Tire-width experiment on tandem needs more time

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.

Don’t take the ruler measurements as gospel. Camera placement isn’t especially rigorous. However, you can see that the tire dimensions—height and width—are quite different.

Because this Co-Motion tandem wasn’t really built with 35C tires in mind, the frame clearances are more questionable with the TourGuards.

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.”

Actually, it looks like an experiment. And I want the fender option back. So, don’t worry, another set of Gatorskins is on the way.

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
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2 Responses to Tire-width experiment on tandem needs more time

  1. Lar Davis says:

    Ugly – now she’s gone and hurt their feelings. And fenders – okay, how often have you had to deal with wet – or is it the grit flying up that causes the issue. Of course, I think the Gatorskins are much more supple than the armored Pana’s (or any of that type.) I haven’t taken my G-skins up to quite that high a pressure, but then tandem loading is higher than single. Perhaps it’s time to have some 650B wheels and tires fitted, so you can have clearance and air volume both. (see http://sheldonbrown.com/650b.html for more info.)

  2. Carsten Dahl Nielsen says:

    Good to get tid of the Gatorskins. We ha two 700×28 mm Gatorskins on our Speedster on PBP Audax and the both destroyed during the first night. The following PBP rando we used Pasela Tourgard 28 mm from our Thorn Audax mk III solocycles. They performed better but I didn’t dare to pump them up at same level as the Gatorskins, therefore they have started to go at the sides… Carsten & Dorte

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