Whatever happened to the 23mm tyre? It seems over the last few years it’s fallen out of favour and replaced with wider, softer, higher volume rubber. It’s coincided with bikes going soft too. Bring back the skinny I say! Bring back the days of stiff-as-a-board race pedigree road bikes rolling on skinny tyres pumped up to the max.
Instead, we’ve got “comfort” and “endurance” and other soft, namby pamby bikes and tyres being marketed to us. Acceleration and aerodynamics have taken a back seat to (apparent) rolling resistance and comfy compliance.
These days it’s not uncommon to see 28mm, or even 30-32mm tyres on the club ride. Seriously. What are these guys thinking? This isn’t a retirement village round-the-block cruise. This is where we drop the hammer! We’re on a slippery slope to seeing guys rock up with gel padded saddles or suspension seat posts. These same slackers probably like sleeping in waterbeds or lazing in heated pools on inflatable banana lounges.
Oh how I long for a Continental GP4000S II 23mm tyre! * Bring back the skinny! **
I blame the endurance bike craze (I actually blame gravel, but that’s a whole other rant). Comfort? Who’s asking for comfort? Comfort is for the WEAK! If I wanted comfort, I’d buy a laid back cruiser and toddle on down to the beachfront boardwalk. I want raw speed and acceleration!
When I stomp hard on the pedals, I don’t want comfort. I don’t want squish. I want my bike to rocket ahead with every ounce of my energy transferred into pure forward momentum, crushing every poor soul around me. No plump girly-man tyre is going to give me that, is it? Bring back the skinny!
* Yes, I am aware you can still buy 23mm Conti tyres.
** These days, I actually run 26mm tyres on my Canyon Aeroad and 25mm tyres on my time trial bike. Sue me…