Author Topic: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?  (Read 6298 times)

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Offline pzyduck

Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« on: May 05, 2012, 07:49:22 pm »
Hello folks,

I basically have one bike that I ride for all occasions. It's a touring specific bike and I love it, but honestly 95% of the time I am not touring on it. Instead I am commuting to work, riding charity rides, club rides, work out rides etc... I currently am running 32's but would like to switch to 28's, but am wondering if they might be too skinny for touring? When fully loaded, the bike weighs around 95 lbs give or take a little.

Any info?

Thanks,
Pat

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 08:49:53 pm »
This weight is a bit more than average for summer-time touring, but I think 28mm is OK with that on smooth pavement, assuming you keep adequate pressure. However, the smaller tire gives less protection from pinch flats on sharp-edged bumps like potholes. It sinks more on anything soft. It wears faster than a larger tire of the same construction. And it is more likely to catch in grooves.

The larger tire gives less lively handling, but a loaded touring bike will never be lively. And the extra weight is a negligible part of a loaded bike.

These are the reasons for the conventional choice of larger tires. The more you depart from that ideal smooth pavement, the bigger you want.

I was satisfied with 32mm on a 75-lb bike doing a 5,800 mile tour of the Pacific Coast and Northern Tier routes.

Fred

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 06:08:35 am »
With 95 pounds of bike and gear, I'd probably stick with the 32mm tires.  I have happily toured on 28mm tires, but carried a good bit less gear.  I think the range where I used the 28mm tires was between 22 and 30 pounds of gear on a 29 pound bike (counting tools and racks).  I have also toured on 23mm tires with 14 pounds of gear on a 24 pound bike and was happy to switch to 25mm tires mid way through the 5 week ride.  BTW at all of those weights I still had cooking and camping gear.

I'd shed 30 or 40 pounds of that gear before I'd go with narrower tires.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 06:56:36 am »
I have toured thousands of miles with 28mm tires, some of which measured only 24mm, with weight of bicycle and load 95 lb or  more. I did not see any particular problems, save when I had a short stretch through sand. I currently use wider tires with slightly less load, and recommend that you use wider tires, but if 28mm tires are all you have, or maximum width that will fit, go for it. Note my experience with 28mm tires, that not all the tires measured full width. If you are going to go with tires just 28mm wide, make sure they all measure full width.

Offline Patco

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 08:36:02 am »
I have toured with 25's and with 28's (approximately 85 pounds). On both I have been on gravel, rock, and dirt on some sections of the route. I have never had a problem with handling or with flats (I have had maybe four flats in my touring history). I generally use Continental gatorskin. I like the weight on the 28's and the road feel. Heavier tires, for me, makes it feel like I am peddling through molasses. All of my touring has been in the U.S. If touring in a country where the infrastructure was not as good, then I would likely use larger tires.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2012, 11:32:35 am »
I use wide 35mm tires for the touring bike.  But in your case, why can't you buy some 28mm tires for the 95% riding and put the 32mm tires back on when you go touring.  Carry one of the 28mm tires as a spare tire.  Then switch the tires back when you are done touring.  Tires are not that expensive.  Buying another set of tires can't be that big of a financial burden.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2012, 11:39:56 am »
I think the first question to be asked is not, "How much does your bike plus load weigh?" but "How much does your bike, load, AND YOU weigh?"

I think the dividing line between 28 and 32 is around 250-275 pounds total weight.  Or maybe lower, if the roads aren't very good.

Offline pzyduck

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2012, 02:28:34 pm »
All very good points raised by everyone and all where appreciated. Thanks. I know my weight is a bit high, but we are planning an extended trip. (couple months if not longer) We are not young (late 40's) and we like our comfort, so we went a bit heavy on some of the camp equipment. We definitely can lighten up a bit in other areas and I am hoping to shed around 15 pounds of gear by the time we leave. I too, am hoping to shed 15 more pounds of me, which would bring my "total" weight (bike and I) to between 250-275 like pdlamb mentioned.

I do like RussSeatons idea of just running 28's and switching to 32's for touring. At first I was trying to avoid having to do that, but the more I think about it, the less reasons I can come up with for "not" doing it.

Thanks to everyone else who offered advice and/or suggestions. I really do appreciate all the input from everyone.

Thanks again,

Pat


Offline staehpj1

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2012, 03:22:31 pm »
Everyone has their own preferences.  Best of luck finding what works best for you.

Just some food for thought...
My advice is to takes substantially less than you think you need.  I am not young either, at almost 61years of age.  I personally don't find that taking more stuff makes for more comfort.  I also don't find that a longer tour requires more stuff.  I take pretty much the same stuff regardless of trip length.  I find the simplicity of having only the things that I need to be very pleasant.

Offline pzyduck

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 03:59:24 pm »
staehpj1.

I totally agree when it comes to the amount of stuff that is truly needed. In our gear choices, it's not that we are taking "more" stuff, it's that the stuff we are taking "weighs" more. For example, we opted for the 2" thick camp pads as opposed to the 3/4" thick pads. We went with a 3 person tent at 8 lbs instead of the 2 person at 5 lbs. There are a few other heavier choice we made as well and it is because of this, that we are fairly heavy. Good choice? Not so sure now, but I guess we will find out. :-)

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2012, 05:03:14 pm »
One more suggestion.  The most comfy sleeping pad I have used is also one of the lightest on the market.   Check out the NeoAir line.  Mine is 12 ounces, packs tiny, and is supremely comfortable.  Oh and it is 2.5 inches thick.  The only drawback is that it is kind of expensive.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2012, 08:01:13 pm »
Tire size, weight and air pressure are interrelated. Here's how: http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/BQTireDrop.pdf.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 07:23:54 am »
I remember reading somewhere that wider tires, and the reduced pressure that goes with them, lessens the chances of breaking a spoke. That tips the scales for me. I really don't want to mess with a broken spoke if I can avoid it.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 10:09:26 am »
If you truly have a touring bike, your rims may not accommodate a narrow tire.

I ended up with a free set of tires (28MM wide) that my buddy bought and tired out but could not meaningfully use.
Danno

Offline csykes

Re: Tire width - 28 too narrow for touring?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 12:07:42 pm »
There is a difference between tires like the Gatorskins which are pretty small for 28s and something like Panaracer's Pasela Tour Guard 28s which are on the large size.  I have gatorskins on a road bike and Paselas on my tandem and they look very different.