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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-31-06, 03:02 PM   #1
mtn_chick
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Which size tire to use?

I'm kinda clueless on most techy stuff, but right now on my hybrid I have 26x1.95 tires that are semi-slick, but I'm going to make the change to full-on slicks. Can I (or should I?) put a smaller size on? What would be ideal for not only my commute, but also for a distance race that's coming up next month?

Thx!
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Old 05-31-06, 03:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtn_chick
I'm kinda clueless on most techy stuff, but right now on my hybrid I have 26x1.95 tires that are semi-slick, but I'm going to make the change to full-on slicks. Can I (or should I?) put a smaller size on? What would be ideal for not only my commute, but also for a distance race that's coming up next month?

Thx!
I have been very happy with my change from 65psi 26x1.95's to 100 psi 26x1.4 slicks. Commuting and racing are pretty different, so I'll have to leave that to someone else. For commuting you'll want a tough tire that won't flat often, those types will be heavier than a tire intended for racing. I don't know of a tire that would be ideal for both.

Good luck!
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Old 05-31-06, 06:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtn_chick
but also for a distance race that's coming up next month?
You're doing a distance race on a hybrid? Wow...good luck to you!

As a rule, fatter/lower pressure equals cushier ride, but slower.

Thinner/higher pressure equals more "firm" ride, but faster, due to decreased rolling resistance.

If you have tires with knobbies on them, that will slow you down considerably, as well as being potentially unsafe on pavement.

My foul weather ATB runs 26x1.95 Michelin Trans World City tires. Good for what I need it to do. Could have looked at the 1.5, but oh well. The Continental Town and Country is also highly recommended in a 1.95 width. (The only width it comes in.)

Tire choice is all about trades. With greater "bounce" comes less speed. With greater durability comes more weight, and less speed. The fastest tire out there would be ludicrously light, and 300 psi. It would also flat within .5 mi, and be unrideable for the vibration and road shock. So you compromise, and decide how much weight and speed you want to give on for a softer ride, or greater durability and puncture resistance.

However, 90% of my riding or more is done on 700x25 All Condition Armadillos. I use those both for commuting and for century rides/distance events. (I don't "race", per se...) 28s might have been a more comfortable tradeoff between speed and comfort, but the 25s at 120 psi work perfectly well, and are still quite comfortable.
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Old 05-31-06, 07:49 PM   #4
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I've been very happy ever since changing from 26X1.95 stock tires to a thinner 26X1.5 slicks. In my opinion, 1.5s are the middle road between the ultra thin road and racing tires that are bumpier to ride and the full blown 1.95s and up MTB tires that are cushier but you have to put in more effort. I was actually concerned when I bought the 1.5s because of the type of application I was gonna subject them to(electric bicycle, 75 lbs bike). I've been telling myself the cliche "how could I have ever lived without them" ever since and never looked back.

Last edited by chicbicyclist; 05-31-06 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 05-31-06, 08:37 PM   #5
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Here's what I have to say on the matter: http://rykoala.org/ryko/articles/slicktires.html
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Old 05-31-06, 09:23 PM   #6
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I used 26x1.5 on my old commuter, love the tire, hate the bike.
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Old 05-31-06, 10:41 PM   #7
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I use 26x1.25 slicks with Mr. Tuffys. Works fine with proper tire pressure.
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Old 06-01-06, 12:10 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips!

Rykoala - useful website, thanks for the link!

banzai - just doing the "fun" race with the hybrid, 'cause I have no other choice!

I'm thinking the 26x1.5's might be the best bet for me. I'll hit the LBS armed with this knowledge and figure something out!
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Old 06-01-06, 12:25 AM   #9
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Mtn: I just got a pair of 26x1.5's Nimbuses (or Nimbi?) by Specialized. I love these things, not too slick, not too knobby... Don't know if they'll work for you though.
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Old 06-01-06, 12:47 AM   #10
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I am on a very limited budget so I took a chance and grabed a tire online that was on sale.

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...&estore_ID=718

I wanted it sort of wide as I have no idea what size rims come stock on the Piranha (get the bike today) and the 1.9s are close to the stock tire size.

I figured if anything it will be much better than the offroad tires that come on the bike and keep me from destroying them.

anybody think I made a good/bad choice? I am riding pavment 5/7 days of the week just to ride, not to get somwhere so the easier rolling of the 1.5" is not an issue and I will be hoping curbs and doing minor off road/urban stuff.
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Old 06-01-06, 03:57 AM   #11
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I run with Conti Town & Country.... Great tire.

It has an Inverted Tread... and rides great as far as rolling resistance.

They come in 2 sizes I have seen: 26 x 1.9 and 26 x 2.1

I run with the 1.9
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Old 06-01-06, 05:21 AM   #12
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Specialized fatboy's. I've always had good luck with specialized tires, very tough for riding in the city too.
26x1.5's, only 325 grams, slick.
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Old 06-01-06, 06:19 AM   #13
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If you have front suspension then you dont need cushy tyres. For better performance go for a 1.25"
1.5" is a good compromise for quick, all round road riding including rough roads.

Knobbles make the tyre heavier and slower.
Wider tyres are heavier but have lower rolling resistance AT THE SAME PRESSURE.
Narrow tyres can accept higher pressure.
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Old 06-01-06, 01:06 PM   #14
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Michael - good point! I do have front suspension, so the 1.25 make sense.

Now, I just have to wait a few days for the paycheque to come in... hope I can refrain from buying a NEW bike altogether!! (although, would it really be *that* bad???)
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Old 06-10-06, 07:18 AM   #15
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Follow up Q,

Will knobbies give more vibration than slicks on average rough roads? Do knobbies make any difference in absorbing pot holes or rail tracks?

Could I be getting minor hand numbness from vibration because of 1.95 knobbies. Would it go away at 1.5 slicks? Do tire manufacturers put a small amount of thread on road tires just for cosmetics?, or does it help with either resistance or vibration on typically rough roads?
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Old 06-10-06, 10:26 AM   #16
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Knobbies do not make a difference in "absorbing" those impacts. What they do is "squirm", meaning this:

In soft terrain, the knobbies sink in and grip, allowing you to continue forward progress and not spin out. However, on hard terrain (i.e. pavement) the knobs don't sink into anything. But they are soft and rubbery. As the weight of you and your bike transfer from knob to knob while the tire is rolling, the individual knobs "squirm" under the weight transfer...thusly giving you LESS grip than with a "slick" tire, particularly under wet conditions, where "squirm" around a corner could cause a spill. This phenomenon also slows you, sapping kinetic energy with much greater rolling resistance.

The relative harshness of your ride is largely dependent on tire size, pressure, and to a lesser degree frame material. Suspensions (and I despise suspensions!) will soak up the big bumps, but often vibration is still transmitted. There are a number of handlebars that sport vibration damping materials, as well as grips, wraps, and gloves.

Tread on a road tire is mostly cosmetics. Some exception, but mostly cosmetic and marketing.
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Old 06-10-06, 04:38 PM   #17
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How about some Schwalbe Marathon tires? I have them on my folder but they are made in 26" sizes too. They're definitely slower than the zippy Schwalbe Stelvio tires i also have for the folder but I find they are an excellent compromise with speed versus durability and flat protection.
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Old 06-10-06, 09:09 PM   #18
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ty banzai...

I shouldn't expect reduced vibration going from knobby to slick in the same size, then?
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Old 06-11-06, 06:33 AM   #19
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You could go with these tires:
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...e.cfm?SKU=2311
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