20mm or 23mm tyres?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Eldron, Nov 11, 2002.

  1. Eldron

    Eldron New Member

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    <br />I used to be a 20mm supporter - for years I thought it better to suffer a bit of road shock for the reduced friction.<br /><br />Then in the UK I bought 23mm cos the 'B' roads I rode on the were a collection of potholes rather than tarmac.<br /><br />When I came back to SA I still had a few sets of 23mm so I used them. What a pleasure! My new philosophy is that comfort is more important than the slight advantage of the reduced friction.<br /><br />What say ye?<br /><br />Am I just getting old? :)<br /><br />ps: how did this weird rumour start that 23mm tyres are more efficient than 20mm?
     
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  2. ouzo

    ouzo New Member

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    [quote author=Eldron link=board=20;threadid=2628;start=#22459 date=1037021944]<br /><br />I used to be a 20mm supporter - for years I thought it better to suffer a bit of road shock for the reduced friction.<br /><br />Then in the UK I bought 23mm cos the 'B' roads I rode on the were a collection of potholes rather than tarmac.<br /><br />When I came back to SA I still had a few sets of 23mm so I used them. What a pleasure! My new philosophy is that comfort is more important than the slight advantage of the reduced friction.<br /><br />What say ye?<br /><br />Am I just getting old? :)<br /><br />ps: how did this weird rumour start that 23mm tyres are more efficient than 20mm?<br />[/quote]<br />Was chatting to a bloke at the lbs the other day and he was saying that the rolling resistance from a 20 to 23 is the same. A little hard to believe but it may just be.
     
  3. Vo2

    Vo2 Member

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    'tis true. The rolling resistance between 20 and 23's are too small to really contemplate.<br /><br /><br />SLICK VERSUS PATTERNED TREADS<br /><br />Practitioners of motorized sports recognized the traction benefits of slick tires a long time ago. Drag racing is the sport in which the most obvious benefits of slick tires are demonstrated, and it only takes a few seconds to see that treaded tires just slow the vehicle down.<br /><br />While that was evident to drag racers early on, it took a generation for grand prix and rally drivers to figure that out, and another generation before motorcycle racers caught the hint. Where I live, in the San Gabriel Mountains, cafe racers test their skill with high-powered motorcycles, which now use slick tires routinely.<br /><br />I find it interesting that when I get my Continental GP3000 tires they've still got a tread pattern. Fortunately, most road bike tire makers have come 'round to the realization that slicks are in and tread is out.<br /><br />Bicycle tires (as opposed to car tires) don't need to have a tread pattern to prevent hydroplaning, as a bike tire's round cross section has the ideal shape for the rain. While it is hard to demonstrate this on the road, I'm told that machines that measure traction show that smooth tires corner better on both wet and dry pavement, and that lean angles can be greater with smooth tires than with treaded.<br /><br />Smooth tread also offers lower rolling resistance, because its rubber does not deform into tread voids. Rubber does not compress, but it is elastic and it deforms. It changes shape, but not volume. For a tire with an internal tread pattern, the rolling resistance is increased because the rubber bulges and deforms into tread voids when pressed against the road. Tread squirm is one term I've heard attached to this phenomenon, and it is mostly absent with smooth tires.<br /><br />SMALLER- VERSUS LARGER-WIDTH TIRES<br /><br />I've heard, though I haven't seen, reports of rolling resistance studies Continental performed that included an analysis of tire width. While I've heard about the conclusions of those studies, it's only third-hand, so I can't report them here with any authority.<br /><br />I've heard, and it seems intuitive to me, that there is not much if any measurable difference in the rolling resistance of a 20mm tire versus a 24mm tire, all other things equal. Thinner tires require more attention, though, in that they're more susceptible to increased rolling resistance if they're not inflated to a sufficient pressure.<br /><br />I'd be more concerned about the rolling resistance of tires that have some profile other than round. Certain tire makers have tread molds that cause the tire to have a flatter aspect, perhaps in the hope that they'll corner more securely. Whether or not that actually serves the intended purpose, the question is, what does such a profle do to the profile of the contact patch when the bike is going in a straight line?<br /><br />This is easy enough to test, though it'll require a bit of clean up. Apply a thin layer of wet paint or ink on your garage floor. Roll the tire over it with your weight on the bike, and see what kind of impression it leaves after a full revolution (that won't mean much to you unless you compare the ink profile to that of another tire).<br /><br />After you've satisfied yourself (or if you're willing to take my word for it) that a 23mm or 24mm tire will roll as efficiently as a 19mm or 20mm tire, you can move to the next two issues, which are aerodynamics and resistance to flats.<br /><br />As to the former, it depends on the wheel you're using. Remembering that what's aero seems to change every six months according to the various &quot;experts,&quot; I distinctly remember a series of conversations between both those who make, and those who wind-tunnel test, aerodynamic bicycle wheels, in which one of the significant parameters was the match between the width of the tire and of the rim upon which it was mounted. In most cases and with most carbon race wheels, 23mm and 24mm tires appear to blend more cleanly than do 20mm tires and thinner.<br /><br />Rolling resistance<br />by Dan Empfield September '02<br />
     
  4. Eldron

    Eldron New Member

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    Vo2 - I semi agree with your statement (the difference is too small to comtemplate) but I'm not sure about Dan Empfield's comment that a 23/24mm rolls as efficiently as a 19/20mm. If that were true then a 27/28mm would roll as efficiently as a 23/24mm etc etc until a car tyre was as efficient as a bike tyre (yeah right). That said I have read somewhere that the D (flattened round) profile in larger (23-25mm) tyres is more efficient than the O (completely round) profile of smaller tyres (19-21mm tyres).<br /><br />Does anyone out there have actual figures? Eg: 20mm tyre is 2% more efficient than a 23mm tyre.<br /><br />This seems to be one of those perennial questions that never gets answered properly.
     
  5. Vo2

    Vo2 Member

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    I've searched the web hi and lo for proper graphs and comparisons regarding rolling resistance. This is the best I could find, altho it compares 25mm to 28mm, it gives you a good idea.<br />Click here for the article and graphs.<br />and click here for some good info regarding the issue.
     
  6. Eldron

    Eldron New Member

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    <br />Holy smokes there is a lot of info out there.<br /><br />I dedicated a morning to finding out the truth (sorry boss!). Here are some conclusions:<br /><br />1. Thinner tyres are more efficient than fatter ones (courtesy Avocet who had a graph of rolling resistance vs. tyres pressure - check out Vo2's link and add one applaud to his name for an informative link!).<br /><br />2. Slicks (including inverted slicks) are more efficient than tyres with tread (the tread deforms and absorbs precious energy). Don't fret even total slicks wont slip in the wet - bike tyres are WAAAAY too think to aquaplane.<br /><br />3. The higher the pressure the more efficient the tyre.<br /><br />4. A more expensive tyre with more thinner strands per inch is more efficient than a cheapy with thicker and fewer strands per inch in the casing.<br /><br />5. Fold ups are more efficient than steel braided tyres (fold ups deform slightly absorbing energy and returning most of it whereas rigid tyres absorb energy and don't return it).<br /><br />So theoretically a slick, fold up, 5mm tyre pumped up to 200 bar would be seriously efficient (and you'd pee blood for a week afterwards!).<br /><br />My compromise:<br /><br />During lunch (on my own hours boss!) I bought a pair of 23mm Grand Prix 3000's folds ups and I will be inflating them to 7.5 bar on Sunday (I weigh 77kg and am 6'2&quot;). Grand Prix 3000's have a slight tread but it's 'inverted'.<br /><br />My justification: I ride Rolf Vector Pro wheels - a fairly 'hard' wheelset - with 20mm tyres I find my body feels 'vibrated' after 90kms - with 23mm I feel much more comfotable. The same applies for the 7.5 bar - 8 or 9 bar would be more efficient but batter the heck out of me.<br /><br />I guess a balance between efficiency and confort needs to be found.....<br /><br />
     
  7. admin

    admin Guest

    [quote author=Eldron link=board=20;threadid=2628;start=0#22509 date=1037101071]<br />I dedicated a morning to finding out the truth (sorry boss!). Here are some conclusions:<br />[/quote]<br /><br />your boss isnt a cyclist? he's a damn fool ;D
     
  8. Lab_Rat

    Lab_Rat New Member

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    I pomp ;D my GP3000s to 8bar. I don't think it's a rough ride and I weigh 77kg. Perhaps they're fast coz they're red. ;D ;D
     
  9. maarten

    maarten New Member

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    dutch cycling magazine Fiets featured a test wich had as result that of the same type of tire the 23mm version had the lowest rolling resistance. But even mor important the pressure for TT or good roads go to the max allowed or even go over it it wil make you lose a lot of roling resistance
     
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