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  1. #1
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    Expert wisdom and clarity requested with regard 26x1-1/8" ultra-gators on MTB wheels

    I have a older mountain bike (cannondale m400) that I have recently converted over to single-speed city bike (new race crank and SS cog w/spacers). My thoughts are to just make it a good and easy get on and pedal kind of bike. I've had this bike sitting in my basement for about 10-years collecting cobwebs and with the decision to get back to riding and pressing it into service I want it's usage to be simple and easy for riding about the city streets, thus it will be used virtually 100% of the time as a road bike, no off road or dirt at all.

    With the decision to single-speed it, I also want to somewhat manage the energy spent pedaling so I also decided to put road tires on that favored low rolling resistance and as good puncture resistance that I could manange considering the junk strewn about the city streets, the original were 26x2.1 knobbies. I put on 26x1-1/8" continental ultra gatorskins.

    I've been away from cycling long enough to know I'm no expert, these were the only size in 26" of this tire so I assumed it would fit..after all..."why not"? And it does! To my eye they look good, feel good and look tight! Alas, I have not been able to perform my test ride, I have been snowed in under all this winter snow for the past week with the expectation of more snow again at the beginning of the workweek so I have not been able to go for a test ride since I've completed the build to experience how it all feels.

    With this downtime I've found and joined this forum and have been reading quite a bit to get myself up to speed and informed. I came upon a number of discussions from folks that have performed this MTB to Road/hybrid just as I have done, but I have also come upon some references with regard to tires and wheels that have piqued my interest and drawn my attention more than others. In my review of various threads I'm seeing some folks state that these tires do not fit on MTB 26" wheels.

    Sorry- I'm being rather descriptively wordy; but in short can some of you guys that are more knowledgeable about these things than myself tell me if I have just done something foolish and potentially dangerous? Are these tires in fact not sensible to put on my wheels (original wheels..plain-jane looking 'Sunrims AT18' is the only label on them telling me anything). Is it opinion or is it fact with regard fitment and thus I should get these shoes off pronto!

    Again, to my look and feel they seem fine but an expert I am not. I suppose sitting on the bike in the basement dreaming of being able to ride in on dry asphalt is not a real assessment.

    I know there are wider widths readily available, I did also peep the schwalbe kojaks 2-inchers but was swayed by the safety blanket that the ultra-gatorskins seem to promote (puncture resistance) that I decided to go with them and also hope that the slimmer width would also offer the low roll resistance that I think I'd appreciate seeing as I have a single gear. (I also have mentally made peace that the ride will also be firm/hard with the high psi on the gators)

    A little insight, wisdom and clarity from those of you that know would be much appreciated. Am I putting my safety in jeopardy with these tires on my MTB wheels?

    (p.s: an example of a discussion that raised my eyebrows- http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=26+tire+width)
    Last edited by Moozh; 02-14-10 at 12:54 AM.

  2. #2
    cab horn
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    Read off the ISO number on the 1 1/8" tyres. If they are not 559 then they are not compatible. Most fractional sizes are not compatible with modern "decimal" sized tyres. Regarding width - the inflated width of the tyre profile should not be narrower than the rim. This is easily verified by visual inspection
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  3. #3
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Read off the ISO number on the 1 1/8" tyres. If they are not 559 then they are not compatible. Most fractional sizes are not compatible with modern "decimal" sized tyres. Regarding width - the inflated width of the tyre profile should not be narrower than the rim. This is easily verified by visual inspection
    As far as the ISO number, they are 559. I don't know why Conti uses fractions in the sizing on these, but they do. We had an LHT come in once with these tires and they were marked 1 1/8, and the BSD was 559. If you look in the QBP catalog they're listed as 559 and 26 x 1 1/8.

  4. #4
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    As far as the ISO number, they are 559. I don't know why Conti uses fractions in the sizing on these, but they do. We had an LHT come in once with these tires and they were marked 1 1/8, and the BSD was 559. If you look in the QBP catalog they're listed as 559 and 26 x 1 1/8.
    I've seen this before on 630/27" tyres as well. ****ing stupid if you ask me.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  5. #5
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    much appreciation for the fast feedback:

    As stated by 'well biked', they are 559 and they definitely do 'balloon' somewhat thus are not narrower than the rim itself. Again, a novices eye looks at them, squeezes them and visually inspects the circumference and visually scrutinizes the 'bead area', it all looks consistent and not out of order. It looks to be as correctly seated on the wheel as anything. These are the wire beaded Ultra gators and not the kevlar if that means anything at all with regard my particular concern.

    Sorry but it's late and not so well lit in my basement but here are a few crudely and quickly taken pics in case some visual information is at all of any use:







    all tire, no rim..

    Am I okay?

  6. #6
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    I've seen this before on 630/27" tyres as well. ****ing stupid if you ask me.

    Yeah, if Continental weren't hiding their collective head in their collective pants, they'd mark the 26" Gator Skins as 26 x 1.125" to conform with the rest of the reality.

    Moozh: those tires are a bit narrower than I ran on my MTB when I put slicks on it. I ran 26 x 1.25" Tioga City Slickers, pumped up to 100psi, but then I'm 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds with my winter insulation on. If you're lighter than that and on relatively good roads, those tires won't kill you.
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  7. #7
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moozh View Post
    all tire, no rim..

    Am I okay?
    Yep. Keep 'em pumped up and don't hit any potholes.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  8. #8
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Yep. Keep 'em pumped up and don't hit any potholes.
    +1

    Go ride your ****ing bike.

    P.S Wtf are you doing up at 3am? Hitting the bottle?
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  9. #9
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    sigh....I'm nocturnal. Been this way since my night job while attending college back in eary 90's, great for "partying 'til the early light" but hard pressed to explain myself to the square-gentry. Something 'broke' in me working the graveyard shift that has never righted itself, I'll fall asleep when the ol' carcass tells me to sleep and 'somehow' I'll be awake by 7:30am..bleary eyed, but awake.

    Unfortunately I'm your height 6'4" but..ahem..250lbs (all muscle of course..ahem..), but got the insight that although probably stock cheap-os, the stock wheels are 36-spoke and strong enough to carry the bulk...erm....muscle, also picked up a brooks flyer seat (with the rear spring) to lend a hand with comfort. When I bought the bike I was same height but perhaps 200lbs in splendid shape.

    It's not a good visual complement for the bike but I think comfort before aesthetic with regard this specific item is in order. As I sat down and concocted my plan of attack this was my solution to the stiff ride I expect from the high psi conti's (115 psi is where I have them). Because of my lack of knowledge, I believed the 'benefits' of a low roll resistance tire to lend a hand with the handicap of my present state of physical health (not the superman I want to believe I am; energy/stamina will def be an issue to work on), this partnered with a saddle that could offset the harsh bumps was in order. I hope that makes sense.

    My hope is to stay consistent and work cycling into my lifes routine and hopefully in the near future justify the cost of a new bike (or frameset) if I indeed stick with it, become better informed and more knowledgeable about what I need/want for the type of cycling I actually do.

    Believe me, I'm 'jonesin like moses' to ride this bike, its just too slick and icy outside for these tread-less tires I think. Hate to have a spill 40-feet from my front door where all the neighbors can see...and chuckle.
    Last edited by Moozh; 02-14-10 at 02:00 AM.

  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Schwalbe also has some mixed markings on their tyres which can be confusing but am thankful they still make a nice selection of 26 by 1 3/8 fractional tyres for the 650a 590mm rims.

    Those Contis will have a pressure range they can be run at so you can play with tyre pressure to maximize the ride / speed.

    I am a little runt and usually do not run my tyres at max as it makes for a very harsh ride and impacts handling and the old school way to do this is to fill the tyres to a pressure where they only deflect slightly when you are putting all your weight on the bike.

  11. #11
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I use Nashbar 1.25 slicks on my two modified MTBs for street use. They are a good thrifty option.

    I think one of the best values out there right now are the vintage rigid frame mountain bikes, preferably one up the product line a ways. This is one of my two Trek 950s.

    I prefer to keep the gearing, I live in the mountains. I can't go more than a block from the house without facing a climb.



  12. #12
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    Thanks for the tip 'sixty fiver', I'll play with the pressure range once I get going to see which hits the sweet spot.

    Also truth be told I'm like you 'wrk101', a block in any direction from my house and i'm hitting an incline of some sort and 5 blocks I'm hitting secondary roadways with long and challenging grades, but outside of the test ride I dont plan to start riding immediately about my residence. I'm going to be a silly gas thirsty suburbanite and drive to the city (lol) to a commonly used bike path that runs along the river (Kelly drive in Philadelphia). I think a purpose built and communally used place like this will be helpful with both terrain and environment to keep me riding and hopefully making it stick.

    I had grip-shift stock on the bike and I recall finding that I spent a notable amount of mental energy and focus or gear selection and I think it took something away from the pure joy/fun that I could have had. The single-speed isnt ideal for where I live but while I get back in the groove, in the right terrain and environment I think I can have fun with it, thats my hope at least, and frankly if I hit a hill and I'm outta steam I'll just get off and walk. This is somewhat inevitable as I'm not in tip-top shape right now anyhow.

    Hopefully by summer I will be in better shape with more energy and better knowledge about what I need.

    btw, your bike looks good, it's a shame to think that it's considered 'vintage' now..wow. I've a very bad pic 'cos of poorly lit basement and dropshadow but here is what mine looks like right now. I am still to put on my new saddle.



    Again fellas, lots of thanks for your help.
    Last edited by Moozh; 02-14-10 at 08:21 PM.

  13. #13
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post

    I think one of the best values out there right now are the vintage rigid frame mountain bikes, preferably one up the product line a ways. This is one of my two Trek 950s.
    I just finished building up this (handbuilt) Trek 930 for our local bike co-op... if I didn't already have my Kuwahara Cascade I would have built this up for myself and would be looking at trekking bars or drop bars.



    My 1987 Kuwahara Cascade, also a handbuilt lugged frame.



    I have a great fondness for Schwalbe Marathons as a great all round tyre for commuting and touring but the Contis are an attractive option as a higher performance 26 with some good puncture protection.

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