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  1. #1
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    Road softening tires for Trek 1200

    I have a 2003 Trek 1200 with a flat bar. It is an aluminum frame with a carbon fork. I am trying to make it more comfortable for commuting. The problem with the Trek is that it doesn't have much extra space for a larger tire. It has a 700x25 now and looks like it might accommodate a 28, or maybe a 32, but I'm not sure. I am looking for tires that will soften the ride. Has anyone had any success doing this with a Trek 1200? Any other ideas for reducing road chatter with long commutes? Modifications? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mirror slap survivor
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    Well, the best way for you to achieve some shock absorbtion will be to put the fattest tire you can fit. I would imagine if it will handle a 700x25 it will handle a 28. Most will, unless they're race bikes with super tight clearances. The 32 will probably be a tough fit. Ask your bike shop.

    I feel for you. Perhaps you should keep your eye out for a nice steel framed touring or cross bike. Maybe even a nice old steel rigid MTB.
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    Depending on your weight and the weight of the stuff you carry while commuting, you should be able to run 700x25 tires at around 80 or 85 psi. 700x28 might allow 70 to 75 psi. The Trek 1200 has a fairly short wheelbase; any bike with a longer wheelbase and wider tires will seem more comfortable, regardless of frame material.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Get a fatter tire so you can run it at a lower pressure. That will help with the road chatter more than anything. If you can fit 32s, go for it.
    My Bikes: 2010 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata 610 | 1970 Hercules | 198? Miele ?
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestions. Are the any particular tire models recommended. Is it true that some tires are wider than tall, and might fit in the space better?

  6. #6
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    the Panaracer Pasela TG (TourGuard) offers a really plush ride.
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  7. #7
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    I agree with the tire advice above. Aluminum frames are pretty unforgiving, You could also consider a brooks sprung saddle, like a flyer or similar. If you have the flat bars you are more in the upright position already than drops would be on the 1200, The springs in the seat dampen the little bumps.

  8. #8
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    I have a 1200 and I have run 28s under fenders on it before. I used to run on Bonty Hardcases but they can be pretty stiff. What kind of wheels do you have? Stock alexrim? I like to run tires like a Krylion or GP4k but they aren't necessarily commuter tires.
    Last edited by pityr; 10-31-11 at 10:28 AM.

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    I have the stock wheels which are Matrix Aurora if Bikapedia is correct. I am also considering a soft seat, naybe the Brooks or a Terry. Thanks for the suggestion Canyon eagle.

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    One other thing to take note of; you can often fit a larger tire in the front than the rear. So, you can probably fit a 32 in the front even if the rear only takes a 28.

  11. #11
    Icantre Member stonefree's Avatar
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    I've got the Trek 1100 (no fenders, but tight clearance anyway) and have bought some 28's for it but haven't put them on yet. The ultrastiff ride I compensated for with a softer saddle, but then I'm pretty light anyway and usually stand slightly over anticipated bumps. It's good to have confirmation that my measuring was accurate and that 32's would probably be too large.
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    What tire pressure are you running and what is your weight? The biggest thing I have learned over the past 30 yrs is wheels with 32 spokes, like OP's and 25mm tires at 80 psi front and 90 rear gives me the most comfortable ride yet.

  13. #13
    Senior Member formicaman's Avatar
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    Not sure what will fit your frame, but tire quality is a big part too. Panaracer tires have always felt the most cushioned to me, even to the point that I thought they felt too cushy. Soma has a panaracer tire developed for them that is like butter in the 32 size. Randoneur tires are often good in this way.

  14. #14
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    Any other ideas for reducing road chatter with long commutes? Modifications?
    double wrap bars, add gel pouches under the tape.
    suspension seat post. and or sprung saddle..

    rebuild the wheels around PanTour hubs, which include internal suspension.

    NB; what makes for a more supple casing , also reduces its durability and puncture resistance.

    so you have to choose, trade, a bit more comfort, for mid commute puncture repairs.

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    You guys are really helping me get my head around the problem. The plan is to increase tire size to maximum. Probably 28cm on the front wheel and 32 on the back. I have looked into the Panaracer and Soma tires but have not found a local vendor for them. One favorite LBS has suggested that I go with a tire that has better protection from flats. He says that Gator Skins have a very nice ride to them and they also have a great rep for thorn/glass resistance. What do you guys think? I am also looking for a cushier seat, but understand that the right seat will be a matter of trial and error. Suggestions are welcome anyway. Thanks all!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Wider is better of course, but also consider the pressures you want to run. I typically go 10 pounds or so (depending on the tire) lower in the front because there is less weight up there than on the back. For more information on tire width and pressure you can go to rivebike.com. They take a sensible approach to it. (i could not get to the right page on their site today otherwise I would have typed that in, but there is other good info there as well)
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  17. #17
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Gatorskins are pretty nice. I like how they ride.

  18. #18
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Michelin makes a fairly low pressure tire, Dynamic (iirc). I believe mine are 87 psi max and they are 700 x 28. You can get 700 x 25 and run 73 to 102 psi.
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  19. #19
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    The Rivbike site is very interesting and very sensible, thanks. I will check out the Michelin tire. I probably need to look at the recommended pressure for the Gatorskin.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isotonic View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. Are the any particular tire models recommended.
    If you're limited to 25s, Grand Prix 4000 have great ride quality. They're expensive, but you can get them for about half what LBS charges if you buy them from a store in the UK, like Ribble. They're not typically a commuting tire, but, if you can't mount something wider, these feel like they smooth out the pavement a bit. They also grip very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    I agree with the tire advice above. Aluminum frames are pretty unforgiving, You could also consider a brooks sprung saddle, like a flyer or similar. If you have the flat bars you are more in the upright position already than drops would be on the 1200, The springs in the seat dampen the little bumps.
    We understand that you're a Brooks fanboy, but the guy asked about tires, not overpriced saddles that stain your pants when they get wet. Come on, dude, let's try to stay on topic.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  21. #21
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    If you're limited to 25s, Grand Prix 4000 have great ride quality.
    +1
    For added puncture resistance, the 4-seasons version of this tire is an excellent mix between performance/ride quality and commuting practicality.

    Also, FWIW, the OP had asked about saddles, so the other reply was on topic......
    Last edited by canyoneagle; 11-03-11 at 01:02 PM.
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  22. #22
    commuter
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    Some alternatives to new tires:

    1. double thick tubes (also marketed as thorn proof) - will smooth out the ride especially at at lower than max psi.

    2. saddles like fizik gobi which put some springs in the saddle while maintaining power transfer efficiency.

  23. #23
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isotonic View Post
    You guys are really helping me get my head around the problem. The plan is to increase tire size to maximum. Probably 28cm on the front wheel and 32 on the back. I have looked into the Panaracer and Soma tires but have not found a local vendor for them. One favorite LBS has suggested that I go with a tire that has better protection from flats. He says that Gator Skins have a very nice ride to them and they also have a great rep for thorn/glass resistance. What do you guys think? I am also looking for a cushier seat, but understand that the right seat will be a matter of trial and error. Suggestions are welcome anyway. Thanks all!
    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    We understand that you're a Brooks fanboy, but the guy asked about tires, not overpriced saddles that stain your pants when they get wet. Come on, dude, let's try to stay on topic.
    Don't be a troll.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  24. #24
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Tires with a higher thread count (TPI) offer a better ride but they're more expensive and sometimes not as durable.

    Many people have mentioned tire pressure. I think we are often under the mistaken impression that the most efficient pressure is the max. That is not the case. It all depends on weight. You can often get by with a lower pressure that will not only improve the comfort of your ride, but make the rolling a little easier too.

    Somewhere on Sheldon Brown's site there's a chart that lists the optimum pressure for the load on a given tire.

  25. #25
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    Well, based on a lot of research, your fine advice and many good reviews, I decided to see if 32mm Continental Contact tires would fit. I figured I might get them on the back if not the front. Turns out they do fit. The bike is still at the tech's shop, but I will be picking up soon. The Contacts have a reputation for a comfortable ride and they are designed for lower pressure. I will report my findings.

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