Author Topic: Tire width recommendations  (Read 5808 times)

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Offline climber

Tire width recommendations
« on: January 04, 2008, 08:34:26 pm »
I am looking for recommendations on tire sizes. Specifically what width
of a set of Marathon Supremes. I would like to keep things as light as
possible because that is how my road bike is. But I have no experience
with loaded touring. I am building up a bike this winter for a planned
loaded tour. The choices are 32, 35 or maybe a 40 if it will fit (probably
not with fenders).

Here are some particulars. I am about 220 pounds and plan on doing
loaded touring up to maybe 75 pounds on a full set of panniers.
Although I will likely be also doing some lighter weight riding in the
mountains where I live. Especially since my road bike does not have
the gearing for the hills. The bike is a T14 Waterford touring frame.
Wheels are 36 spoke phil woods hubs on a 700c Mavic A719 rim. The
riding will most if not all be on paved roads. Would wider tires make
forest service roads accessible?

My hesitation in going bigger is my fear that it will ride more like my
mountain bike instead of my road bike. I do like the feel of my super
skinny tires on either my road or track bike.

Dave from Boise

This message was edited by climber on 1-4-08 @ 6:14 PM
Dave from Boise

Offline Badger

Tire width recommendations
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 11:01:44 pm »
Dave what I have read is the wider the better.  On my Cannondale I can go as wide as 38's I have put 35's on and they seem to work well on the road as well as trails. I drag a BoB trailer so I'm not dealing with bags.  You might want to go over your packing list and see if you lighten your load, 75lbs of stuff seems a little heavy for touring.

Offline climber

Tire width recommendations
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008, 11:38:33 pm »
Thanks for the feedback. My Waterford is speced to take tires to 38 plus fenders. The frame is being shipped to me
this week, so I will see how much room I have once the bike is built up. The expected loads are just a guess based
on what I read in my searches here. I have a mountaineering background so I am used to minimalist travel.

One of the trips I really want to do this spring is Yellowstone before it is open to auto traffic. Anyone here ever done
this? For that trip I will want to bring my DSLR a collection of lenses.

I think I am having too much fun just planning and building this bike. I can not wait to build up the wheels let alone
see the frameset. I had it painted sunset red over pearl and black. It should look cool until I
scratch it up and get it full of road grime. Hopefully in a couple more weeks.

Dave from Boise

This message was edited by climber on 1-4-08 @ 7:40 PM
Dave from Boise

Offline ptaylor

Tire width recommendations
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2008, 11:23:54 am »
Hi Dave.

Sounds like a nice bike - I'm envious!

I run 700x38 Schwalbe Marathon Plus, without fenders on my touring bike. That's about as big as my frame will take. I've never really taken it off-road, but it works fine on the occasional rural gravel road or construction area.

I run 700x35 Schwalbe Marathon XR with fenders on my commuter. I don't want a larger size, but if I did, I don't think my fenders would allow it.

Both rigs serve their intended purpose well.


Offline raybo

Tire width recommendations
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2008, 05:44:53 pm »
This page from lists 4 links to tire width information that might help you decide on what width to use.


Visit the on-line bike touring archive at
Visit the on-line bike touring archive at


  • Guest
Tire width recommendations
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2008, 12:31:35 am »
All three of the tire widths you listed will work and your choice is a matter of comfort and what your frame / fenders will accommodate.  The wider tires make for a smoother ride with fewer pinch flats, but at the cost of additional dead weight and (more importantly) increased rotational mass that retards acceleration and makes it more difficult to stop.    IMHO, with loaded panniers 32's and 35's work great on pavement and 35's and 40's work great on eroded chip seal.  If you pull a trailer you don't need so much to have the wider tires under the same conditions.  I always use 35mm with my panniered Americano on any surface that is or has ever been paved.    

Offline driftlessregion

Tire width recommendations
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2008, 12:46:50 am »
The Waterford T-14 Adventure Cycle is a fantastic bike. Congratulations on a great choice. This frame is already relaxed abit, so narrow tires, which would normally make the ride a little harsher, on this bike may not feel harsh. Wider tires though will absorb bumps better which on a long ride is important. You are a heavy rider which along with the weight of the gear negates any gain you may get with narrower tires. Beefier tires with your weight will protect your rims too. Have a great tour!

Offline biker_james

Tire width recommendations
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2008, 09:02:16 am »
I tend towards the larger size tires for touring. I run Continentals, in the 700x37 size. Helps to protect the rim, deal with bad pavement, and handle loose surfaces  better. Remember that the weight on the bike is dead weight when it comes to crossing railroad track, or hitting potholes, making for a harder impact than body weight which can be shifted to lighten the front/rear wheel before impact.
The weight of wider tires is pretty minimal, especially compared to the 300+ pounds that you and your bike come in at.