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  1. #1
    Member zzMike's Avatar
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    switch from knobby tires to something more road friendly

    I have a mountain bike with knobby tires that I would like to change out to something a little more road-friendly. The tires are currently 26x1.95. Should I look for something with that same size or are road tires different sizes? Also, does anyone have recommendations on a decent low cost road friendly tire?

  2. #2
    Mud, Gore & Guts eddubal's Avatar
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    Depends on how you want to ride. I use the Serfas Drifter 1.5" tire which is inverted tread. They do pretty well for me on-road and limited off-road. They also come in a 2" tire.

    Most if not all tire manufacturers make a 26" "city" tire in multiple widths. See what you can find locally. It makes it much easier to replace if necessary.

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    zzMike, I used a set of Conti Double Fighters. Great for hardpack and not too shabby on the street, except for fast turns with alot of lean.

    Brad

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    Member zzMike's Avatar
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    So...what would be the difference between a 1.5" and a 2.0 (other than .5"). Would one handle different than the other?

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    You do need to match your rim size of 26" (ISO 559) but the tire's width can vary quite a lot successfully. Slick road tires for 26" MTB rims come as narrow as 1.25" and these work fine on most rims even if the original tire was 2" wide.

    I ran some 1.25" tires on an old Trek MTB that came with 2.125" tires and it was a major improvent for road use. So, any smooth or low profile treaded tire 1.25" or wider will be fine. You will need some smaller tubes to match the smaller tire section and, if you are using a cyclometer, you will want to recalibrate it for the smaller tires.

  6. #6
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Here's a nifty table to match sizes.

    http://www.bicycletires.com/a_49/tire_width/article.htm

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    I have just finished rebuilding a 1989 MTB into a 'hybrid' with road-type tires, and I used Continental 'Contact' 26x1.75" tires. 26" tires fit 26" wheels. Unfortunately these are not low cost, at $30 each, but there are Kenda tires that will fill the bill available at any bike shop and maybe even Wal Mart.
    Inquiring minds want to know.

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    Mud, Gore & Guts eddubal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzMike View Post
    So...what would be the difference between a 1.5" and a 2.0 (other than .5"). Would one handle different than the other?
    THE 1.5s handle better on-road. Smaller section = better cornering & less rolling resistance. Wider tires means a more cushioned ride but more rolling resistance and mushier in the corners. I tried 1.9 slicks on my bike before I found the 1.5s. Once I made the change, I haven't looked back.

    If I was riding off-road on rock, the 1.9s would be very helpful. It's a very different type of riding. You can lower the air pressure much more for grab and yet prevent pinch flats. On road you want more pressure for handling and lowering rolling resistance.

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    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    If you will be staying on paved surfaces and your rims are narrow, these work really well, are pretty cheap and have kevlar for flat protection.
    https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Produc...1_10000_202472

    If you want something more multi-purpose (planning to still hit some trails), these are a good choice (I have them on 4 bikes at this point):
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202470

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Performance has a couple of different mtb road slicks in their house and other brands. They do make a remarkable difference in rolling resistance compared anything with knobs.

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    Wide but somewhat swift.. Schwalbe Big Apples. Not the lowest cost.
    Tioga city slickers , made for along time.. 1.9 wide , lower cost.

    Knobbys move, the rubber blocks torque (a little micro heat generated)
    and that is taken from going ahead,
    on pavement, its noticeable.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-29-11 at 09:37 AM.

  12. #12
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    I have been extremely happy with the Specialized Hemispheres that I put on my old Trek 8000 for road, mup and trail use with our sons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
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    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Your 26x1.95 original tires suggests that your bike does not have any of the big oversize rims used for the oversize downhill or big jump sort of tires. So you'd be fine with any of the narrow road slick tires for street riding.

    There's a number of great options. I've personally used Tioga City Slicker in 1.25 wide, Ritchey Tom Slick and Panaracer Pasela TG in 1.25. All three fit the usual fairly narrow rims just fine. The City Slickers were actually on a set of Sun Rhyno Lite rims which are seen these days as a medium width and again they fit just fine. So there is some leeway. All three tires roll really sweet and grip well in turns since they have flat "non treads". Don't worry about rain on bicycles. But using slick tires such as these on any sort of city walking trail mud would lead to some slipping so watch it. If you want to do any urban jump sort of riding I'd go for some of the fatter slick tires. Again Tioga makes the City Slicker in bigger sizes and Kenda has a great tire for this sort of fun in their K-rad line which comes in a number of sizes ( http://www.kendausa.com/en/home/bicy...ark/k-rad.aspx ). I actually rode a set of the 1.95's for a while but these are HEAVY tires made to laugh at serious punishment. As such their rolling mass made me feel like an old guy needing an oxygen bottle so I switched back to the smaller Tioga 1.25 tires.

    So there's lots of options to knobbies out there to suit whatever riding style and desire for speed or pavement grip and durability you may have.

    Putting smaller road sli
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  14. #14
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzMike View Post
    I have a mountain bike with knobby tires that I would like to change out to something a little more road-friendly. The tires are currently 26x1.95. Should I look for something with that same size or are road tires different sizes? Also, does anyone have recommendations on a decent low cost road friendly tire?
    A lot will depend on what you mean by "road friendly". Are you looking to ride on the road exclusively (i.e. you don't need any grip in mud etc at all), or wanting something that will offer some grip in the mud but give you some speed on the road?

    I used Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres from the point I bought my mountain bike. When the rear tyre was worn to the point of sliding all over the place I replaced it with a Marathon Extreme. The front Plus tyre is still going strong and when it wears out I'll probably replace it with either another Plus or something like a Dureme or Extreme. I don't know I'd call the Marathon series "low cost" although all things are relative.

    Both my tyres give reasonable grip in mud although will struggle if there's loads of mud. Both are fine on surfaces like dirt, gravel etc. Both are fine on the road - on paved roads that are essentially flat I can maintain 15mph or so and I'm far from an Olympic athlete.

    If what you're looking for is something for speed on the road and never plan to go off-road at all you can probably get something faster.

  15. #15
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    Your 26x1.95 original tires suggests that your bike does not have any of the big oversize rims used for the oversize downhill or big jump sort of tires. So you'd be fine with any of the narrow road slick tires for street riding.
    It depends on the age of the bike. A lot of earlier MTBs had fairly wide rims that would be an issue with very narrow tires.

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    Street tires

    Quote Originally Posted by zzMike View Post
    I have a mountain bike with knobby tires that I would like to change out to something a little more road-friendly. The tires are currently 26x1.95. Should I look for something with that same size or are road tires different sizes? Also, does anyone have recommendations on a decent low cost road friendly tire?
    I switched over to Mich. "Country Rock ",good traction,low drag.Wearing well,pleased w/ performance.

  17. #17
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I like 1.4-1.5 the best. Except on my KHS which has a short fork and low BB, so I like at least 1.75" on that baby.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Olde Western Auto Cruiser.

  18. #18
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Here are my impressions on some I've ridden.

    Country Rock 1.75" - Pros: nice comfy ride, not to bad for short trail jaunts even. Tread seems to roost less in the wet than any other tire I've ridden. Cons: could be a tad grippier, IMO.

    Drifter 1.5 - Pros: nice grip when cornering hard. Cons: inverted tread pattern (little wells shaped kinda like olde telephone handsets) make a glurp-glurp sound in the wet.

    Avocet Cross. I've just fond memories of these puppies. I notice there's a website for Avocet Cross II tires, but I have no idea where to buy them.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Olde Western Auto Cruiser.

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