For almost a century, cyclists have known that narrower tires roll faster. Some people have realized that in theory, wider tires are faster due to their shorter contact patch, which deforms as you roll. But the thought was that in practice the lower pressure, with the wider tires, limited their performance. If you want to go fast, choose narrow tires. So the question arises: are narrow or wide tires faster on a bike?

Testing on real roads with a rider on the bike, our ADO experts found that the increased vibration from the narrower tires caused energy losses that offset the gains from the reduced flex. These suspension losses are mostly absorbed in the rider's body.


The faster we go, the higher the frequency at which our bike vibrates because our tires are riding bumps in the road at a higher speed. However, narrower tires also increase the frequency of the vibrations they transmit. Basically, a bike with narrow tires feels faster, although it can also be slower. Conversely, wide tires vibrate less and therefore feel slow to most cyclists.


Narrow or wide tires on the bike? What does this mean for us drivers? That we can choose our tire width freely without having to worry about performance. Of course, that doesn't mean that a wide touring tire will perform as well as a narrow racing tire. The carcass determines 95% of the speed of a road tire. To perform well, you need a supple, high-performance carcass. (The other 5% comes from the thickness of the tread.)


In summary, the tire width influences the driving experience, but not the speed. If you measure the fast feel of a road bike connected to the road, you should go for narrower tires. If you want superior cornering grip and the ability to go fast even when the roads get rough, choose wider tires (like A20F+ ).

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