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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 08-19-10, 06:33 PM   #1
MTBJason
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Just installed road tires on my MTB for commuting, what a difference!

I have been commuting for the past two months to work (7 miles each way, but I often increase the distance to 12+) on my hardtail. Due to the fact that my rear tire was starting to show wear, I have been considering purchasing a road bike for the commute which is mostly on paved trails. Since I didn't feel like spending the money at this time, I decided to purchase some road tires. I swapped my Kenda Small Block Eights for Serfas Barista LT 1.25" tires.

My first ride to work was 25 miles (including a rail-trail) and all I can say is WOW! I could not believe the difference in my speed. Granted I have to increse my rpm's to get equal speed, but it is a tradeoff I am willing to make. Riding home last night I increased my average speed by almost a full mph versus my previous record and I definitely was not riding as hard. Today I had a 12-15 mph wind with gusts up to 20 and it seemed like it was easier to pedal, even though I despise a headwind. I am normally a dirt trail rider after all.

I will likely purchase a road bike for the commute, but in the mean time I was definitely impressed with this swap.
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Old 08-19-10, 08:17 PM   #2
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I was very pleased with mine as well. I don't know if it made me any faster, but it seems to make biking around town a bit easier.
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Old 08-19-10, 10:28 PM   #3
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I'm glad this has some positive feedback and results. I still have the first mountain bike I ever purchased hanging in the shed and I am thinking about road tires since I don't really do trail riding anymore and it would be a good winter beater bike/spare bike for someone to go riding with me.
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Old 08-19-10, 11:00 PM   #4
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Swapped knobbies for slicks on my wife's MTB... she didn't want me to spend the money, so I did it while she was working nights.

She seemed a little PO'd at first, but then had to begrudgingly admit that it made an obvious improvement in her bike's ride since she sticks to paved surfaces.
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Old 08-20-10, 12:27 AM   #5
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I put slick tires on my wife's mountain bike. It's her only bike. She only rides on the road.

Knowing that people who aren't strong don't necessarily notice subtle changes on bikes, I said, "I don't know if you'll notice the difference."

She rode about 40 feet and said, "I notice the difference!"

I'm actually pissed off that so many bikes come with heavy, super-knobby tires. It makes them ride so much harder. And most people don't ride in loose stuff. I've had people tell me they make the bike look more rugged for street riding. But they don't.

I have a side business in used bikes at my house. I have people test ride a mountain bike with knobbies and then my wife's bike so they get an idea of what a difference it makes. It's quite dramatic. Sometimes I can sell tires this way.
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Old 08-20-10, 05:23 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting this, as you have finally convinced me to get road tires on my MTB as soon as I can afford it (Im totally broke).
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Old 08-20-10, 06:01 AM   #7
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It's totally worth it, been riding slicks on my hardtail MTB for a year, and I love 'em.
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Old 08-20-10, 06:03 AM   #8
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You bet it makes a difference. I recently put Serfas Survivor Drifters on my mtb. They have the inverted tread, with a smooth center section, because I wanted a little tread for very light off road. So far I like them a lot, and street riding is WAY easier.
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Old 08-20-10, 06:18 AM   #9
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I just put Specialized Fatboys on my MTB. These made a great improvement in making the bike usable on the bike path and around town. The bike looks kind of funny with such small tires though.

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Old 08-20-10, 07:02 AM   #10
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I note a gain of 5km/hr or more when road riding.

And a loss of 5km/hr or more when actually mountain biking.

(Tried the latter last night. A bit muddy. Fail.)
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Old 08-20-10, 08:28 AM   #11
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I note a gain of 5km/hr or more when road riding.

And a loss of 5km/hr or more when actually mountain biking.

(Tried the latter last night. A bit muddy. Fail.)
5 km/h is a lot!

I've gone off road on road tires. It's hard, but I can do it. In fact, every time I have gone off road it was unplanned, so every time, I had a road bike. Except once, I was on my fixie. Going through the mud on that was hard!
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Old 08-21-10, 09:43 AM   #12
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First thing I did was change out tires when I was riding a Mountain. I went with the Specialized Hemisphere on the front and Crossroad on the rear. The Crossroad has lugs on the endge but a smooth center so it is a very good tire if you have a route that has both paved and unpaved. Does fine in dry off road conditions.
Still falls WAY short of the 700x28 and 700x32 on my touring bikes.
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Old 08-21-10, 01:02 PM   #13
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I did the same mod on my old Fuji Tahoe, although I stayed with the 1.9" width of the previous tires. I noticed less effort to ride at any given speed, better coasting, even a quieter ride, no more "rrrrrrrrrrrr" from the knobs. The bike feels very sure-footed on pavement and dry grass. Patches of gravel and road irregularities are almost unnoticeable. Some people DO like the look of knobs, same way that many like the LOOK of a 4WD pickup truck, even if they admit it isn't as efficient.
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Old 08-21-10, 02:30 PM   #14
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It seems a lot of mountain bikes never make it to the "mountain". That's why I have slicks on my hardtail.
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Old 08-21-10, 03:50 PM   #15
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Some people DO like the look of knobs, same way that many like the LOOK of a 4WD pickup truck, even if they admit it isn't as efficient.
I have noticed more hybrids on the road lately, but there are still a large number of mountain bikes on the paved trail that I commute. I agree that it is similar to the pickup and SUV craze, it's more about the image and the look. I think most recreational riders should get a hybrid since they will likely never be off the road/paved trail/rail-trail that definitely does not require knobs. I understand that they don't want the riding position that a road bike offers, but the mountain bike is not the way to go. Unfortunately, many people pick up these bikes at the local discount superstore and don't get the advice from a reputable bike shop that may steer them in the correct direction.
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Old 08-22-10, 06:45 PM   #16
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I just bought some slicks for my MTB and can't wait to ride on them.
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Old 08-22-10, 06:55 PM   #17
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Unfortunately, many people pick up these bikes at the local discount superstore and don't get the advice from a reputable bike shop that may steer them in the correct direction.
Having never bought a bike before I went in and told them I wanted a mountain bike for riding around campus. They never questioned me or did much at all other than ordering one in my size and price range. Though now I'm thankful they didn't because if they put me on a hybrid I would have never discovered how much fun the single track trails around here are.
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