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  1. #1
    Senior Member kris247's Avatar
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    Different Front and Rear Tires

    On my ride home yesterday I somehow managed to get a screwdriver through my tire. I can't even describe it properly, you'll just have to see:



    I'm obviously going to replace the tire, and I'm thinking about trying the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I don't want to shell out the cash for two tires to make the front and rear match since my front tire (Conti Contact) is still pretty new. Is it okay to use non-matching (but same-sized) tires? Supposedly you're not supposed to do it on a car, but I don't know about a bike.

    Thanks...
    "Let our people travel light and free on their bicycles." -- Ed Abbey

  2. #2
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    What I'm seeing, you may want to replace that rim, too. It looks pretty chewed up near where the 'driver punched through the tire's sidewall.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  3. #3
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    Agree about the rim, but two different tires is no problem.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  4. #4
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    I suspect most folks are like me: 70% or 80% of my flats are on the rear wheel, which of course is the more difficult wheel to get on and off. On my four-speed Nexus bike, getting the rear wheel off is a real job.

    So, for commuters who need to be at work on time, it may make sense to keep a "bullet-proof" tire on the back wheel, and use a lighter, more supple tire on the front.

    Last week, it WAS my front tire that went flat. It had a hole in the sidewall exactly the size you would see if someone punched a screwdriver through the sidewall...I'd been parked downtown for most of the evening...hum...

  5. #5
    Loco Motive Member Steve Hamlin's Avatar
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    Congratulations!

    That's got to be about a 10,000,000:1 shot!

    Along with the rim, you might want to check and double check your brakes to make sure the calipers didn't get bent or tweaked. . .it looks like the screwdriver must've hit the seatstays or brakes and forced a wheel lock-up -- in which case, had it been your front wheel . . . well, let's just not think about it. . .

    No trouble mixing tires. I pretty routinely run a wider tire on the rear than on the front, so mixed width doesn't even matter from my experience.
    Roll away the dew!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris247 View Post
    I'm obviously going to replace the tire, and I'm thinking about trying the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I don't want to shell out the cash for two tires to make the front and rear match since my front tire (Conti Contact) is still pretty new. Is it okay to use non-matching (but same-sized) tires? Supposedly you're not supposed to do it on a car, but I don't know about a bike.
    Thanks...
    People recommend not doing it on a car so that you don't have uneven wear on the tires, which could be bad if a hapless driver forgets about the tires they didn't replace and ends up in trouble. Even then, if you pay attention to your tire wear and make sure to put the new car tires on the rear, it's no big deal.

    For a bike, you're *guaranteed* to have uneven tire wear, as the rear will wear far faster than the front due to weight imbalance. Since we're used to that, it's not a problem, no need to replace both tires. As Alan mentioned, though, I'd go with some Kevlar on the rear for sure. Most of my flats have also been on the rear.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I am actually tempted to put a 2" knobbie on my front and a 1.5" slick on the back of my bike. The other night I hit some sand in the dark with both tires slicks and just about ate $hit. Back tire slide isnt that bad, front tire is different story! I just dont know if my bike can handle any more dorkiness though.

    Not to hi-jack the thread, but what would happen if this tire with the hole in the sidewall was continued to be used? Maybe make some kind of "band-aid" for it? Sorry, you can tell I hate to throw things away.
    Quote Originally Posted by M_S View Post
    ..... but at the end of the day we're all just dorks riding around on bicycles, right?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    No problem on two different tires. I just keep the same tires for asthetic reasons.

    The rim is fine. Just file off the sharp edges so the sidewall of the new tire isn't eaten.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  9. #9
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    the only rule i have about two different tires is the smaller one goes in back...

    as for the rim you might be able to straighten it with a crescent wrench then sand it smooth enough to mount a tire safely??? maybe....

    good hit man that is a one in a million!
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

  10. #10
    mr. bananagrabber itty01's Avatar
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    why for the smaller one in the back? i had seen a while ago on sheldon brown's website where he talked about having the wider tire in front because it grabs hold of more pavement. is that the reason?

    is one more susceptible to flats? contrary to other people, i always seem to get flat on my front.

  11. #11
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hamlin View Post
    That's got to be about a 10,000,000:1 shot!
    I'd put the odds worse than that -- how the heck could you possibly get the screwdriver in like that? Aside from the fact that it would be all but impossible to do even on purpose, something like that would just stop you cold the instant the screwdriver hit the frame.

    Kris, presuming you're not just screwing with everyone, mixing bike tires is totally harmless. The main arguments against it are cosmetic. I swear by the Marathon Plus, but nothing can prevent the type of accident shown in your picture.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kris247's Avatar
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    Everyone: thanks for the advice. Now, I just have to figure out where I can pick up a Schwalbe tire locally in Salt Lake City. (The nearest dealer, according to their website, is some 50 miles away!). If all else fails I'll order one, but I'd hate to spend a week in my car while I wait for the mail.

    The screwdriver did, in fact, lock up against my seat stay, and it took a chunk out of my rear brake pad. I wanted an excuse to put some better pads on the bike, and I think I found it. I'll also have my LBS check out the rim and brake calipers while I'm at it.
    "Let our people travel light and free on their bicycles." -- Ed Abbey

  13. #13
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    I'd put the odds worse than that -- how the heck could you possibly get the screwdriver in like that? Aside from the fact that it would be all but impossible to do even on purpose, something like that would just stop you cold the instant the screwdriver hit the frame.

    Kris, presuming you're not just screwing with everyone, mixing bike tires is totally harmless. The main arguments against it are cosmetic. I swear by the Marathon Plus, but nothing can prevent the type of accident shown in your picture.
    Actually, I've had an almost identical puncture... except the object that went through my tire appeared to be something related to women's makeup (judging by the makeup brand name stamped into it.... have you SEEN some of the implements of torture women keep in their makeup kits? ) looked like a crochet hook to me.

    The holes in my tire were much smaller... less than 1/4", so I just kept riding on it (after replacing the tube)
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  14. #14
    Loco Motive Member Steve Hamlin's Avatar
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    "I'd put the odds worse than that"

    I'm sure the odds are far higher, too -- maybe a thousand times or more -- I just typed a lot of zeroes and it seemed like the point had been made. . . OP needs to go buy a lottery ticket. . .!

    I'm curious on why people are running the narrower tires in back, too? I figured the weight distribution between front and rear and the larger (cushier) tire in the rear made it the better way to go if one isn't facing icy roads or some such. . .?

    "Maybe make some kind of "band-aid" for it?"

    Actually, I don't see this as a hijack but pretty topical since this nothing but a really freaky sidewall blowout -- I've heard you can use a dollar bill as a boot in an emergency -- if the hole(s) aren't too big. The paper is supposed to be that strong, but I'd guess that some Tyvek from a FedEx envelope might work even better. I'd be curious to hear if anyone has actually done this though. . .
    Roll away the dew!

  15. #15
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    Maybe a little duct tape over the inside of the holes? You can fix anything with duct tape
    Quote Originally Posted by M_S View Post
    ..... but at the end of the day we're all just dorks riding around on bicycles, right?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hamlin View Post
    "Maybe make some kind of "band-aid" for it?"

    Actually, I don't see this as a hijack but pretty topical since this nothing but a really freaky sidewall blowout -- I've heard you can use a dollar bill as a boot in an emergency -- if the hole(s) aren't too big. The paper is supposed to be that strong, but I'd guess that some Tyvek from a FedEx envelope might work even better. I'd be curious to hear if anyone has actually done this though. . .
    I've used dollar bills before to boot a ripped sidewall. It works fine; as long as the tire isn't bulging after you've inflated the tire, it can be used as a semi-permanent repair. Just don't use anything made from regular paper. It'll not work. It needs to be something thick and cloth based, like a dollar bill or Tyvek. I've heard, though not tried, that a wrapper from a powerbar or cliff bar (these wrappers are pretty tough, not like a Snicker's bar wrapper) will work too. Also, Park Tool makes a premade boot, which has the advantage over the homemade boots in that it has adhesive on one side.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyBikeGotStolen View Post
    Maybe a little duct tape over the inside of the holes? You can fix anything with duct tape
    Duct tape most definitely does NOT work. Trust me. I tried sealing up rim holes with duct tape, and it didn't hold up to the tire pressure at all. It just stretches out and lets the innertube bulge out through the hole.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    I have 700x38 rear, and 700x25 front. No problems obviously.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    If you put a narrower, and lighter tire up front, it will noticeably lighten up the steering on your bike.
    Last edited by Silverexpress; 08-26-08 at 03:04 PM.
    Regards,
    Jose

  20. #20
    Year-round cyclist
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    On a car, you need two similar tires for the left and right wheel, but you don't need to match front and rear tires – to a point – unless you have four wheel drive or some anti-skating system.

    On a bike, both wheels are independant, so you can use whatever you want. There are some caveats:
    – Going with two very different sizes (700x23 and 700x42 for example) will change the geometry a bit and therefore handling.
    – There is a phenomenon that Jan Heine describes as pneumatic trail. Basically, with a larger front tire, the front wheel is more stable and harder to turn. Again, nothing too significant, but that's a difference you may or may not like.

    As for "which wheel should get the larger tire", it depends :
    – On asphalt, hard gravel... or if you carry a lot of luggage on your rear wheel, you gain comfort by using a larger rear tire, and still keep the bike relatively nimble by keeping a narrower tire in front.
    For instance, when I did loaded touring with a trailercycle in tow, I had 700x32 in front and 700x37 on my rear wheel because of the extra load. It allowed me to ride at 90 psi without fearing pinch flats.
    – On sand and other loose terrain, you benefit by having a large floating tire in front.



    P.S. To the original poster: From the photo, I'm not sure about the rim. Check it carefully for defects and then try to feather the brakes; they should slow down the wheel evenly. If the rim fails on either count, it likely needs to be replaced.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  21. #21
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    That is an amazing picture. What did it do to your frame? Did the wheel just stop turning? I'll bet you **** your pants wondering what all the racket was.

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