European spring classics tire choice

I’m having a very hard time chosing tires.

I’m riding both the Flanders and Roubaix sportives.

i ride a 2020 Madone SLR, (and yes, 32s fit!(with discs…))

i already know i’m going to ride the 32s for Roubaix, but i’m told that Flanders pave is smooth compared to PR. I’m doing the long version of both rides; the 235km route at Flanders, and the 175km route at Roubaix.

I could use the 32s for Flanders, but with that distance, i’m worried about aero penalties, rolling resistance, etc. maybe i’m overthinking it, or maybe not.

Any help is appreciated! Bonus points if you have done both before…

ALSO! how about we get a TR group to party/bbq and watch the pro race? Sounds like fun!

I’ve ridden Flanders twice on 25s. I would have preferred a 30 I believe, but the rim brake road bike I use won’t fit them. While wider would have been better, I may do it on 25s again this year. I am considering riding my gravel bike this year for Flanders with 32 or 33s on it just because the bike fits me so well. But I don’t know if I want to take the weight penalty for a long day.

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I’m doing the 177km Flanders this year. Doing it on my Canyon Grail with Roval CL50s fitted with 28mm GP5000 TLs.
I’ve not done the ride before but feel this will be better than my BMC Teammachine with Dura Ace C50s fitted with 25mm GP5000 CLs.
Time will tell - not that I’m going to do it twice to compare the two!!
btw - as I’m sure you know, the long Flanders extra 60km is pan flat on smooth tarmac so a decent rolling tyre will be better suited here.

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That extra bit before the rest of the route is somewhat concerning. i may just meet in the middle and run a set of 30s for both.

Thanks for the reply. In all reality, i don’t want to get too “beat up” at flanders when i have Roubaix the next weekend.

Also on that note, i never in my life thought i’d hear myself have that problem. living in Europe is awesome lol

Yeah, I would definitely recommend something wide for Roubaix. And so it might be a good chance to test it out at Flanders.

I’m also doing the 177 again. I’ve never done the 212 or whatever it is because of the logistics, earlier start, and the first part is literally just mileage. If at any point you don’t feel your fitness is up to it, you get sick the week before, or anything else happens you can downsize to the 177 or 135 at packet pickup for free.

The longest version just adds flat miles. The 177 adds the Muur de Gerhardbergen (I know it’s spelled wrong), the 135 (or whatever) hits everyhting by the Muur. And the 85 puts you straight in to the most famous climbs and leaves out a bunch of the flat cobbled sections and some of the climbs to the east.

The long route and 177 both ride out from an intersection and the 135 keeps going. So you have a bail out in the middle if you have a bad day but can still get to the other climbs, you’ll just miss the Muur.

Things to be prepared for, when you do the 2 longer routes, you will end up backed up on the famous climbs; the Koppenburg, Paterburg, and probably the Kwaremont. The Koppenburg is the thinnest and so often times has a long standing queue where they send forward about 10 people at a time. If you do the shorter routes you can get to them early enough before they set that up.

Be prepared to be over dressed. Worst part for me is dressing for the cold and rain and having to hve that stuff with me still when it’s 55 and sunny at a different part of the day. The weather is unpredictable and changes a lot. The pros are always in and out of their gillets and jackets but they have support. So I drive up with a lot of different options and make a choice the morning of or night before.

It’s a ton of fun. There are a lot of TR users who ride it every year. At some point you’ll think “Why the hell did I sign up for this??” But it’s all good fun. It’s not a race so don’t forget to take it in and stop for some pictures occassionally.

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Good topic, doing the long Gent Wevelgem this year. Normally ride my cross bike with slick 32s on the road in the UK over the winter, so might stick with that but tempting to go with something a bit more sprightly.

I believe wider tires will get you lower rolling resistance. Aero and weight are another story.

You’re over thinking it. I run 30s for a regular non-cobbled race season. Maybe I’m giving up some speed but I’ve never noticed anything other than increased comfort.

If you’re in the draft the aero penalty would be nearly zero. There are a lot of people out there for those races.

Use the 32s. Bask in comfort. Go just as fast. Unless it comes down to a sprint for the line for first place (of a sportive mind you) I wouldnt worry about it for a second.


yeah, i’m DEFINITELY over thinking it. lol


I think i might bump down the distance on Roubaix, only because i’ll be with my family (wife and two young girls). We are staying in Roubaix, and i passed on taking the bus to the start on the long route. i can just ride from the Air BnB to the start in Roubaix. if i really want that extra 30km, i can get it wherever i want.

Flanders is a different story though. We are staying in Ghent, so it’s not a terrible drive to the start the morning of. My wife will have no problem driving back to the Air BnB then driving to the finish to pick me up (we’re American, so she still feels uncomfortable driving in unfamiliar countries by herself with the girls).

I feel like i HAVE to do the long route for Flanders. The whole reason for the 100km of nothing before the actual race is to make the hills suck just that much more. In my mind, if i want to be a true Flandrian, i have to do the long route (at least once) lol. i say all this now, but i’ll be hating myself if i’m walking the climbs late in the ride

Good topic, I’m doing the 175km Flanders route then staying on a couple of days to ride the last 100km of Roubaix before I head home.

Will ride my gravel bike but plan to switch out the 40 Ones to something around 30-32 like the conti 5000’s.

Thanks for the general info about the day, good to know these things, certainly didn’t expect it to be "race"but interesting to know they limit the riders on the smaller steeper climbs