We used to think that when it came to tires, skinnier meant faster. Recent research aimed at quantifying and comparing the rolling resistance of different tires revealed a surprising conclusion: Wider tires actually exhibit lower rolling resistance than narrow tires. Most rolling resistance is caused by friction due to casing deformation. Skinnier tires have more deformation as a percentage of their cross section, resulting in greater loss in forward momentum. Wider tires have less proportional casing deformation, meaning more of the power you put the pedals goes to moving you forward.
Not only that, but the larger contact patch created by a wider tire means more rubber to the road, which translates into better traction in both wet and dry conditions. Wider tires also allow you to run lower pressures without the risk of pinch flatting. This means greater comfort, less transmission of road shock, and improved control. But don’t take our word for it. Even the professional peloton has started taking a walk on the wide side. Whereas 23mm rubber used to be de rigueur, it’s not uncommon to see Pro Tour teams rolling on 25s, and in some cases even 28s, especially in the Spring Classics.
The 360 Ultra-Reflective was designed as a 700C x 28mm tire. That said, we found that when we mounted on them on conventional road rims and put our calipers to them, they actually measure a skosh over 26mm. What this means is the LIT 360UR will fit even the raciest of frames, while still giving you all the benefit of wider tires. And if you throw them on your commuter bike or touring rig, you’ll still have plenty of room for full-coverage fenders.