Tire Widths For Roadies: The Wider Your Tires, The Faster You Go
When I first started cycling, I was riding on 18mm tires. That was the standard back in the early 90’s. Yes, the tires were lighter, but my rides were hard and bumpy.
Gone were the days where narrower tires were the “in” thing. More recently, 25mm’s have become the standard as bike manufacturers have started to create more clearance at the frames and brake callipers to accommodate bigger tires. With the advent of disc brakes and modern group sets, 28mm and larger tires are starting to become a popular choice as well.
Here are the benefits of switching to a broader tire:
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#1. Lower rolling resistance = you will go faster
So what do you get with a larger tire? It sounds counter-intuitive; you might think that a narrower tire would be more aero and have less rolling resistance. The aerodynamic benefit is somewhat true for the front wheel. However, a wider tire creates less rolling resistance, and outweighs the aero advantages of a narrower tire.