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  1. #1
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    road tires on my MTB?

    I have a trek y-11 mountain bike with MTB tires for riding the trails here in Austin. My girlfriend bought a road bike and I'd like to ride with her but not make the investment in a road bike right now. Could I just buy some inexpensive wheels with road-like tires instead? I understand this would be a temporary fix but if I enjoy road cycling then I could buy a proper road bike later. My bike (carbon fiber frame) is very light so I figured that it could be similar to a hybrid with road tires on it. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

  2. #2
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    The bike uses 26" wheels, of course, so all you need to do is buy some 26" mtb slicks and install them. You'll probably need some smaller volume 26" tubes, too, to better match the size of the narrower slicks. There are lots of mtb slicks to choose from, check out Nashbar, Performance, etc...........I'm not sure I understand your question entirely, but if you're saying you want to buy a separate "road" wheelset, keep in mind that most modern road bikes, and hybrids too, use 700c wheels. In addition, rear hub spacing is different from mtb (135mm) to road (130mm). If you really want an extra set of wheels, so you can switch back and forth between slicks and knobbies without having to remove the tires from the rims, just buy an extra 26" mtb wheelset. Even then, you'll want to make sure the width of the rim is the same as your existing wheelset so you don't have to adjust the brakes each time you make the switch (assuming your bike has rim brakes), and to make it all worthwhile you'll need another cassette, too, with the same gearing as your existing one (unless you want to remove and re-install the cassette each time you change the wheels). If you have disc brakes, and you want another 26" wheelset, make sure the new wheelset is compatible with your disc brakes.

  3. #3
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    RE: road tires on my mtb

    You are correct that I wanted a set of road wheels/tires that I could easily change out with my mtb wheels/tires. If I understand correctly I would need a set of MTB wheels with the same width as my current rims, slick mtb tires and a compatible cassette with the same gearing. I'm a novice but would you suggest doing this or finding a used (inexpensive) roadbike on craigslist instead? I appreciate your help!

    Ivan

  4. #4
    More biking, less flying.
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    I did the tire swap and have not had an issue, then again, I have not needed the extra traction yet. I have two bikes and may put the MTB's on one and leave the slicks on the other, but since they are in two different places (Ohio and NY), I will wait. My own opinion is that it takes about an hour to swap the tires/tubes on a bike. Not that big a deal.

  5. #5
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivanejackson
    You are correct that I wanted a set of road wheels/tires that I could easily change out with my mtb wheels/tires. If I understand correctly I would need a set of MTB wheels with the same width as my current rims, slick mtb tires and a compatible cassette with the same gearing. I'm a novice but would you suggest doing this or finding a used (inexpensive) roadbike on craigslist instead? I appreciate your help!

    Ivan
    Well, I'm a big fan of older road bikes, so I'm not gonna advise you to avoid that route. If you're patient, you might be amazed at the quality of bike you can find for not much money............As far as sticking with your mtb for road riding, I can tell you I've put in thousands of road miles on mtb's, and although they aren't as fast or efficient as a road bike on pavement, with slick tires they're not bad, and they're very versatile. It sounds like you're saying you have rim brakes, so yes, just look for a mtb wheelset with the same width rims as you have now (hopefully you don't have anything unusual on the bike now), and install a casette with the same gearing as you have, and once you install your new tires, all you'll have to do is switch the wheels when you want to use different tires. And as far as the gearing, when I say "the same gearing", I'm talking about the same number of cogs on the cassette so it matches your shifters, and it will be important to have the same size large cog (lowest gear on the cassette), so that your chain length and derailleur "B" screw doesn't need to be changed each time you change the wheels. In other words, if you're running, say, a nine-speed 11 x 32 cassette now, go ahead and run that same gearing with the new cassette. Good luck-
    Last edited by well biked; 07-26-06 at 07:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    That's about what I did on my old mtb, and was able to do it with the same wheel set. You probably can too, unless you are getting really radical - or unless you need to be able to change back and forth without getting out the tire tools.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  7. #7
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    I just put some GEAX Roadsters on my Gary Fisher yesterday, and I bet my riding efficiency on the streets increased at least 20% or more. Not only that, it's a lot more quiet than riding on the big tread. The tires, tubes, and labor at the shop only ran $50.

    I didn't bother getting new rims because I don't go off the trail. I just ride it around in the city.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I did that for a commuter. I had 2 sets of wheels for my Giant Iquana, during the week it had 1.5 slicks on it, on weekends the 2.25 knobbies went back on I was not a gonzo downhill rider, but enjoyed riding on the local forest trails, and after a good rain you definitely needed the knobbies. Check around on the wheel prices, you should be able to get a decent set of spare wheels with a cassette for
    $120-$150. Maybe check you local LBS and see if they have a used set for sale.

    Aaron

  9. #9
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that new cassettes + used chains can result in chain skip. It might be better to just get a set of tires and tubes. Some folding Panaracer Pasela 1.25" tires with extra-light tubes would be nice. The narrow width will cut air drag, which is important. Also keep in mind that the bike will be sitting about 1" lower to the ground on little tires, so be careful about pedalling through corners... your ground clearance is significantly reduced.

    That said, you can put on slicks and pump 'em up to the max, and you still can look forward to being dropped with ease by an equivalent rider on a road-racing bike, if you're out for a fast road ride.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivanejackson
    You are correct that I wanted a set of road wheels/tires that I could easily change out with my mtb wheels/tires. If I understand correctly I would need a set of MTB wheels with the same width as my current rims, slick mtb tires and a compatible cassette with the same gearing. I'm a novice but would you suggest doing this or finding a used (inexpensive) roadbike on craigslist instead? I appreciate your help!

    Ivan
    If you are going to go the route of a complete wheelset I would advise NOT having the same gearing. If possible try to get yourself something that gives you a higher top end. Years ago I went the slicks route with a MTN bike and found I ran out of gears at the highend.

  11. #11
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    If you are going to go the route of a complete wheelset I would advise NOT having the same gearing. If possible try to get yourself something that gives you a higher top end. Years ago I went the slicks route with a MTN bike and found I ran out of gears at the highend.
    There would be nothing available for this bike with a smaller rear cog than an 11 tooth. Mtb's generally have a lower low end on their cassette (32t or 34t big cog) than a road bike, with gearing that's somewhat wider spaced between cogs, but the smallest cog (highest gear on the cassette) is usually 11 or 12t, same as a road bike cassette. You typically end up with fewer overall gear inches with a mtb than a road bike because the big ring on the crankset is smaller (usually 46, 44, or 42t as compared to 50+ on a road bike), and the wheel diameter, especially with smaller volume 26" slicks, is less than a 700c wheel.

  12. #12
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    Keep in mind that new cassettes + used chains can result in chain skip.
    mechBgon has a good point about worn chains not playing nicely with new cassettes. If you want to do this thing with the two wheelsets, you might be looking at buying two cassettes and a chain. Your chainrings should be okay unless you've got a ton of miles on the drivetrain, and have been derelict in replacing the chain when needed. If your bike has been only moderately ridden and/or you've replaced the chain when needed, you should be okay with just getting the one new cassette.

  13. #13
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    One caveat with putting new higher-pressure tires on an older bike (with older wheels) is that braking may have worn the rims thin over the years. Pumping your new slicks up past 60 or 70 PSI for a fast road ride can warp the braking surfaces or even blow off the sides of the rim off. (yes, I have had both of these things happen).

    If your bike has a lot of miles (and braking) on it, you might want to check the rim sidewall wear beforehand.. this can be a big safety issue if the front rim lets go while you are riding.

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