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I am considering a faster bike to replace my XC for commuting. I am thinking hybrid/cross/road bike with wider tires. My question is whether 28mm tires are enough or if I should go with 32mm like Trek touts for their CrossRip. I won't be riding gravel roads or other heavier terrain too much, but I will need to jump to/from curbs from time to time.

Where I live I often need to ride over cobblestones and tram tracks, like this, so safety is very important:

enter image description here

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There is, of course, no such thing as a single "right" commuter tire -- different folks' commuting conditions vary from highway to off-road and tires would vary accordingly. But if you do ride more than a little on stone roadways and across RR tracks then something wider than 28 (and with a bit of tread) is probably a good idea. Still lots of room for "personal preference", though. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 6 at 13:09
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Given you have asked about communting, "Faster" has to be considered total commute time, including tire miantainence. 28's will be slower as they will need to be pumped up more often that 32's (or even 35's), and that takes time. I dobt the difference betwen 28's and 32's will make up that differenece. On this surfaces 28's will likely puncture and fail more often - nothing like a puncture to drop average speed. Tortoise and hare..... –  mattnz Jul 6 at 20:50

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I commute on two bicycles: — a road bike, with 25mm tire up front and a 28mm back. — a custom commuter bike, with 32mm up front, 35mm back.

I'd recommend you go with the 32mm tires.

The 28mm tires I've used are good for commuting (I think the 25mm I have is too small — I have to give it too much attention when crossing curb lines and such).

That said, 32mm tires offer a lot more protection in urban environments. I ride suburban roads (25mm is fine for those) into an urban environment, and then I go into a college campus.

It is on campus where the 25mm tires get dicey. There are many different surfaces on campus, and each change creates an edge — It is those edges that will get you, either trip you up or cause a pinch flat.

A 28mm tire does OK, but a 32mm tire handles these conditions much better.

Some 32mm tires are heavy, some are lighter weight. For what you hope to do — go fast — search around for lighter weight tires (Panaracer might be a good place to start).

Enjoy the fatties!

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Have had a Trek FX 7.2 for 6 years. Came with 35's. Replaced with 32's. Work very well for pavement. If you are doing any curb jumping or cobblestone, I would not suggest the 28's.

If you are looking at a Trek hybrid (love mine), consider a carbon fork model. Mine is all metal and I feel the vibrations in my forearms. That is the ONLY bad thing I have to say about the bike and it is not enough to replace it at this point.

Tom

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Based on the title alone 32mm tires are not ideal for fast commuter bike. But that picture is some harsh conditions and you state safety is important.

For that picture and the pictures you had on the fork question I would go 32mm or even 35mm. A 35mm is not not going to be as fast but it should be softer and have more grip. And also which type of tire. A hard tire maximized for durability and puncture resistance is not the way to go as it is harsh and heavy. Look for a softer tire that will take a broader ranges of pressure. Not a race tire but a lighter touring or city tire. Unless you are over like 170 lbs then run it at less than maximum pressure.

Mattnz bring up a good point on total commute time. A flat brings down the average and so does rain. A larger tire is more resistant to pinch flats. I happen to think a larger tire is less susceptible to puncture flats but not everyone agrees so let's leave that out. That route does not look it has a lot of thorns or glass so don't go with THE most puncture resistant like a Marathon Plus HS as a 622x32 weighs 810 grams and has poor rolling resistance. You can get tire with some puncture protection and good rolling resistance at 500 grams. An under inflated tire has poor rolling resistance - check pressure regularly regardless of size. Keep you bike maintained in general - a broken chain kills an average. In dry conditions and low traffic a 28mm is going to be fastest. A 32mm is going to be more durable and nearly as fast. On the ruff stuff a 32mm probably faster. A 35mm is going to be slower on the smooth stuff but I think faster on those bricks. Now mix in some rain. Those bricks looks slick in rain. That is where I go 35mm and bring the pressure down a bit. You also have an indirect factor on safely with a smaller tire in if your head is down to pick a line you are not looking up at the bigger picture. The other part is how long a commute. If it is short and you can hump it out is different then long enough that you need to conserve energy.

And something else to consider is putting some 35mm touring tires on your XC.

Don't pick the bike just for the tires. You can changes the tires. Pick a bike that will take up to 35mm. Since you already have a mtn bike with flat bars then consider more of a cross style with drop bars for a more of a range of bicycles.

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I commute with SS and 25c in front and 23c on the back. I live in Zagreb so there is really a lot of variations of terrain, but I like to be fast so I don't mind. I had more problems with wider tiers than with thinner tiers.

So, IMHO thin tiers are just fine and I enjoy them, but I also think that you yourself need to try different setup and see what suits you best.

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What problems did you have? Do you have tram tracks? I think this answer is too short to be very useful, sorry. It's more of a comment. –  Mσᶎ Jul 7 at 21:52
    
@Mσᶎ Problems like they were puncturing a lot and I didn't know why, while thinner tires are allright. No problem, I'm new here, so I'm still getting around all of it, so I tried to write something, next time I'll try to be more precise :) –  Woland Jul 13 at 23:10

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