Are 32c tyres faster than 28c tyres?

This is a hot topic at Elves Bikes. Our ELVES FALATH EVO has been designed to accept 32c tyres but the jury is out with some riders preferring a more traditional 28c and some opting for the wider 30c or 32c tyres. So as with all things at ELVES BIKES, lets discuss:

The speed of bicycle tires depends on various factors, including the tire’s width, tread pattern, rolling resistance, and the surface on which you are riding. In general, wider tires tend to offer better traction and more comfort, especially on rough or uneven surfaces. However, the relationship between tire width and speed is not always straightforward. Here are some considerations regarding 32c and 28c tires:

  1. Rolling Resistance: Narrower tires (like 28c) can have lower rolling resistance on smooth surfaces like a well-paved road. This means they require less effort to maintain a given speed. In comparison, wider tires (like 32c) may have slightly higher rolling resistance due to their larger contact patch with the ground.

  2. Comfort and Handling: Wider tires typically provide more comfort because they can run at lower pressures, absorbing more of the road vibrations. They also tend to offer better stability and handling, particularly when cornering.

  3. Aerodynamics: Narrower tires can be more aerodynamic, which might provide a slight advantage at higher speeds. However, this factor is often negligible compared to other considerations, especially if the cyclist is not riding in a time trial or triathlon setting.

  4. Surface and Terrain: If you’re riding on rough or unpaved surfaces, wider tires can significantly improve performance and speed. They offer better traction and reduce the risk of getting stuck or slowed down by obstacles.

  5. Weight: Wider tires are generally heavier than narrower ones. The added weight can impact acceleration but usually has little effect on maintaining speed once you are up to pace.

  6. Personal Preference: Some cyclists may feel more confident and comfortable with a particular tire width, and this psychological factor can influence perceived speed.



In summary, while 28c tires may have a slight advantage in terms of rolling resistance on smooth surfaces, the difference in speed between 32c and 28c tires is often marginal and can vary depending on other factors. The most significant performance improvements will likely come from factors like tire quality, tread pattern, tire pressure, and the quality of the road surface. It’s essential to consider your riding style, the terrain you often encounter, and your comfort preferences when choosing the right tire width. Ultimately, the best tire choice is the one that fits your needs and preferences as a cyclist… and that is why our flagship ELVES FALATH EVO AEROBIKE accepts 32c tyres.