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Alright, I've seen this question around the web a bunch but the other questions are always including limitations and restrictions by brakes or fork/frame capabilities... So my question is, what is the widest tire you could put on a 23c road bike rim, leaving out frame/fork and or brakes limitations.

I ask this because I am looking for cyclocross tires for my fixed gear for some snow riding and I have a Surly Steamroller which has (what seems like) an endless amount of room for wide tires, but I can't find an answer on how wide I can actually go. I'm not planning on going oversized, mainly I'm wondering if a 33-35 would fit on a 23.

Also any recommendations on good tires for winter would be great! Thanks

  • My Novara Randonee tourer has 622x13 rims (outside width 18mm) and it came from the factory with 35mm tires (which I still use, after more than 15 years). But I'm not sure how well such a difference would work at low pressure, which I assume is what you intend. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 3 '14 at 11:19
  • Surly tells you you can put up to a 38 in the frame (32 with fenders): surlybikes.com/bikes/steamroller/frame_highlights. – Batman Sep 3 '14 at 16:03
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See for a definitive (imho conservative) answer the almighty Sheldon Brown(bottom of page). The rim width can vary a little between wheels.

Having said that, I have been running 700-35c Cyclocross knobby tires on standard Shimano Ultegra road racing wheels for years without any issue.

Another really good tire for commuting and light offroading (gravel) to get on a CX bike is the Schwalbe Delta Cruiser (be sure to get the 700x28c version). Almost as fast as road tire, much higher comfort, long lasting and decent puncture protection.

  • As for winter CX tires, with Schwalbe's Racing Ralph or Rocket Ron you can't go wrong, with the latter providing an almost mountainbike-like amount of grip in mud (and presumably also snow, but I've never tested that). And if you're really serious about riding on ice/packed snow there are various tires which have metal studs for extra traction. I can however only imagine they must give an awful ride on asphalt. If you are that committed to cycling in winter a MTB bike might be a better starting point. – biker43241 Sep 3 '14 at 9:32

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