Does anyone know how much friction (rolling resistance) arise from the tires? I know this heavily depends on type of tire, their air pressure and the type of surface. I would therefore like to see any source describing the friction on any combination of these factors. I am only interested in knowledge that can be verified.

The reason why I am interested is to understand what the maximum potential is if developing new types of tires.

  • Welcome to the site; interesting question. The Physics site might also be a resource. Aug 26, 2011 at 16:53
  • Thank you, but this takes testing to find out, the physics guys won't be able to calculate it.
    – David
    Aug 26, 2011 at 17:55
  • If all you're looking for is a source, then the best source is Chapter 6 of Wilson's Bicycling Science. However, wouldn't a better question be something like, "which factors influence bicycle tire rolling resistance and how are they measured?"
    – R. Chung
    Aug 26, 2011 at 20:07
  • It is a valid question, especially if compared to other "drags" on the bike. I suspect at 1MPH in still air tire friction swamps other factors, but I don't know where you'd find the data to prove it. (I do recall, though, that a few of the bike tire mfgrs have produced some pretty good docs that may touch on this.) Aug 26, 2011 at 20:52
  • @R. Chung I have updated my question to clarify. Does that source you have still answer the question? I know the answer to "which factors influence bicycle tire rolling resistance and how are they measured?", I just need some examples on how much friction tires can cause.
    – David
    Aug 26, 2011 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


How about the rolling resistance from terrymorse.com. Its the top link from a google search on "bicycle tyre rolling resistance".

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  • Yeah, there's some good info on that link, including another chart that shows rolling resistance at 23-46 watts at 18.6 mph (pressure unspecified). Unfortunately, there's no data for tires wider than 28. Aug 27, 2011 at 12:19
  • Omg! I've been searching for the wrong things all this time! Thank you!
    – David
    Aug 27, 2011 at 12:55
  • That's a good chart but I didn't mention it earlier because it's both dated and incomplete. That chart is based on tests done about 20 years ago at the Continental Tire facility using a large diameter asphalt-surface driven drum; no other surfaces were checked and it is known that road, tire, tube, tire-rim attachment, and additional suspension characteristics can affect total rolling drag. In particular, inflection or "break" points in rolling drag have been observed in some tests on other types of surfaces with increasing pressure.
    – R. Chung
    Aug 27, 2011 at 13:58
  • 2
    As I mentioned above, the old Continental tests were performed on a single (homogeneous) surface. You can see some examples (but with no detailed results) of contemporary test rigs here: bikeradar.com/news/article/… In addition, there are ways that interested amateurs can measure rolling resistance at home or in the field, on a variety of road surfaces.
    – R. Chung
    Aug 27, 2011 at 14:16

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