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Tire width and stability over rough roads


mezzanine
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I was considering what I want in a future wheel and asked myself: other than battery size, what would improve my riding experience more than anything else?  I believe it's tire width.  I think Ninebot might be onto something with their super-wide tires on their Z series.  I find on my 16" Inmotion V8 that riding on rough road surfaces is unpleasant and have learned that there are more roads in terrible condition than I realized in my area of town. 

What is the most important factor determining stability over rough road surfaces?  Tire width?  Tire size?  Wheel weight?  There's more debate on this subject than I initially realized.  

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my first real wheel was a v8.  several of the roads around here will make my teeth chatter, just got a telsa, my my what a completely different ride.  Its like I went up a size in wheels even though they are the same.  So much smoother over the bumps

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18 minutes ago, Brian Morris said:

my first real wheel was a v8.  several of the roads around here will make my teeth chatter, just got a telsa, my my what a completely different ride.  Its like I went up a size in wheels even though they are the same.  So much smoother over the bumps

Good info.  Suggests that weight may have a bigger role in stability over rough roads than I may have predicted. 

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There are so many things that affect this. I’m overly sensitive to uneven surfaces, so I have experimented a lot. Roughly from easiest to hardest to implement:

- Tire pressure. When I started with unsuitable shoes, I used only 2.3 bar. Now I’m at 3.4 bars, but the ride is hugely more comfortable due to these other steps.

- Device riding mode. A softer response does actually ride softer over bumps as well.

- Shoe insoles and shoes themselves. Best is to have shoes that can fit two pairs of thick and spongy insoles. Difference can be huge.

- Tire material. Some tires just bounce less. Hard to know before trying tough.

- Tire diameter. A larger tire goes smoother over road irregularities. (Requires a new wheel.)

- DIY suspension system. Helps the best, but it is difficult to come up with a system that works well, stays in place, and is even remotely durable.

- Tire width. A wider tire might be slightly more comfortable, but the difference is not that big, and probably requires permanent modifications to the wheel to fit.

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The pneumatic tire is one of the greatest inventions, and when the entire inside of the tire can function as a spring then that makes the riding experience incomparably better in every way to something "not pneumatic".

Since the entire tire functions as a spring, it follows that narrow tires are harder springs, wider tires are softer springs, and that PSI isn't really comparable between them since a narrow tire is overinflated compared to the <underinflated> wider tire. That means with a wider tire, with more air volume, you get a more comfortable ride since you get a big soft spring instead of a tiny hard spring.

So why aren't EUC's getting bigger tires? They are! I think they are. Bigger wheels, wider tires seems to be what all the EUC's are moving towards with a few IPS i5 exceptions.

Unfortunately, as I found out the hard way, you cannot simply drop tire pressures to what is comfortable due to 1. snakebites, 2. the tire spins on the rim and tears out the valve stem.

I strongly suspect people who weight under 160 pounds don't even think about wide tires, or tire pressures, or rough rides simply because the tire (the spring) easily moves and bounces them over bumps and rough surfaces. It's a non-factor for comfort for lighter riders. 

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45 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

I strongly suspect people who weight under 160 pounds don't even think about wide tires, or tire pressures, or rough rides simply because the tire (the spring) easily moves and bounces them over bumps and rough surfaces. It's a non-factor for comfort for lighter riders. 

125 lbs, getting beat to a pulp on a v8 ;)

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1 hour ago, LanghamP said:

20 psi sounds dangerously low. Far far too low to even safely ride, doesn't the tire simply fall off the rim while turning?

i rode for the first 6 months at 20 psi.  0 tire issues.  It slows down the turning a bit taking the edge off for learning and its a better ride

 

 

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21 minutes ago, MaxLinux said:

Even with 0 tire issues, that's too low!

Might be too low, but I want to try it.  Going to let out some air to get to 30 psi.  Then test it tomorrow.  (knees hurt after 30 minutes)  If the tire fails, well, I put the bigger balloon tire.

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Don't ride under 30 psi (2.0 bars) under any circumstances, no matter how little you weigh! The wheel doesn't handle in a safe manner under that even on flat ground. A surprise in traffic or road surface and the wheel won't obey.

I used 34 psi (2.3 bars) for the first months when I used inappropriate shoes, but once I got proper shoes and insoles I went to 41 psi (2.8 bars) with the same level of comfort but hugely better handling and rolling ease. Now that I'm accustomed to 49 psi (3.4 bars) I disliked the resistance to rolling even at 44 psi (3.0 bars). I do weigh 210 lbs (95 kg) though.

@Steve454, if riding at 34 psi hurts your knees, you have a problem that can't be further aided by lowering the tire pressure. Check the list in my earlier posting.

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9 minutes ago, mrelwood said:

Don't ride under 30 psi (2.0 bars) under any circumstances, no matter how little you weigh! The wheel doesn't handle in a safe manner under that even on flat ground. A surprise in traffic or road surface and the wheel won't obey.

I used 34 psi (2.3 bars) for the first months when I used inappropriate shoes, but once I got proper shoes and insoles I went to 41 psi (2.8 bars) with the same level of comfort but hugely better handling and rolling ease. Now that I'm accustomed to 49 psi (3.4 bars) I disliked the resistance to rolling even at 44 psi (3.0 bars). I do weigh 210 lbs (95 kg) though.

@Steve454, if riding at 34 psi hurts your knees, you have a problem that can't be further aided by lowering the tire pressure. Check the list in my earlier posting.

I tried the low pressure and it was no good.  I used an ink pen to let some air out at the park, should have put a pressure gauge to it.  Found out after getting home that it was at 20 psi.:facepalm:  It was so mushy I was afraid the tube would get a hole worn in it so I only rode for a very short time.  I had a hard time turning at slow speed, there was so much friction, I couldn't ride backwards because it was too difficult to turn the wheel properly.  When I got home I pumped it back up to 50 psi,  I normally start at 50 and when it gets down to about 40 psi, it starts feeling a little soft and I pump it back up again.

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18 minutes ago, steve454 said:

I tried the low pressure and it was no good.

Do I understand correctly: You usually use 50 psi as 40 psi feels a little soft, but it hurts your knees so you tried 20 psi? I don't quite get how you figured that could work.

If you want to try softer, decrease the pressure by 5 psi increments to get a proper idea how the comfort and handling actually change.

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7 minutes ago, mrelwood said:

Do I understand correctly: You usually use 50 psi as 40 psi feels a little soft, but it hurts your knees so you tried 20 psi? I don't quite get how you figured that could work.

If you want to try softer, decrease the pressure by 5 psi increments to get a proper idea how the comfort and handling actually change.

It was just an experiment, I never rode with really low pressure before and someone mentioned riding at 20 psi with no problems, so I just wanted to see what it was like.  Now I know.

I'll stay with the 40-50 range.  I read your other post about the insoles and different shoes.  I have tried a few different shoes and they all feel different.  I will keep trying different shoes until I find the most comfortable.  I think the reason my knees start hurting is because I have flat feet, and standing on the pedals makes my knees turn in more than just walking.  I have arch supports in the shoes, but your idea of double insoles sounds good.

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3 hours ago, steve454 said:

I think the reason my knees start hurting is because I have flat feet, and standing on the pedals makes my knees turn in more than just walking.  I have arch supports in the shoes, but your idea of double insoles sounds good.

Are you able to move and turn/position your feet freely on the pedals? I can well imagine that pain could come from a forced static foot positioning.

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4 hours ago, steve454 said:

 I think the reason my knees start hurting is because I have flat feet, and standing on the pedals makes my knees turn in more than just walking.  I have arch supports in the shoes, but your idea of double insoles sounds good.

Skip to 3:15.

I'll also add that letting your knees go past a vertical line from your toes puts a lot of stress on your knees.

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14 hours ago, Mono said:

Are you able to move and turn/position your feet freely on the pedals? I can well imagine that pain could come from a forced static foot positioning.

Yes, but once the feet are in the most comfortable position, they don't move until I step off.  

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1 hour ago, steve454 said:

Yes, but once the feet are in the most comfortable position, they don't move until I step off.  

It may be a good idea to acquire the habit of keeping "constantly moving" the foot position, even if the moves are just tiny changes. The first thing to recognize is that the forward-backward weight distribution can be changed for one foot if the other does the respective compensation. That is, I can put (almost) all weight of the left foot onto the heel if the right foot compensates by taking (almost) all weight with the frontfoot, and of course vice versa. From there pretty much any movement will soon come naturally.

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