How Wide is Right for Me?

“Let’s first talk about some fundamentals: Wider tires don’t roll slower than narrow ones. Bicycle Quarterly‘s latest tire tests, published in the Winter 2016 issue (BQ 58), have shown this once again: In a real-road scenario, even 54 mm tires don’t roll slower than 32 mm – or any size in between.”

Off The Beaten Path


Our ideas of what is a performance bike have changed a lot in recent years! One of the most exciting bikes of the moment is the Open U.P. – a carbon race bike that accepts 50 mm-wide tires!

Not too long ago, every performance road bike had 700C x 23 mm tires. Now you have to choose not just how wide you want your tires to be, but – thanks to disc brakes – even which wheel size you want to use! For the Bicycle Quarterly test, we rode the Open with 650B x 48 mm tires, but our second tester, Nate King, raced his Open with 700C x 44 mm tires. Which is better? Or should you get several wheelsets for different courses? Is there a reason to switch tires and wheels on the same bike?


Let’s first talk about some fundamentals: Wider tires don’t roll slower than narrow ones. Bicycle…

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4 thoughts on “How Wide is Right for Me?

  1. I don’t know, man. 54mm tires on a race bike? And with no rolling resistance penalty? I think Jan is getting close to barking at the moon. Next up, 5″ fat tires roll just as fast as 26mm road slicks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lol! I hear ya Jim.
      You know I would like to see another exact testing protocol (NOT on a drum) done by a third party. That is perhaps the only way we will know. But seriously, I have went from 23s to 25s to 28s on my own road bike. Never slowed down in any segments, in fact faster on corners and downhills. Still have managed to take a sprint kom too.

      I have ridden a Domane with 32s, felt no different. I believe that when a rider say’s something “feels” slower it’s mostly of not all just ‘perception’ It has to be backed up by data, rather than ‘feel’.


      • That’s a great point, but I still wouldn’t want to go any bigger than 26’s anyway… maybe 28’s. I’ll definitely admit, the 26’s are money next to 23’s. No doubt about it.


      • Customer came in the shop today, riding a Specialized Roubaix with 25’s. He test rode a Domane disc, with 32mm tires. he LOVED it!
        He’s coming back tomorrow to buy!

        Liked by 1 person

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