You’d be surprised how big of a tire you can squeeze into some of the older road bikes. My Merckx fits a plumb 28mm tire with ease and those Campagnolo NR mid-reach brakes can wrap their arms around, reaching the braking surface. Now what happened between the 1980’s and modern bike design is up to anyone to debate. Clearances got tighter, more aero, stiffer and a mentality that a smaller tire is faster took over the pro peloton. Like it always has, the trickle down effect hit store shelves and consumers did what they do best: consume. I know this is a bleak picture of tire clearance on road bikes, but it’s mostly unexaggerated. Mostly…
It seems that now with the whole “adventure / gravel grind / blah blah” trend, companies are designing bikes that fit big tires with the aid of disc brakes. Now we’ve got “all road, road plus” and various other terms to describe these machines, designed for riding off-road.
But what about the classic steel race bikes from back “in the day?”
Enter the All-City Mr. Pink. We’ve reviewed one before here on the site and while I stuck with a moderate 28mm tire, I could clearly see this bike was made for more rubber. With a caveat though. Putting bigger tires on the Mr. Pink means you’ve gotta go for a mid-reach brake, like the Paul Racer, or in this case, the Velo Orange Grand Cru long reach brakes. With those, you can fit a 30mm tire, with ease, making this one capable chubby road bike.