Riding is something that should be enjoyed… hang on what are we talking about again? Oh right, what tyres you should use. With a seemingly endless selection of road tyres on the market, all touting to be the best, it can be difficult to make a choice. Then add in which width to go for and your mind really can get blown away. Below are some recommendations on tyre width and which tyres to use in different situations..
Is wider always better?
When to use a 25/28c tyre: It is important to realise that whilst the wider 25/28c tyres, according to science, are shown to be faster than their skinnier compatriots, it is most important to match the width of your tyre to the width of the wheel you are using. The goal is to create a seamless integration from tyre to rim. The less bulbous transition between rim and tyre, the more aerodynamic the combination will be. For example, if you are using a ‘standard’ aluminium training wheelset and are looking for the most aero tyre, you will be better suited to selecting a narrower tyre such as 22c or 23c. In contrast if you are using some of the newer ‘wide rim’ racing wheels, such as Zipp Firecrest, then you are best to select a 25/28c tyre.
The second and very important factor in selecting which width tyre you should use is the terrain you are riding on and whether comfort is a factor. If you are riding on rough chip roads, such as the bone jarring Dayboro loop, then a wider tyre will provide you with more comfort. The reason for this is because you can reduce your tyre pressure for the same ‘footprint’ on the road – thus giving a softer ride. For example, a 25c tyre can be inflated to 100psi and have the same ‘footprint’ as a 110psi 23c tyre.
Which type of tyre to use?
Most brands of tyre offer a few different options depending on usage. There are the lighter weight tyres, more suited to racing, through to the puncture proof training tyre that you will enjoy for thousands of kms. Below are three very different tyres all offering riders a different road feel.
Zipp Tangente Speed
- Can add 1km/hr to your speed compared to standard road tyre
- Light weight
- Softer rubber compound
- More tactile cornering
- More aerodynamic when paired with Zipp Firecrest wheels
- More prone to punctures
- Easier to ‘pinch’ a tube due to pliable rubber
- More expensive than standard tyres
- Wear out quicker than standard tyres
Summary: One of the fastest tyres around offering free speed and more controlled cornering. Pair these up with your race wheels for the ultimate in speed and performance come race day.
Continental GP4000S 2
- Most popular and highest selling tyre worldwide
- Increased puncture resistance
- Soft compound rubber
- Easier to mount on aluminium and carbon rims
- Heavier than a pure race set of tyres
- Not the fastest tyre you can buy
Summary: The GP4000 offers fantastic puncture protection and is equally as fast come race day. A genuine all-rounder if you want the best performance across the board for both training and racing.
Continental Gatorskins Ultra
- Heavy duty training tyre
- Extremely high puncture protection
- Long lasting
- Very heavy at almost twice the weight of a standard set of tyres
- Stiffer rubber, resulting in slightly affected cornering ability
- Difficult to mount on wheel rims
Summary: A heavy duty training tyre that will provide you with piece of mind that you will rarely be on the side of the road with a puncture.
When you are selecting your next tyre, be sure to think about what you are looking to achieve. Is it speed, comfort, puncture protection or something in between. Until next time, use your rubber wisely.
– By Ricky Swindale – Pushys sponsored rider