Posted by: audaxing | May 28, 2011

Big Tyres

Roubaix with 28mm Ultremo ZX fitted

Roubaix with 28mm Ultremo ZX fitted

I just fitted some new, big tyres. They are Schwalbe Ultremo ZX in 28mm size. There aren’t many slick 28mm tyres that use proper fast compounds. I’ve previously used Continental 4 Season in 28mm and while they were ok, they didn’t last too well.
Then I tried Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech in 28mm these were pretty good but not fast.
Both of the above were “narrow” 28mm tyres. I think the Continentals were the bigger of the two and they were 26.5mm wide in reality.
I measured the Schwalbe after I’d fitted them and they are a genuine 28mm wide. They seemed to take more strokes of the track pump to inflate. So they must contain more air. Hopefully they will give a better ride. Without the Crud Roadrace mudguards on the Schwalbe tyres fit with plenty of clearance- as the photos show. They do have to be deflated to fit through the brake shoes however.

Update: I did use these tyres for PBP in 2011
Following the 1200km of PBP + a bit of riding around Paris before and after the tyres looked unworn except for a nasty “cut” in the sidewall on the front tyre. The “cut” went through the outer “rubber” layer but was stopped at the carcass.
When I got home again I put the Ultremo front on the rear and the rear on the front on my general knocking around bike. The tyres went to the pub several times by laney routes. By early the next year, after a few months and another 1500km both tyres still looked unworn except for a number of “cuts” as described above. There were a few of them in both the front and rear tyres. I didn’t like the look of them so I took them off and binned them. The tyres never had a flat or any other trouble. I bought some more on special offer from a German shop last year. The current version of the Ultremo is “improved” in some way.
I see that Schwalbe are going to do a 28mm version of their new “One” tyre. I assume this will replace the Ultremo ZX 28mm, but you never know with Schwalbe, they have a ridiculous choice of subtly different tyres


  1. Hi, I’ve been experimenting with different (lower) tyre pressures recently and was wondering what pressures you were using – especially on your previous (25mm?) tyres. I’m pretty new to this having bought my road bike in February – I started with 115psi but the lower I go, the more comfortable the bike gets! I’m thinking maybe 95-100 could be about right.

    Chris Irwin.

    • I have been using 25mm Krylion Tyres at 90psi front, 95 rear. This seems good, comfy, fast no punctures. I intend to run the Ultremos at the same pressure

  2. Er – I thought the advantage of bigger tyres was that you could run them at a lower pressure? Won’t they feel pretty much the same if you keep the pressure the same as before?

    • And as an afterthought – if you can find it, the latest issue of Velo News has a very positive review of the Specialized Roubaix, and very interesting notes on tyre pressures used in the Roubaix race itself – below 80psi, apparently:

      • Hmm yes looks like it might be a good article in the magazine.

        When I was considering “what bike” for PBP last year the Bianchi Infinito was on my short list. I did have a test ride lined up at Epic Cycles for the Infinito but before I got to it I tried the Specialized. The Roubaix was so good I didn’t see the point in trying another 3 or 4 bikes. And I haven’t been disappointed with it at all!

        I’m sure after a few days of riding in the latter stages of PBP my tyres will be at 80psi, if they start at 90 …. 🙂

    • In terms of the contact patch, yes at the same pressure this would be the same size. Whether the shape of this patch – which presumably would be subtly different on a 28mm and 25mm tyre – would alter speed and handling is the subject of much tedious debate, which is of marginal interest, I think you’ll agree.

      It’s my belief that the greater volume of air in the 28mm tyre will move about less due to the distortions of the road. The same contact patch will take the same input noise and bumps from the road. But the distortion of the patch is less, which should give better grip on rough roads. And the movement of the air in the tyre will be less as it is the same force acting on a greater volume of air. This lesser movement should translate into less buzz getting to the hub, up the forks and to the rider.

      Does that make sense? Please correct me if I’m wrong!

  3. so, how do you like ’em? how well do they roll?

    • They roll really well, on corners that are rough they feel a bit more sure footed and most importantly they soak up a bit more road noise
      The only minus is that the handling of the bike is slightly different. Maybe due to using tyres with a different profile or the increased size altering the trail. I need to do a really fast descent on them see how they do

  4. supple?

    I’m considering them for myself…

  5. […] as I’ve previously discussed I am using different, new tyres for PBP. I aim to ride them for 100 miles, check them for wear and […]

  6. […] I fitted these tyres I was hoping that they would be comfortable, with good grip, fast and reasonably hardwearing. […]

  7. […] 3) I got a Specialized Roubaix that had many different comfort features. For PBP I specially fitted 28mm tyres 4) Although the bike wasn’t custom, the sizing of it was good. I put on a better fitting stem […]

  8. […] a 28mm tyre designed for durability. The other two types of 28mm tyre I’ve used lately are Schwalbe Ultremo ZX and Marathon Plus. They are right in between these two […]

  9. […] 2)Big Tyres This is just some brief comments and pictures of 28mm Schwalbe Ultremo tyres. I would guess the reason it is popular is that people buy Ultremo tyres as a easy upgrade to their bike and want information about them, as they are fairly expensive. […]

  10. […] Big Tyres Schwalbe Ultremo ZX with […]

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