Forum home Road cycling forum Road general

Ride difference between 28C vs. 32C Tyres

j_voraj_vora Posts: 63
edited November 2020 in Road general
Hello :

I need to select between two Road Bike Frames - One has a max tyre clearance of 28C and the other 32C.

The roads where I reside leave "much" to be desired ( lots of unevenness and potholes, small and large ) thus am wondering how much of a difference can I expect in terms of comfort/compliance and puncture resistance between the two tyre widths - Will the difference be noticeable or just marginal.

Both bikes are built using Clinchers, but once worn out I will install tubeless tyres.

Gaining insights to this question will help me make a more informed decision.

Thanks in advance !



  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,738
    You will probably only detect a difference in comfort if running at lower pressures. I cant really tell difference between 25 / 28. You will get better grip but will lose speed as you go bigger.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 8,688
    28 is plenty for a road bike - if that is max clearance it "might" be tight at 28 with some rims / tyres but I agree with Oxo.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • Hard to say, I've yet to use the the same tyre model in both sizes.

    Actual width varies between tyre models, for example 28mm GP5000s are ~29mm wide, but 28mm GP4000S IIs are almost 32mm wide.

    I'd want to know other differences between the frames and what the goal of the new frame is... Speed, comfort, or a middle ground.
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 24,670
    As said, the key point will be clearance. I could fit 28mm tyres on my road bike with full mudguards but as soon as there was any crud in the guards or on the tyres the noise became intolerable. Check how generous the clearances are. You don't want this to be precision engineering.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • PMarkPMark Posts: 159
    My clincher bike can take upto 32 (although it officially only supports 28). There is a noticeable difference between my 32mm GP 5000s and my 28mm GP 4 Seasons. But that is probably more to do with the tyre than the size.

    Although the roads are getting to the point now where you can only really use a mountain bike on some of them, so if I was getting a road bike now, would probably go for one that supports at least 38mm tyres.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 26,939 Lives Here
    I run 32mm road tyres on my bike and they roll well enough. I can take to trails if the mood strikes and don't need to be overly concerned about lumps and bumps.
    You can buy one, fit the 32s and later change your mind and fit 28s. You can't buy the one limited to 28s and later decide to fit 32s to it.
  • 32 Will be faster in most cases and conditions that normal ppl leave.
  • akhakh Posts: 206
    All else equal I'd go bigger. As veronese68 says, you go always fit 28s to a bike with bigger clearance.

    I've never actually used tyres labelled as 32mm, but I have used 25mm and 28mm GP 4000s II, which in reality are close to 28mm and 32mm respectively. If you drop the pressure, the larger tyre is more conformable on rough roads. On smooth tarmac it's not noticeable, and the frame and fork still count for a lot. For example I had an aluminium bike that was harsher on 28s than my steel bike on 25s. I can't say the 28mm tyres are noticeably slower, but then they are otherwise the same compound.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,431
    I’ve used Schwalbe Marathon tyres in both 28 and 32 sizes. There’s little difference in feel, slightly more plush on the 32 because of lower tyre pressure. The 4mm difference in size is very small - whether 28 or 32, they are both stiff, puncture resistant tyres that give a pretty firm ride.

    As others have said, there’s big variation in actual inflated size on the rim, even for different models of tyre from the same maker. Vittoria Randonneur tyres in nominal 28 are more like 26 on my rims while Vittoria Voyager Hyper in 32 inflate to an actual 33.
  • j_voraj_vora Posts: 63
    Thank you ALL for sharing your thoughts and experiences -

    To clarify and answer a few questions posed -

    N0bodyOfTheGoat asked about the frames and my riding style -

    I am considering the following 3 frames
    1. BMC Teammachine ALR ( Aluminium ) - Has a tyre clearance of 28C
    2. BMC Roadmachine ( Carbon ) - Tyre clearance of 33C
    3. Orbea Orca ( Carbon ) - Tyre clearance of 35C.

    I have been studying the geometries between the 3 and although the Roadmachine is said to be an Endurance bike, there is not much difference between it and the other 2.

    I am getting back to cycling after a long time thus my goals are not competitive, but to enjoy the sport and be in the outdoors - So "middle ground".

    - -

    To answer oxoman : I understand not being able to tell the difference between 28C vs. 32C - Any thoughts/experience between 28C and 35C in terms of comfort/compliance and puncture resistance ? ( As mentioned earlier, the roads are very uneven and at times with potholes !

    - -

    I also understand, as mentiond by a few that it depends on the tyre ( some tyres of the same size provide more difference than other ) and that at times a 28C is actually 32 in size which will impact the tyre clearance of a frame.

    All of this makes it so tricky in ordering the bike for I unfortunately do not reside in a place where I can just go to a shop and try these frames out - In fact, I will have to import the bicycle so making the right decision is so very critical and thus my need to seek your advice and opinion.

    With thanks,

  • akhakh Posts: 206
    I can't comment on the jump to 35s, but I have got 38mm tyres on my 'gravel' bike (Panaracer GravelKings to be precise). They are more comfortable and less cut prone than the 28mm GP 4000s II on the steel road bike, but, comparisons start to get difficult, as you're generally comparing different classes of tyre once the size difference is that large. The 38s are noticeably, but not massively slower, on smooth tarmac, but much more comfortable on rough lanes.
  • andyracandyrac Posts: 1,093
    I'd always go wider, it gives you the capability to run wider tyres if you want. So, you can run 28c on a nice road ride (if you have nicely surfaced roads) then swap to wider for the usual potholed UK road surfaces.
    All Road/ Gravel: tbcWinter: tbcMTB: tbcRoad: tbc"Look at the time...." "he's fallen like an old lady on a cruise ship..."
  • j_voraj_vora Posts: 63
    andyrac, I too would want the flexibility as explained by yourself - specially as the roads here are uneven, rough n potholed -


    Thanks for the reply.

  • zest28zest28 Posts: 403
    If you are not racing, bigger is better. If you are racing, then go for 28.
Sign In or Register to comment.