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  1. #1
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Pondering Switching Tires

    I'm in training for my first century ride soon and suddenly it seems that rolling resistance is starting to get my attention. The Trek 460 currently has the Bontrager Select B 25mm tires. Previous to that I ran the Vredestein Ricorso (not the SE) from '04 when they were lighter and 23mm. From the first ride I could tell the Bontragers were sluggish compared to the smaller width (only 2mm difference) Ricorso. Durability is nice but not the #1 concern in this area.

    The Bontragers respond well to high inflation but with a 100psi max I'm wondering when one will bulge and blow

    So, without breaking my piggy bank what tire would be considered a faster tire/less rolling resistance?
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    you have a picture of your tire. the only thing I could find had tread. smooth slicks offer less rolling resistance. I use Specialized All Condition Armadillos 700x28. They are narrow enough for me and I inflate them to 115. Even at that pressure they are comfortable but some say they are slow tires. Someday Ill change them but I have them on 3 bikes so I'm gonna wear them out first.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    You might as well ask what chain lube you should use. The reason there are so many different tires is because somebody loves every blessed one of them.

    My advice is to look around at what tires the people you ride with use. Get the exact same ones. The advantage of doing that is, when you eventually have a flat tire on a group ride, you won't have to endure the lecture about riding on sucky tires.

  4. #4
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    You might as well ask what chain lube you should use. The reason there are so many different tires is because somebody loves every blessed one of them.

    My advice is to look around at what tires the people you ride with use. Get the exact same ones. The advantage of doing that is, when you eventually have a flat tire on a group ride, you won't have to endure the lecture about riding on sucky tires.
    So you have been schooled in such things
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Hate to say it but there is trade between cost- comfort-long life and rolling resistance.

    Two popular performance tyres are Conti 4000s and Mich PR3s. I personally use PR3s but there must be other tyres to use aswell. Performace and less drag are with this type of tyre. Grip and life are there aswell along with puncture resistance. Unfortunately they cost more than a "Standard" tyre. Plenty of on line shops so shop around.

    I have the Training wheels set up with Mich Lithions in the same size- 23s- and they work well. No idea about life or puncture resistance but I have noticed that they do not roll as easily. And the reason I went to the PR3s was that the previous tyres- stock as supplied with the bike- were pretty slow. Speed improvement came as soon as I ditched them.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  6. #6
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    If rolling resistance is what you are after as well as wanting an endurance tire that is tough for a century then all the studies I have read suggest the conti gatorskin is a good tradeoff. I use them on my distance bike. I use the Vittoria open corsa evo cx on my race bike.

    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Who'd ever think the Continental Ultra Gator Skin would test lower rolling rsistance than the Continental GP Attack/Force?

  8. #8
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    If rolling resistance is what you are after as well as wanting an endurance tire that is tough for a century then all the studies I have read suggest the conti gatorskin is a good tradeoff. I use them on my distance bike. I use the Vittoria open corsa evo cx on my race bike.

    Interesting graph. So if I'm reading that correctly, the Vittoria's you like are of the faster bunch? I'm looking for low rolling resistance....one kick and you're off, plus good coasting when needed. The Bontrager Select B's felt sluggish the first ride I took. Now that I'm in shape I'm curious as to what the quicker tires would do me.

    As for budget tires, I've enjoyed training with them. Over the past 7yrs I've only had one flat on the front from over inflation (vredestein ricorso 23's) and one pinch flat on the back from supposed underinflation and hitting an unseen stone.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

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  9. #9
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Who'd ever think the Continental Ultra Gator Skin would test lower rolling rsistance than the Continental GP Attack/Force?
    Stranger things have happened, I was surprised too when I saw the data.
    It is also why I posted the data - to head off the firestorm before it could build.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
    Interesting graph. So if I'm reading that correctly, the Vittoria's you like are of the faster bunch? I'm looking for low rolling resistance....one kick and you're off, plus good coasting when needed. The Bontrager Select B's felt sluggish the first ride I took. Now that I'm in shape I'm curious as to what the quicker tires would do me.

    As for budget tires, I've enjoyed training with them. Over the past 7yrs I've only had one flat on the front from over inflation (vredestein ricorso 23's) and one pinch flat on the back from supposed underinflation and hitting an unseen stone.
    The way you read the graph is that for a given speed (18.6MPH) with an 85kg load the number of watts required to overcome the rolling resistance of the tire is listed in the x-axis. So yes, the Vittorias tested lower rolling resistance. They are expensive and don't wear well but they are fairly tough. The Gatorskins have more rolling resistance but wear much better, easier to find and at a better price.

    Now with that said - you will see the difference only at speed, not when you are "kicking off", there you might feel some difference with a lighter tire but rolling resistance will have little effect. You have to be rolling before there is resistance. If you want a tire the accelerates quickly you should consider weight, tubulars come to mind, along with the lightest wheels you can find. That will have more of an impact on your ability to accelerate than anything else, but remember - if you are reducing wheel weight to accelerate, you will also loose speed faster once you stop driving the bike, Sir Isaac givith and takith away.

    Another factor to consider, the overall losses from the tire go up linear with speed, the losses due to wind resistance go up as the velocity cubed. So at high speeds you could go to a really low rolling resistance tire but only see a small change in speed. For a racer it matters, IMHO for the average guy like us, it is better to get that tire that provides a comfortable ride, resists flats and wears well.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  10. #10
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Here is another data set:

    http://www.biketechreview.com/tires_...sting_rev9.pdf

    It includes tubulars, so you have to filter through the list to find the good clinchers. Clinchers actually roll really well, if you use latex tubes, it's just that the whole package of wheel, tube and tire is much heavier than a tubular setup.

    In my area, Conti GP400S (black chili) are really popular, and they are as "BF approved" as any tire. They come in #14 on the biketechreview list, which is very respectable, and ahead of many pure racing tires. Many people race on them. I've found them to be just as flat resistant as Gatorskins (meaning both tires will flat if you hit that goathead or roofing nail), and they perform better.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  11. #11
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Here is another data set:

    http://www.biketechreview.com/tires_...sting_rev9.pdf

    It includes tubulars, so you have to filter through the list to find the good clinchers. Clinchers actually roll really well, if you use latex tubes, it's just that the whole package of wheel, tube and tire is much heavier than a tubular setup.

    In my area, Conti GP400S (black chili) are really popular, and they are as "BF approved" as any tire. They come in #14 on the biketechreview list, which is very respectable, and ahead of many pure racing tires. Many people race on them. I've found them to be just as flat resistant as Gatorskins (meaning both tires will flat if you hit that goathead or roofing nail), and they perform better.
    Retro Grouch's advice is sound, ride what the other people are riding. There is no data in either data set to suggest the GP400S is better or worse than the Gatorskin. Without test data it is just conjecture. However the GP400s are well respected. I think the real point is that little will be gained unless you attack the whole wheel/tire/tube package.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  12. #12
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I think you are agonizing too much over tire choice, since air resistance is a far greater concern. In 1972 I did a 12:18 double century on cotton tubulars, but I suspect any good modern clincher would do just as well now.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Kenda C2C....really

    cyril

  14. #14
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    I did my first century by doing laps around the Morgul Bismark on a mtn bike with 1.9" tires.
    I'm detecting OCD here.

  15. #15
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    There is no data in either data set to suggest the GP400S is better or worse than the Gatorskin.
    Neither test had both tires, but they are made of different compounds, and I guarantee you the GP's handle better. Personal experience -does- count, which is one of the reason road tests include personal impressions. Conti knows a thing or two about their own tires, and I'm sure they test them, since Conti has a test facility that is used by bike mag's. Conti sells the 4000 as a racing tire. They sell the Gator as a training tire. And FWIW, the Gator is 180 tpi; the 4000 is 330.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  16. #16
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Azt - ride what you like, that's why we have choices. My everyday tire is the ultra gatorskin and will remain so, it serves me well and I did a fast century on them and my old steel bike last week. On my Tarmac I have the Vittorias, they also serve me well. The extra small % I get from them as well as the 2 lb advantage in overall weight and the stiffness of the frame make it just a little easier to stay with a fast pack or climb a big hill. It really is about the engine, a pro racer would kick our butts on a Wallymart bike.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  17. #17
    Sumerian Street Rider khutch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
    I'm in training for my first century ride soon and suddenly it seems that rolling resistance is starting to get my attention.
    I bought a pair of Michelin Pro3 Race tires, 25mm, for my first century and I was happy with the choice. If you are well trained for the effort the tires you use are not going to prevent you from finishing. On the other hand, as another newbie, I certainly understand the fear that your training will not be enough and that a few percent difference in anything might be the difference between finishing and giving up. It's exactly why I bought the Michelins. The graph presented here is out of date but probably still a reasonable guide. If you don't care for the Michelins the Continental GP4000S or one of the highly rated Vittorias are also good choices. I had decided on the Contis actually but the LBS owner told me that the Michelins seem to hold up to the local road hazards better so I went with them. My rims are 18mm across the bead hooks and the 25mm Michelins plump up to 28mm on them so I was quite happy since 28mm is as narrow a tire as I normally run. I'd have bought wider tires still but tire makers don't build their wide tires on their high efficiency carcasses. This century was on paved country roads in good condition, mostly, so I didn't really need anything wider to ride it.

    The thing that nearly defeated me was the heat, I trained in 50 degree weather and then century day was 85. I came very close to bailing out so it is not inconceivable that the efficient tires were a significant factor in allowing me to complete the course. Of course today it is 50 degrees again and I could have run 100 miles today on tires made from bailing twine....

    Ken

  18. #18
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Pro3's (23mm) with latex tubes roll amazingly well, and are very supple. They actually feel squiggly after not having ridden them for a while. 4000s's (23mm) are terrific, all around tires. Gator Skins (25mm) are total crap, but Gator Hardshells (28mm) actually have a pretty nice road feel for a high durability tire. Continental City Rides (32mm) have a decent ride for such a large tire and are very resistant to debris and bad road surfaces. All of this is just my opinion, of course.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  19. #19
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Hate to say it but there is trade between cost- comfort-long life and rolling resistance.

    Two popular performance tyres are Conti 4000s and Mich PR3s. I personally use PR3s but there must be other tyres to use aswell. Performace and less drag are with this type of tyre. Grip and life are there aswell along with puncture resistance. Unfortunately they cost more than a "Standard" tyre. Plenty of on line shops so shop around.

    I have the Training wheels set up with Mich Lithions in the same size- 23s- and they work well. No idea about life or puncture resistance but I have noticed that they do not roll as easily. And the reason I went to the PR3s was that the previous tyres- stock as supplied with the bike- were pretty slow. Speed improvement came as soon as I ditched them.
    The trade off is very obvious when looking at the graph posted by cyclinfool and running to google to check the piles of reviews on each tire.

    So far, I like what I've read about the Michelin Krilion Carbon tires. Still a low rolling resistance, decent price, good durability and wear. Similar to what has been said, there is no perfect tire for everybody and everybody has their perfect tire.

    I may well ride out the summer on the Bontrager "B"s if the squaring off doesnt get out of hand. The century ride is only a few weeks out from now. I am totally confident in finishing the ride but as the time approaches I love to tweak my Trek.

    Guys, your info is spot on and appreciated.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

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  20. #20
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terex View Post
    Pro3's (23mm) with latex tubes roll amazingly well, and are very supple. They actually feel squiggly after not having ridden them for a while. 4000s's (23mm) are terrific, all around tires. Gator Skins (25mm) are total crap, but Gator Hardshells (28mm) actually have a pretty nice road feel for a high durability tire. Continental City Rides (32mm) have a decent ride for such a large tire and are very resistant to debris and bad road surfaces. All of this is just my opinion, of course.
    Do you still use latex tubes?
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

    '89 Raleigh Technium PRE

    '79 Motobecane Super Mirage

  21. #21
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terex View Post
    Pro3's (23mm) with latex tubes roll amazingly well, and are very supple. They actually feel squiggly after not having ridden them for a while. 4000s's (23mm) are terrific, all around tires. IMHO (or my experience is that) Gator Skins (25mm) are total crap, but Gator Hardshells (28mm) actually have a pretty nice road feel for a high durability tire. Continental City Rides (32mm) have a decent ride for such a large tire and are very resistant to debris and bad road surfaces. All of this is just my opinion, of course.
    Since you have no data I felt compelled to fixed it for you.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  22. #22
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    I've been running Conti ultra Gatorskins on my Gunnar for a long time now. When you hate flatting as much as I do, and when you're dealing with the lovely roads of Massachusetts,* a set of these is money well spent.

    ( * Cynicism fully intended.)
    "The People will believe what the Media tells them they believe". George Orwell.

  23. #23
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    It really is about the engine, a pro racer would kick our butts on a Wallymart bike.
    Now CF, don't go destroying our fantasies. We need to believe that with just one more upgrade, we'll be on a tour team.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  24. #24
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Now CF, don't go destroying our fantasies. We need to believe that with just one more upgrade, we'll be on a tour team.
    Yup. "If at first you don't succeed, spend more money."

  25. #25
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Yup. "If at first you don't succeed, spend more money."
    Agreed.
    Average speed is directly proportional to how much money you spend on your bike.

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