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  1. #1
    that guy
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    Switching over MTB wheels

    Hello all,
    I'm just now starting to get into biking for the spring time, I have about a 12 mile one way commute to school, all paved on county back roads, somewhat hilly but not too bad.

    I have an older mountain bike right now with larger knobier tires that I really think need to be reduced to make the ride a bit easier, especially when I start the ride in a few weeks completely out of shape. I read up on all the tire sizing guides and the conversion tables and the endless onslaught of ISO and old school sizing classifications and I am still a little confused. I have found the bike tire I think I want to go with and it is the 26 decimal size, the problem is, my old MTB has some pretty nasty wheels and they are getting to the point where the wobble is dangerous and I could use an upgrade.

    I just don't know how to know what wheelset I need to get for the tire I want, I thought I would ask to see if anyone has any suggestions or knows what wheel size i'm going to need for the specific tire, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Setup:
    V-brake mtb
    Tire: 26 x 1.0; psi 115125 , Specialized All Condition Elite
    Tube: Need suggestions
    Wheels: Need suggestions

    Thanks for the help in advance!

  2. #2
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    You need a 26" MTB wheelset to match your brakes and drive train; ie, have the same mounting width, rim diameter/width and accepting your freewheel/cassette. I don't think you can use 1.0" tires, but I've been out of cycling a long time and there are many new things I'm catching up on. In other words, it probably would be best to get a set of wheels that you can use with 2.0" MTB tires or 1.5" general use tires with a smooth ride, like the 'Contact' by Continental, and there are many others at all price ranges. For the tube, you get the size that includes your tire size on the box. Also make sure the valve type matches the hole in the rim (Schrader/big hole, Presta/small hole) but they also make a plastic insert to convert a Schrader hole to a Presta. For changing tire sizes, you'll need a tube for each size.
    Before buying an expensive wheelset, at least have your wheels looked at for cleaning up, re-truing and overhauling the hubs. True, if the rims are too beat up, it may be a show-stopper, but you can use several different 26" tires on your MTB rims.
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. #3
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    A decent new 26" wheelset will run you $150 on up. You may be able to get decent wheels for less by buying a used bike (e.g. on craigslist) for its wheels.
    It sounds from your post as though you probably don't yet have the skills to identify a decent wheel or do minor fixes on a wheel; I'd strongly suggest finding a good local bike shop and have them take a look at your bike and at least give you an estimate on the wheels (maybe yours are fixable, maybe not) and on the condition of the brakes, powertrain, and frame (especially possible safety issues!).

  4. #4
    <3s bikes Re-Cycle's Avatar
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    1" X 26 tires certainly exist and I've commuted on them myself but if I did it all over I'd go to something slightly larger due to a few pinch flats. The 1" tires are going to want frequent pressure checks and be topped off something to the tune of 90psi.

    In any case tires weren't your question, wheels were. For that narrow tire you'll want a narrow rim which usually but not always show up nicer wheelsets. Normally I'd suggest something like this $46 set but your narrow tire size kinda kills that. If a local bike shop is available you may want to take it in and ask the pros what they suggest.

    Also as the previous poster mentioned wobbly wheels can be trued which would be the best option for your wallet compared to buying new ones. Often times cheap robot-built wheels won't stay true for long anyway without some truing and tensioning so you may want to get a second opinion on if your current wheels are serviceable.
    A wild man once explained to me how bicycles came from sailboats.

  5. #5
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    +1 1saxman and Mondoman.

    Ease into biking gently. Have a local bike store (LBS) set up your bike for the commute now with tires, and wheels if you need them. Then learn to keep it clean, oil it, fix flats, and so on, until you are doing complete overhauls.

    Also, if your bike is "older" and of unknown quality, ask the LBS if your bike is worth fixing. A big box store bike may not be worth the cost of wheels and tires.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  6. #6
    that guy
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    Thanks all for the tips, I know I should probably hit up the bike shop unfortunately we only have about 2 of them out here and they are about 20 miles away from my house and with gas the way it is, I wouldn't mind holding off until I can rack up the cash and questions to make the drive worth it.

    I guess my basic question is leaning towards the broader aspect of (rim/spoke/hub)'s and tires. If I have a wheel size what is the tire size I need, or in my case specifically if I have a tire in mind what is the listed size of the wheelset I need?

    I've read up a lot concerning this and it was helpful on : http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

    The problem is, is that what is listed is not what is listed on the website's where you can buy wheelsets or tires, for instance i'll put in = wheelset (ISO 559mm) and nothing will come up.

    According to the tire-sizing guide an ISO 559 mm wheel would work, I think? I know this might not be what I end up going with but just for clarification in the future so I can start understanding this whole bike thing, it's a lot more complicated than I originally thought it was going to be.

    I just want to understand the tire thing a little more so I can help friends out and such if need be. It has been really difficult for me to find retailers that use the tire sizing specifications listed on the above website, are there different sizing measures that retailers use for the wheelsets and tires? Thanks again for all the help I really appreciate it!
    Last edited by outpost; 03-09-11 at 09:23 PM. Reason: mispellings

  7. #7
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    As others indicated, a wheel true up and go with a 1.5-1.85 commuter tire if they were 1.95 or wider. I thought about new tires for mine. They are knobby 26 x 2.10's. The rim is indicated as a 26 x 1.5 and I figured the narrowest tire I could go was 1.5 on those rims. I did get a confirmation on that thru the vendor by asking specifically if they'd fit. I guess with a 1:1 ratio I better not hit a pothole, otherwise the rim probably gets damaged.

  8. #8
    that guy
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    Yeah, from what I gather the 1:1 is no good unless your riding on a basketball court.

    I got some generic cheapo's from the local marty store on my wheels now, the wheels themselves say 26" X 1.5-1.75 and I think the tires are 1.75 or something similar they're working fine for the dirt road route.

    The whole reason for this switch would be if I wanted to go the extra few miles everyday and go strictly on the paved roads I wouldn't mind having a set that I could throw on and hit the road, then if I wanted to fly fish some back country water throw the hybrid tire wheels back on adjust the brakes and go for it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Bicycle tires fit a far wider array of rims than motorcycle or car tires.

    If you're looking at options for a good slick road tire for your MTB I can heartily suggest Ritchey Tom Slicks at 1.4 inch wide. They are big enough to soak up rough roads and most potholes without issue but are smooth enough to roll really well. Almost as good are Tioga City Slickers in the 1.25 inch width. They roll nicely but the tread it has tends to pick up small pebbles and click until they are picked out.

    But of all the 26'ers I've tried the fastest rolling was the Panaracer Paesela TG's with their kevlar flat resistant belt. These are a 1.25 inch tire but the carcase forms more of an egg shape so the contact patch is more rounded and much like a 23 to 25mm road tire. These puppy's roll with efficiency that is close to perpetual motion. And the TG belt gave me a good four years of riding where I don't actually recall getting a single flat with them.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  10. #10
    that guy
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    Awesome thanks BC, any suggestions on a wheelset for the Panaracer Paesela TG's?

    I'll check out the tires online see if I can find em.

  11. #11
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Any 26" Mountain Bike wheelset will fit those tires but in order to fit the bike itself, you will need to know if you have a freewheel or cassette and buy that as well if you want to make this as easy as swapping wheels back and forth as you mentioned. How many speeds?
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  12. #12
    that guy
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    Thanks for the heads up blamp28 here is my hub i'm pretty sure, http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/te...9830608950.pdf

    Appears to be a cassette 7 spd, is it possible just to get a 7spd sprocket set for a new wheelset? or is that not really how it works?

    Thanks!

  13. #13
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I find cheap, but decent, MTB wheels all the time, rarely pay over about $5 each. Garage sales, Craigs List, thrift stores, and wherever. No need to buy new. If you are lucky, you will find a used wheel complete with either a 7 speed cassette or freewheel. About half the wheels I find come with tires, tubes, everything. Just depends how hard you want to look. OK, I look pretty hard, so maybe you will have to pay $20 a wheel.

    More than once my wheel pickups came in the form of a complete bike, perhaps one that had paint damage, or other issues (but good wheels, crankset, tires, etc.) A $5 bike often can provide a thrifty guy a lot of good parts: saddle, grips, tires, tubes, wheels, derailleurs, levers, etc.

    Older MTBs tend to have minimal value, so they can make a great deal for an end user as something to ride. And the good ones often sell for just a few dollars more than the bottom end/crappy ones.

    I run Nashbar 26 x 1.25 slicks on my MTB I use for road riding. I swap out the wheelsets with one that has trail tires on it for trail riding (hey for $5 a wheel, why not???)

    Here is the bike with slicks:




    Same bike with trail tires:

    Last edited by wrk101; 03-11-11 at 07:11 AM.

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