2mm narrower tyres really are faster?

Globalti

Legendary Member
I'm relatively new to this road-riding lark having mountain biked for 22 years, so I'm still learning about kit and bike setup. I know that narrow MTB tyres are faster especially when they have a central ridge or continuous tread and I was curious to know what effect narrower road tyres would give me. So yesterday I replaced my usual Specialized Pro tyres, which are 26mm wide when inflated on my rims, with some Vittoria Rubino Pro slicks, which are more like 24mm wide. Only a 2mm difference but the bike felt faster and in proof I improved my speed over my usual 12.6 mile evening "blast", which is effectively a flat time trial, from 16.1 mph to 17.1 mph, again only a tiny difference. I guess I would need to do it several times to get a convincing result but certainly the tyres didn't make as much noise as the Specialized tyres do and the bike felt faster.

The Rubinos seem to have a harder tread compound than the Spesh tyres, which are really quite sticky and motorbike-shaped in profile; they corner very well indeed. I wonder how much that affects it?


Any comments?
 

Rip Van

Veteran
Location
Rothes
I'm relatively new to this road-riding lark having mountain biked for 22 years, so I'm still learning about kit and bike setup. I know that narrow MTB tyres are faster especially when they have a central ridge or continuous tread and I was curious to know what effect narrower road tyres would give me. So yesterday I replaced my usual Specialized Pro tyres, which are 26mm wide when inflated on my rims, with some Vittoria Rubino Pro slicks, which are more like 24mm wide. Only a 2mm difference but the bike felt faster and in proof I improved my speed over my usual 12.6 mile evening "blast", which is effectively a flat time trial, from 16.1 mph to 17.1 mph, again only a tiny difference. I guess I would need to do it several times to get a convincing result but certainly the tyres didn't make as much noise as the Specialized tyres do and the bike felt faster.

The Rubinos seem to have a harder tread compound than the Spesh tyres, which are really quite sticky and motorbike-shaped in profile; they corner very well indeed. I wonder how much that affects it?


Any comments?
Might just be the different compounds and pressures.
I bought Michelin PRO3 tyres to replace Rubinos. I'm prepared to believe they "grip" the road better but other than that they were absolute shite. I got loads of punctures with them and they certainly didn't feel, or make me, any faster. The Rubinos, which I've gone back to, feel a lot more robust (and heavier) than the PRO 3's, plus the 20 or so more max PSI in the Rubinos further reduces rolling resistance, making the bike feel more "eager".
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
Yes it's faster, less weight a little less rolling resistance, but it's more likely there's a difference in construction &/or compound.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
I took my Dawes down from 25 gator skins to 23 hard cases and didn't notice any difference. My fixed has 28 hard cases and I can't feel any difference between them and the 23's on my Dawes.
 

Norm

Guest
Too many variables. On crap roads - which covers most of my commute in South Bucks - I'm faster on the 32s I have on the Tricross than the 25s on the Secteur.
 

repairtec

New Member
Location
Provence
Narrow hard pumped tyres are faster on good quality flat roads, wider tyres pumped hard are faster on bumpy roads. For climbing fast where speeds are lower choose narrow tyres. A favourite of mine thats not to narrow but rolls and sounds like a tub is Maxxis
 
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