We know, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. But there are some questions you might not want to ask your local shop or riding buddies. AASQ is our weekly series where we get to the bottom of your questions – serious or otherwise. Hit the link at the bottom of the post to submit your own question!
This week, it’s back to a reader’s question, and it’s all about reflective sidewalls. For commuters and in general cyclists who want to be seen, reflective sidewalls can provide important side visibility. But the look sometimes competes with the overall design of the bike, so we’re less likely to see them on bikes other than commuters.
To this end, Urs wonders, “Why doesn’t anyone make 700c x 23mm tires with reflective side walls? Or if they are made, why can’t I find them?”
Right off the bat, there are 700c x 23mm reflective tires that exist. Not many, but there are a handful like the Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite Reflective, the Serfas STK Seca Reflective, and the Schwalbe Marathon HS 420. I’m sure there are more that we’re missing as well.
Why are there not more options, and why are they hard to find? I would assume that is because 700c x 23mm tires as a whole are slowly being replaced by 700c x 25mm as the de facto road standard. It’s been argued many times recently that 25mm tires have the same or better rolling resistance than 23mm tires, a better ride quality, and in some cases, high end aero wheels are actually being designed for use with wider tires. That’s led to 23mm tires becoming less popular in general.
Then there’s the probability that more recreational/commuting riders are looking for reflective sidewalls than racers, and you start to realize why there are more reflective options for bigger tires.
However, if you must have 23mm (I’d really recommend 25mm or even 28mm), the Bontrager option should be pretty easy to come by.
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