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Are 25C Tires More Efficient and/or More Comfortable?

I’ve got about 800 miles on a set of Schwalbe Ultremo HT tulbar tires tires now, mounted on a set of Lightweight Obermayer carbon fiber wheels.

Let me put it simply: the Lightweight Obermayer wheels ride like nothing else, but which tires?!

25C tires

There is a lot of hype about about 700 X 25C tires being more comfortable or more efficient, etc. There are some serious flaws in this idea.

“25C tires are more efficient” and “25C tires are more comfortable”

The claim of higher efficiency is at the same tire pressure.

I run 122 PSI in my Veloflex Record tubulars, and the ride remains supple (ditto for the Veloflex Sprinter, just a bit less-so). They are so supple that I’ve mistakenly thought I had low tire pressure on occasion, only to check and find them at ~120 PSI! The ride quality is better than any other tire I’ve used; the casing is just wonderful.

Now put 122 PSI into 25C tires (which by their size and nature must be designed with a much heavier and stiffer tire carcass) and what happens? At ~120 PSI with 25C tires, the ride quality become harsh, and is far less comfortable than the supple Veloflex Record. So for comfort, one has to drop down to 115 PSI or so, maybe even less for lighter riders. So much for comfort and efficiency.

What are 25C good for?

There is one thing I really like 700 X 25C tires for: descending. The extra rotating weight helps stabilize the wheels and the extra surface area provides a more confidence-inspiring grip than a 22C tires.

Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular tire Schwalbe specs
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