Why is the bicycle tire at the Tour de France bigger and bigger?

Tour de France is becoming more and more technologically advanced, from super aerodynamic frames, lightweight tires, oval chains, slippery outfits, to chains. Sprinkle with flour.

Racing teams will try everything they can to run faster. It is therefore interesting to see a “traditional” change appear in a technologically advanced world of bicycle races. We are talking about increasingly bigger tires with reduced pressure.

This is a new trend emerging at the Tour de France, and it has significant advantages: helping the car run faster and more comfortable in the harsh conditions of the real world. This type of tire has been studied by many experts, most notably the research published by VeloNews. It is also a “slap” to the long-held view that you will go faster if you use layers of narrower width and higher pressure.

This is the tire of Greg Van Avermaet, the reigning Olympic champion, who leads many laps of the Tour de France. It is 26mm in size compared to the traditional 23mm size.

Last week, at the Tour de France, Geoff Brown, head of mechanical engineering of EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale, shared some information about this movement.

When asked about the trend of big tires and low pressure, which was completely opposite to what professional cyclists thought, but now it has become a must-have standard for top racing teams, he said:

“It depends on the surface of the track, but 10 years ago, the standard was 23mm tires with 8 or 8.5 bar pressure, or 115, 120 psi. Today, in normal racing, the tire size is 25mm and pressure 7 up to 7.5 bar for both front and rear wheels, which is slightly lower than the maximum of 100-110 on bicycles”.

It is true that in 2018, we have never seen a 23mm tire. Up to the present time, the most popular tire sizes are 25mm and 26mm. And while it’s difficult to compare tour speed based on width and tire pressure, studies and more and more teams using this type of tire say it all.

Even big riders – like Taylor Phinney, 1.98 meters tall and weighing 85 kg – use low-pressure tires like small, lightweight mountain-racer riders like Rigoberto Uran.