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December 16, 2017
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  • Ragtag

    Will the Zipp 30 Course clincher wheel set (21mm internal and 25mm external) fit a CAAD10 with Shimano 105 (5800)?

    • James Huang

      That’s tough for me to say from afar, but what you could do is measure the spacing between the chainstays, seatstays, and fork crown area to see how much wiggle room you’ve got. The rims will likely fit just fine; the question is how much tire you can squeeze through there. Keep in mind that the industry recommendation for minimum clearance between the inflated tire and frame/fork is 4mm to allow for out-of-true wheels, debris, etc.

    • Hexsense

      I have similar set-up.
      I’m using CAAD10 and 28mm external (but only about 25mm at brake track), 17mm internal myself. on my set up. 25c tire fit comfortably to the point that i think 28c would still work.
      On your case of 21mm internal i think if you are fine with 25c tire then it work.

      • Ragtag

        Thanks!

  • AllanBarr

    Brilliant piece as usual, James. Do you have any plans to test the new CLX 32 from Roval mentioned abovel? I’m thinking that in tubeless disc format could be the perfect upgrade to my new Canyon Endurace Di2, which I plumped for after your’s and Matt Wikstrom’s excellent review!

    • James Huang

      Thanks! Not sure I can take much credit, though, seeing as how I mostly just tapped the expertise of a whole bunch of good industry people who are knowledgeable on the subject.

      In any event, I have those exact wheels on a test bike right now, so I’ll see if I can squeeze a separate review of the wheelset into the schedule.

      • AllanBarr

        That would be great. Our local Spesh dealer has sold all 8 pairs they had in a matter of weeks, so would be great to hear an opinion I respect. Keep up the good work!

  • winkybiker

    My C59 won’t even take 25mm tyres, so it’s all moot for me until I get a new bike.

    • Alex M

      Good thing those C59s are not too big of an investment, or else I’d be miffed at missing out on the 25mm+ awesome sauce.

    • James Huang

      Well, on the upside, that C59 is still a fantastic bike. As I mentioned in the article, wider wheels and tires are better for most everyday situations, but a high-quality narrower-profile wheel-and-tire setup is still pretty damned good.

      • winkybiker

        Yep. I’ll have it for a long time, I think. This carbon stuff never wears out.

    • John Carter

      Mine does. I’m using 25mm Vittoria Corsa G+ tubs and clinchers on Campag Boras on several C59s without any problems. It’s pretty tight but there’s enough clearance.

      • winkybiker

        Thanks. I only tried Conti GP4000s at 25mm. They sort-of fitted, but it was so close that little bits of grit from damp roads snagged/dragged under the rear brake. A different brand of tire might help in terms of getting a nominal 25mm in there, but the point is that I can’t physically go much bigger than the 23mm GP4000s that I run now.

        Also, I understand that Colnago moved the brake bridge slightly up in later frame iterations. Maybe yours are like that. And “several C59s”? Damn…….

        • DaveRides

          Remember that they are 25c tyres, not 25mm tyres, and that there is no standard to lay out what 25c actually means in the real world.

          Continental and other tyre manufacturers would be more honest if they just renamed 25c tyres to ‘medium’ rather than using notation which implies a level of precision and standardisation across different brands and models.

          But if it’s really an issue, I’d be happy to take your rubbish C59 off you and keep riding it with GP4000S-23c tyres – or some other 25c tyres which are a touch smaller than the GP4000S-25c.

        • Mike Williams

          Those Conti’s are bigger than advertised (I’ve ridden a number of sets and they measured out at 26-27mm on my bike). Michelin Pro 4 25c’s will fit (that is what I switched to before going up to 28c’s).

          • winkybiker

            Cool. So I already actually have wider tyres! I’m not interested in changing brands for another 1mm of true width which is all that would fit. I’m actually good with what I’m riding. I run 25 on my other bike (1st Gen BMC SLC01 Pro-machine), and to be honest, the difference is not really noticeable and certainly not material to me.

        • Paul Aebischer

          Interesting….I have a Gen1 C59 with 25mm Vittoria Corsa G+ clinchers on Zipp 202 hoops. Not a single issue with clearance on brake bridge or BB/Chainstay gusset. Love the combo….so smooth.

          • winkybiker

            Those Vittorias must run narrow compared to the Contis then.

            • Hexsense

              Otherway around, Contis run bigger compare to everyone else. Their 23c is as wide as 25c from others. (it’s actually unfair when compare 23c conti to 23c of others in term of rolling resistant.)

              Newer Specialized tire on the other hand, run small compare to standard.

              • winkybiker

                Thanks. It’s nice to know that when I get new wheels, that are likely to wider, that switching tyre-brands might help if I get clearance issues.

          • Dude pedalling

            Paul how tight is the clearance between tip of tyre and fork? I put a 25mm wheel into my EPS colnago and there is not much daylight there – only 2mm.

            • Paul Aebischer

              Sorry for the delay Dude…but yeah, my C59 front tire clearance using Vitt 25mms is very tight. If it is 2mm that is being generous.

  • gpop87

    How would you predictably pair a wheel and tire combo, when the tire width grows when matched with a wider rim? I.e. 30mm tire on a 31mm outer width rim – the tire would likely expand to ~34… So do you install a 25 or 28 and hope for the best?

    • James Huang

      The problem is that stated tire sizes are often inaccurate, so even if you had a good formula for calculating how much bigger a tire would be a wider rim, you still really don’t know what you’re going to get (something that I wrote about on BikeRadar several years ago: http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/angryasian-tire-makers-spell-out-exactly-what-youre-selling-37397/). This is the best option I’ve come across for reliably predicting the inflated width of a tire, but it requires that you have the actual tire in hand, along with at least the internal rim width of the wheel in question: http://www.wheelfanatyk.com/store/rim-tire-measure-tool/

      • DaveRides

        It is for good reason that tyre sizes are 700x23c, 700x25c and so on, rather than 700x23mm, 700x25mm etc.

    • Jordan Hukee

      IM(limited)E if you’re trying to retain aerodynamics it’s best to go with the smaller size, i.e. a 28C tire on a 30mm external width rim, I’ve tried three different tires of this size on a pair of Enve AR Disc wheels and they all work out to a 30 or 31mm tire width. And two different 30C tires puffed out to 34mm as you predicted, and this puts me well outside the Silca blog (https://silca.cc/blogs/journal/part-5-tire-pressure-and-aerodynamics) “105%” rule of thumb for aerodynamics. It seems crazy to be talking about aerodynamics when I am looking down at a fat 31mm wide tire, but there it is. If you’re road racing on 30mm external width rims, it’s probably best to stick with 28C. =)

  • Il_falcone

    A great topic, James. And certainly one that’s too big for just one article no matter how long. But still I miss a more detailed reasoning why rim width really matters. The #1 reason why wider rims are better (up to a certain point) for the same tire is that you can or rather must run them with lower pressures. The lower pressure enables the tire to compress more easily locally and therefore adapt better to the surface imperfections every real surface except for a wooden track has. That better adaption increases traction because of a better toothing between tire and surface and what I would call micro-suspension which let the tire adhere better to the ground even when this ground is uneven and reduces rolling resistance. Those effects apply when riding in a straight line as well as in turns. Furthermore in turns the increased contact patch area (because of the reduced pressure) and its wider and less long shape (because of the wider tire and its bigger radius) gives you even more traction to transfer those forces parallel to the ground. And all that without the tires feeling imprecise like the steering and suspension of a 1970s muscle car because the amount of tire that protrudes unsupported over the rim laterally is much smaller and therefore the self-stabilizing forces in the tire if you try to move it laterally over the rim increase much faster with every mm of movement you generate.
    That last effect though is also responsible why beyond a certain amount of tire to rim width ratio the wheels become somewhat harsh in turns. If you widen the rim too much you’ll take all lateral movability out of the tire and it’s ability to “absorb” bumps you ride over when leaning the bike in turns. At least according to my experience with a lot of different tire and rim combinations on any surface from perfect tarmac to gravel roads the measured tire width / inner rim width ratio should not vastly exceed 1.5/1 (measured 25 mm tire on a 17 or measured 28 mm tire to 19 mm rim) if your riding incorporates turns with less than ideally even surfaces. If you’re into crits or maybe even time trialling though you can certainly go ahead and adhere to the 105% rule to get the most aerodynamic solution.
    Coming back to the beginning of my comment: Telling people that they should opt for wider rims (and wider tires if possible) but not telling them that they will only benefit if they considerably reduce the pressure is a negligence. For you as a long-term user of wide tires on wide rims (I remember your excited review of the HED Ardennes very well :-) ) this has become so self-evident that you are excused for not emphasizing it each and every time.
    But according to my experience many roadies still don’t know and are somewhat reluctant to try it out. Many of them inflate their now nominal 25 mm tires on wide rims to the same 115 psi they also used when riding 23 mm tires on 13 mm Mavic rims and wonder why modern bikes have become so much less comfortable than they were back in the days of “steel is real”.

    • Wily_Quixote

      Great comment.

  • Esseker Fit

    are there any budget wider rim wheels?

    • James Huang

      Define “budget”.

    • István Fedor
    • Panos

      I am not in the category budget wheels, (which i define between 1000 and 500 aud), but i am in the category super-badget wheels (which i define below 500 aud). In that category i am suggesting FULCRUM QUATTRO LG (35mm rim height / 23.2 outside rim width / 17 inside rim width). With this wheelset @ the same: hr/np/loop route/position on the bike/workout duration/weight, i was 2km faster or about 7% faster than the previous week.

      BUT…
      The tyres were different, the front tyre width was different, the inner tubes were different that the previous week.
      My new set up was: conti gp4000 23 front / 25 rear and latex tube at the back and butyl 100gr at the front (due to bad luck with the front latex tube) and for my 75kg, i had 85psi in the front 90psi in the back.

      BOTTOM LINE (from what i have read and test against common sense):
      – the wheel is a system
      – the most important part of this system is the inner tube (latex is he way to go).
      – the second most important is the quality/suppleness/rolling resistant of the tyres.
      – the third is the tyre width in relation with the rim width (aerodynamics).
      – the fourth most important is air pressure (speed-comfort balance).
      – the fifth most important is rim height/width depending of the use of the wheelset.

      Oh and you can remove the sticker in two minutes from QUATTRO and make them look really cool.

  • HamishM

    Any recommendations for a simple 28-32 hole aluminium clincher wider rim? Something like Mavic Open Pro but wider?

    • István Fedor

      DT-R460 or h-son plus archetype can be any good? :) shallow rims.

    • James Huang

      Pacenti just introduced several wide-profile aluminum rims that look quite interesting. Velocity makes wide-profile rims in aluminum as well, as does American Classic.

      • claude cat

        I’ve been rolling on the Velocity A23s for a year and find the width they give a great improvement on the stock Bontrager wheels I got with the bike. The A23s are certainly in the budget category.

  • Mike Williams

    Thank you for this article James…I think the inconsistency of tire widths is the most annoying part of cycling technology and believe the manufacturers (tire, rim, caliper and frame) need to get called out on it. Kudos to Mavic and Alex for trying. Michelin can’t even get it straight between models…I just replaced 28c Pro4 with 28c Power tires on my 8 year old bike with 20mm external rims…the former needed the air let out to get between the calipers, the latter are visibly smaller (the same as the image in your article) and measure when inflated to the max at 25mm. If rim width is that important, you’d expect Michelin to mention it. And don’t get me started on Continental as they seem to have invented their own measurement system. I am tired of experimenting on my dime every time I try a new tire…mount it and see is unacceptable. (P.S. imho the Power’s aren’t worth the price and I am going back to Pro4’s assuming I can still buy them next year.)

  • Dude pedalling

    I have colnago eps. My bike shop says I should not run 25s as the fine clearance (it is very tight – about 1mm) could be catastrophic if a stone is picked up and gets wedged in between tyre and fork. As in front wheel could lock and over the bars one would be spat. Is this a real concern as I’ve never heard of it happening?

    • James Huang

      International industry guidelines prescribe a minimum of 4mm of clearance between the tire and the frame/fork. This allows for the wheels slightly out of true, a piece of debris, etc. I have certainly seen people run less, but I don’t generally advise doing so.

  • Maximus

    It’s all very well talking about width, but when are we going to start addressing the ancient and no-doubt sub optimal 700c circumference?
    As a mountain biker I’m used to justifying new bike purchase using the ‘better wheel size’ argument. Can we please have some of this on the road as well. We deserve it!

    • Wily_Quixote

      I imagine that 650c (or even smaller) wheels would be optimum for road due to reduced frontal profile (i.e.aero) + reduced weight – plus a stronger wheel/weight ratio. They have been around forever and more recently triatyhlon and small ladies road bikes used this size (my wife’s bike has 650 c wheels)

      The only drawbacks that I can think of might be comfort which can be played around with via frame and tyre choice anyway and rolling resistance (which I believe is greater wiht a smaller size). Whether the loss of kw in rolling resistance is exceeded by gains in weight loss or aero effects is an open question.

      P.S. There is a bike called a moulton with (I think) 17 inch wheels – probably not very good for gravel but there’s plenty of fast riders in the UK who get around on these bikes.

      here’s some reviews of wheel sizes and road bikes, some of it even sounds facty; not that I am a physicist:

      http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Yet_more_wheel_size_debates_223.html

      http://www.rodbikes.com/articles/650-speed.html

      https://hadland.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/small-wheels-for-adult-bicycles/

      i doubt if we will see much change since most people seemed to be concerned about aesthetics than performance when it comes to road bikes – although Laurent Jalabert used a 650c climbing bike in the TdF, so i could be wrong there. However, I am sure that the velomanati would soil their assos at the thought.

    • Andy B

      It sounds like you’re looking for an excuse to justify a new purchase “i need 27.5.. the corners on that one climb were a bit tight”

  • Andy B

    Ive got wide & skinny rims, wider & skinny tyres across multiple different road bikes
    If im being honest with myself i could justifiably tell someone its worth spending $xxxx more money to go to new wider rims if they have a decent set already
    I havent noticed huge differences across the range of widths personally so i wouldnt go into this expecting to change your world with a few more mm’s

  • MadBlack

    So according to magic my current set-up of 19.35mm inner rim and 25 mm tyre is dangerous?? Mmmmh works very well and run low pressure with plenty of grip. Tyre actually measures almost 28mm across though.

  • BTD

    “Plenty of anecdotal evidence exists to counter Mavic’s suggestions that matching tire widths to rim widths more closely can be dangerous…”

    No kidding. Experiment with how flipping hard it is to mount a narrow tire to a wide rim and then tell me how easily that narrow “tire suddenly coming off the rim” is. Mavic is living well in the past, but still charging today’s prices.

  • Alastair Blowers

    I’ve just ordered a set of Fulcrum Racing Speed 40 clinchers (internal width 17mm) and, due to clearance issues, intend to run them with Schwalbe One 23mm tyres; considering what Mavic are saying, should I be worried about this?

    • Il_falcone

      No, absolutely not. Expect the tires to measure wider than 23 mm though, somewhere between 24 and 25 mm on those rims.

  • Rickey Wray Wilson

    There is a lot of discussion that 3mm of clearance between tire and narrowest point on the frame is about the absolute minimum recommended. However, I can’t seem to find anything specific as to the rim itself. Would it be that same 3mm, or something greater? I’m looking at some of the newest Rovals, and the rims come fairly close to the chainstays of my 3 year old Madone. Any input appreciated.

    • Il_falcone

      No, the distance between rim and chain stay doesn’t have to be bigger than between tire and chain stay. You can go with 3 mm between rim and chain stay and even with 2 mm if you’re not heavy and don’t push a lot of watts (depends also on the stiffness of the rear wheel, of course). Whereas tires do not always run perfectly straight, tend to “grow” in diameter over time and may have some dirt sticking to them, none of this applies to a rim of a well trued wheel.
      FWIW I’ve already seen many road frames with damaged chain stays because the rider ignored the minimum tire clearance recommendation.

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