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Out of necessity, I had to put an 1.26" (32mm) rear tyre on my bike where the front tyre is only 1.1" (28mm) wide (and the bike came with 1.1" tyres when I bought it). Are there any advantages or disadvantages of this, shall I try to get an 1.1" tyre for the rear wheel ASAP or is it safe this way?

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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Should be perfectly safe. I actually did a similar thing on my road bike to allow a little more cushion in the rear, for my rear. The only hassle I can see is if you have to carry two different tubes. Can't remember off the top of my head if you can get some that span those two sizes.

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I have thought about doing this when I have heavy panniers attached to the back. –  sixtyfootersdude May 12 '11 at 13:20
    
If the tire widths are within a few mm of each other, it's perfectly OK to use the same tubes. They stretch quite a bit. –  Mike Baranczak May 12 '11 at 18:56
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For that matter, you can get away with using a somewhat undersized tube on a larger tire if you're just using it as a spare. It'll run low on air a bit faster than the right sized tube, but probably won't explode or anything like that. –  freiheit May 12 '11 at 21:57
    
@freheit: yes, there is a limit (a 25mm tube in a 65mm tyre is very likely to fail). The bigger the gap the more likely a seam failure in the tube becomes. The other way also works - a big tube in a small tyre. Again, too much difference and you get folds and wrinkles which eventually wear through from the small movements as that patch hits the ground. –  Мסž May 12 '11 at 22:35
    
For the record, went to work today with my bike and it definitely feels better with a wider rear tyre (roads are quite bumpy around here). I'm still using the old inner tube, we'll see how long it lasts. –  Tamás May 13 '11 at 9:55
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Riding with a larger tire in the front provides certain advantages. I do this for two reasons:

  1. Less slipping and sliding in the snow: With a bigger tire in the front you get more friction with the ground. This is important because your front tire is a lot more likley to flip you over then your rear because your rear tire has more weight on it.
  2. Vertical cracks: The reason I keep a larger tire on now that it is warmer is to avoid falling due to vertical cracks and my tire getting stuck in them. Basically if your tire can't fit in the crack you can't get stuck in it and flip over.
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