I have the opportunity to obtain new tires for my All-City Mr. Pink I can choose from sizes 700×23, 700×25, 700×28. I don’t commute on this bike, it is only used on rides like the Tuesday Team Decaf, PMT rides and weekend centuries. Should I avoid the 700×23? I really don’t understand the difference in the sizes. Is there an advantage/disadvantage of one size over the other.
In theory, a thinner tire will have less rolling resistance while a wider tire will provide more shock absorption. But these three sizes are so close to each other that I doubt that the average rider could tell the difference. I normally run 25’s on my bike because I don’t have the clearance to run 28’s – but I have had 23’s on it the past and I couldn’t detect any reduction in rolling resistance or speed. What I do notice are tires that have different rubber compounds (hard/soft) & heaver or lighter tires.
I think one advantage to using the 28’s is that you could run them at a lower PSI if you want a cushy ride, or just pump them up a little to get a little more speed.
The second number (23,25,28) basically refers to the volume of the tire (how big it is). I’d go with at least the 25. A bit more comfort and pinch flat resistance. The 28 would be nice around here too (crappy roads) but you might find it a tad slower rolling (eg require more energy for a certain speed) than you prefer. (There are a lot of other variables that go into that as well but size is one)
Another vote for 25s… unless you are riding on freshly paved roads, I fail to see a benefit in anything thinner.
28s go on my commuter/tourer (although I’d run 35s if I was actually doing a loaded tour with 50+ lbs of gear). You need 28s for rides on crushed limestone imho… so if you want to take the Mr. Pink on the GAP then they might be useful. Otherwise, 25s.
Forgot to mention that a good quality, well constructed 28 tire is going to be faster, ride better, and be more comfortable, better all around than a mediocre 25 or even 23. Differences in quality are much more perceptible than size.