Touring - 26" tires suck
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04-15-06, 06:58 PM
I built a bike to tour with and used 26" tires. Lots of guys recommended these. I did my first century today in preparation for a 400 mile trip this summer. I rode behind a guy today that was an old phart. I couldn't keep up with him. I was pedalling my buns off and he was doing about 64 rpm's. He left me in the dirt and would stop and that is the only way I could catch him. We would start out again and he would pull away from me again, I was amazed at how slow he was pedalling and still pulled away from him. I was on a mtn bike frame with 26" tires. LooKs like I am going to have to get a real touring bike. Now before some of you say it ain't about the speed that is not what I am worried about. But with bigger tires I could probably travel more miles on tour with the same amount of effort
04-15-06, 07:42 PM
Maybe that old fart has 50 years of cycling experience over you. Don't blame your bike just yet...:)
04-15-06, 07:45 PM
Nope it wasn't that. He wasn't out hammering me. He was just strolling along like ride in the park.
I've ridden the same route with 26" 27" and 700c wheels. It makes no difference, all things being equal. BTW: I've dropped folks on 700c road bikes with my mtn bike. Depends on the rider.
04-15-06, 08:07 PM
O.K, He was just stronger than me. My hat is off to the old phart then. I am glad cause I don't want to switch bikes now. I like my mtn bike frame. I could ride forever if my butt didn't get tired and sore
04-15-06, 08:10 PM
If you two were the same height you could have switched bikes for a mile or two to answer this dilemma.
Old guys are sometimes fit and skilled riders. Elsewhere you've said you'd been cycling seriously for 2 years. Maybe that older guy has 40 years of fitness and experience. Having said that, I believe you were on a mountain bike with 1.5" tires, and he's on a road bike with maybe 1" tires, so that does give him a slight advantage, and if there was a slight upslope and his bike was lighter that might have helped too.
04-15-06, 08:19 PM
I was pedalling my buns off and he was doing about 64 rpm's. He left me in the dirt and would stop and that is the only way I could catch him.
LooKs like I am going to have to get a real touring bike.
I'm no expert, but was the gearing the same on both bikes? I would look at that first.
Ride with the 'old phart' again and ask him to switch bikes for a few miles, then you will know who the stronger rider is!
If you plan to do loaded touring, you will want a bike with lower gearing.
04-15-06, 08:31 PM
There are LARGE differences in rolling resistance in 26" tires and also MTB hubs tended to have a lot of friction in them since they were designed to roll downhills without breaking instead of a long way on a road with minimal friction.
Get a good set of wheels and a try various tires such as Continental or Vredesteins http://www.bicycletires.com/tek9.asp?pg=products&specific=joropok0
As others pointed out, it wasn't your bike. If it was the bike you'd have started out OK and able to keep up without problems but gradually falling behind getting weaker and weaker.
Yeah ... never underestimate the older guys!!
You see, in the world of Randonneuring, the average age of the riders is about 50 years old. Average age. That means that there are some younger riders (between about 30 and 50), there are a whole collection of older riders .... I know of some who do the ultra-distance riding who are in their 80s.
And I know of one particular guy who has become very well known in Randonneuring and long distance circles by the name of Ken Bonner. He's a Canadian from British Columbia and he rides a multitude of long distance events every year ... and FAST! He can knock off a 400 kilometer brevet in about 14 hours, 600 kilometer brevet in about 25 hours, and a 1200 kilometer randonnee in under 60 hours, including all his breaks. And what always amazes me is that Ken is about 64 years old ... and so far, shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
04-15-06, 09:00 PM
Remember that most mountain bikes come stock with a maximum 44t chainring and roadbikes 52t.
46t (shimano deore now available in this) is a good mod if you are doing a lot of straight road travelling. Likewise a 50 or 48t chainset is a common mod if you are heavily laden or riding in mountainous country on a 700c tourer as you will rarely use the big ring otherwise.
You can fit a road crankset to a mountain bike but you will lose all your ground clearance and negate a lot of the reason for riding one in the first place.
The cheapest way to get some pace on your 26" is to fit some true slicks like Conti Sport Contacts (brilliant!) or Specialized fatboys etc. Then pump them up to the recommended pressure.
But remember that wider mountainbike rims are not really designed to hold a 100psi plus tyre on. Check the manufacturers website if possible or measure the width of the rim and check the mavic site for the recommended presures for similar sized hoops. All recommended pressures will have a large margin of safety. The main risk is that really wide rims and narrow tyres put a lot of stress on the tyre sidewall/bead so you can go through tyres very quickly.
04-15-06, 10:07 PM
But with bigger tires I could probably travel more miles on tour with the same amount of effort
You didn't mention what type of tyres you have on the MTN you were riding. What kind of tyres are you riding on? What are the gearing differences between the two bikes?
04-15-06, 10:24 PM
Gearing and wheel diameter isn't the problem - both riders will go to the appropriate front-rear gearing that best allows them to maintain the fastest pace without blowing up. The only factors here that can really make a measurable difference are:
physical fitness (most significant)
aerodynamics (next most significant)
rolling resistance in tires (significant)
rolling resistance in hubs (minimal)
bike weight (minimal unless hilly)
Fitness level will most determine who can maintain the fastest pace, other things being relatively equal. Assuming fairly comparable fitness levels, then it is your tires and riding position that were hurting you. Slicks at 100psi will take care of the tires, a lower and more forward bar will help your aerodynamics and power efficiency.
you can fit a 700c wheelset in any mountain bike
(disc mounts help if you want brakes)
go ahead, try it. as long as you shod that 700c with
a skinny tire, bam, there is your road bike
the only problem is braking. get discs, done.
you can fit a 700c wheelset in any mountain bike
(disc mounts help if you want brakes)
This isn't true. Period. There are many MTBs that will not fit a 700C wheelset.
Differences in rolling resistance from 26" to 700C tires (based on size) are pretty minimal. Differences in rolling resistance due to off-road knobby tread vs. inverted or slick road tread are very significant. Tire width makes some difference in rolling resistance as well. How much difference it makes varies greatly depending upon the tire, its tread and/or sidewall rubber formulation, and the pressure that it is designed to be used at as opposed to what pressure that it is actually being used at.
Wheel size plays a role, but you would probably be hard-pressed to notice the difference in effort required to move a 700C vs. 26" wheel at the same speed. It might matter under racing conditions. For touring, I wouldn't worry too much about the size of your wheels. It would be an expensive change, even assuming that it is possible, and probably without any meaningful advantage.
My old Trek 830 has 1.5" (38mm)Armadillos on it. Not the easiest tires to push down the road. Still, I go on 40 mile rides with lots of people on road bikes all the time. I have no problem keeping up and even staying up front most of the time. Usually, I'll end up with the faster guys as the group naturally splits out. I have the original 28-38-48 OvalTech rings and platform pedals. Science says I should be sweeping up.
It's fitness mostly. I've ridden hard all winter. Everyone else seems to be just waking up. I expect that as the season go on, I'll lose some steam as the others get into comparatively better shape.
When I bring the 520, I leave a smoke trail. So, there is a difference because of rolling resistance (28mm tires). Also, the 520 is a little lighter. On both bikes I give up something in a wind because I ride upright. That's the tough one for me.
. . . . MTB hubs tended to have a lot of friction in them since they were designed to roll downhills without breaking instead of a long way on a road with minimal friction.
You know I have been wondering about this. I just finished overhauling my MTB commuter including overhauling all of the bearings. Even after cleaning, new grease,new bearings,and painstaking adjustment I was surprised how much resistance there was, especially in the rear hub . . . .and no . . the cups were not pitted and I did not overpack the hub with grease. However, the rear hub had fairly large bearings in it that I assumed was meant to better handle the pounding that a MTB was designed to take.
Except for the contact seals that MTB usually have, no difference in friction between road and MTB hubs of the same quality.
04-16-06, 09:00 AM
I know there's no good scientific explanation for it, but I'm gonna dissent and agree with Babysaph--my 700c tires just "feel" faster. On my mtn. bike, I always felt like I was spinning, spinning, spinning, never getting anywhere, and even though it doesn't make any sense, I can get up hills on my touring bike that I couldn't climb on my mtn. bike (which had lower gearing).
It could be the difference between tire pressures (my Conti TT 2000 700-32 run 30 psi higher than my Michelin 26x1.5 slicks), it could be difference in frame weight (my touring rig is a few pounds lighter), it's probably not the gearing (44-34-24 x 12-18 on mtn. bike vs. 48-36-24 x 12-28 on road), it's not the rider, maybe it's the spirit of my vintage lugged frame that grabs a hold of me and makes me want to ride hard and smoke Gauloises, but I think it may be something else.
I really liked my Mtn. bike, but the geometry and fit of that bike just didn't ever feel right. I know you're all going to say that with proper sizing and fitting you can be just as comfortable on a mtn. bike and a road bike, and you're probably right. For me, though, that bike was never comfortable. It was the right size for me according to most schools of thought to size a mtn. bike (2-3 inches of standover clearance), but the right size in a road bike is much more comfortable for me. This hold true across the board, as I've test-riden several tourers, roadies and mtn. bikes. My legs just don't tire like they did on my Mtn. bike and I feel like I'm able to engage more muscle groups when peddling my touring rig. There's just something about the relaxed road geometry of a touring bike that allows my body to stay on the bike longer, with more stamina, and have more fun doing it. So while you're right that there's not a compelling scientific explanation for the differences between a 26" mtn bike and a 700c touring bike, I find the feel completely different and greatly prefer the latter to the former.
04-16-06, 10:25 AM
Well he could have been cycling for 40 years and maybe he just took up his smoking habit. But he had a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth and was at least 60 lbs overweight which made me think it was the recumbent bike he was on.
04-16-06, 10:28 AM
Did I mention he was on a recumbent. His tires were even wider than mine
04-16-06, 10:30 AM
04-16-06, 01:32 PM
04-16-06, 02:16 PM
... I rode behind a guy today that was an old phart....
I really have nothing to add to this thread except to complain about your spelling of Old Fart.
04-16-06, 02:34 PM
Troll? What does that mean? I am a newbie here so I need some things explained.
04-16-06, 07:34 PM
Think about this: those seals that MTB hubs mount put about an additional .25 ounces of friction on the wheel per revolution.
Doesn't sound like much does it?
There are about 90 inches outside circumference on an MTB wheel. That means that there is something like 700 revolutions per mile. On a 40 mile ride that's 700 * 40 * .25/16 = 437.5 lbs additional work you've performed.
Still think that seal is no big deal?
04-16-06, 09:10 PM
"...A 650c wheel has to rotate more often to travel the same distance than a 700c wheel and the spokes generate greater turbulence for a given distance travelled because of that...."
04-16-06, 09:41 PM
Before we get too far into theoretical LaLa-Land, keep in mind that 26" wheels should be stronger,(this is the touring forum, right?) and should accelerate quicker. Theoretically, of course. Now, how many mountain bikes can dance on the head of a pin?
Recumbent!! Cr@p yuour granny could beat you on a recumbent if there was enough wind.
Air pressure is another factor, that while already mentioned, is hard to assess from bike to bike. I've had techs get all sweaty pumping up a road tire for a bike test, or something, and pass the bike to me convinced they had hammered in 100 pounds while the tire gage often shows something like 60 pounds.
Wheel weight is another significant factor. Aero dynamics is huge but only if the platform is significantly worse in that regard, and that is not likely on the average rigid MTB vs. touring bike.
04-17-06, 07:35 AM
I don't know anything about recumbents but his tires were fatter than mine and his bike was heavier. I asked my wife what a troll was on the computer and she said you guys didn't believe me. It is O.K but he was smoking and looked like he had played more shuffleboard than bike riding. He even has bluejeans on. I me he nonchalantly pedalled that bike completely away from. This is the truth.
04-17-06, 07:50 AM
I am doing a century again this weekend. I will load the saddlebags and see what happens with these gears
04-17-06, 11:05 AM
Recumbants offer a huge aerodynamic advantage over diamond frame bikes. They make it a lot easier to go fast... after all, wind resistance is the largest contributor to friction if you are going any faster than a slow jog. (Which is why recumbants aren't allowed in most major racing events)
I wouldn't worry about changing the wheel size. An inch difference in diameter isn't enough to ever notice, and it would probably be a huge headache to change over.
If you are running knobbies... consider switching to a decent quality touring tire (Conti, Schwalbe, etc.) and that will help a lot. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy the ride!
04-17-06, 11:13 AM
Since this old fart is on a bent, next time you can hopefully smoke him on the climbs....;)
The main point about a troll is that the story is being told just to whip up controversy, and sit back and enjoy the catfight, vs. a question where one doesn't know the answer. A troll could be initiated with a true or untrue story. Think as in fishing by trolling, artificial lures and live bait both work.
I don't think this is a troll necesarilly. A lot of people are unsure about what tires and wheels are best. And all questions are welcome here.
The short answer is that for pure ease of peddling, 26" wheels can be better than more comon touring based 700c wheels, but only with similar components. A cheap 26" wheel with heavier mountain components will not perform as well as a dedicated toruing wheel. As mentioned above, even the right tires at the right pressure will get you most of the performance you need.
If you are running centuries on a mountain bike, you are well prepared for touring.
04-17-06, 06:50 PM
Well I used my mountain bike rims and just put a skinnier tire on it. Is there a better way to do it. I am basically riding a mtn bike with 1.50 tires on it. That is the only difference. I might need to invest in a real touring bike but I am so new to this I don't know the difference . I do like to be able to get off the road a little if needed
i tour with 700 x 25 100psi kevlar lined tires (self-contained). there is less resistance than 700 x 35, 27 x 1/4, and have only briefly considered touring with 26 x 1.5 - 2.0. the choice should include where you're headed, got gear, how much gear, and what's your distance per day/goal.
04-18-06, 05:22 PM
Fart or Phart or Fat or Phat - Who cares!
I'm an old phart compared to many here I don't care how you spell it.
I changed tires on my Marin Wildcat Trail from a 2.5 inch knobby to a 1.25 street tire. Man what a difference. The change in tire width, tread and more importantly weight shaved on the tire really allows me to fly with those things. HOWEVER!
Compared to my 55cm touring bike with 700's it is the gearing that makes all of the difference in sustained / cruising speed for me.
You should see if the Old Guy has a two chain rings and what they are. You might be on your large chain ring and he is on his (lower cadence yet good speed) and you will be hard pressed to keep up.
I bit if he is trolling!
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