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Old 02-23-12, 03:39 AM   #1
BlakeJustBlake
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Tire Factor Effects

I've been reading in a lot of different places that a lot of factors only make minor differences to the way a ride feels in comparison to the differences that tires can make. However all of these resources then dive into explanation of the way these different factors affect (or rather don't) the way a bike rides (for example: geometries, frame materials, wheel materials and building factors, etc.) But I can't find any resources that give any explanation as to how different qualities of a tire affect the way a bike rides. I know there are certain things like wider tires with lower pressures will make a more comfortable ride, but I guess I'm looking for more explanations of why and with what trade-offs and more in depth explanations of much more factors that tires have other than width and pressure. So I'm wondering if this resource exists? Is any of this really known? Is it something I'm just going to have to squeeze out of a more knowledgeable mechanic over time?
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Old 02-23-12, 04:15 AM   #2
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http://sheldonbrown.com/tires.html
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Old 02-23-12, 05:29 AM   #3
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So I'm wondering if this resource exists? Is any of this really known? Is it something I'm just going to have to squeeze out of a more knowledgeable mechanic over time?
AFIK there isn't a single, up to date in depth resource for comparative tire info. Generally, with respect to ride comfort on an aggressive road racing frame where tire size is limited, a high quality compliant tire at less than maximum pressure will help. This can also improve handling.

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Old 02-23-12, 07:06 AM   #4
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Yup! More than enough onfo at this site than most cyclists want to know about!
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Old 02-23-12, 07:23 AM   #5
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Tire diameter and width, pressure and kind of tread are among the most significant factors impacting how tires ride. But The Sheldon Brown site is the most comprehensive review of all factors.
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Old 02-23-12, 04:41 PM   #6
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I had looked all over Sheldon's web site for a page about that, I don't know how I missed it.
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Old 02-23-12, 08:23 PM   #7
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I am about to experiment with that myself. Just switching over my OLD LeTour with 700 23c to a "NEW" Bridgestone with 700 28c. Obviously a bigger tire, but on a lighter bike. I will be playing with tire pressures to see what works best for me. The type of roads one rides on is also a factor to think about.
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Old 02-24-12, 07:37 PM   #8
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Goodyear found slick tires didn't give good traction so he carved his name multiple times into every tire. A raised center section will lower rolling resistance. Having some knobs on the side will give better grip in wet leaves going around corners and crossing railroad tracks at an angle. There is a science behind this that automobile makers know but seldom follow. For example off roaders like a self cleaning tire especially in gumbo country. My favorite was the trek invert 2K so naturally they stopped making it.
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Old 02-24-12, 07:47 PM   #9
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Goodyear found slick tires didn't give good traction so he carved his name multiple times into every tire.
For automobiles or motorcycles with their wide treads and relatively low specific loading, that's true on wet or snowy roads. Tread allows water to escape from under the tire and prevents hydroplaning. On dry roads even cars and motorcycles get their best grip with "slicks" as any race will demonstrate.

Road bicycles, with their narrow tires and high specific loading don't benefit from tread at all and do best with slicks even on wet roads as their narrow tires "knife" through any reasonable water layer. I've seen it estimated that a road bike won't hydroplane until over 85 mph.

MTB's ridden in soft dirt, sand, mud, etc. definitely benefit from tread and the knobby tires used on them are certainly functional and, indeed, necessary.
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Old 02-24-12, 07:58 PM   #10
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I've been reading that wider rims (23mm vs 19mm) allow 700 23 tires to be run at lower pressure to give a smoother ride. The wider rim gives a larger air volume inside the tire, which matters how, I'm not sure. At any rate, I have a set of Velocity A23 rims headed my way to test this claim.
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Old 02-24-12, 08:10 PM   #11
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Goodyear found slick tires didn't give good traction so he carved his name multiple times into every tire. A raised center section will lower rolling resistance. Having some knobs on the side will give better grip in wet leaves going around corners and crossing railroad tracks at an angle. There is a science behind this that automobile makers know but seldom follow. For example off roaders like a self cleaning tire especially in gumbo country. My favorite was the trek invert 2K so naturally they stopped making it.
I feel you! I still miss the Continental Town & Country in the smaller sizes. It's not the same tire in 1.9 and 2.1, and it doesn't feel as sticky as it used to either, but I could just be falling for the rumors of less rubber content.

Is anyone making a tire with an inverted tread and a decent center section in the 1.4 - 1.75 range?
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Old 02-25-12, 02:43 PM   #12
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I feel you! I still miss the Continental Town & Country in the smaller sizes. It's not the same tire in 1.9 and 2.1, and it doesn't feel as sticky as it used to either, but I could just be falling for the rumors of less rubber content.

Is anyone making a tire with an inverted tread and a decent center section in the 1.4 - 1.75 range?
Take a look at the Continental Country which I understand replaced the T&C.
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Old 02-27-12, 03:29 AM   #13
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Take a look at the Continental Country which I understand replaced the T&C.
Thanks for the heads up! The Country Plus looks even better to me, had no idea they even existed. Nice to see it comes in 1.75, I have to wonder if it corners as well as my old Town & Country's though...
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Old 02-27-12, 11:24 AM   #14
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For automobiles or motorcycles with their wide treads and relatively low specific loading, that's true on wet or snowy roads. Tread allows water to escape from under the tire and prevents hydroplaning. On dry roads even cars and motorcycles get their best grip with "slicks" as any race will demonstrate.

Road bicycles, with their narrow tires and high specific loading don't benefit from tread at all and do best with slicks even on wet roads as their narrow tires "knife" through any reasonable water layer. I've seen it estimated that a road bike won't hydroplane until over 85 mph.

MTB's ridden in soft dirt, sand, mud, etc. definitely benefit from tread and the knobby tires used on them are certainly functional and, indeed, necessary.
+100

Wet or dry roads: slick tires

Dirt, mud, sand, gravel, grass, snow, basically anything offroad: knobby tread.
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Old 03-17-12, 04:18 PM   #15
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Thanks for the heads up! The Country Plus looks even better to me, had no idea they even existed. Nice to see it comes in 1.75, I have to wonder if it corners as well as my old Town & Country's though...
A belated you are welcome. I'm using 700x42 on a hybrid for moderate to light trail and path riding. Running them at 60 psi gave a ride like an empty logging truck but dropping to 50 in the rear and about 45 in front gives a decent mix of ride and speed. They feel very secure on loose gravel, over roots and through loose leaves, etc. And they ride just fine on smooth pavement too.
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Old 03-17-12, 04:56 PM   #16
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Tire diameter and width, pressure and kind of tread are among the most significant factors impacting how tires ride. But The Sheldon Brown site is the most comprehensive review of all factors.
I don't think so. The most significant is the caseing construction. Light supple caseings do everything better except for puncture and cut resistance.
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Old 03-17-12, 08:46 PM   #17
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I had looked all over Sheldon's web site for a page about that, I don't know how I missed it.
I know how you missed it. I can never find what I'm looking for. Until somebody points me to it.
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