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  1. #1
    Drive the Bicycle.
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    Tires: Mix or Match?

    -- I commute mainly on the road with occasional short detours through dirt paths and sandy patches. Is there any advantage to combining a slick tire and a treaded tire (not a knobby) on a road bike? Which one should go on the rear? (My tires are 27 x 1-1/4)

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    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    The treaded front = dirt, sand.
    You need the front traction steering, keep the rear fast.

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    treaded tire (not a knobby)
    I don't know how much of an advantage you will gain by running a tire with basically grooves in a slick. You say you don't want a knobby. I think only a knobby would gain you an advantage in dirt or gravel.

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    Wonder if it is Sheldon Brown or Jobst Brand that 'kill' the treaded tires in a article. Declaring that it is either slicks or knobby tires that are the choices. Grooves in a tire are only good for water and the risk of becoming a hydroplan is non-existant with a bike so grooves are useless... (on a bike that is, they are very useful on a car).

  5. #5
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I think thats sheldon brown. But yea if your going through dirt paths for 500 feet evry so often dont even bother with knobbies. If your going often and for a bit more extended times it might not be a bad move.

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    Actually it was Jobst Brand...

    http://yarchive.net/bike/slicks.html


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    Senior Member geoduck's Avatar
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    ...and Sheldon Brown concurs.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/tires.html

    :smiley:

  8. #8
    go go go go -=solewheelin's Avatar
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    i feel that a knobby in the rear/slick in the front config. absolutely enhances your pedaling.
    there is more kick in your rear wheel (legs) and the road is gripped where it counts through all sorts of terrain.
    theres gravel only sometimes yes, but sand is all over the road. so i say its not a bad idea in that regard.

    Front tires should be slick and fast for fine steering, which is the point of the front wheel, unless you need to hook up. a slick in the front is fine in everything but mud, because its your rear wheel via your legsthat hauls everything so it needs more grip.

    With this mix, Your ride will also not be as smooth unless your tires are pumped at high presh, then there really is no difference in ride quality. just a more reliable tire that does not mess around.
    goodluck
    it all depends on the situation.

    simplest

  9. #9
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    It is far better to have more tread on the front.
    Especially in snow...trust me on this one.

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    go go go go -=solewheelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b
    It is far better to have more tread on the front.
    Especially in snow...trust me on this one.
    sure, just back up your statement.

    in fact a sharper road tire slices into snow more efficiently then a wider knobby.
    what are you riding?

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    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=solewheelin
    sure, just back up your statement.

    in fact a sharper road tire slices into snow more efficiently then a wider knobby.
    what are you riding?
    700 x 38 cyclocross tires both front and back
    Back is worn except for tread on the sides
    Front is new.

    I have found that the back tire gets loaded with snow and slips more when their is tread present (on ice you slip no matter what).
    I have also determined through trial and much error that tread on the front tire helps to reduce sideways slipping during turns

  12. #12
    go go go go -=solewheelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b
    700 x 38 cyclocross tires both front and back
    Back is worn except for tread on the sides
    Front is new. I have found that the back tire gets loaded with snow and slips more when their is tread present (on ice you slip no matter what).
    I have also determined through trial and much error that tread on the front tire helps to reduce sideways slipping during turns
    Thanks, im just trying to understand how snow got introduced in this thread, but i agree with your tread comments.
    On ice you need studded tires which i dont think they make for 700c CX (or do they?).
    Rear tires last half or a third the time of fronts.. same with break shoes. of course thats common knowledge.
    im using a Geax Revert semi slick in the front now on my mtb, with knobs only on the edge, so i know what you mean about the cornering feeling safer, but ive seen the hardest fastest dip turns done on slicks.
    so cornering thats judged by shape/roundness of the tire as well as air pressure. the argument is, does tread cause less friction when cornering? i guess it depends

    -=stevey

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    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=solewheelin
    Front tires should be slick and fast for fine steering, which is the point of the front wheel, unless you need to hook up. a slick in the front is fine in everything but mud, because its your rear wheel via your legsthat hauls everything so it needs more grip.
    And do you steer with your rear tire as well? Because otherwise I'll put maintaining control over acceleration any day.

    The only conditions in which a knobby rear will "grip" the road are exactly the conditions under which you should instead have a knobby front for control. Only put the treaded tire on the back if you're interested in powering through your front-end wash-out.

    Oh, and be aware that putting a knobby up front will sacrifice handling on hard surfaces.

  14. #14
    Drive the Bicycle.
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    -- Speaking as the one who started this thread, I got my answer to put the treaded tire in the front. This is not a knobby, nor is it a "reverse tread" rain tire, but just a regular bike tire with a modest tread like what used to come stock on road bikes.
    The only spills I have taken were in patches of sand on the road and I was mining all the expertise out there to see if anyone else mixed tires on a road bike with good results through sand.

  15. #15
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77Univega
    -- Speaking as the one who started this thread, I got my answer to put the treaded tire in the front. This is not a knobby, nor is it a "reverse tread" rain tire, but just a regular bike tire with a modest tread like what used to come stock on road bikes.
    The only spills I have taken were in patches of sand on the road and I was mining all the expertise out there to see if anyone else mixed tires on a road bike with good results through sand.
    As I said front, the idea is that a rear washout can be corrected by weight shift >or if the bike goes down, not as severe a wipeout as having the front steering tire lose traction (faceplant).

    This also falls in the tire swap arena as a balder tire is to be put rear. Similar reasons.

    I don't ride skinnies, but this seems logical.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77Univega
    -- This is not a knobby, nor is it a "reverse tread" rain tire, but just a regular bike tire with a modest tread like what used to come stock on road bikes.
    The only spills I have taken were in patches of sand on the road and I was mining all the expertise out there to see if anyone else mixed tires on a road bike with good results through sand.
    The tire with "modest tread" which you describe won't do diddly to help you in sand.

  17. #17
    go go go go -=solewheelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    And do you steer with your rear tire as well? Because otherwise I'll put maintaining control over acceleration any day.
    No, my leg power translates into my rear tire, not my steering. I find grip has everything to do with control, because as the real wheel is being powered, the front wheel is merely being pushed along (think about this) so if i have to "control" myself out of an occasional sand patch or a minor wet bog, you know im going to want some tread in the rear to help me kick out of there.

    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    The only conditions in which a knobby rear will "grip" the road are exactly the conditions under which you should instead have a knobby front for control. Only put the treaded tire on the back if you're interested in powering through your front-end wash-out.
    Oh, and be aware that putting a knobby up front will sacrifice handling on hard surfaces.
    Yes but were talking about road cycling with some minor dirt and sand paths here no?
    He runs a CX steed but isnt trying to do much CX riding, in which case he would need to hook up with a knob in the front.
    and as you call it "powering through your front-end wash-out" im speaking from a touring point of view, and sometimes, "powering through your front-end wash-out" will save your ass.
    Its a personal balance between speed/friction/pressure/smoothness/grip/stability. also the terrain you plan to hit is also a big factor.

    have fun
    -=stevey

  18. #18
    go go go go -=solewheelin's Avatar
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    im surprised that im the only one who seems to feel this way..
    im just a cyclist who has put in 10,000 miles riding in WA, OR, CA, PA, and NYC in the past 3 years..
    and the knobby in the back has saved my ass out of sh*t more than a handful of times, but a 1.5" specialized nimbus in the front has given me more than enough traction. even in the woods. (how much weight do you put on the front wheel anyway?)

    Now, I notice the idea of more sand coming into play in this thread.. it really depends on what your dealing with. Those balloon beach tires are a good extensive example of this.. Its surface area that matters, sand is too loose to grip, so you gotta just roll over it fast. Because running the knobbys also means a slower, more buzzy ride when you ARE on the road (which is probably 95% of the time on your CX bike anyway). Sand will also eat/wreck your drive train if you use oil-based chain lube.

    but unless your touring the sand dunes of Oregon, or somewhere comparable, you need not worry about washing out in minor sand patches on the road.

    -=stevey

  19. #19
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Run xc tires both. Problem solved.

    Eat granola, get a cool tattoo on your calf, shun Starbucks and tell everyone you've decided to become a triathalete.

  20. #20
    "I love lamp"
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    Avocet cross, inverted tread very useful in my opinion.

  21. #21
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeatonNJ
    Avocet cross, inverted tread very useful in my opinion.
    I could bother..but post a link. Your claim.

  22. #22
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    I dont worry bout it and just run slicks. I do end up doing dirt riding sometimes, and trust me on this....if you ever learned how to keep control on slippery mountain bike trails by using your feet....that applies to using 20c slicks in sandy dirt. It's also why I have my roadie's seat alightly lower than it should be, so I can throw it around with my feet if I have to.

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