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Old 09-15-06, 03:13 PM   #1
WillisB
Do I use too many commas?
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Road tires on the MTB

I really can't cough up the money for a new bike.

So, I decided to make some changes to the MTB, a Giant Yukon SE. I started by adding bar ends. Helps the numb hands a lot! I ended up adjusting them so that they are horizontal.

Today I changed from the 26X1.90 half street -- half mountain tires. The ones with a little tread in the middle and big knobs along the edges. I went to 26X1.50 street tires. They are definitely quieter. Its hard to say if they really impact the ride in any other positive way. On the negative side, when I go really fast down hill the bike is a little squirrly. The old tires were rock solid at any speed. I had always been told that road tires would help high speed handling.

Is this stability issue common with road tires on MTB's? These are Bontrager Select Invert's. They are all the LBS had.

Should I experiment with different pressures? I have them at 70 PSI.

Would a better quality tire say a Michelin or Schwalbe fix the problem? Or is it just the geometry of the bike? (Let's leave the geometry of the rider out of it!)

I also put on new pedals with toe clips. I like them, definitely makes a difference.
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Old 09-15-06, 07:33 PM   #2
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I got back into cycling about 15 years ago after a 20-year post-college layoff, and (like everybody else in those days) started with a mountain bike. Over the next couple of years I trended toward the road, but couldn't afford a decent bike (two kids in college...). I put road tires on my old Bridgestone MB and did many rides in the 50-75 mile range with it. I don't remember any stability problems, but maybe that's just because it was so long ago....
Couple of thoughts. Well, several:
I'm inclined to think it's just the naturally quicker response of the smoother, narrower tire--a GOOD thing, once you get used to it. Give it a few rides and see how it goes.
I wouldn't think it was the pressure--70psi should be plenty to support you. I weigh 240, and run 75 psi in the 700x35 Paselas on my Atlantis road bike and it rolls like a train. But air's free--pump them up and see what happens.
I don't know the Bontrager Invert, but from the sound it has an inverted (recessed) tread, right? Those are generally pretty solid (no tread blocks to squirm). I doubt those are the trouble--Bontrager is a reliable source.
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Old 09-15-06, 08:44 PM   #3
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I have an old ProFlex that I don't use much anymore. My youngest son loves it because of the "racing" tires and wheels I put on it. I added an old set of wheels and Specialized 1.25's at 100 psi for my wife to use as a neighborhood cruiser. She doesn't use it much, but son number two loves it.

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Old 09-15-06, 09:54 PM   #4
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I completely agree with Velodog. Road type tires feel different than knobbies or even half-knobbies. You are going the direction that I went. First, I had the original 2.125" full mtb tires. Then, I switched to 1.95" half types. Now, I use 1.5" Armadillos, which have inverted treads. The handling difference was like night and day. I could instantly see how much effort I was using to get somewhere with the fatties. The skinnier tires gave me quick, crisp handling in city traffic and afforded me a big increase in day-long cruise range while still keeping a bike that can crush hills fully loaded. I can see why the word "squirrely" might come to mind. Just keep riding. You'll soon appreciate the change. By the way, I run my Army's at 80-90psi. Some other changes included North Road bars, a Brooks B67 saddle, some fenders and racks. This is now a very long range, multi-purpose bike.

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Old 09-16-06, 12:14 AM   #5
WillisB
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Thanks guys!. I will give them a few days and let you know what I think.
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Old 09-16-06, 11:31 AM   #6
WillisB
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I did 16.3 miles on the new tires today. They really are a LOT better than the old tires. This is my longest ride since getting serious a month ago. The road tires really seem to require less effort. They are also a lot more stable on the one section of rough and gravelly road I hit today. They seem to push the larger pieces of gravel away rather than riding up on it and shooting it out to the side. In the end they are much more comfortable to ride on. I am also very happy with the toe cages.

Thanks to those who encouraged me yesterday when I was initially dissapointed with the tires.
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Old 09-16-06, 11:44 AM   #7
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The 1.5's are the way to go for road riding. When I switched from knobbies to the inverts the ride smoothed out and I gained at least 10% in speed. I probably rode my mtn bike about 600 miles with the inverts and it was really good training. Come to think about it I even did a Time Trial at Lowes Motor Speedway with that setup. I sure hope they've trashed those pictures!!
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Old 09-16-06, 01:01 PM   #8
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The sqirrelly effect could possibly just be the Effect of something you are not used to yet. Incidentally- Any Slick tyre will aid you on the road, but I run Continental Grand prixs on mine. Or used to till I got the road bike. These are as narrow as road bike tyres and I have never felt any difference in handling. Only thins is there are two types of road tyre for MTB's. The slightly wider type that run at about 80psi and offer a little bit of comfort- then the Narrower form that are like road bike tyres and require 100psi +. Lose a bit of comfort but you also lose a lot of drag.
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Old 09-16-06, 01:26 PM   #9
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+ 1 on Armadillos: replaced my knobbies with 26 x 1.25 'dillos & increased speed & pleasure within first 5 minutes. Made a HUGE difference in how far I could ride and actually developed a sense of 'coasting' on the downhills. Those Armadillos are worth the money since they flat so very rarely.

JCM: that's a great bike! I love the customizing you've done. Are those Freddy fenders? Have to do anything special to make them fit - looks like there are some special clamps on the front fork & rear fork to hold the fenders? Made any changes to the gearing to be better on the road?
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Old 09-16-06, 02:24 PM   #10
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Another vote for 26 x 1.5 here. I've been riding them for a year now and the only time that they got squirrley was a winding downhill mountain road when the tire pressure was low.

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Old 09-16-06, 09:43 PM   #11
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CentexWoody:

Thanks for appreciating the old nag. Yeah, those are PlanetBike Freds with the EZ mount system. Unfortunately, they are not EZ to mount. I consider them a real hassle, but I got 'em dirty as soon as I left the LBS so I figure I'm stuck with them. You do need tools to install and remove them, so why go with all the shuck-n-jive of mounting fenders with rubber bands. The clamp things you are seeing are actually rubber pads that just get squeezed against the stays and forks by rubber bands. Aggravating to align and they wiggle alot. They just don't seem as good as my old ones. Grrrrrr. They protect as well as any 45mm fender I suppose. The front flap is my additin - an absolute imperative, IMO. I really miss my old silver Zefals though. They gave out after 18 years.

As to the gears: I just recently retired the original 6spd freewheel. Replaced with a regular Shimano as close as I could get. Not as good on hills as before because the low cog is only a 30T. The original was a 34. I'm going to install one of those Shimano Mega Range 34t freewheels. Gotta have hill power.

The front is Sakae OvalTech (same as Shimano BioPace). Don't puke. It's no gimmick. I vill kraaash yoo on heeels.
http://www.planetbike.com/fenders.html#

Trek 830 with Zefals:
Look at the old freewheel in this pic - it's huge, a real Jeep.
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Old 09-16-06, 09:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillisB
I did 16.3 miles on the new tires today. They really are a LOT better than the old tires. This is my longest ride since getting serious a month ago. The road tires really seem to require less effort. They are also a lot more stable on the one section of rough and gravelly road I hit today. They seem to push the larger pieces of gravel away rather than riding up on it and shooting it out to the side. In the end they are much more comfortable to ride on. I am also very happy with the toe cages.

Thanks to those who encouraged me yesterday when I was initially dissapointed with the tires.
BINGO WillisB! Pure slicks will be even better! That's what I'm doing when the Armadillos wearout. Carry on!
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Old 09-16-06, 09:56 PM   #13
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ArtKansas:

Fine looking commuter. What tires are you running there? Can't get a good look at 'em. Those are the fender mounts I should have bought.
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