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  1. #1
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Tire Tread A Concern

    My days of motorcycles taught me that the closer to a slick that you were running, the better handling you had......on dry, clean roads.

    I've been looking at tread designs on bike tires and keeping mind that I will sometimes get caught in the rain.

    And I find this on the Michelin site:
    "The oval shape of a bicycle road tire contact patch permits effective water evacuation to help keep the tire from hydroplaning.

    The footprint of a 23mm tire (approx. 7 sq. cm) is so small that the bike would need to be traveling at about 120MPH in order to hydroplane.

    Nevertheless, some road tire models are designed with specific tread structures primarily for cosmetics or to comfort the consumer. Sometimes tread features can help provide a harder rubber compound a better mechanical link with the road surface, for better grip."

    So tread designs on bike tires are just to give me comfort and peace of mind?

    I ask because the OEM Bontragers I have seem to have a quite tight tread pattern and I am concerned about water dissipation. I figure I need all the help I can get learning to ride to work. If it's no big deal, they claim to be puncture resistant on the sidewalls so I will just get liners and wear the existing tires.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Siping on road tires is usually just decoration.
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  3. #3
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    As the Michelin site said, water dissipation under any bicycle road tire is a non-issue. You CANNOT hydroplane a bike tire under any obtainable riding conditions and any tread on a road tire is strictly a cosmetic artifact aimed at reassuring users who do not understand the situation. It has no benefit under wet conditions and increases rolling resistance under dry conditions. Bicycles are not motorcycles or automobiles and the tire requirements can not be equated.

    The above does not apply to MTB tires used in loose dirt, mud or other soft conditions where tread is useful and indeed necessary.

  4. #4
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Even some very good tires have siping or other designs that are nothing but decorative.

    However, good touring tires often have a small block design that works well on gravel.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=HillRider;14626317]Bicycles are not motorcycles or automobiles and the tire requirements can not be equated.[QUOTE]

    Thanks. I understand the theory and it makes sense. I was just reassuring myself!!

  6. #6
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    Yes, any tire will work on the road. Some tread helps in gravel or dirt, though. Most non-racing-oriented tires have enough tread to get you down a back lane without immediately dumping you on your arse.

    Ironically, tires with lots of tread (knobby mtb tires, for instance) have pretty terrible traction on the road especially when wet.

  7. #7
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    I remember in the old days all tires had a little bit of tread. Then I think it was Avocet that started making slicks. They advertised that people tried sprinting on wet roads without traction problems. I have not noticed a problem with slicks and I've ridden with them for probably over 20 years with no issues. I do my best to not ride on wet pavement though.

  8. #8
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
    So tread designs on bike tires are just to give me comfort and peace of mind?
    Yes, but that tread will also slow you down and create noise.

    Unless of course you're not riding on pavement where tread can help a lot.
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  9. #9
    Kitten Legion Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Siping on road tires is usually just decoration.
    siping is for thicker rubber to flex and bend easier to contour the road more effectively.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjtesch View Post
    I remember in the old days all tires had a little bit of tread. Then I think it was Avocet that started making slicks. They advertised that people tried sprinting on wet roads without traction problems. I have not noticed a problem with slicks and I've ridden with them for probably over 20 years with no issues. I do my best to not ride on wet pavement though.
    I hereby command you to go for a ride in the rain and open your mind to the fun of riding on wet pavement. I, like most bike commuters, have no choice but to occasionally ride on wet pavement, and I can happily report that traction on is pretty much the same with slicks as it is with treaded tires. I have never done a properly controlled double-blind study to confirm it, but I have never gotten on my bike on a wet day and said 'whoa these tires are slippery!'

    Exceptions: sewer grates, streetcar and railroad tracks, and painted lines on the road all get scarily slippery in the wet regardless of the tires you use.

  11. #11
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjtesch View Post
    I do my best to not ride on wet pavement though.
    Oh my. Avoiding wet pavement would mean staying off the bike November-June for me
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  12. #12
    Kitten Legion Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Oh my. Avoiding wet pavement would mean staying off the bike November-June for me
    LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    Ironically, tires with lots of tread (knobby mtb tires, for instance) have pretty terrible traction on the road especially when wet.

    **** no they don't! I have a new birth mark on my head to prove that point. I've been riding on street tires on my mtn bike and I can corner like crazy. Put nobbies back on for camp site riding and I could feel them wanting to slide out on the slightest turn. I see ppl on the MUP with the cheap store bought mtn bikes with the huge knobs and I shake my head.........as I'm blowing past them.

  14. #14
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Oh my. Avoiding wet pavement would mean staying off the bike November-June for me
    In England some would say it would mean staying off the bike from about the 1st of November to somewhere around the 31st of October...
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  15. #15
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Hahaha!

    At least the weathermen there still hold out hope for summer weather
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  16. #16
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    I like a fine file pattern on my tires, makes it easier to tell when you're getting thin on the rubber.

    But I also like the looks because they remind me of expensive sewups from my early days.

    But for riding in wet conditions - what you want is more rubber on the road, and that means a wider tire, not one with more of a pattern.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  17. #17
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    That makes sense. Like this Conti?:
    CO-SCT-NCL-TREAD.jpg

    The simple groove seems to wander enough as if it might give an idea of wear across most of the actual contact surface.

  18. #18
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
    That makes sense. Like this Conti?:
    CO-SCT-NCL-TREAD.jpg

    The simple groove seems to wander enough as if it might give an idea of wear across most of the actual contact surface.
    Yup - good choice. But tires that get ridden in the rain a lot are more likely to be ruined by tread cuts than by wearing through the rubber. The water acts as a lubricant for bits of glass and metal to cut the rubber.

    The "fine file pattern" comment was for my fair weather bike. My foul weather road bike has 25mm Conti GP 4-Seasons, and my commute bike has 32mm cheap Kendas.
    Last edited by DiabloScott; 08-20-12 at 11:46 AM.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  19. #19
    Senior Member GrandaddyBiker's Avatar
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    I have 5 bikes, 3 that I actually ride. Of the 3 that I ride 2 are mountain bikes and 1 is a cruiser. The cruiser is the bike I ride the most. The cruiser OME was Bontrager brand tires that are slick in the center with treads on the side. Riding these in both wet and dry conditions I can tell no difference. Even though this bike has no shock suspensions it is about the most comfortable bike I have every rode. It’s not fast but sure is comfortable. Picture of my cruiser tire tread is below.

    Tire Tread_001.jpg

    The tire in this picture was all most new. It is off the bike because I had a flat in the first few days after buying the bike. The Trek shop fixed the flat and put in a new tube for free. I can patch my own tubes but since Trek offered me a new tube instead of a patched one, I took them up on the offer.

  20. #20
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    I dislike tires with tread since i know its so unnecessary. I only like tires that are slick or nearly slick since hydroplaning is a non-issue.

  21. #21
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    I ride year round in Seattle on Schwalbe Kojaks. Love 'em. Be alert for wet metal on bridges, angled tracks, road plates.
    Nobody slower, and nobody lovin' it more...

  22. #22
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    My present tires are 700X35. A lot of super looking suggested tires are not offered in any size close to that. Going to a 700X32 doesn't bother me at all, if they will fit. 3mm....there may be some riders that could tell the difference but I won't live long enough to be one of them. Reduction of effort would be nice, but my bike is nowhere near a light weight at all costs machine. I have fenders and a rear rack coming. That cancels out any little here or there that could be gained through tires, although I do understand the advantage of less rotational weight. It seems that the round profile aspect of a slick or close to slick tire of reasonably close sizes effecting the contact patch on the road could not be anywhere near great enough to bother me.

    This question/uneducated statement is because I have seen some tires that look alright but are only offered in 700X32. A little weight saved is a bit here and there. My wheels are Botrager 750 32-hole if that means anything to be of help.

    Thanks.

  23. #23
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
    My present tires are 700X35. A lot of super looking suggested tires are not offered in any size close to that. Going to a 700X32 doesn't bother me at all, if they will fit. 3mm....there may be some riders that could tell the difference but I won't live long enough to be one of them. Reduction of effort would be nice, but my bike is nowhere near a light weight at all costs machine. I have fenders and a rear rack coming. That cancels out any little here or there that could be gained through tires, although I do understand the advantage of less rotational weight. It seems that the round profile aspect of a slick or close to slick tire of reasonably close sizes effecting the contact patch on the road could not be anywhere near great enough to bother me.
    If you do want fatter tires, check out Serfas Tuonos. I recently bought some on clearance for $10/tire and I love them. I got them in the 700x38 size and while they are rather heavy (650g) they ride beautifully. I've never had a fat tire "road" bike before and it's so much fun being able to tear down stairs, curbs, or whatever without even thinking about it.
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