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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 06-02-14, 04:30 AM   #1
Terrance Hammoc
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What is the best bike tire for bike commuting in rain and over wet leaves?

I'm entering my first winter of bike commuting and so far so good, but I'm concerned about tires. I had a pair of Kenda block 8s on my commuter bike and they were so flat-prone that I switched to a pair of Bonetrager Race Lite Hard Cases. The good news is: flat free and much better roll, but I'm worried that they my be slick in the rain. I have also heard that the tire doesn't really matter so long as you are on pavement (in other words, all tires slide when wet, so ride slower and less lean in the turn). I did nearly biff it over leaves but am thinking all tires will slide in the leaves. Are all tires created equal when it comes to the rain and wet leaves?

Last edited by no1mad; 06-02-14 at 11:29 AM. Reason: removed hidden spam link
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Old 06-02-14, 05:55 AM   #2
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The problem with wet leaves, is the fact that once the tire bites into the first layer of wet leaves, there's usually a second wet layer underneath that one. There's the wet pavement underneath a layer of wet leaves, which is underneath another layer of wet leaves, and so forth and so on...

The poor tire just doesn't have a chance, even if it's an excellent tire, otherwise...

* Once you've gotten to the bare wet pavement, just about any touring tire should be sufficient.

Last edited by WestPablo; 06-02-14 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 06-02-14, 08:56 AM   #3
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Procede cautiously and keep the bike upright, very slippery stuff. Try a softer rubber compound and something with some groves in it.
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Old 06-02-14, 09:21 AM   #4
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Continental Mountain King is what we used to use on mountain bikes for that purpose. Big thick knobs on the tires that dig deep through the leaves to find something to grip.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by andyprough View Post
Continental Mountain King is what we used to use on mountain bikes for that purpose. Big thick knobs on the tires that dig deep through the leaves to find something to grip.
For the purpose of commuting, I generally recommend against knobby tires as they slow down the bike, smoother tires are better for commuting (but they don't have to be perfectly slick). Although the OP didn't ask, bike tires are too narrow to worry about hydroplaning on wet/watery surfaces so you don't need to have grooved tires for the purpose of channelling the water out from under the tire. Some tire compounds are better for grip than others and the grippier ones may be better suited for wet conditions.

As [MENTION=351995]WestPablo[/MENTION] said, leaves are slippery: try to maintain a straight path (ie., no cornering or meandering) over leaves, they're like the autumn version of ice.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:13 AM   #6
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For the purpose of commuting, I generally recommend against knobby tires as they slow down the bike, smoother tires are better for commuting (but they don't have to be perfectly slick). Although the OP didn't ask, bike tires are too narrow to worry about hydroplaning on wet/watery surfaces so you don't need to have grooved tires for the purpose of channelling the water out from under the tire. Some tire compounds are better for grip than others and the grippier ones may be better suited for wet conditions.

As @WestPablo said, leaves are slippery: try to maintain a straight path (ie., no cornering or meandering) over leaves, they're like the autumn version of ice.
Depends on whether you will be dealing with any dirt track or not. Here's a good article on the subject as it applies to mountain bikes: Dialing Your Mountain Bike in for Fall and Winter Riding.

In cold, wet, slippery conditions, speed should not be the primary concern. If you have the choice of changing your riding style to be safer or changing your tires to be safer, the mountain biker in me says change the tires. When it's dry again, it's just a few minutes to change them back.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:22 AM   #7
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Yes, Wet leaves slide on top of each other , best to avoid them.

take the lane , the cars will blow them off their part of the street.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:32 AM   #8
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No tire will help for wet leaves. For wet pavement, really anything will work. Bikes don't go fast enough to hydroplane.
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Old 06-02-14, 11:16 AM   #9
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what fietsbob and spivonious said.

fresh wet leaves are like ice -- avoid if at all possible. (also avoid smooth metal plates when newly wet.)
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Old 06-02-14, 11:39 AM   #10
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Vredestein Tri-Comp's are the best rain tire I have ridden but they are a little pricey. Maxxis refuse is pretty good in the rain but nothing like the Vredestein. The Maxxis is one tough tire though.....never had a flat on one of them.
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Old 06-02-14, 02:16 PM   #11
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what fietsbob and spivonious said.

fresh wet leaves are like ice -- avoid if at all possible. (also avoid smooth metal plates when newly wet.)
Wet leaves are worse than ice. At least you can get studded tires for ice. Nothing works well on slippery leaves.

As for other things to avoid when wet: painted road markings. It's easy to make the mistake that your traction on painted areas will be as good as riding on the rest of the road. It's not.
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Old 06-02-14, 02:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Terrance Hammoc View Post
Are all tires created equal when it comes to the rain and wet leaves?
Wet leaves: avoid.

Tire for commuting in the wet? Given the beautiful dry weather right now, I am riding on 220 gram tubular race tires. The performance difference between this and my heavier clincher winter tires and rims is remarkable. The lighter wheels completely transform the bike. So I would recommend the lightest tires and rims you feel comfortable on, in terms of the frequency of flats.

Slick tires of course. There is no point having tread on the tire, unless you are riding on loose surfaces (gravel and mud). More tread makes for a less stable tire for cornering, more weight, more rolling resistance, and less tire adhesion (because there is less actual rubber in contact with asphalt). Bike tires of course cannot hydroplane. So the only other reason for a tread as it makes it easier for manufacturers and shops to sell these tires to uninformed consumers.
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Old 06-02-14, 05:08 PM   #13
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There is no best tire, however tread is key for wet riding.

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Old 06-02-14, 05:26 PM   #14
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Slow down when making turns and avoid leaning over too much, don't corner aggressively on wet roads.
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Old 06-02-14, 05:37 PM   #15
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No tire will help for wet leaves. For wet pavement, really anything will work. Bikes don't go fast enough to hydroplane.
Bikes don't hydroplane, but tires definitely do slip on wet pavement and some tires are distinctly better than others in this regard.
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Old 06-03-14, 06:06 AM   #16
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OP has one post with a hidden spam link in it. Makes me wonder if it is a serious question, or if we are all just talking to ourselves.

Interesting question about winter in June - what is up with that? It is even more interesting that someone asked this identical question to yahoo answers in November 2012 (much more season appropriate question).

We are being spammed y'all.

P.S. thanks to no1mad for removing the hidden spam link
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Old 06-03-14, 07:06 AM   #17
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OP has one post with a hidden spam link in it. Makes me wonder if it is a serious question, or if we are all just talking to ourselves.

Interesting question about winter in June - what is up with that? It is even more interesting that someone asked this identical question to yahoo answers in November 2012 (much more season appropriate question).

We are being spammed y'all.

P.S. thanks to no1mad for removing the hidden spam link
I caught that "entering my first winter of bike commuting" bit, here in June. However, I then thought about Australia, so I responded anyway...Sheesh!
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Old 06-03-14, 07:59 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
I caught that "entering my first winter of bike commuting" bit, here in June. However, I then thought about Australia, so I responded anyway...Sheesh!
The northern hemisphere does not have a patent on fall/winter, June is not a reason to refuse to answer this question.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:05 AM   #19
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The OP could be from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or any number of Southern Hemisphere nations. Bike Forums is not strictly a USA site, with many posters from other countries.

Back to the original question, it is hard to answer without knowing what size wheels and tires the OP is using. There is a big difference in tire availability for 26, 700 and 650 wheels. Personally, I don't think there is an ideal tire for riding on wet leaves. It's really more an issue of "how" you ride rather than "what" you ride on. On wet leaves, regardless of the tires, you have to be more cautious on corners and try to maintain straight lines as much as possible. If riding aggressively on corners, you could slide out on wet leaves riding any type of tire.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:24 AM   #20
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The northern hemisphere does not have a patent on fall/winter, June is not a reason to refuse to answer this question.
That's not my point...

I just thought that the OP stating that he was currently "entering his first winter of bike commuting" was a very strange statement for June. For some reason, a "red flag" went up. However, I quickly dismissed the "red flag", due to the climate given to the Southern hemisphere and answered, anyway.

Of course, I could've answer without relent. However, admittedly, I was temporarily taken aback by the seasonal disjunction.

Hope you understand, my friend!


* Nonetheless, it has made for a most enjoyable discussion, despite the season.

Last edited by WestPablo; 06-03-14 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
That's not my point...

I just thought that the OP stating that he was currently "entering his first winter of bike commuting" was a very strange statement for June. For some reason, a "red flag" went up. However, I quickly dismissed the "red flag", due to the climate given to the Southern hemisphere and answered, anyway.

Of course, I could've answer without relent. However, admittedly, I was temporarily taken aback by the seasonal disjunction.

Hope you understand, my friend!


* Nonetheless, it has made for a most enjoyable discussion, despite the season.
In a month or so, the tent caterpillars will be crawling across the roads and highways and, in doing so, be smushed on the road creating quite a slippery section of road. I don't know if it is a problem for bikes but there have been car accidents as a result of trying to stop on these sections. So, now, July can be added to the slippery months of the year!!!
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Old 06-03-14, 08:50 AM   #22
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didn't read OP or any replies but...


there's this one company called Havinggoodbikehandlingskills and the model is called Anybike
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Old 06-03-14, 10:19 AM   #23
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I felt a big difference in wet traction between my marathons (38s) and my gatorskins (32s). It was also cold, both rides...

I think compound makes a difference in grip, just like on motorcycle and car tires, or could just be the width.

Difference was larger on the cruft that builds up. I think that tread helps when you hit sand and other debris...

I could be wrong, been so before.
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Old 06-04-14, 06:47 PM   #24
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OP has one post with a hidden spam link in it. Makes me wonder if it is a serious question, or if we are all just talking to ourselves.

Interesting question about winter in June - what is up with that? It is even more interesting that someone asked this identical question to yahoo answers in November 2012 (much more season appropriate question).

We are being spammed y'all.

P.S. thanks to no1mad for removing the hidden spam link

Maybe I wasn't clear. This post is SPAM, trying to get people to hit a hidden link in the original post. There is no poster - probably just a robot.
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Old 06-04-14, 10:06 PM   #25
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Maybe I wasn't clear. This post is SPAM, trying to get people to hit a hidden link in the original post. There is no poster - probably just a robot.
I thought it was a pretty well-informed question for a robot, but then I did a search and found that someone asked this exact same question, word for word, four years ago on Yahoo Answers.

Yep, robotic spam.
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