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28mm vs 32mm Tires: Which One to Choose?

28mm vs 32mm Tires
Written by Cobie Brown
Last Update: August 16, 2023

There is the common saying that “wider tires are always better,” which is somewhat true.

So, 32mm is definitely your go-to choice if it fits your bike for more comfort and stability without compromising on speed and aerodynamics. More so if you often have to handle ice, sand, oil, or even water during your ride.

You’ll also do fine with good 28mm tires if the road is smooth – the sweet spot of many avid bikers.

Just don’t forget that with more thickness comes the need to maintain the right tire pressure.

28mm vs 32mm Tires: How Do They Differ?

Comparing factors 28mm 32mm
Weight Lighter Heavier
Speed Faster Slower
Riding experience Less smooth More smooth
Air pressure High Low
Comfort Less comfortable More comfortable
Aerodynamicity More aerodynamic Less aerodynamic
Rotational mass Lower Higher
Acceleration Faster Slower
Rolling resistance Lower Higher
Installation More difficult Less difficult
Off-road performance Bad Good
Cornering Less stable More stable
Climbing performance Bad Good
Puncture resistance Low High


This is the main reason 32mm tires are preferred over 28mm tires.

A thinner tire is less comfortable than a wider tire because of the air pressure difference. It needs less air to reach the same PSI than a wider tire.

So, the tire needs more air to maintain the perfect air pressure, which results in hard and stiff tires.

Thin tires are less comfortable as they transfer all the bumps in the road to the frame and the rider.


The biggest difference between 28mm and 32mm tires is their weight. 32mm tires are almost 50% heavier than 28mm tires.

This difference may not seem significant but if you take your biking seriously, you know that adding extra weight to your bike is not a good idea.


28mm tires are a clear winner here as they are faster than 32mm tires due to being slimmer and lighter.


28mm tires have lower rotational mass because of their lightness and narrowness. This means they will provide faster acceleration as there is less material to spin.

Although you won’t notice much difference if you use your bike occasionally, it matters a lot for MTBers or professional cyclists because they need to accelerate quickly after every turn.

Rolling resistance

For the same tire models and the same pressure level, 32mm tires will have lower rolling resistance as wider tires deform less and maintain their round shape under pressure, which helps them roll easily on every surface condition.

However, you will barely notice any rolling difference since the tires will have only 4mm of width difference.

Riding experience

32mm tires are more stable and comfortable but as the speed is slower it may seem sluggish to you if you make a sudden tire change.

On the contrary, 28mm tires are narrower and run at a higher speed, which will provide a break-free feeling to you.

Off-road performance

As 32mm tires are wider, they make more contact with the surface. As a result, they are a good choice if you often ride on unpaved terrains.

The lower air pressure is another benefit that helps absorb shocks as the tire squishes in this case rather than bouncing when rolling over bumps.

Although 32mm tires are also not wide enough to give you the needed support, they are better than 28mm tires.

Climbing performance

Wider tires are higher in size than thinner ones as they have larger circumferences. This has a negative effect on their hill climbing performance.

Their lower air pressure makes it difficult to support going uphill because of their squishy movements.


Sharp cornering is always more stable in the case of wider tires. As 32mm tires are wider, they contact the surface well and ensure a more stable cornering.


Theoretically, wider tires are less aerodynamic than their thinner counterparts.

In the case of 28mm vs 32mm tires, the difference is pretty small and will obviously remain unnoticed by you if you are an ordinary rider.

Puncture resistance

Another difference you will notice after riding for a long time is how often the tires are punctured. Due to having more contact patch and lower air pressure, 32mm tires are more puncture-resistant than 28mm tires.


Although the installation depends on the model of the tire and its structure, removing the used thinner tire from the rims and installing new ones is usually more difficult than wider tires.

This can be quite annoying if you need to do it roadside. However, this is not always 100% true as you will also find thinner tires that are easy to install.


As thinner tires have a slim profile, they fit a wide variety of forks and frames. But make sure they fit your bike before you opt for them.

Effects on your joints

As said before, wider tires can easily absorb bumps on the road with their lower air pressure. This helps reduce stress on the bike as well as your joints.

If you have sore shoulders, wrists, elbows, or back after a ride, it’s time to switch to wider ones if possible.

28mm vs 32mm Tires: Which One to Choose?

The answer to this question totally depends on your needs. If you enjoy MTBing or enduro there’s no need to choose wider tires. But if you are an ordinary commuter or ride occasionally, you can choose depending on your riding places, habits, and preferences.

Most of the factors discussed in this blog are theoretically proven but have really little effect in reality as the tires have only a 4mm width difference.

About the author

Cobie Brown

Born and grew up in Colorado, I chose to work in the field of what I liked most, biking. I’ve been working as a full time mechanic in the cycling industry for over 13 years. I started BMXing when I was just a 6-year-old kid and got hooked from the very first day. Then I started riding and not a single day went by since then that I didn’t touch my bike.

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