Tyres - quick poll - wider up front, or in the rear?

by PJ McNally   August 28, 2013  

Thread prompted by a comment earlier on - can I poll road.cc members, which way round they put their tyres? (I'm a bit obsessed with rolling rubber!).

jackh wrote:
25 or 28mm or perhaps a combination of both f/r are perfect for most people.

Indeed - but which way round? IIRC i read an article advocating the wider tyre up front to help with cornering, with the narrower at the back. Where was it?

Oh - as always, it's Sheldon Brown -

http://sheldonbrown.com/tyres.html

"Mixing/Matching Tyres" section makes the case for both:

" Narrower Front, Wider Rear
If lightness is the primary goal, tyre width/weight is limited by the risk of pinch cut flats, a.k.a. "snake bites." Since there is more weight carried on the rear tyre, you can get away with a slightly narrower tyre in front than you can in back.

Wider Front, Narrower Rear
A wider front tyre makes sense in many applications, however, when handling and ride comfort are considered. A wider tyre will generally provide better cornering traction than a narrower one, assuming appropriate inflation pressure.
"

So could you put in the comments which way round you do it? If you stick to using the greater than symbol it'll be clear:

E.g.

F>R
(Front wider than rear)

R>F
(Rear wider than front).

8 user comments

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Depends on what you want to achieve.

I ride R>F on my road bike and F>R on my commuter.

R>F is for comfort on long rides.

F>R is done mainly to avoid snake-bites - I usually get them in my front wheel while I usually manage to avoid hitting potholes with the rear wheel.

So here it is! 1:1 in my case.

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [197 posts]
28th August 2013 - 9:05

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I don't think I could ever do this, it just feels too ugly in my mind.

A sure sign that in 2-3 years this is exactly what I'll be doing.

posted by chokofingrz [319 posts]
28th August 2013 - 15:21

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I um buy two tyres that are the same size. If the rear is getting over worn I swap them around before buying new ones. Have I been doing it wrong all these years?



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1429 posts]
28th August 2013 - 17:04

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I've got 25 front, 23 rear. That's mainly because I wanted to go up to 25 but found it wouldn't fit in the rear when I'd already put the front one on, but the rationale for it in the Sheldon quite above makes sense to me.

posted by Chuck [434 posts]
28th August 2013 - 17:11

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bikeboy76 wrote:
I um buy two tyres that are the same size. If the rear is getting over worn I swap them around before buying new ones. Have I been doing it wrong all these years?

Sheldon says yes, you're doing it wrong. You really don't want an older, worn tyre on the front, because if it blows out, you'll probably crash.

A rear blowout is less life-threatening (just ask my wife, who held her nerve - and the bike upright - when she had a rear blowout on a big descent).

He does say you can swap a worn front tyre to the rear, when it eventually wears down a bit, and always fit your newest tyre in front (if you can be bothered to do it this way), but not the other way around.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
28th August 2013 - 17:36

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Like bikeboy, I run the same width tyre front & rear. Never felt the need to change it but if I did I would run fatter tyres both ends for comfort.

Similarly, if I wanted more traction on the front I'd use a wider, gripper tyre at a lower pressure.... and the same for the rear.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2051 posts]
28th August 2013 - 17:53

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daft idea for the same reason as on cars - you are going to adversely effect the balance and handling of the bike.

you might be putting more weight on the back one but its the front one that takes the shocks on hitting potholes or

If you want more comfort, you can let a little air out of the tyres, or go up a size.

Or look at more comfortably frames rather than stiff road bike ones like those designed for audax

posted by arbee [1 posts]
28th August 2013 - 23:20

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On a mtb wider on the front is common for grip/comfort. I sometimes have 2.2 front 2.0 rear.

On my TT bike I run 22 on the front for aero reasons 23 on the back.

On my road bike always 23.

I would never put a worn tyre on the front. Cornering when the tread has gone flat is a crappy idea.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
29th August 2013 - 8:16

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