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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 03-29-14, 10:17 AM   #1
Nick MxW
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Recommended 700x23 tire for Commuting?

I bought a new commuting road bike that came with slick race tires which have been working ok for me but I don't trust them in poor weather conditions. My commute is on all road but in my area the roads tend to be dirty with a lot of sand/rocks/twigs/broken car parts. Its only a matter of time before these slicks get a puncture, they're not really made for these road conditions.

I've been shopping around for a practical pair of commuting tires but I've been having trouble deciding what would be best. I want to get a pair of 700x23c tires that will do well in rain and are puncture resistant. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-14, 11:12 AM   #2
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I run a pair of 700x25 Specialized Armadillo's on the commuter. Quite enamored of them for their puncture resistance, BUT, keep in mind that when you switch over to a heavier tire, you will feel the difference when you pedal.

Honestly don't know about how they are in the rain, don't get much here!
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Old 03-29-14, 11:30 AM   #3
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Continental Ultra Sport or would be my recommendation, they do fine in rain. As far as their puncture resistance goes, I've had zero issues with them, but take that as you will because I'm a light rider and I rarely suffer punctures on any tires, even ones like the Challenge Parigi-Roubaix that other people online describe as being delicate.
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Old 03-29-14, 11:42 AM   #4
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Continental 4 Seasons. Not the cheapest, but you asked for best, not cheapest.
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Old 03-29-14, 12:01 PM   #5
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Being without grooves in the tread on pavement is of little concern, at least according to Michelin. Rubber compound, and tire pressures, is what will hold you on the road. The only thing that will work on sand, dirt and gravel (ON PAVEMENT) is slower speeds or luck. Flat prevention starts before you get to groves and slicks don't have anything to do in that department.
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Old 03-29-14, 12:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick MxW View Post
I bought a new commuting road bike that came with slick race tires


What brand of bike did you buy, and what brand of tire? Good bikes will come with good tires...
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Old 03-29-14, 12:21 PM   #7
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What brand of bike did you buy, and what brand of tire? Good bikes will come with good tires...
I bought an opus fidelio (Canadian bike company), I got a great deal on a 2013. I'm not certain about the tire brand, I can tell they definitely are not cheap tires but they are clearly more suited for good road conditions from just looking at them. I commute daily as soon as the temperatures get above freezing even if its raining so I want something thats more suited for harsh conditions rather than a race tire.

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Being without grooves in the tread on pavement is of little concern, at least according to Michelin. Rubber compound, and tire pressures, is what will hold you on the road. The only thing that will work on sand, dirt and gravel (ON PAVEMENT) is slower speeds or luck. Flat prevention starts before you get to groves and slicks don't have anything to do in that department.
Thanks for the feedback, I admit I know very little about tires to begin with. Since temps. here in Canada have been horribly cold I haven't had much real road time to test them out. I'll see how feel on the road when I do get out for some rides in the rain and cold.

Last edited by Nick MxW; 03-29-14 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 03-29-14, 12:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nick MxW View Post
I bought an opus fidelio (Canadian bike company), I got a great deal on a 2013. I'm not certain about the tire brand, I can tell they definitely are not cheap tires but they are clearly more suited for good road conditions from just looking at them. I commute daily as soon as the temperatures get above freezing even if its raining so I want something thats more suited for harsh conditions rather than a race tire.
I wholeheartedly would recommend the Armadillos' if there is a Specialized dealer in your area. They are tough as nails. I have heard much good about Continental Gatorskins as well. You might consider going up to 700x25... Good luck and happy commuting!
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Old 03-29-14, 01:30 PM   #9
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I use gatorskins on both my road machine and my commuter.
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Old 03-29-14, 02:30 PM   #10
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Being without grooves in the tread on pavement is of little concern, at least according to Michelin. Rubber compound, and tire pressures, is what will hold you on the road. The only thing that will work on sand, dirt and gravel (ON PAVEMENT) is slower speeds or luck. Flat prevention starts before you get to groves and slicks don't have anything to do in that department.
While tread is meaningless on dry pavement, and even on wet pavement, it does make a difference in light sand, fine gravel, and light coatings of fine silt mud, or snow. It has no effect rolling straight up, but on turns it makes escape paths for fines, so the tire can reestablish contact faster. Not a help in deep stuff, but some tread can be the difference between going down, and recovering on turns with thin sand cover.

It's why for years (though sadly out of fashion now) racing tires were smooth in the middle, and had some kind of file pattern tread to either side.
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Old 03-29-14, 03:13 PM   #11
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I am a devotee of the Vittoria Randonneur Pro (now Rando Pro II), both for the fast roll and durability, but also the reflective sidewall strip. Great tires for commuting, and while I've used 23s, I'm currently on 28s.

Also, the Panaracer RibMo gets a lot of dap from kids in the know. Have 't run them though.
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Old 03-29-14, 03:18 PM   #12
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I think 23 is too small for commuting duty. If that's all your bike will fit, I'd go with something like a Bontrager Hardcase or Conti Gatorskin.
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Old 03-29-14, 07:47 PM   #13
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While tread is meaningless on dry pavement, and even on wet pavement, it does make a difference in light sand, fine gravel, and light coatings of fine silt mud, or snow. It has no effect rolling straight up, but on turns it makes escape paths for fines, so the tire can reestablish contact faster. Not a help in deep stuff, but some tread can be the difference between going down, and recovering on turns with thin sand cover.

It's why for years (though sadly out of fashion now) racing tires were smooth in the middle, and had some kind of file pattern tread to either side.
+1

I will say that a number of the better options for what the OP wants will have a very light tread. EG. Conti GP 4 seasons or Gatorskins, Schwalbe Marathon Supremes have a slight tread too.

Not clear how much they really help with road grit, but have to be better then nothing.
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Old 03-29-14, 07:48 PM   #14
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Don't think 23 mm tires are optimal for commuting. 25 or 28 mm, for a while I rode with 28 in the rear and 25 in front (could not fit 28's in the front). Had the best luck with Conti 4 seasons and schwalbe marathons. The marathons lasted forever and were good on a section of commute that is sometimes a muddy - they were heavier than the 4 seasons. 4 seasons road and handled well, didn't last as long as the marathons, cost more. But would be my preference on a road bike.
Have also ran pasela tour guard, 25 mm - didn't get the mileage out of them I was anticipating.
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Old 03-29-14, 08:02 PM   #15
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First, if you bike can handle anything bigger, go with it. Some roadbikes can't really take more then 23, many can handle 25, some 28. Wider isn't slower and a bit wider then your 23mm should actually have lower rolling resistance and be faster if what you get isn't too heavy. Wider will be more rubber on the ground for traction and should be less prone to flats.

As for a tire good in rain and puncture resistant, you need to make some tradeoffs. The most puncture resistant tires will be heavier, a bit slower, and likely a harder rubber compound that may not have as good of traction.

A tire like Continental Gatorskins has great flat resistance from my experience without being as heavy and harsh riding as the Amadillos. They don't have the best wet traction in my experience. If you are riding in the wet often, consider the Continental GP 4-seasons. They are a bit less flat resistance but softer rubber compound and better grip wet and dry.

Another option to consider is Schwalbe marathon supremes (not sure how narrow they come), as they are known to have good wet traction as well.
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Old 03-30-14, 03:01 AM   #16
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+1

I will say that a number of the better options for what the OP wants will have a very light tread. EG. Conti GP 4 seasons or Gatorskins, Schwalbe Marathon Supremes have a slight tread too.

Not clear how much they really help with road grit, but have to be better then nothing.
I also agree wit FBinNy, and to your point my two reccos, the RibMo and Rando Pro both have groove tread, and boy, do I think the Ribmo (top) is handsome, too!



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Old 03-30-14, 06:16 AM   #17
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As far as tread goes, I'll let a manufacturer (Schwalbe) do the talking:

Quote:
Why ride a slick tire?
Even in wet conditions, on a normal, smooth road, a slick tire actually provides better grip than a tire with a tread, because the contact area is larger.

The situation is much different on a rough road and even worse on a dirt trail as in these cases the degree of control provided by a slick tire is extremely limited. A slightly serrated surface on the tire tread can have a positive effect on tire grip, as it creates micro interlocking with rough asphalt.
You can decide which conditions pertain to you but remember that your average amateur racer rides thousands and thousands of miles on regular streets and many of them are on slicks.

Racing tires that often come stock on road bikes have two problems. The first is flat protection and the second is durability. They often grip pretty well because they're made of a softer compound but that makes them less durable, - they'll wear out faster.

Better tires often have multiple compounds so that they can provide decent grip without wearing out quite as fast. They also have flat protection. Top tier racing tires can actually make for an enjoyable commute but they don't last and they're expensive.

There's been some good suggestions already but another tire I like are the Vittoria Zaffiro Pros. While they aren't as light as a racing tire they still roll pretty well, will last reasonably long and aren't super expensive.

Last edited by tjspiel; 03-30-14 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 03-30-14, 08:27 AM   #18
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heavy and harsh riding as the Amadillos.
This is very true! Armadillo's are not for the faint of heart. They roll like a solid tire, will chatter your teeth in the rough, and require high pressures at all times.

However, when puncture resistance is the main goal, they can't be beat. I rely on them every week day to get me to work.
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Old 03-30-14, 08:55 AM   #19
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Another option to consider is Schwalbe marathon supremes (not sure how narrow they come), as they are known to have good wet traction as well.
According to their website, the smallest is 28. If you can fit them, I'd highly recommend.
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Old 03-30-14, 10:12 AM   #20
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Little bit wider than what you are looking for (700X30) but I've been running Schwalbe CX Pros this Winter on my commuter road bike CX Pro HS 269 | Schwalbe North America County road I use for commute has been under construction for the last few months and the shoulder are beat up and littered with debris. Makes for a fun pre-dawn commute, especially after a little rain. I have them mounted on a set of Open Pro rims and has been a good set up for these conditions. For a little extra flat protection I run them with tubes that I put sealant in. Have had only a couple flats this Winter.

Also, have to give credit to Schwalbe for their warranty. Last Fall, right after I mounted them up I hit a massive pot hole and tore up the sidewall. Schawlbe kindly sent a replacement, no questions asked.
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Old 03-30-14, 01:23 PM   #21
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I think 23 is too small for commuting duty. If that's all your bike will fit, I'd go with something like a Bontrager Hardcase or Conti Gatorskin.
Gah!

The OP did not ask what size tire they should purchase. They specifically asked for recommendations for 700x23. To illustrate how easy it is to do this:

Money is no object: Conti 4 Seasons.
Cheap kevlar clincher with reasonable protection: Rubino Pro II/III (as low as $25 on sale)
Cheap impregnable wire bead clincher: Serfas Survivor (far better protection than gatorskins and only a touch heavier)

When riding on tarmac preferred tire size is influenced by preference and riding style rather than some dogmatic platonic ideal.
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Old 03-30-14, 01:27 PM   #22
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what makes tires puncture resistant add weight..

so the super light go fast tire better be easy to change and put a new tube in , quickly .

Wiki says :
Platonic idealism usually refers to Plato's theory of forms or doctrine of ideas. Some commentators hold Plato argued that truth is an abstraction. In other words, we are urged to believe that Plato's theory of ideas is an abstraction, divorced from the so-called external world, of modern European philosophy, despite the fact Plato taught that ideas are ultimately real, and different from non-ideal things--indeed, he argued for a distinction between the ideal and non-ideal realm.
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Old 03-30-14, 01:42 PM   #23
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Money is no object: Conti 4 Seasons.
Cheap kevlar clincher with reasonable protection: Rubino Pro II/III (as low as $25 on sale)
Cheap impregnable wire bead clincher: Serfas Survivor (far better protection than gatorskins and only a touch heavier)
I have gatorskins, and will have to look into the Rubino and Serfas... thanks.
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Old 03-30-14, 01:42 PM   #24
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Gah!

The OP did not ask what size tire they should purchase. They specifically asked for recommendations for 700x23. To illustrate how easy it is to do this:

Money is no object: Conti 4 Seasons.
Cheap kevlar clincher with reasonable protection: Rubino Pro II/III (as low as $25 on sale)
Cheap impregnable wire bead clincher: Serfas Survivor (far better protection than gatorskins and only a touch heavier)

When riding on tarmac preferred tire size is influenced by preference and riding style rather than some dogmatic platonic ideal.
My response was only two sentences, and didn't "attack" anyone.
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Old 03-30-14, 02:09 PM   #25
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he argued for a distinction between the ideal and non-ideal realm.
i used the term as a euphemism for unattainable perfection, mr pedant.
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