may opt for 25mm and 28mm tires. They offer more comfort and deform less.
You should pick a 28mm tire if you ride on rough and smooth road surfaces because it offers speed and comfort.
On the other hand, a 30mm or 32mm tire is for rough roads such as gravel or cobbles to enjoy vibration damping, stability, and traction.