The Truth About Wide Tyres And Wide Rims On Road Bikes

The Truth About Wide Tyres And Wide Rims On Road Bikes

Are fatter tyres faster?

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We’ve seen in recent years a trend of wider tyres on road bikes – the improved contact patch and ability to run lower air pressure can reduce the risk of punctures, improve grip and improve comfort.

But are they faster? To find out, we tested out some Schwalbe One tubeless tyres on the brand new ENVE SES 4.5 AR Disc wheels – designed specifically for disc brakes, with a super wide 25mm internal rim width to compliment a wider tyres.

Watch more on GCN…
A closer look at the ENVE SES 4.5s 🎥
Inside the wind tunnel with ENVE wheels 🎥

Photos: © Tim De Waele /

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  1. Lander F on June 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Good vid. So is 50-60 psi the optimum pressure for 28’s?

  2. MrWolf on June 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    i went from 23c to 25, than 28, than 32c. wider is better

  3. danimayb on June 27, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    These results are lab testing on a roller, The world’s roads and tracks are not perfectly smooth rollers!

  4. Patrick Radcliffe on June 27, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    That is the biggest gripe I have with 23c is ride comfort at 100psi every bump and rock gets transmitted right up my spine, so I end up riding out of the saddle then in.

  5. Robert Trageser on June 27, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I ride 33c Soma Supple Vittesse mostly on roads with some dirt. Its a cotton tubular casing tire. Its like a magic carpet ride! Really fast, comfortable and grippy. These tires, on my fixed gear ‘cross bike need a cog 2 or 3 teeth smaller or I spin out. All this at no more than 60 psi. Id never go back to skinny tires. Best of both worlds!

  6. 100rogerduncan on June 27, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    It’s not that complicated. Higher pressure gives lower rolling resistance. Narrow tires handle higher pressure without being over inflated. So to go faster you go with the narrowest tires you can tolerate for the road conditions. It’s simply a trade off between rolling resistance and vibration. If vibration is too much of a problem you give up some of that low rolling resistance by going to a wider tire. Then you’ll still be better off because the vibration reduction will outweigh the increased rolling resistance.

  7. Charlie Croker on June 27, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    1:40 That’s as close as he gets to the lie.

  8. Bradley Tomkins on June 27, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Is 700c 25mm wheel good

  9. Aw Seeogaan on June 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    I like the idea of added comfort. I’ve used 23s for years. Can I just swap them out for 25s on standard mavic cosmic rims?

  10. Colin Steel on June 27, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Failed to mention the cost of these wheels. In doing so most would have turned off instantly. Ridiculous.

  11. TURST67 / Zäa on June 27, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Wait, 50psi (3.5 bar) for that 28mm tyre? I run 85psi (6 bar) in mine, should I go lower?!

  12. 700c Bicycle Atelier on June 27, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Wide tyres for comfortable and long tyre life but heavy weight and less efficient(Wide tyre had flexible with low pressure). Narrow tyres for efficient(low coefficient air drag, light, stiff with high pressure), but had less comfortable and tyre life. Same tyre and rim width is improve aerodynamics(Example: 23 mm tyre with 23 mm rim had smooth surface together). But need different sizes for different conditions. Thank You for video.

  13. Chris & Sam Living the dream on June 27, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Just ordered som continental Grand Prix 4 season 700c 28 for my cannondale.. Awesome they be here soon from wiggle .. plus a new videoed on my channel of them …

  14. Korup7ion on June 27, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    i ride a gravel bike with all terrain 40c tyres, i can keep up with just about any roadie

  15. 100rogerduncan on June 27, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    The reason there is a trend toward wider tires is because the newest top of the line carbon frames, wheels and other components are stiffer than ever before. As such, these carbon bicycles transfer even the smallest vibration to the rider. Vibration is uncomfortable but also consumes energy that would be better used to move the cyclist and bike forward so vibration needs to be absorbed and damped before it causes the whole bike to vibrate. Pneumatic tires are the only remaining component that will act to absorb and damp vibration and thinner tires are not sufficient on the newest top of the line bikes. It’s different with a beautiful old steel frame because steel is elastic, unlike carbon, so running skinny tires on these old bikes is fine and faster as long as they have 140 or 160 psi. The Tour de France pros are now running 25’s and 26’s at 100 or 120 psi whereas back in the day they ran 19’s. It’s because frames have stiffened that preferred tires have gotten wider.

  16. Vermonster90 on June 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    rolling resistance is a bitch to understand, thinner tires give to less structure the support less raised contact area, larger tires give you more structure to support less contact area.

  17. 100rogerduncan on June 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    GCN’s goal seems to be to get you to watch more videos from GCN. I stopped watching this one at 2:15 while they were revealing the shocking finding that narrower tires have more rolling friction. Well duh, I hope so if pressures are equal. So pump those 23’s up another 20 psi and get less rolling friction than the 28’s! These people are dealing in half truths.

  18. Minnesnowtan on June 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Stop saying "28c tyre". It is a 700c wheel with a 28mm tire. There was a 700a wheel and a 700b wheel but we use 700c now. What is a "c" that your tyre has 28 of them? There is no "c" on a tyre and everyone gets it wrong because they do not stop to think about what they are saying.

    Narrow tyres stink because the 25 and especially the 23mm get stuck in cracks, expansion joints and fall through sewer grates. Additionally, the higher pressures required to avoid pinch flats give a harsh ride and people look for new frames, padded pants, maybe an air hockey saddle to stop the pain. Inflations of over 90 psi are literally a pain in the arse and I have experienced it. I went to 28mm and 75psi years ago with Conti 4 seasons. I am looking into 32mm now because there are rough wood bridges that traverse swamps for hundreds of feet in my area.

  19. An sionnach dearg on June 27, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Where I live the roads are terrible, I often have flats… I love my road bike but I’m sick of the expense and effort to repair… Im gonna either try get fatter tires of just get a mountain bike.

  20. Bombed Nevada on June 27, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I’m from the future and everybody rides gravel bikes even on tarmac.

  21. Jason McGrody on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    32mm tyres or bust! Love my wider, more comfortable tires that disc bikes allows.

  22. Allabout TheWoodrows on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    I have a 27” 2.5” tire on mine works fine but I don’t use on roads mostly neighborhoods

  23. Connie Back on June 27, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    That ”I really need a new bike” thing just bit me. I was never going to buy a new road bike until the cycling world got past that ridiculous skinny tire obsession. I think we’re there.

  24. ted tedsen on June 27, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    my vado 5.0 ebike has 700x 52 tyres

  25. ouztaki on June 27, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Help ! I can’t read Chinese ! 🙁

  26. Ben Par on June 27, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Instead of using a bike that’s out of reach of normal cyclists, why not use one that’s relavant to 99.9% of your audience😕😤 to prove the point

  27. KRAZEEIZATION on June 27, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    It’s more comfortable. I use 1.9 Schwalbe city jet on my MTB and it’s a rocket!

  28. ef2b on June 27, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Jobst Brandt. Decades ago.

  29. Sonofa B on June 27, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    I want to see a magnetic hub. Something that spins freely with no bearings what so ever lol.

  30. tomcat172002 on June 27, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    I have a question for the GCN show my bike has 25 tires on them. I cannot get a larger tire on the back of the bike but I think I could get a bigger one on the front like a 28. Is there any advantage or disadvantage to using 2 different size tires? Let me know thank you

  31. sebo2001 on June 27, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    here is a good video that really explains it well, you guys are off, repeating same marketing BS as everyone else:

  32. ryan walsh on June 27, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    si: are wider tires faster
    me:(going warp speed on my fat bike)

  33. James Creavin on June 27, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    inspired somewhat by this video i recently fitted 28c tyres, would never go back to 25’s, feels faster, way more comfy

  34. Rau Kenneth on June 27, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Are w going to see 5” wide fat bike style tires on road bikes? I think the advantages of wider tires are limited by other factors.

  35. JoeLugar on June 27, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    28s have less rolling resistance but 23s have less weight and are more aero … so what is faster??

  36. 55garegin on June 27, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Emotional speaking is OK but for foreigners it’s almost impossible to understand. My question is wether it worth to use Canyon suspension seat post on grave road? Does it save the ass?

  37. FIREBLACK on June 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Bullshit !!!!

  38. Bruce Keegan on June 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    In 1979 we had 27 by 1.25 tires on road race bicycles. Things change and so will you.

  39. Eddie Luvski on June 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Soooooooo sick of the wider is better! People are so gullible and believe anything! Measure 31!? Might as well ride a trail bike! 50psi in a 28 mmr tire? That’s basically running half flat. There is a reason for the max psi on the side of each tire. I am a heavier rider and and am using FLO 60mm rim’s these days with 23mm tires. They expand close to 25 to basically match the rim width. That is as wide as any road bike would ever need. Would be a quite humorous for somebody with 31mm tires filled to 50 psi to pull up next to me with my 23mm’s pumped to 120psi and ask to race. Guarantee you they would get smoked like a country ham every time! Stop believing theorys. You ride my set up, then ride a ridiculously wide set up with 50 to 80 psi, and you will fell like you are stuck in the mud! Riding 23’s or 25’s with max psi may be a bit stiff and uncomfortable, but they are also rock hard, which in turn means I NEVER flat either! 😳🚴‍♂️

  40. Clint Nieves on June 27, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Make an update on this video please. Test a 28 on less wider rim to see the disadvantages too

  41. Alexander Chastney on June 27, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    700×25 ftw

  42. Charles Ogle on June 27, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Bullshit. I’ve ridden everything from 20c’s to 28c’s on my road bikes, fixed geared or single speed bikes. Putting 28c’s on any of them slow them down compared to 23c/25c tires. The reason tri-athletes ride 20c’s is for their low rolling resistance. And if you underinflate a tire it rolls slower, that’s why we run tires with 130psi, sew-ups, etc., but if we run wider rims all of that is turned on it’s head? WTF? The cornering is correct as long as you are not under inflated then you can roll a tire; I’d have to ride them I guess.

  43. Benjamin B. Olsen on June 27, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Hi, I love your videos GCN! Whats your oppinon on the 32c road tires?

  44. James Dear on June 27, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Was this filmed on the road between Litlington and the Cuckmere valley near Seaford?

  45. octaman on June 27, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    While you might think a wider tire is faster its not . I’ts just easier to pedal because you change the gear ratio with larger tires .To have one in the back make sense but to have one in the front doesn’t it should be smaller. Continental got it right with the set that runs 22mm front 24mm in the rear but the biking community is fashion and trend orientated this won’t make it. I’m 55 and to hear people talk about comfort in racing? theirs no such thing if you want to win. He’s also selling high end rims that he didn’t pay for.

  46. Syed Abdul Salam Shah on June 27, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Very beautiful ride you had, I liked it a lot, stay blessed.

  47. Charles Rush on June 27, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    I just got onboard with this idea myself. I couldn’t afford the ENVE wheels though, instead I got the new Boyd 36 Carbon rims built up with White Industries CLD Hubs. The Boyd 36 rims have a 22mm inner width and a 29mm outer and they recommend a 25mm tire which actually measures 28 when mounted. I dig the look and the feel is okay too, I’m not going to complain if the end result is less flats. But I don’t feel the cracks and small objects like twigs and stuff when I roll over them now. The ride is smoother. Oh and I got the wheelset on Black Friday and saved $400. Awesome.

  48. Umut Birey on June 27, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    2 watts at 40 kph? what about weight difference?

  49. llTiiTll on June 27, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    First gravel bikes with suspension, now wide tyres on road bikes. We came full circle.

  50. Wyattchoi A on June 27, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Weight and aero penalty… I think I’ll pass.