Today, Wired magazine published an article titled: “Your Bike Tires Are Too Skinny. Riding on Fat, Supple Tires Is Just Better.” It’s not like we don’t know this already—after all, Tadej Pogačar is currently dominating the Giro d’Italia on 28 mm tires. Rubber that wide was considered appropriate only for touring bikes just a decade a go. And the pressures Pogačar is running would have seemed almost too low to ride just a few years ago. That’s probably why, when I ride on the local trail on weekends on the way out of town, I see many cyclists on tires that are much narrower than those of the pro peloton. By the jarring motions of the bikes, it’s clear that these tires are inflated much harder than Tadej’s.

We sometimes forget that cutting-edge knowledge takes a while to become widely accepted. It usually takes decades for new views to become accepted, even if the evidence is clear. As a geologist by training, this doesn’t surprise me. For example, when Alfred Wegener suggested that continents were actually drifting across the surface of the earth, in took more than half a century for the idea to be accepted, even among geologists!

So it may not come as a surprise that many cyclists still believe narrow tires to roll faster. This used to be such a fundamental truth that it became ingrained in our collective understanding of how bikes work. That’s why it’s so important when a mainstream non-cycling magazine writes about this.

Author Joe Ray talks about his journey to wide tires before delving into the technical aspects of why wide tires work, and why there is still some reluctance to accept this. Rather than summarize his article here, just head to Wired’s website and read it for yourself! And then send it to your friends who still wonder whether wide tires are just a passing fad.

More Information:

  • Wired Magazine: Your Bike Tires Are Too Skinny.
  • Tadej Pogačar’s tire pressure