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  1. #1
    Senior Member jph6t's Avatar
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    Best Practice For Using Multiple Tires

    I have a mountain bike that I use most regularly on roads and packed dirt trails. As such, I replaced the knobbie tires that came with the bike with a more street oriented (slicker) tread style. I currently have my knobbie tires in the closet. I intend on switching the tires back to the knobbies whenever I do any true mountain biking or other activity that requires the more agressive tread.

    My friend does the same thing (as far as using slicks in the city and knobbies in the country). He took things a step further by getting himself an extra set of rims and another cassette. He then put the knobbies on the spare wheels. This way, he need only use the quick release to change tires ... as opposed to letting the air out of the tube, removing the slick tire, putting on the knobbie, etc.

    I heard a rumor though that this method of using two wheels is a bad practice. That a chain and a cassette wear themself out together, forming similar wear patterns. As such, when I put on the cassette that has been on the wheel in the closet ... it won't fit right ... sorta like loaning your buddy with a different shape foot your broken in sneaker.

    I have no real need for making super-quick changes (like a race senerio) where two sets of rims are the only way to go. As such, should I stick to the dirty job of removing/putting on tires each time I want to change the tread. Is the rumor above true?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Depends a lot on how often you change out tires. The wear thing is most true in the cases where you ride one way for months then change. That works out nice for once as that is the case where spare rims save you the least bother.

    There is however a second reason to get at least a second rear rim and cassette. The gearing that makes sense for offroad use on dirt is not the same as what makes sense for onroad with slicks. When I replaced the tires on my Mtn. bike with slicks I found that on any straight level road I was almost always ran out of gears at the high end.

  3. #3
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I used to do the slick / knobby tire swap. I then bought a new trail bike and made my older MTB into a full time commuter

  4. #4
    Senior Member jph6t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    Depends a lot on how often you change out tires. The wear thing is most true in the cases where you ride one way for months then change. That works out nice for once as that is the case where spare rims save you the least bother.

    There is however a second reason to get at least a second rear rim and cassette. The gearing that makes sense for offroad use on dirt is not the same as what makes sense for onroad with slicks. When I replaced the tires on my Mtn. bike with slicks I found that on any straight level road I was almost always ran out of gears at the high end.
    Keith -

    I would most likely be the situation you described ... going a months without changing tires.

    You bring up an interesting point with gearing. I didn't think of that. That's definetly a plus to having a second set of rims.

    So how bad is the wear issue? Is that made null if one gets a second chain to go with the second set of rims?

    - John

  5. #5
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    I would suggest a second chain as ideal since two different cassettes with different sets of cogs would also be ideal. Different sized cassettes call for different lengths of chain. Therefore two chains with a tool-free link such as an SRAM would be very beneficial. Yes, chains and cassettes do have a tendency to wear out together, but I can usually get 2-3 chain replacements before I have to change cassettes. Of course, that is only possible by closely watching your chain for stretching or stuck links. I clean and lube after every ride in the rain or mud (only takes 15 minutes), or at least monthly in dry weather.

  6. #6
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jph6t
    I heard a rumor though that this method of using two wheels is a bad practice. That a chain and a cassette wear themself out together, forming similar wear patterns. As such, when I put on the cassette that has been on the wheel in the closet ... it won't fit right ... sorta like loaning your buddy with a different shape foot your broken in sneaker.
    It's my personal opinion (which everyone will probably disagree with) that the cassette/chain mating thing is a bit of an exaggeration. IMO as long as you 1) clean and lube your chain regularly, and 2) replace the chain once it has served it's useful life, you'll have no problems using the same chain on different cassettes. You can check your chain for wear by following these steps (scroll to bottom of page).

    I have serveral wheelsets with different cassettes of varying ages, and I swap among them on my spare bike (because they're all 8-sp and the spare bike is 8-sp) and the most I've had to do is give a little twirl on the cable tension adjuster.

    The only problem (as jabike mentioned) is if there is a huge difference in cog sizes (like going from a 21 to a 34). I swap between 12-21 and 12-25 with no problems.

  7. #7
    is slower than you Peek the Geek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cydewaze
    It's my personal opinion (which everyone will probably disagree with) that the cassette/chain mating thing is a bit of an exaggeration. IMO as long as you 1) clean and lube your chain regularly, and 2) replace the chain once it has served it's useful life, you'll have no problems using the same chain on different cassettes. You can check your chain for wear by following these steps (scroll to bottom of page).

    I have serveral wheelsets with different cassettes of varying ages, and I swap among them on my spare bike (because they're all 8-sp and the spare bike is 8-sp) and the most I've had to do is give a little twirl on the cable tension adjuster.

    The only problem (as jabike mentioned) is if there is a huge difference in cog sizes (like going from a 21 to a 34). I swap between 12-21 and 12-25 with no problems.
    Gotta agree with Cydewaze here. As long as you're changing out your chain before it becomes too worn, going from one cassette to another wouldn't be a problem. If it was, you'd have to buy a whole new cassette every time you got a new chain (though you might have to anyway if you've allowed your chain to become to worn.)
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