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Old 04-10-12, 02:49 PM   #1
apejam
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Should I change tire size?

Hello all, I am thinking about changing the tire size of my bike to a thinner more road bike tire. My thinking is that it will be a much easier ride and will allow me to go a bit faster.

My current rig has a pair of Specialized infinity 26 x 1.75 which are a lot better than the original knobby mtb tires that were on it but I still can't help thinking thinner road tires would be much better.

What are you guys' thoughts? Do you have any recommendations or insight on the switch? Would it really make that big of a deal on my ride?

Thanks all!
- This is the bike I am looking into changing the tires on

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Old 04-10-12, 02:59 PM   #2
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It's a matter of personal preference. I would but I like 'em skinny as generally they are faster and lighter. But there is no wrong way, do what you want.
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Old 04-10-12, 03:16 PM   #3
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That's what I thought, I'm just new to cycling and didn't know if putting road tires on a mountain bike would be a benefit or some off the wall nooby idea. I love the feel of riding a road bike, just hate the awkward forced aerodynamic position you're forced in while riding. I'm hoping adding the new tires will give me the best of both worlds.

Any idea on a nice rim/tire combination that would make a good fit?
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Old 04-10-12, 03:26 PM   #4
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depending on where you ride, thinner might not be better. In NYC, I'm quite content having 1.5" slicks on my mtn bike commuter. I've gone through the same train of thought as you..thinner! lighter! faster! But honestly, you're riding a mtn bike with a rack and bar ends...if you wanted light and fast, you would get a more "roadie" bike to ride around. (by you, i mean me..lol). This is coming from someone who likes to go just as fast as the next guy...but there is a time and place to be practical. I have a supersix I save for entertaining my ideas of "light" and "fast"
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Old 04-10-12, 03:33 PM   #5
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I think more depends on the tire than the width. I switched from 26x1.75 Michelin Country Rocks to 26x1.25 Panaracer T-Servs and the difference was huge. I have my suspicions that switching to 26x1.75 T-Servs would also have been huge.

I like light, skinny tires. That said, my Rockhopper is on the work stand now getting a conversion back to drop bars because once you start pretending your bike is a race bike you're on a slippery slope.
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Old 04-10-12, 03:52 PM   #6
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Tire pressure affects speed (which is one reason why thinner tires are faster - they generally can hold a higher pressure), so be sure to pump those ones up to the maximum allowed pressure and see how that goes. Also fat, heavy tires give an illusion of being slow, since they accelerate more slowly, but they hold their speed better once you get going.
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Old 04-10-12, 04:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Also fat, heavy tires give an illusion of being slow, since they accelerate more slowly, but they hold their speed better once you get going.
Hmmm...I'm fat and heavy. Maybe I just give the illusion of being slow....
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Old 04-10-12, 04:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by apejam View Post
That's what I thought, I'm just new to cycling and didn't know if putting road tires on a mountain bike would be a benefit or some off the wall nooby idea. I love the feel of riding a road bike, just hate the awkward forced aerodynamic position you're forced in while riding. I'm hoping adding the new tires will give me the best of both worlds.
Get a road/CX bike with cross brakes, so you can enjoy a more upright position, like you're used to, when you want it. But that's contrary to my actual advice ... just a thought.

Since you're new to cycling, I'm going to let you in on a secret. The rule is that you should change your tires when they're worn. It won't take all that long, in fact, you'll get a few opportunities a year. The back one will wear out faster, and, if you're keeping the same tires, you'll want to move the front tire to the back and put the new one on the front. Since you want to change the ones you've got, just wait until the rear is pretty worn, and change them both. Tires are probably the #1 expense in commuter cycling, and you might as well get your money's worth ... you'll have a chance to swap them out soon enough.

Thinner tires are typically faster, and corner better, but they also tend to give a harsher ride.
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Old 04-10-12, 04:51 PM   #9
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I recently switched from 26 x 1.5 Panaracer Ribmo's to 26 x 1.25 Ribmo's and I noticed an immediate difference. They are lighter and I am definetly faster. Shaved a few minutes off my commute time.
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Old 04-10-12, 04:59 PM   #10
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I recently switched from 26 x 1.5 Panaracer Ribmo's to 26 x 1.25 Ribmo's and I noticed an immediate difference. They are lighter and I am definetly faster. Shaved a few minutes off my commute time.
Well, there goes my theory.
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Old 04-10-12, 05:01 PM   #11
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Tires are probably the #1 expense in commuter cycling, and you might as well get your money's worth ... you'll have a chance to swap them out soon enough.
This is good advice, but I'd add the caveat that if your tires are making you not want to ride your bike then they should be replaced immediately...at least that's my rule.
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Old 04-10-12, 06:17 PM   #12
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I swapped the tires on my wife's comfort bike from 26 x 2 combo tires (smooth center, knobby edges) for these:
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...99_-1___400237
Saw a significant increase in speed with the new tires (2 - 3 MPH average).

I second the advice of trying out a cyclocross bike. Started commuting on a CX bike this year and really like it a lot.
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Old 04-10-12, 07:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by apejam View Post
Hello all, I am thinking about changing the tire size of my bike to a thinner more road bike tire. My thinking is that it will be a much easier ride and will allow me to go a bit faster.

Do you have any recommendations or insight on the switch? Would it really make that big of a deal on my ride?
You won't go appreciably faster with lighter smoother rolling tires but lighter tires with a more supple casing will soak up high frequency bumps a bit better. Improved aerodynamics in your riding position and higher hp will make a difference.

If your stock tires are like the ones on the Specialized website they're 800grams and the Paselas of the same size are 470gram. That will provide a noticeable difference for acceleration.

http://www.panaracer.com/urban.php
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Old 04-10-12, 07:41 PM   #14
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I had some Serfas Drifter tires, and they felt like I was pedaling as hard as I could and not getting anywhere. I changed them out for some Continental Top Contact Winter tires, and it made all the difference. The tires are approximately the same size, and the Contis actually have more tread. It may be the weight difference and the contis aren't any faster, but I'm a lot happier.
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Old 04-10-12, 07:48 PM   #15
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I love the feel of riding a road bike, just hate the awkward forced aerodynamic position you're forced in while riding.
That position is necessary for speed and power output. Reducing tire weight by a pound and a half will be noticeable accelerating from a stop but won't mean you'll go faster, faster really requires putting out more hp efficiently and moving through the air efficiently. Lighter tires will make a bigger difference than smaller tires but the speeds at which narrower tires result in less resistance will be speeds at which your entire body is providing the bulk of the air resistance, which is why that awkward position becomes rewarding.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:11 PM   #16
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Leonard Zinn (of Zinn bikes) recently recommended going with a narrower front tire for aerodynamics and a wider rear tire for less rolling resistance and comfort. Might be worth a try.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:12 PM   #17
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+1 to most of the above. I converted an old MTB to fixed-gear and added drops, primarily for winter use. Now that I've got some Panaracer 26x1.75s on it, that bike has continued to be my "go-to" bike. It's comfortable and fast enough that I take it on group rides.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:36 PM   #18
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I had some Serfas Drifter tires, and they felt like I was pedaling as hard as I could and not getting anywhere. I changed them out for some Continental Top Contact Winter tires, and it made all the difference. The tires are approximately the same size, and the Contis actually have more tread. It may be the weight difference and the contis aren't any faster, but I'm a lot happier.
Aw, sorry to hear that , as I was considering a pair to replace my Tioga City Slickers in a few weeks.

And unlike the OP, I'm actually thinking about getting wider than my current 26x1.5s. I ride is over varied terrain- grass, curbs, dirt/mud, gravel, crappy asphalt. I figure the extra cushion will soak up the bumps better on my morning commute- I can hit 20 mph, but I usually do about 15 due to all the jarring from the road.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:53 PM   #19
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559mm tires, a common diameter for MTB tires, can be had as narrow as 1" (25mm). generally speaking, the narrower the tire, the lighter the tire, the smoother the tread on the tire, and higher the PSI in the tire, results in less effort and more expense, and faster wear and harsher ride, amongst other things. experience has dictated the compromises i have made.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:55 PM   #20
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I personally like my 1.5" slick tires on my 26" single-speed converted mountain bike that I use for commuting.
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Old 04-11-12, 06:52 AM   #21
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Thanks all, some good replies.

I've decided that I'm definitely going to make the switch, but I'll wait until after my current tires are well worn.

I also decided to go with some panaracer 26 x 1.25 tire when it's time to change them out.
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Old 04-11-12, 06:53 AM   #22
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Thanks all, some good replies.

I've decided that I'm definitely going to make the switch, but I'll wait until after my current tires are well worn.

I also decided to go with some panaracer 26 x 1.25 tire when it's time to change them out.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:26 AM   #23
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I have 26"x1.9" slicks on my commuter bike. Pumped up to 60psi they feel quite solid, but still soak up the bumps quite well. I often pass people on far more expensive bikes with skinny road tyres fitted. A lot more depends on the 'engine' than the tyres or the bike itself.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:14 AM   #24
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I've tried 1.25 but decided 1.5 is a little more versatile.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:37 AM   #25
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Schwalbe big apples are a wide comfortable tire that rolls well , people say.
I use their marathon plus in 47/ 1.75 width , myself ,
they seem good enough for me. and I don't get many Flats. [1 all winter]

have them on 3 bikes 622-32, 559-47, 406-47 (I ride the 20" wheel bike the Most.)
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