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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the newish mantra is that wider is faster, but does running a wider tire also get you more mileage out of the tire as well (all other factors being equal)? If I'm going to pay $50 for a brand of tire, will buying the 25c vs. 23c version give me more bang-for-the-buck?

I would think that since a wider tire has more rubber in it's construction that it would last longer, with the assumption that the center tread rubber is "consumed" at a similar rate on a per-mile basis. I've never tried the experiment myself so was wondering about other user's experiences....
 

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So the newish mantra is that wider is faster, but does running a wider tire also get you more mileage out of the tire as well (all other factors being equal)? If I'm going to pay $50 for a brand of tire, will buying the 25c vs. 23c version give me more bang-for-the-buck?

I would think that since a wider tire has more rubber in it's construction that it would last longer, with the assumption that the center tread rubber is "consumed" at a similar rate on a per-mile basis. I've never tried the experiment myself so was wondering about other user's experiences....
Tire wear (loss of rubber) is due to power transfer through the tire that scrubs the rubber off the tread. Anything you do to increase the size of the contact patch means that there is less power transfer per unit area and therefore slower tire wear. Wider tires mean lower pressure therefore larger contact patch.

Note that if you keep the tire pressure the same, the contact patch remains the same size (size = load on tire divided by tire pressure) and so tire wear remains the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tire wear (loss of rubber) is due to power transfer through the tire that scrubs the rubber off the tread. Anything you do to increase the size of the contact patch means that there is less power transfer per unit area and therefore slower tire wear. Wider tires mean lower pressure therefore larger contact patch.

Note that if you keep the tire pressure the same, the contact patch remains the same size (size = load on tire divided by tire pressure) and so tire wear remains the same.
Agreed the size (area) of the tire contact patch will affect the tire wear rate, a larger contact patch implying there being more rubber to absorb the abrasion and therefore slower wear.

But let's say for arguments sake the pressure of both 23c and 25c tire setups is the same. The tire contact patch area will be the same size, but different in shape. I would still think that the wider tire will last longer in this case. Why? Because with the wider tire any given point on the tire is in abrasive contact with the road for a smaller duration of time than with the narrower tire. Or thinking about in another way, you've got more rubber on the sides of the tire casing to absorb the abrasion.

If true, what does this practically give you when you use a wider tire- 5% more miles or something more significant like 20% more miles?
 

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Interesting exercise trying to figure out which would get more mileage and why, but I personally wouldn't let that influence the tire size I choose to ride on, I doubt it's a significant difference except perhaps at the extremes of sizing for road tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting exercise trying to figure out which would get more mileage and why, but I personally wouldn't let that influence the tire size I choose to ride on, I doubt it's a significant difference except perhaps at the extremes of sizing for road tires.
The general consensus out there seems to be that, with the exception of "aeroness", using wider tires is a good thing in almost every respect. If using wider tires gives you say another 10% of tire life, to me that's pretty significant- especially as someone who runs tubeless (less dorking around changing tires and sealant in addition to saving money). Whether 10% is realistically achievable is questionable, that's what I was hoping some others would chime in about their experiences.

In the end most people, like me, are constrained by frame clearance to prevent hitting the downsides of running too wide a tire.
 

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But let's say for arguments sake the pressure of both 23c and 25c tire setups is the same. The tire contact patch area will be the same size, but different in shape. I would still think that the wider tire will last longer in this case. Why? Because with the wider tire any given point on the tire is in abrasive contact with the road for a smaller duration of time than with the narrower tire. Or thinking about in another way, you've got more rubber on the sides of the tire casing to absorb the abrasion.

If true, what does this practically give you when you use a wider tire- 5% more miles or something more significant like 20% more miles?
Interesting question but somewhat pointless in that "nobody" would increase tire size and not decrease pressure.

Switching from Conti GP 4000S in 23 mm to GP 4000S II in 25 mm increased my mileage by 15-20%. Of course there might be other differences in tire tread rubber between these two models so take it with a grain of salt. Worth noting that GP 4000S 23 mm in silver rather than black tread reduced mileage by about 25%. Silica (which allows colored tires) is not nearly as good a rubber compounding agent as carbon.
 

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I don't know how much more thicker the tread is on my 650b/42(Compass) tire is, but I retired a rear tire with 4000 miles not knowing how much further I could have pushed it. My 700c/23mm tires(Vreds) are usually showing cord at about 1500 miles, 700c/25 a bit more.

When I retired that rear 42mm tire at 4000 miles I rotated the front tire with the same mileage to the rear and decided to push it to see what kind of mileage I could get. The cord started to show at just under the 8000 mile mark. Less than 20miles shy, I don't remember exactly without digging through last years records. That's 4000 in the front and almost another 4000 after being rotated to the rear. That was mostly on the road with a small amount of gravel. And that tire never flatted.

I just put a pair of 700/32 Compass tires on my wives bike, but she doesn't ride the mileage that I do so it'll be a while before I can comment on the mileage of those tires.
 

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I don't know how much more thicker the tread is on my 650b/42(Compass) tire is, but I retired a rear tire with 4000 miles not knowing how much further I could have pushed it. My 700c/23mm tires(Vreds) are usually showing cord at about 1500 miles, 700c/25 a bit more.

When I retired that rear 42mm tire at 4000 miles I rotated the front tire with the same mileage to the rear and decided to push it to see what kind of mileage I could get. The cord started to show at just under the 8000 mile mark. Less than 20miles shy, I don't remember exactly without digging through last years records. That's 4000 in the front and almost another 4000 after being rotated to the rear. That was mostly on the road with a small amount of gravel. And that tire never flatted.

I just put a pair of 700/32 Compass tires on my wives bike, but she doesn't ride the mileage that I do so it'll be a while before I can comment on the mileage of those tires.
That's impressive. I'm on 28's now and was planning to switch to 32's next time around. I've run low 40s tires on my commuter but never wear them out due to low milage, I usually end up giving them away eventually when I want to try something new.
 

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I don't know how much more thicker the tread is on my 650b/42(Compass) tire is, but I retired a rear tire with 4000 miles not knowing how much further I could have pushed it. My 700c/23mm tires(Vreds) are usually showing cord at about 1500 miles, 700c/25 a bit more.

When I retired that rear 42mm tire at 4000 miles I rotated the front tire with the same mileage to the rear and decided to push it to see what kind of mileage I could get. The cord started to show at just under the 8000 mile mark. Less than 20miles shy, I don't remember exactly without digging through last years records. That's 4000 in the front and almost another 4000 after being rotated to the rear. That was mostly on the road with a small amount of gravel.
Tires on the front essentially do not wear (lose rubber). I put 6,000 miles on a GP 4000 front tire and experienced essentially zero weight loss.

When I respond to these tire life questions, I tend not to report actual mileage because that is so variable from rider to rider. Since it is all about power output (the mechanism of tire wear) combined with road surface texture, there can be wide variations between two riders using the same tire.
 

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Tires on the front essentially do not wear (lose rubber). I put 6,000 miles on a GP 4000 front tire and experienced essentially zero weight loss.

When I respond to these tire life questions, I tend not to report actual mileage because that is so variable from rider to rider. Since it is all about power output (the mechanism of tire wear) combined with road surface texture, there can be wide variations between two riders using the same tire.
That is why I gave the mileage I get on the 700c\23 Vreds compared to the 650b\42 Compass tires. Like I said when I retired that 42mm tire at 4000 miles it still had some life left while that 23mm tire usually starts showing cord at around 1500 miles. I feel, after seeing the wear that I attained on the front 42mm tire that I rotated to the rear, that there were easily another 500 miles left on the original rear, which means that the larger tire can give me approximately 3 times the mileage, ballpark estimate.

A stronger rider will get less mileage out of their tires than me, no matter the tire size, but the difference in wear from tire size to tire size should still fall within that ballpark estimate.
 
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