Are skinny tires better?

For years riders have been asking for narrow tires at higher pressure thinking that lower profiles will improve aerodynamics and that the narrower contact patch on the ground ground will reduce rolling resistance. Anything for an extra second or two in savings. Too bad their thinking has been incorrect. Backed by experience and discussions with tire manufacturers, most race mechanics know that there is an ideal point for tire pressure and tire width and its been lower and wider than most riders would think.

Today, CyclingNews editor and Bill Woodul Mechanics’ Clinic graduate, James Huang, released an article on his trip to Wheel Energy in Finland. Wheel Energy is a major resource for tire testing in the bicycle industry used by companies like Specialized, Bontrager and Vittoria. This article points out what we already knew, that lower tire pressures provide more traction and thus better bike handling. Likewise, he points out that they recommend 25c tires. Though ideal, race mechanics should consider 23c over 25 due to that profiles ability to smoothly slide in and out of calipers during a wheel change. Consider it race day insurance.

Let’s hope budding athletes read this article before they get lost in the throngs of forums touting incorrect information.
The article can be found on both and


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.