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I'm riding on a hybrid bike with 700x35mm tires which is ideal in the city. Every now and then I could go on a ride outside of the city, covering distances in the vicinity of 80km and doing some medium climbs. I'm quite happy with how it all goes but I'm wondering what difference it would make if I change the tires to 25mm width? How much speed will I gain? Would it make the climbing a bit easier? And overall, is it worth it?

The tires are clip on so replacing them back and forth won't be such a hassle. I'm considering to have pairs of both 35mm and 25mm and replace them depending on the occasion but I would like to hear some feedback first on how wise that would be.

EDIT: Just to clarify, I'm planing to replace the whole wheel - both the rims and the tires!

Thank you!

  • Probably it will work, assuming the rim is not too wide. But it would be simpler to just increase the pressure in the wider tire. Yes, the ride will be a bit harsh, but the rolling resistance of a tire is mostly dependent on pressure, assuming similar treads. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 4 '16 at 17:54
  • I have a cross bike I use for touring and for limited mixed terrain. Thinner tires do make a difference, but the air resistance and weight is greater than on a road specific bike. – Craig Hicks Jul 4 '16 at 22:27
  • "The tires are clip on" <-- I assume you mean they're clinchers, or regular old tyres that don't need gluing on like tubulars. – Criggie Jul 4 '16 at 23:42
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    TBH I think this would be too much of a hassle to swap tyres depending on expected terrain. Road is road, whether its commuting or distance. You might benefit from the narrower and higher pressure tyres on your commute. The cost of two spare wheels, and a cassette, and possibly rotors would not be small. And you have the fiddliness of tweaking your brakes and gear indexing all over again. – Criggie Jul 4 '16 at 23:46
  • @Daniel - What you say is true, but the recommended tire pressure ranges for 25mm and 35mm tires might not even overlap. – Craig Hicks Jul 5 '16 at 20:33
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Well, it'll depemd on how the narrower tyre sits on the rim, specifically whether a 25mm tyre will be wide enough, but as long as this is ok, you should be fine. Be aware that wider tyres will have a larger surface in contact with the road, and therefore more grip, but if you're happy to trade that off, go for it.

  • Definitely planning to keep the 35mm for the city and the roads in relatively bad condition where I'd need more control. Would I feel significant change in speed/required effort with the 25s though? – mmvsbg Jul 4 '16 at 17:43
  • Bear in mind that changing a wheel is a lot quicker than changing a tyre. But that's just optimisation. – PeteH Jul 4 '16 at 17:47
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    Yes, I totally misguided you with my question. I'm considering to buy a pair of new wheels with both rims and tires, not just the tires :) – mmvsbg Jul 4 '16 at 17:51
  • If you're going to buy new wheels, then the width issue goes away, but just note that you'll be comparing apples to oranges a bit, because the quality of the wheels becomes a factor. But you may be pleasantly surprised! – PeteH Jul 4 '16 at 18:03
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    @mmvsbg "Would I feel significant change in speed/required effort with the 25s though?" On a smooth road, yes, for sure. Because you will be running 25mm at higher pressure (e.g. ~100psi) than 35mm (e.g. ~60psi) resulting in less rolling resistance, because of less air resistance from the thinner tires, and because of lighter wheels making climbing and acceleration less work. But the frame / fork which can accept 35mm tires will slow you down compared to a pure road bike, due to weight and air resistance. – Craig Hicks Jul 5 '16 at 20:39

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