I posed a question on a randonneur forum whether it was worth it to switch from 38mm tires to 32’s. You can imagine the range of responses I might get. It’s just not a simple question. Besides the obvious difference of decreased tire contact the smaller you go, there’s weight, tread, and casing differences. I actually had a tire in mind; the Grand Bois Cypress.
My Sam Hillborne came with Continental TourRides; heavy and stiff, at 38mm (this is what is measures, I think the labeling lists the tire at 42). Everyone agreed, Grand Bois tires are quite magnificent, though some believe a little more flat prone than others. Some recommended staying with a 38mm for comfort, and a common tire of choice was the Pari-Moto. This tire also has a nice recommendation on Rivendell’s website. However, coming from 23cm on my Lemond (which I sold in Jan.), I felt like 32mm would still provide me with plenty of comfort. But, what turned the tide in favor of the Grand Bois was the description by fellow randonneur who said, “Going from heavy, 650 gram, super-thick, tough Conti TourRides to not-quite-paper-thin, super-supple, buttery-smooth 290 gram Grand Bois Cyprès tires will, indeed, give you a very different ride.” Yep, that’s what I’m hoping for. I ordered them yesterday from Compass Bicycles.
The Conti’s are great for commuting and mixed terrain. I have full confidence in them rolling over street debris and don’t think twice about riding off-road, like a fire trail. But, for lots of road riding, increased time in the saddle, and some events I want to participate in this summer, I just wanted the super supple, buttery-smooth ride.