Changes to ETRTO: Do new wheel and tyre combination recommendations affect your safety?

Enve SES 4.5 Wheelset inner surface without wheel tape
(Image credit: Josh Ross)

In recent years, the trend in wheels and tyres has taught us that wider is better. As new wheels come to market, the marketing team will happily follow the lead of modern riders who prefer bigger tyres for more comfort. At the same time, the engineers involved continue to show concrete advantages. Wheels are more stable in crosswinds when the exterior is wider with a rounder point. Pairing wider wheels with wider tyres makes the whole system aerodynamically faster. Given all this, wheels and tyres have steadily grown. 

Over the last few years, the informal standard has shifted. Around 2020 the vast majority of new wheels coming to market had a 19mm internal width and most people would have paired that with a 25mm tyre. By 2023, things have shifted to a new informal standard of 21mm wheels paired with 28mm tyres and another shift seems to be on the horizon. The most forward-thinking wheel manufacturers started to not only build hookless wheels but have also been expanding the internal width from 21mm up to 25mm. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, something changed. 

US Tech Writer Josh Ross
Josh Ross

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Josh Ross

Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes. Height: 5'9" Weight: 140 lb. Rides: Salsa Warbird, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx