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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-27-08, 04:35 PM   #1
Trucker_JDub
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How much better are road tires really?

I see every one says that its best to run road tires for road riding but how much better is it then a set of knobbies? Would it be worth the money for me to invest in a set of road tires?

What I have is a Montague Paratrooper that is set up as a MTB. Would I benefit from road tires? 75% of my riding is on pavement with the other 25% being on gravel and smooth dirt. Could I just use new tires or would I need to swap out the rims too?

I have always road MTBs and never had a problem. The reason I care now is because it looks like I might be taking a security job that will allow me to do a lot of my patrols on a bike if I wish and if road tires are going to make riding easier then I want to be able to spend as much time riding as possible.

Any advice is welcome, thanks in advance.
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Old 01-27-08, 04:45 PM   #2
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Naw, just get some slicks and get rid of the Knobbies. .....

26X1.5 would work well, or 1.75's. The Knobbies are really only god for dirt and grass and if you get out on hardpack, and gravel and primarily pavement, then slicks will do you fine. You'll notice an immediate improvement on pavement, by the way
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Old 01-27-08, 05:09 PM   #3
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I rode my brother-in-laws mountain bike with road tires and it was much better than the knobbies he was using before that. It is a bigger difference than you really think.
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Old 01-27-08, 05:13 PM   #4
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I put slicks on my old mtb so I could ride on the road more, I picked up 2-3 mph on my average speed and I didn't have to listen to the tire noise the whole time I was riding. The ride will be a little harsher, but not too bad. I have to caution you though, it may lead to a speed adiction and a road bike purchase.
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Old 01-27-08, 05:16 PM   #5
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Just switch to high pressure road type tires, for the wheels you have. It's a huge difference. You probably will be thrilled. There are now all types of road style tires avialable for those wheels.

The 26" wheels are fine and you can always swap to knobbies later.
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Old 01-27-08, 05:30 PM   #6
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...I have to caution you though, it may lead to a speed addiction and a road bike purchase.
Funny you should say that, I have told myself if I can loose 50lbs starting from the first of the year I will buy a road frame and slowly build a quality bike. Its a goal of sorts.


I'm not so worried about my speed as I am about exercise. Whatever makes things better in the long run. The longer I can stay in the seat the better (I think). Thanks for the fast responses.

On a smiler note, any suggestions on what would be best, something with long life and can handle the occasional gravel/hard pack ride?
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Old 01-27-08, 05:59 PM   #7
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I'm not so worried about my speed as I am about exercise
Thats the main thing to remember, Don't worry about the speed it will come in time you will be amazed.

Get your self a basic heart rate monitor and once your learn't what zone to stay in the weight will fall off, ( Some may disagree but most won't)

Good luck
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Old 01-27-08, 06:27 PM   #8
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Like some others have said, if you are going to be spending that much time on pavement, it's worth adapting ... you can fit MTB "slicks," or wider "road-type" tires, that will fit your MTB rims. You'll probably pick up a speed gain of 2-3 mph or more. And like Choppe said, "caution" it may lead to eventual road bike addiction, NTTABAT. Heh, heh.
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Old 01-27-08, 06:35 PM   #9
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...The reason I care now is because it looks like I might be taking a security job that will allow me to do a lot of my patrols on a bike if I wish and if road tires are going to make riding easier then I want to be able to spend as much time riding as possible.
If this is the bike you'll be patrolling on, consider the surfaces you expect to be riding on. Road tires will be fine on roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and even hard packed dirt, and they will roll much easier. However, the first time you try to go up a wet grass hill, or some other slick surface, you'll be wishing you had those knobbies back.
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Old 01-27-08, 06:44 PM   #10
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maybe its just me...

I'm running three types of tire sthis winter. Studs for ice, knobbies for snow/some ice general junk conditions and touring tires for the nice bits like this past week here in Colorado.

studs~ Slow but essential for commuting in ice/blackice. Sloooow rolling compared to the other two tyes. Depending on conditions, you will likely not run these very often in a year. Noisy! Count on peds turning to see whats making that buzzing noise behind them.

knobbies~ not as noisy. Better speed, better for most winter conditions. Harder to work than slicks but the bonus? You get a better work out and speed! when you go to slicks...A good 'workout' tire.

Slicks~ mmmMMM!! smoooooth and fast! I LOVE going to slicks! Even better if you find some high pressure ones! The easiest to work unless you get your cadence/distance up. Good re-motivation if your lacking any after too long on knobbies...

as for speed, I started the winter doing 13-17 on my commute. With slicks this week I was around 20 AND it was easier than this past fall when I started up on bikes again...

As stated by others, speed isn't important but as you get healthier, you can't help but GET faster!
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Old 01-27-08, 06:51 PM   #11
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I recommend the Avocet cross II if you can find it. Great tire for what you're riding.
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Old 01-27-08, 07:14 PM   #12
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as for speed, I started the winter doing 13-17 on my commute. With slicks this week I was around 20 AND it was easier than this past fall when I started up on bikes again...
That's DAMN fast for a MTB! I bet you're in your top gear most of the time.

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Old 01-27-08, 07:41 PM   #13
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Speed isn't the sole reason, either -- knobbies are terrible for cornering & braking on pavement. The knobs are only meant to punch through loose dust & dirt to grip on whatever hard surface is underneath.

To the OP -- if you spend enough time on gravel & hardpacked dirt, you'll probably do fine with treaded tires (similar to what you'd see on a car). Slicks are best for pavement, no doubt, but you might wish you had a little bit more grip when the surface loosens up.
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Old 01-27-08, 09:40 PM   #14
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I commute and tour on a 20-year old MTB. I run knobbies in the winter, with continental Town & Country tires the rest of the year. The speed difference is phenomenal - my average speed goes down 3-4 mph with the knobbies, and I find hill climbing is harder with knobbies. (Pretty weird, I'd have thought it'd be the other way around.)
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Old 01-27-08, 09:54 PM   #15
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That's DAMN fast for a MTB! I bet you're in your top gear most of the time.

yeah, top gear most of the time and I 'practice' by leaving 'Ol Panic in 53/20 no matter where I ride in the city.

and I'm not adverse to, umm, dry heaves from exertion.

Riding is fun, but it's also my work out...

edit: started out in August 07 on the Schwinn at about 8-11mph.

so to the O.P.~ have fun! You'll really like slicks!

hijack done...
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Old 01-28-08, 12:00 AM   #16
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Thanks again for all the advice. I should know in the next day or two if I am taking the job I spoke of, if so I'm going to be ordering a set of the Continental Town and Country tires. There smaller size is the same as am running now (26/1.9) so they should work just fine. I saw an artical that says that they are what a lot of police bikes use. If its a good enough general purpous tire for them then it should work great for me. If for some reason someone thinks I am overlooking something feel free to let me know.
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Old 01-28-08, 01:08 AM   #17
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i have been commuting on my old mtb. before i bought my new mtb i was running 2 sets of rims for my bike. makes choosing easier. if im commuting i use the road set up 26 x 1.5 and if i was going riding on the trails i would put my other rims on with the knobs. perhaps a couple minutes to swap to either (only cause of my rim brakes need to be adjusted) knobs aside, just the rotational weight loss you will notice the acceleration is a huge difference. yea granted i gained a few mph for my top speed on this bike but when im starting from a stop sign or light its so much easier to return to top speed. also those hill climbs at the end of a long day dont hurt as much
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Old 01-28-08, 01:55 PM   #18
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It also depends on what kind of knobbies you have. Some are MUCH more agressive than others and thus are MUCH worse on pavement.
When I got my old RockHopper, it had VERY agressive knobbies front & back. I'd pedal my butt off to get to 9-10 MPH. When I quit pedaling, I'd slow down to about 3 MPH within 20 yards!
I currently run 26x1.50: Serfas Driftrs. They seem to work fine for my 250 lbs., giving enough cushion for driveway lips, potholes etc., while having pretty low rolling resistance.
IF you will be doing a lot of stop & go, a smaller than 26x1.90" would be desirable. It's surprising how that seemingly small weight reduction affects acceleration.
One thing to be aware of, is a smaller dia. tire affects gearing. going from a nominal 26x2 to a 26x1.5 reduces the diameter by 4%. One tooth difference on a 12T cog is about 8%, so it's kind of like adding 1/2T to your top cog to a bike that is already going to roll much easier. That may or may not be desirable. OTOH, you may want to change the cassette anyway, if your riding conditions tend to be mostly flat.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:51 AM   #19
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Yes, it is a huge difference. I ride 80% road, and 20% mixed gravel and packed dirt. The rolling resistance is much less, max PSI jumps to 65, and it just motivates me to ride more.

Last edited by JosephPaul86; 01-29-08 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:53 AM   #20
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p.s.
check out academy. i bought 3 pairs of these Bell Tread alert 26x1.90" tires for only $3 each. No defect or unusual wear, I just suppose no one wanted them.
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Old 01-29-08, 01:13 PM   #21
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OP. are there any bike police in your local PDs? I would want what kinds of tires they use for your job.
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Old 01-29-08, 01:38 PM   #22
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There is 1 bike police officer (small town). I will have to wait until I see him out on patrol and ask, or look for myself. I'm on a first name basis with most of them over there just not sure who the bike cop is right now (they rotate people around all the time). But that might not happen until summer. I did check the site where they order most of their gear (www.galls.com) and the 2 bikes they carry give no tire description.
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Old 01-29-08, 03:01 PM   #23
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The difference between knobbies and smooth tires is the difference between driving a Geo Metro and a Ferrari F50.

You'll be faster, smoother, and be able to go harder for longer.
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Old 01-29-08, 03:25 PM   #24
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I see every one says that its best to run road tires for road riding but how much better is it then a set of knobbies? Would it be worth the money for me to invest in a set of road tires?
Short answer: YES! For a number of reasons:
  • Road tires will be noticeably faster / easier.
  • Road tires will handle better on hard pavement.
  • Road tires will not annoy you with "knobby buzz".
  • Road tires will probably last longer on a hard surface than knobbies.

Last edited by Kotts; 01-29-08 at 03:26 PM. Reason: forgot a reason...
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Old 01-29-08, 03:39 PM   #25
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I've been riding a set of 700 x 35 Innova ice studs for the past two days. My usual tires are 700 x 28 Conti Ultra Gatorskins.

Huge difference! Worlds of difference. I miss my Conti's, but they'd be totally useless to me in the snow and ice this week.
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