8/19/15 update: When I talked with Dwan Shepard at the 2015 Handmade Bicycle Show, he mentioned the Co-Motion Speedster, the bike our custom tandem was based on in 2005, now comes with wider 700 x 35C tires and fender clearance to match. Since writing this article in 2011, I’ve moved to 32C Panaracer tires. They’re a nice bump up in air volume from the 28s, but I’m still without fenders–just not enough room.
The Continental Gatorskin tires (28-622) on the tandem are pretty worn. And the Panasonic Panaracer Pasela TourGuard tires (35-622) are available. So let’s change them out on Velocity Dyad rims and see what happens.
We take the upsized tandem tires out for a quick 16-mile ride. I pay close attention to any possible changes in ride characteristics. Does the bike feel a bit more cushiony? (I run the Gatorskins at 110 psi and the TourGuards at 105 psi.) Maybe, or maybe I am just imagining a bit of the high-frequency vibration to be gone.
Do I fear the rough rail crossing a bit less? Maybe. Are we slower? Not on this ride.
Even though findings from the initial ride are inconclusive, I have to say that for the type of recreational riding we do on the weekends there isn’t any downside to the wider tires, except for the fact that we’ve completely lost fender clearance—and that my partner thinks the new tires are ugly.
“It looks like a mountain bike.”