Bigger tyres are common on road bikes these days but Trek recommends nothing larger than 28mm for the new Emonda. Here is a video showing that you can, in fact, fit 32mm Continental GP5000s if you so desire…
Our Trek Emonda review bike came fitted with glorious 25mm Bontrager R4 320 tyres. They have been credited as one of the key contributors to the lovely ride qualities but, in 2020, there’s a trend for larger rubber on road bikes.
For the sake of discussion (and our of personal curiosity), we swapped the Bontrager clinchers with 32mm Continental GP5000 black wall tyres. Trek suggests you don’t do this. The fit is snug, but you can do it.
The black wall tyres change the aesthetic of the bike entirely, and not only because of the colour but also the size. It turns what is a svelte looking race bike into something more utilitarian… but I say that before going for a ride.
There’s not much clearance with the frame and one reader has already explained why he won’t use larger tyres on his Emonda. “Happily ran 28c tyres on my 2018 Emonda SLR disc,” writes Eliot R, “until a fateful day on the Sunshine Coast hinterland where some debris got caught between the front tyre and top of the fork, gouging out the beautiful P1 paint job. Got it repaired and 25c only thereafter.”
The Bontrager RSL 37 wheels are tubeless ready but, for the purpose of this experiment, I used the Bontrager tubes that came with the bike (60mm valves, 110g). The GP5000s went on with relative ease and they certainly match the package neatly even if they are not the tyres that are intended for this bike.
There’s a difference in weight of 53g for each tyre. I’m yet to experience what the ride qualities are like (that’s something for a future clip), but we can assume that it’ll change the dynamic of the bike, more because of the additional size but the extra weight will also have an effect.
It’s also worth nothing that Continental launched a limited-edition white sidewall TDF version of the GP5000s this week. These are due for delivery in Australia around August 2020.
The original tyres were 25mm and the difference is significant. They are not just suitable tyres, they are beautiful too. And, after around 700km of riding on the Trek, there’s barely a mark on the rubber – and I know they have rolled over more than a few bits of glass and debris.
To date, no punctures… but I’m sure that I’ve just jinxed that and I’ll get a flat next time I use the Bontrager tyres. Before that, however, there’ll be some rides on the Emonda with the 32mm rubber and I’ll report in on the changes of ride characteristics and other things I notice in due course.
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This is an experiment done largely because I believe there are plenty of people out there who would be interested to know if the bigger tyre fits. Within a day of posting the video on YouTube, someone else explained that he had already ordered his new Emonda, complete with Project One paint job, under the proviso that it would fit 32mm tyres.
“My new P1 Emonda is on order,” writes Matt. “When spec’ing the bike I told my local dealer I wanted to go with tubeless 32mm. Normally run clincher 28mm on my Madone. So glad to see they fit. Thanks for doing this. I’m almost more excited though for the gum wall GP’s. Long overdue.”
And so, although the bike – as spec’ed by Trek – is fantastic to ride, there are going to be people out there who want some customisation, like larger tyres.
– By Rob Arnold