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  1. #1
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    1 inch slicks on mountain bike rims: as bad as they say?

    I've found what I believe would make the best slicks to place on my mountain bike. The Continental Grand Prix (26" x 1"). They receive good reviews on mtbr. Ultimately, I want to go faster on long distance rides, and on daily commutes, if possible. More importantly, the fastest lightest slicks available are desired so that I can be more competitive when I participate in a triathlon later this summer.

    My rims are Bontrager Ranger Disc and for these tires BikeTiresDirect.com states The inside dimension of your rim should be no wider than 3/4". What would be your best guess as to the inner dimension of my rims? The outer dimension as measured with a set of calipers is about a millimeter short of an inch. Therefore for the inner dimension to equal 3/4", each wall would need to constitute 2.5 millimeters of width. Would this sound about right?

    I've heard a lot of recommendations to NOT go down to 1" slicks, from BF members and especially from my LBS, due to increased susceptibility to pinch flats. Does anyone run 1" slicks on their MTB rims, and if so, what is your experience? Get them? Definately don't get them?

    I am aware of the 1.25" Specialized Fatboys, which are second in line. Are there any other narrow slicks I should consider?

  2. #2
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    I'm using the Panaracer Pasela 26" x 1.25" on fairly wide Campagnolo Thorr box section rims. Works fine, esp. good for zipping around on pavement.

  3. #3
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    I run Ritchey Tom Slicks 26X1 on regular old mountain bike rims. I have had absolutely no problem with them. My Rim may not be 3/4 of an inch wide, but it can't be much larger than that. They are cheaper rims on an old 1990's Jamis Explorer running STX components.

    I have also compared them to my 1.5 inch slicks and believe that they are a little faster. No problems with pinch flats, etc. Really, it is no different than a 25 mm road bike tire in that regard except that the wheel is smaller.

    Oh, be advised, these tires were an absolute Bi**h to get mounted. I destroyed 3 park tire levers and 2 tubes before I got wise and bought a quickstick. I also had better luck when I dusted the tubes in talcum powder.

  4. #4
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    The key is matching the tire to the rim. As the rim widens, the tire flattens out. If the rim is too wide, the tire becomes very thin, and you're practically riding on the rims. If the rim is too narrow, the tire becomes too thick, and handling becomes floppy and the tire becomes overly bouncy.

    I run the Continental tires on a set of rims with a 17mm inside width, which is really narrow by mountain bike standards, and they work great and give a road-bike like feel. Before that I used to run Vredestein S-Licks 26x1.3 on the rims that came with the bike, which were 24mm outside, 20mm inside (which sounds like what you have). I loved the S-Licks on that bike, but when I got narrower wheels I found that the ride was bouncy and handling was sluggish. I ran the S-Licks for a while on some Rhyno-Lite wheels (27.5 mm outside, 23mm inside) and it felt like I didn't have tires at all, just riding on the rims.

    My favorite is the Continentals on the narrow rims, followed by the S-licks on the medium rim.
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  5. #5
    Prairie Path Commuter
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    Quote Originally Posted by berkeleybike
    I'm using the Panaracer Pasela 26" x 1.25" on fairly wide Campagnolo Thorr box section rims. Works fine, esp. good for zipping around on pavement.
    1+

    I run 26 x 1.25" Panaracer T-Serv (almost the same tire) on stock Marin Palisade Trail rims. Don't know the size of the rim but pretty run of the mill MTB rims from mid 90's.

  6. #6
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    I think the inside width of your rims will be 21 mm (3/4" = 19mm). With 1" tires your wheel dia will be less so your legs will be more likely to spin out. You should also consider fitting a larger chainring.

  7. #7
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    I got a pair of fatboys once for my Cannondale F900 - they were wonderful. I was going to go with some people for a metric century and a friend recommended them. I was able to pump them up and it felt friction free compared to my normal tires.

    I still use them sometimes - except my wife has stolen one for the back wheel of her bike on a trainer...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mad Scientist's Avatar
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    My Marin Muirwoods came with 26"x1.5" WTB Slickasaurus tires. I wanted narrower, so I got the Specialized Fatboys. The Fatboys are rated to 100 psi, the Slickasaurus are rated to 80. I was not able to identify a real difference in performance when I made the switch. My average times have not changed and the feel of the bike has not changed with any significance.

    I rode 1100 miles on the Slickasaurus tires without a flat and so far have gone 700 on the Fatboys with no flat -- so, either they are both pretty flat resistent, or my route is pretty debris free.

    I have read plenty about the benefit of narrower tires and slicks in this forum. But, beware: unless you are switching away from wide tires and tread, you might not experience a huge performance improvement. That being said, I like both of my sets of tires and would not hesitate to recommend them.

    Also, I rode in a 62 mile tour (with a navigation error at the end extending the ride to 66) on the Fatboys with no problems.

    And finally, I did not replace the Slickasaurus tires because there was a problem with them -- I just wanted something faster and felt a bug to upgrade something.

  9. #9
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    Generally, the inside width of a rim is about 5mm less than the outside width.

    While putting a 25mm tire on a rim with 3/4" (19mm) inside width might work OK, my recommendation is to go just a bit wider. I've had trouble in the past putting on tires that are barely wider than the rim. Like Mad Scientist says, the performance differences are not that big. I run Ritchey Tom Slicks 26x1.4 (~35mm) on my 17mm rims.

    If you really want to be competitive in the triathlon, you need to get yourself into a more aero position, either by adding aerobars to your bike (if you can get that to work) or getting a whole new bike made for road riding. The biggest reason MTBs are slower than road bikes is that they put you in a more upright position causing more wind resistance. This is much less of a factor when riding off-road since speeds are slower.

  10. #10
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    1" wide tires are usually very thin and don't last too long, also more susceptible to flats.

    i prefer 1.4 ritchey tom slicks or 1.5 kenda kwests. i've run a couple sets of kwests over 10,000 miles each. the tom slicks only go half as long.

    also i had only a couple flats on those kwests.

    the 1" perf bike and hutchinsons i tried both flatted rpeatedly in short time. the hutchinson rear was worn out after ~400 miles.

    on top of being a better value and nearly maintenance free, the bigger tires give a smoother ride and the bike is more stable from the extra weight spinning around. i could ride the kwest no hands for a looong way.

    if speed is your concern, quit worrying about the tires and get some drop bars. the wind iis holding you up more than anything else above 15mph.

    edit: ha. just like the guy before me said. sorry i dont read em all.

  11. #11
    Amateur Hack
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    I've used my specialized all condition pro atb (26x1.0) for over a year. rated to 125 psi. They seem plenty durable so far. No pinch flats. No flats of any kind actually. I used to have all sorts of flat problems until I switched to tires with specialized flak jacket stuff. It was a huge improvement over the specialized fatboys (decent) and michelin wildgripper city (sucked!) I used to run.

    I did also get bullhorns and aerobars + higher gearing when I did my second triathlon (borrowed a road bike for the first one). For approximately the same level of effort, I went from ~20mph to ~22mph just by tucking into aero. Not exactly a scientific study, just watched my computer when I tucked and untucked a couple of times.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    FWIW, I used to run the cheapo performancebike.com 26x1.25" slicks that cost $7.99 on sale. For commuting (hey, this IS the commuting forum) I found them fine, but on the rougher surfaces, especially uneven surfaces I found them lacking. I had a pair of 26x2.125" slicks laying around from a failed experiment a couple of years ago, and so I put them on. They arent as quick, because they do weigh more. BUT, they are *ultra* stable on even the worst roads, and I've even taken them on dirt roads with complete confidence (no singletrack, mind you...). As for you triathlon, get some drop handlebars (or bullhorns, something to get your head down and out of the wind) and the 1.25" slicks and you should do well. For commuting though, nothing smaller than a 1.5 will be on my bicycle.

    Hope this helps!

  13. #13
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymouse99
    More importantly, the fastest lightest slicks available are desired so that I can be more competitive when I participate in a triathlon later this summer.
    Been down this road already. I no longer own a mountain bike. 99% of my riding was on the street and commuting. MTB's are geared too low to be fast on the street. If you want to be competitive on a Tri, you'll need a road bike. Taller skinny tires make for way less rolling resistance, and a 53-55 front chaingring makes for faster speeds than a 44 MTB front chainring. An MTB's tallest gear is like the middle ring on a road bike. Not to mention an MTB is way less Aero than a road bike because of your mostly upright position. Of course, if you really want to go fast, you'll need something like this: http://www.bacchettabikes.com/recumb...carbonaero.htm Anyway, find yourself a nice used road bike to use as a commuter, you'll see an instant improvement in speed even over an MTB with slicks.
    Last edited by LowCel; 04-06-07 at 09:27 AM.

  14. #14
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    Good thread. I plan on starting commuting this summer on a 1989 Trek 7000 and plan to run Specialized Nimbus EX 1.5´s on regular mtn rims. I ran them on another mtn wheelset with no problems.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Urban Shooter's Avatar
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    I am quite happy with my 26 x 1.5 WTB Slickasaurus tires. Not extremely narrow but after switching from the Bontrager 26 x 2.5 that came with my bike I seriously noticed performance gains and overall increase in speed. Depending on your preferences it is not necessary to go as narrow as 1 inch on slicks for your MTB.

    Just my two cents worth.
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  16. #16
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    I have a pair of Continental Goliaths that I'm delighted with. But good luck finding them as they don't make them anymore.

  17. #17
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    Here is a summary of the recommendations:

    Specialized All Condition Pro ATB 26x1"
    Ritchey Tom Slicks 26X1"
    Specialized Fatboys 26x1.25" (II)
    Panaracer Pasela 26x1.25"
    Panaracer T-Serv 26x1.25"
    Vredestein S-Licks 26x1.3"
    Ritchey Tom Slicks 26x1.4" (II)

    There are two votes for the Specialized Fatboys 26x1.25" and the Ritchey Tom Slicks 26x1.4". Actually a coworker runs the Fatboys and they work great for him, so I guess that makes three votes for the Fatboys.

    I currently run Bontrager Satellite Plus 26x1.5" slicks. On my previous bike I ran Bontrager Select Inverts 26x1.5" tires with a little thread. The Satellites are a lot more plush than the Select Inverts were, and although it may be due to an inherent difference between the bikes, I feel like the Satellites--since they are plusher--are slower, despite being the same width as the Select Inverts. So, the Satellites make for a great around-the-town set of tires since they soak up the bumps well, but I feel like they're slowing me down. Since they are already 1.5", I'm inclined to go thinner to justify buying a new set of tires. Since the Specialized All Condition Pro ATB 26x1" are recommended above and are the thinnest, I'd want to go with those. However, since they retail for $38 each, and the Continentals retail for $24, I might just go with the Continentals since the Continentals offer similar flat protection. I'm not in a rush, so I'll wait and see what other recommendations come in and if a more attractive set of tires come along.

    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333
    if speed is your concern, quit worrying about the tires and get some drop bars. the wind is holding you up more than anything else above 15mph.
    Indeed, this was the first thing I was interested in doing (see this thread), however switching over to drops would require a great deal of parts replaced, an investment more than I'm willing to put forth. Instead, to get the multiple hand positions anyway, I decided to get trekking bars, which should arrive soon and only cost about $20 total.

  18. #18
    Senior Member kb0tnv's Avatar
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    I ordered the 26 x 1" Tom Slicks Pro from my LBS and plan on seeing how well they do. I will report back. My Mavic rims actually say the will go down to 1". I have had armadillos before and they did pretty good but weren't as thin as these will be. They were like 1.5". I have some serfa tires but they feel much larger than 1.5" and I bought them for winter riding. Been getting warm and I have been itching to get something that will get me moving faster! I plan on holding onto the Serfa tires for winter riding since they have some tread and feel pretty stable.

    Will report back once I get some miles on the Tom Slicks I hope will be in sometime this week!

    Keep Cycling!
    "Work to Eat, Eat to Live, Live to Bike, Bike to Work"

  19. #19
    Go hula
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    Quote Originally Posted by kb0tnv
    I ordered the 26 x 1" Tom Slicks Pro from my LBS and plan on seeing how well they do. I will report back. My Mavic rims actually say the will go down to 1". I have had armadillos before and they did pretty good but weren't as thin as these will be. They were like 1.5". I have some serfa tires but they feel much larger than 1.5" and I bought them for winter riding. Been getting warm and I have been itching to get something that will get me moving faster! I plan on holding onto the Serfa tires for winter riding since they have some tread and feel pretty stable.

    Will report back once I get some miles on the Tom Slicks I hope will be in sometime this week!

    Keep Cycling!
    I commute about 4000 miles a year and have used the Tom Slicks for years on my Mavic wheels. I change the back twice a year and the front once a year. I run tuffy liners on both but not sure if they really help.... probably more a peace of mind trick cuz I do get flats eventually. I use flats as my gauge to get a new tire. When I flat two or more times in a week, then I get a new tire. Very scientific

  20. #20
    Shut Up and Ride MyPC8MyBrain's Avatar
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    We are running the 26 x 1.0 Tom Slicks on our Cannondale MT-800 tandem. 500+ miles and not even a flat. And yes, they do haul a s s.
    You give up a bit of confidence on the gravel trails, but that is to be expected with a narrower slick tire.

  21. #21
    Senior Member kb0tnv's Avatar
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    Looks like the 26 x 1.0 Tom Slicks are coming out of the closet! (earlier 1.4" was all I really heard about) I am very glad to hear about the last two posts! I look forward to getting my new tires on this week! My LBS is hopping with all the bikes / parts being ordered and they get stuff in really quick!

    I demand a recount! ;0) I will be putting in my vote really soon!

    Keep Cycling!

    Jeff
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  22. #22
    Team Katana 古強者死神's Avatar
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    I am quite happy with my 26 x 1.5 WTB Slickasaurus tires. Not extremely narrow but after switching from the Bontrager 26 x 2.5 that came with my bike I seriously noticed performance gains and overall increase in speed. Depending on your preferences it is not necessary to go as narrow as 1 inch on slicks for your MTB.
    Hmm I was going to get some nanoraptors but on a tight budget I grabed these on sale:
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=5430

    They seem like nice durable tires, and like they can give good enough grip for minor offroading.

    I have the same rims as the OP.

    Think that I should see a nice increase of the stock Piranha tires?

  23. #23
    Senior Member Urban Shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 古強者死神
    Hmm I was going to get some nanoraptors but on a tight budget I grabed these on sale:
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=5430

    They seem like nice durable tires, and like they can give good enough grip for minor offroading.

    I have the same rims as the OP.

    Think that I should see a nice increase of the stock Piranha tires?
    I noticed that I gained a few extra m.p.h. just by switching so you should notice the gain immediately.
    ***** Chugga Chugga Doo *****

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  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Well, after a lot of research, I decided to go with the Schwalbe Marathon Slick 26x1.35. After discovering that these tires come standard on the highest-end 'Sport Urban' bike by Trek, the SU600 (not offered in the US), I decided to look into them, and they looked particularly attractive, especially since they are made by Schwalbe. The tires I had previously on my bike which came stock with the bike were 1.5" Bontrager Satellite Plus tires. The Schwalbe's, being 1.35" wide, do not flirt the limit of narrowness on my rims, but still offer a significant gain in 'thinness' compared to my previous 1.5" tires. Although not the lightest tires at 490 grams per tire, they are sure to be durable and flat resistant, and are still significantly lighter than my previous tires, which were 640 g per tire. More importantly, and to my surprise, these Schwalbe tires perform very well, and are softer and absorb more road noise than the wider, lower pressure, slicks I had on my bike previously. Finally, I got these tires at an amazing price from triathlete.com, who shipped fast through USPS Priority for only $5.

  25. #25
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    Jeeze , I think my 26" rims are for sure wider than 3/4 inch!

    I have been running Geax Road Runner 26x1.25 on my bike for upwards of 3 years now. I have had one flat, and that was because the rubber 'round the valve gave out one day when I was pumping my tires. I don't do alot of high mileage in or out of season, but they have at least 3000 miles on them. I run them at 100lbs and they are nice. If it is wet I run them lower, and have ridden them at 80lbs, which is a plush ride.

    When I changed the tube about a week ago, the tire was very easy to re-seat after inserting the new tube; I didn't even need a tire iron, except just on at the very end of the seating. I guess they are at the small range of the tires for my rims. I did notice that they specifically state that my rim must be of a certain type to use the tires.

    I don't think the Geax's are an especially light tire, but they are sturdy, long lasting and not clunky looking.
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