30mm tires for 'performance' oriented road riding

New bike has the clearance and new wheels have 31mm outer/22.5 inner widths so I figure why not try fatter tires for comfort and versatility without taking a significant aero penalty.
Recommended? Impressions?
TIA

I’ve got some 32mm Vittoria N.EXT’s mounted on wheels with 24.5 inner width which come to 34mm wide. It’s a world of difference from 28mm tyres, just even looking at them compared to other wheels with 28’s and they look huge.

Running them at 50psi, the comfort and grip is awesome. They feel slower, especially to spin up to speed but the data doesn’t really back this up. Not sure I’d race on them but for winter it’s a great set up.

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32 seems like a great size for winter, but 30’s are the biggest I’d ever consider running as a dedicated road set up.

Outside of winter I’d agree, 28’s have been good for me and I haven’t wanted anything bigger. With your fairly wide rims some 28mm tyres will size up more like 30mm anyway and would work nicely for maximum aero advantage.

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I really like wide tires and so far find that the wider I go the better I like the comfort, durability and freedom from flats (I run tubeless road and gravel). On 30s or 32s you will want to tune your tire choice, because the casings and tread can vary from full race (GP5000s, Pro One) to tough and burly (Pirelli P Zero and Cinturato). Currently I’m riding a 30c Pirelli P Zero Race TLR on the front and a 28 on the back for clearance at 54/52psi. These tires are great for training and bad road conditions and the durability is amazing (4000+ miles on 28s). But I will love it when I change back to Conti GP5000s which are light and handle very nicely. I have a set of the Corsa N.EXT myself in 34c for a new set of wheels on my all road bike, and hope they will be the Goldilocks between light/fast and heavy/tough.

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I’m gonna’ run some Pirelli P Zero Race 30mm clinchers with latex tubes. as I recall, stated weight figures on those tires were lighter than comparable Continental, Shwalbe, Vittoria, etc.

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I recently did a comparison ride (I like to do these things) riding a local impromptu crit course (staying close to home, riding between showers - thanks La Niña).
I did an hour on a newish titanium bike, 40mm deep carbon wheels with 32mm WTB Expanse tyres and averaged 31kmh.
Next day I took out a recently purchased 2007 Giant TCR Zero (almost new condition- still on its original chain) running 25mm Schwalbe Ones and easily averaged 33.5 around the same course, albeit for 40 mins, thanks to the rain moving in.
This was no controlled experiment, but I was surprised at the difference. My ti bike usually runs 38mm gravel tyres (Soecialised Pathfinder Pros) and I’ve matched many of my best times on fast stretches (that aren’t long climbs).

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I went from 28 to 30 Conti GP5000 clinchers on just my rear wheel (kept the 28 on the front). I can’t say whether I felt any performance or comfort increase, though performance definitely didn’t get worse. But on gravel and iffy surfaces, it has made a big difference. I feel much better on gravel, both uphill and downhill. Last weekend, I found myself on essentially an easy singletrack path covered in wet leaves, and it handled it great. I’d recommend.

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i did the same. Went from 28mm to 30mm GP5000 on my Aethos. these measure up at 30.6mm on Alpinist wheelset. I cant feel any difference/penalty in speed & acceleration cf. the 28mm but they do feel more surefooted on sketchy surfaces, and very comfy (at ~70psi). I’ll stick with them. Incidentally same tyres on my Ridley Helium SLX with mavic kysrium pro carbon sl wheelset, which have a narrow internal diameter measure up at 28mm so they fit on that bike as well…i will move to 30mm on it as well. Final point is the GP5000 measure up a lot narrower than older GP4000 s2 i used to run, the 30mm GP5000 measure up about the same as the GP4000 s2 28mm on the above wheels.

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I recently switched from 28 Schwalbe One to 33 Schwalbe G-One Race on my Zipp 303 Firecrests. They are mounted on my Factor O2 Vam. So very much and still have room. I added the gravel tire to an otherwise road machine just so I can have the flexibility to go off the beaten trail. I mean, why not? :slight_smile:

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For an all-around tire that can handle some light gravel and rough roads, the Vittoria Corsa Control are really nice. Not as light as the GP5000 or Pirelli, but a bit more durable sidewall IME and the cotton casing with latex tubes provides a superb ride. They won’t be as fast as the regular Corsa due to an extra bit of puncture protection, but for an all-around daily non-winter tire I really like them.

I’ve used them in 700x25 and 700x30 on a 20.8 mm wide rim. The 25 comes up at 28.4 mm after it has stretched, while the 30 comes up at 31.1 mm after stretch. I was expecting the 30 to land at 32-33 mm after stretching based on the 25. Go figure. I don’t know what size the 28 would end up as I’ve not used them. A Conti GP5000 in a 28 on the same rim ended up at about 29.8 mm if memory serves correct.

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Without knowing what your power output was on those two days (and weather conditions), you can’t extrapolate much more than the fact you went faster one day. The cause is unknown.

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Yes, that’s true. I have 10 bikes and zero power meters, because I don’t want to buy 10 power meters, especially if I scored a cheap bike. :man_shrugging:
What I know and didn’t mention is the general consistency I see in my pattern of riding data. I wouldn’t have mentioned anything if I didn’t perceive a difference I’d attribute to the subject.

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The rolling resistance differences between different tires can hugely outweigh the differences in tire widths. The aerodynamic losses from a wide tire ought to be on the order of a couple of watts at 35km/hr, while the rolling resistance differences between different tires can be ten, fifteen watts if you compare the best tires to mid range ones.

Since the predictable effect is so small, you would have to do it on the same bike and same wheelset, too, to get any meaningful data. Sure, anecdotally, I can say I’m slower on 32mm GP5000s than on 25mm GP5000s, but one bike has aero tubing and handlebar and the other has round tubes and handlebar and weighs nearly 2kg more, which is all put together supposed to make more of a difference. It’s what makes testing all of it such a faff, basically have to ride a circuit, change the tires, and re-do it, all on a calm day.

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We humans kinda suck at attributing cause to events without hard data….in yur case there are a multitude of factors other than tire width that likely and some influence on your speed difference. (Both positive and negative).

Position on the bike, power differences, tire pressure, wheel choice, frame differences, casing construction, weather, clothing, to name just a few….it is literally impossible to assign tire width as the causation of the speed difference you experienced. WAY too many variables.

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I’ve been running the 30mm Pirelli PZeros with TPU tubes for a couple seasons and I’ve been impressed with durability and puncture resistance (I’ve had terrible luck with Conti and Challenge but ymmv). They feel fast but I had a lot of other changes (including a move to a new state and a new bike) that makes direct comparisons tough.

Only difficult part about committing to 30mm tires is that it’s a bit of an odd size so can limit your options.

That’s where the Chung method comes into play if finding out what is the fastest equipment is really important to us.
Some people might find it complicated to understand the underlying theory, but the execution is straightforward and the results reliable. It still requires some effort and discipline though.
At the end of the day most of us do this for fun I suppose, so why not go with what’s simply more fun to ride?

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Have had very good luck with 30 mm Cont GP5000 both tubeless and with tubes.

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You’re right Henri. It was just my 2c worth.
I actually wrote a much longer reply (which I saved to notes as editing here on my phone is a PITA), which would cover why I mentioned it regardless of your correct observations.
Happy to share if anyone is interested. :smile:

GCN did a short video wherein they test 28s vs 32s trying to address a number of the variables that come into it.

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