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  1. #1
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Yawn... more questions about tyres

    I just added to my stable, my 2009 Rockhopper just got joined by a 2009 Tricross Sport that I picked up courtesy of ebay. It comes with tyres that I'm guessing are about 25mm wide and fairly slick.

    I'm used to Schwalbe Marathon tyres that are all but indestructible and I'm constantly conscious that these tyres probably aren't as indestructible. So I'm looking to swap them out sooner rather than later, but really don't know quite what to expect from the different widths of tyre on offer.

    The reason for getting the tricross was for speed coupled with the capability for light offroad use. I don't expect to be racing the all-out roadies, and although I'd like to keep some grip in muddy conditions I'm not trying to turn the tricross into a mountain bike. So something of a bundle of compromises, and for now I don't want to put too much money into it because there's always a chance I'll decide to just stick with the Rockhopper and resell the tricross.

    So here's the question... what difference will I actually feel in terms of riding, rolling resistance etc based on my tyres being wider or narrower, all else being equal? Something like Schwalbe's Marathon Extreme is available as a 700x35 only, but the Marathon Plus is available as 700x25, 28, 32, 35 or 38. I figure there's a reason for having so many options, just don't quite know what difference the options will make.

    If it's relevant I'm about 6'4 and weigh 250 or so, and slowly dropping from there.

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    The only difference you're likely to feel is that wider tires provide a slightly cushier ride. They're also heavier, so if you're planning to win the Tour de France you want the lightest/skinniest tire you can find. On my light carbon fiber road bike, I run 700x25 tires because anything larger won't clear the fork bridge. On my aluminum touring bike, I run 700x35 tires because they're about the largest thing that will fit. In the winter I install fenders and switch to 700x32 because the 35s are uncomfortably close to the fenders.

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    Senior Member 1oddmanout's Avatar
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    IMO, the width of the tires doesn't necessarily relate to rolling resistance. Schwalbe Big Apples have big balloon tire diameters, but is rated as one of Schwalbe's lowest rolling resistance tires. I just took the Pig on a 27-mile ride on its new tires, Schwalbe Marathon Cross in 26x1.75 size, and I rode smooth and fast on the C&O Canal towpath (10.5 avg speed with a burst up to 18). They're pretty light, too.
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    If your Tricross came with stock Borough tires - ditch them stat! They are a fraking magnet for road debris and puncture like paper. Wheels are laced with beefy rigid spokes, so wide tires with flexible sidewall will give you cushy ride with low resistance.

    Good Luck

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    The debate between which tire provides the least rolling resistance will keep going on as long as there are different tire brands. I roll on 25s on my road bike, and 32s on my touring bike. Is there a difference in the effort to maintain the same speed yes. The wider tire while great for loaded touring and riding rough roads is slower than the high pressure narrow tire that will shake you up on the same rough road. There are cyclocross tires out there that are slick in the middle, but have knobbies on the sidewall of the tire. I have heard that they do wearout quickly on pavemnt.

    I have read somewhere that a wider slick tire has less rolling resistance than a narrower slick tire. They did stated that the resistance was lower because of the amount of rubber that was on the road. I dont remember where i read that at, but it was something that stuck with me.

    Ride the tire your comfortable on.
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  6. #6
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The only difference you're likely to feel is that wider tires provide a slightly cushier ride. They're also heavier, so if you're planning to win the Tour de France you want the lightest/skinniest tire you can find. On my light carbon fiber road bike, I run 700x25 tires because anything larger won't clear the fork bridge. On my aluminum touring bike, I run 700x35 tires because they're about the largest thing that will fit. In the winter I install fenders and switch to 700x32 because the 35s are uncomfortably close to the fenders.
    Haha, I'll need to shake off a fair chunk of surplus around the middle and by then I'll be too old to even enter the TdF let alone hope to win it


    Quote Originally Posted by sci_femme View Post
    If your Tricross came with stock Borough tires - ditch them stat! They are a fraking magnet for road debris and puncture like paper. Wheels are laced with beefy rigid spokes, so wide tires with flexible sidewall will give you cushy ride with low resistance.

    Good Luck

    SF
    I think they are the Borough tyres, I'll need to look at them. I bought the bike on fleabay - the tyres look like they are nearly new but at present I'm very conscious that I'm used to tyres that are all but bullet proof and I'd really rather spend my time riding than fixing punctures.


    Quote Originally Posted by mthayer View Post
    The debate between which tire provides the least rolling resistance will keep going on as long as there are different tire brands. I roll on 25s on my road bike, and 32s on my touring bike. Is there a difference in the effort to maintain the same speed yes. The wider tire while great for loaded touring and riding rough roads is slower than the high pressure narrow tire that will shake you up on the same rough road. There are cyclocross tires out there that are slick in the middle, but have knobbies on the sidewall of the tire. I have heard that they do wearout quickly on pavemnt.

    I have read somewhere that a wider slick tire has less rolling resistance than a narrower slick tire. They did stated that the resistance was lower because of the amount of rubber that was on the road. I dont remember where i read that at, but it was something that stuck with me.

    Ride the tire your comfortable on.
    Sounds like a 28 or 32 is going to be the kind of thing I'll be looking for. When I find something comfortable I tend to stick with it, I'm just trying to figure out what will give me a good balance between a comfortable ride that doesn't shake my teeth loose with a ride fast enough to make it worth using the tricross over the rockhopper. Getting some pointers before I throw money at new tyres could save me from buying tyres that don't work for me.

  7. #7
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    I checked the tyres, they are the standard Borough CX tyres in 700x32. I'd have estimated them being narrower than that, but it means that 32 or 35 should be fine for me, and anything below 28 will probably be a bit too hard in terms of ride.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
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    First question... what size is your rims? If you have 17mm wide rims, that's going to limit what you can put on there.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html Sheldon's chart on sizes.


    I buy Vredresdens because they are common where I live and like them well enough. I've heard very good things about Schwalbes and Hetres. I like putting the largest size tire I can based on the rim width. I have 25mm on my semirace, 32mm on my touring bike and 37 on my city bike.

  9. #9
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I use schwalbe marathon pluses in a 25 on my fixie for running around town, just because they are indestructible. And I have them in a 26x1.75 ins on my tourer for the same reason. The fatter the tyre, the softer the ride, most of the time. The penalty isn't really the rolling resistance, it's the weight. Personally I think 25mm is easily enough for ordinary road riding.

    But I wouldn't be using marathon pluses if I were interested in performance, or in riding off-road. They are heavy, they aren't great at hard cornering in the wet, and they don't handle loose surfaces very well. Cyclocross tyres tend to be semi-slick with knobbly shoulders, and they give a decent all-round performance. But the general rule is, ride slicks on the road, they give better grip. Ride something wider and knobbly off road for the same reason.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rona View Post
    First question... what size is your rims? If you have 17mm wide rims, that's going to limit what you can put on there.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html Sheldon's chart on sizes.


    I buy Vredresdens because they are common where I live and like them well enough. I've heard very good things about Schwalbes and Hetres. I like putting the largest size tire I can based on the rim width. I have 25mm on my semirace, 32mm on my touring bike and 37 on my city bike.
    Good point, I'll need to go measure that. They've got 700x32 tyres on now so they can obviously take those. I'm liking the look of the regular Schwalbe Marathon in 700x32, it looks like it should be fast enough on the road without losing grip totally if I go off road on it. For the most part the tricross will stay on roads or gravel trails, if I want to do anything more than that I'll use the rockhopper. I just want a bit of traction off road in case I do find myself wanting to use a shortcut through mud when I'm out on the tricross.

  11. #11
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    I also ride an 09 Tricross Sport. It's quite a dandy all purpose bike, it's my commuter, tourer, century bike, and fire road bike. I don't like the doo-doo brown color but it is what it is.

    The stock Borough tires are crap. Save them to burn up on the trainer in the winter. Instead of buying a general purpose tire, I bought two sets. One set of Continental Ultra Gatorskins which I use for road, and a set of WTB Cross-Wolf knobby tires. Tires, like all things dual purpose, tend to do both jobs somewhat well. Thus I opted for a road specific and a trail specific tire. Any tire should be reasonably ok for a quick shortcut through mud. Just don't grab the front breaks or try and make a quick turn/stop.

  12. #12
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    I also ride an 09 Tricross Sport. It's quite a dandy all purpose bike, it's my commuter, tourer, century bike, and fire road bike. I don't like the doo-doo brown color but it is what it is.
    I can't say I'm a huge fan of the brown section but aside from that I'm really liking it. It's got the exact same problem as my Rockhopper, namely it could really do with an upgrade to the rider, but I'm working on that

    The stock Borough tires are crap. Save them to burn up on the trainer in the winter. Instead of buying a general purpose tire, I bought two sets. One set of Continental Ultra Gatorskins which I use for road, and a set of WTB Cross-Wolf knobby tires. Tires, like all things dual purpose, tend to do both jobs somewhat well. Thus I opted for a road specific and a trail specific tire. Any tire should be reasonably ok for a quick shortcut through mud. Just don't grab the front breaks or try and make a quick turn/stop.
    It doesn't get cold enough in the winter over here to stop riding. If it gets icy I stick to the main roads that are cleared. I rode a back road on the Rockhopper where there were slight ridges in the ice that were slightly oblique to the road - I had to cross them but crossing them at 90 degrees was nigh on impossible, so of course as soon as my tyre hit them it wanted to slide sideways. I ended up walking a long way on the ice...

    At first I thought the Borough tyres would be OK, they looked like they were reasonably new but even after riding no more than about 60-70 miles on the bike I can see the marks where I've been over sharp stones etc on the road. The Marathon Plus ATB tyre on the front of the Rockhopper has done about 2-3000 miles and at a push I'd say it looks comparable.

    I'll take a look at the WTB tyres - to be honest I'd rather have one set of tyres that I use rather than having to choose which bike to ride and then what tyres to put on it. I'd rather just get on a bike and go.

  13. #13
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    I'll take a look at the WTB tyres - to be honest I'd rather have one set of tyres that I use rather than having to choose which bike to ride and then what tyres to put on it. I'd rather just get on a bike and go.
    That's why I bought an extra set of rims and cassette, hot swappable I'd skip the crosswolfs if you're going to use them on the pavement. My rear crosswolf has 200 or so pavement miles and it is noticeably worn. Keep the dirt tires in the dirt. I used to run a set of Kenda Kross Plus 2s on my mountain bike, I think they make a 700c version as well. If so, they would be a great choice for the riding you've described. Slicks in the center with shoulder knobs should you need a little extra bite.

  14. #14
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Ah... it was a bit of a struggle to get my wife to accept a third bike floating about so if another set of wheels turns up (to go with the spare back wheel from my MTB) I think she might lose the will to live. Or it will cost me in the form of more shoes or some such...

    If the WTBs are as short-lived as you say on tarmac they won't be much use to me, most of what I do on the tricross will be tarmac, at least while I figure out just how robust it is.

  15. #15
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    The Tricross is a pretty stout bike. I ride mine the same way I ride my mountain bike and Cross Check. It will handle jumps bigger than you can. My favorite tire for combined on and off road duties has been the 700 x 35 Kenda small block 8, I ran them for about a year on my Cross Check; camping, trail riding, daily workouts, and a few 100 mile days of pavement. I have a Marathon Extreme 700 x 40 on the rear of my Tricross now with a Bontranger 700 x 45 up front. It is strictly a trail bike though, with 38/20 gearing, so road speed isn't an issue.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member ciao_bella's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting article about bicycle tires, especially the part about wider tires rolling faster than narrow ones:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/a...he-myths-29245
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  17. #17
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    After I ditched Boroughs I splurged on Conti 4-seasons in 28 size. Not a cheap tire and size is extremely uncommon, had to wait nearly 5 weeks as there were none - none! - available stateside at the time. But they are worth every cent - reasonably puncture-resistant, long-wearing and possess tremendous wet grip.

    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    I also ride an 09 Tricross Sport. It's quite a dandy all purpose bike, it's my commuter, tourer, century bike, and fire road bike. I don't like the doo-doo brown color but it is what it is.
    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    I can't say I'm a huge fan of the brown section but aside from that I'm really liking it. It's got the exact same problem as my Rockhopper, namely it could really do with an upgrade to the rider, but I'm working on that
    I named my 2008 Comp "Poopie".....
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  18. #18
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ciao_bella View Post
    Here's an interesting article about bicycle tires, especially the part about wider tires rolling faster than narrow ones:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/a...he-myths-29245
    Wow, that made for interesting reading. Good to know I don't have to shake my teeth loose with 25mm tyres on London's dodgy road surfaces to get some speed up!

  19. #19
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    Wow, that made for interesting reading. Good to know I don't have to shake my teeth loose with 25mm tyres on London's dodgy road surfaces to get some speed up!
    Don't get too excited. They are saying that it is the amount of deformation that matters, rather than the size of the contact patch. So far so good, and that makes sense to me. But the amount of deformation varies with the pressure to which you inflate the tyre. A 25mm tyre at 120psi will probably roll better than a 32mm at 80psi, and be lighter and more aerodynamic to boot. If that is right it would give you a faster, though admittedly harder, ride. None of these things are straightforward, they all involve some compromise and lots of variables, which is why we can all get entertainingly dogmatic about our preferences, secure in the knowledge that we can't be proven wrong. LOL.

    Having said all that, when commuting in London, which I did for years, who cares about having the fastest tyres? Other stuff will slow you down much more than them...
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  20. #20
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Don't get too excited. They are saying that it is the amount of deformation that matters, rather than the size of the contact patch. So far so good, and that makes sense to me. But the amount of deformation varies with the pressure to which you inflate the tyre. A 25mm tyre at 120psi will probably roll better than a 32mm at 80psi, and be lighter and more aerodynamic to boot. If that is right it would give you a faster, though admittedly harder, ride. None of these things are straightforward, they all involve some compromise and lots of variables, which is why we can all get entertainingly dogmatic about our preferences, secure in the knowledge that we can't be proven wrong. LOL.
    Very true... and I'd rather be comfortable and fast than very fast and uncomfortable. That said being a Clyde it will take me a while before I'm truly "fast" by the standards of a few of the people I see on the roads...

    Having said all that, when commuting in London, which I did for years, who cares about having the fastest tyres? Other stuff will slow you down much more than them...
    Heading towards central London is frustrating because of the lights and the traffic, which as you say makes much more of a difference than a couple of mph on my average speed that a better tyre might give me. Heading away from town and away from the lights gives me the chance to put some more power down (at least as much power as my overweight frame can offer) without anywhere near as many lights to contend with.

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