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  1. #1
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    These 'road' tires aren't working for me... I need some tread! Recommendations?

    Hey guys,

    I'm pretty new to cycling... A few months ago I picked up a Felt SR91 bicycle for myself and a Gary Fisher Tiburon for my girl. Well, last month I decided to commute to work... well, on my first day I lost control when I slipped off the sidewalk and the bike got all wobbly and I ended up hitting my head on a telephone pole at like 12-15mph. It was not a fun time. I didn't have a helmet on either... yes, I was very lucky.

    Since then, all of my bruises have healed and I got the bike out of the shop after they straightened the rear derailluer hanger. Well, I went for a little spin, but, now I'm paranoid everytime I start to lose traction... these tires gotta go. The bicycle came with some kind of 700x28 tires and after I got a nice gash in one tire, i replaced them with some 700x25 All Condition Specialized Armadillos (http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProd...izoq6r1.j27006). Well, we primarily ride on the sidewalks and they're pretty uneven and theres sand, and leaves and twigs, palm fronds even and we also ride on some gravel and through a little bit of grass... well, i want to get some tires with some tread on them.

    but, i'm guessing because of my wheel size that i'm probably limited to what i can get, right? well, the bike came with 28 width tires, so i'd like to go back to 28 and i could probably go a little bit wider, right?

    what do you guys recommend?

    thanks!
    -mike

    ps. if anyone would be interested in the tires, they have maybe 50 miles on them... no punctures or anything... i can get pics. i paid $30 each... make me an offer

  2. #2
    Closet Bike-a-holic tourist's Avatar
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    I would recommend 1. Avocet Cross II which come in sizes of 28c - 38c. 2. Hutchinson Acrobats which I believe opnly come in 37c. You probably want to go as wide as you can fit for the kind of riding you're doing.
    The road don't go nowhere, stays right where it is.

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  3. #3
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    The size of tyres is limitted by clearance at the brakes. Commuter bikes should be able to take 32mm, but most racing bikes are limited to 28 at the max, usually 25.
    Sidewalks are a dangerous places to ride a bike. Learn to ride on the road.
    Tyre tread will have a very small effect on grip. You shouldn't need a knobbly pattern, but most fast-commuter tyres have a little inverted tread.
    Learn to handle your bike at the limit of traction. Experienced riders can brake the front wheel, downhill, round corners, on sand, with outside camber. Getting this degree of finess takes time, but you need to practice. If you dont know how to ride, you freeze, panic, skid and crash.

  4. #4
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    The first thing I'd recommend is you start wearing a helmet.

    I've been hit 3 times, and I was never at fault. I had people cut me off and pull out right in front of me. They didn't SEE me. All three times, my helmets been destroyed and all three times I was fine except for road rash.

    L8R
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  5. #5
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I'd recommend getting a helmet and riding on the street. More comfy ride too and easier on the bike and butt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    sounds like you want cyclocross tires. I prefer the road, and 28c road tires. But....if you're sliding around off the road, you need offroad tires. And a helmet....

  7. #7
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    do you recommend any in particular?

    how big of a tire width can i go? the bicycle came with 28s... I'm running 25s now... i'm guessing i could probably go to like 30s, right? can i go wider? how do i know? the rims can only handle a tire X width, right?

    thanks for the feedback guys!
    -mike

    Quote Originally Posted by late
    Hi,
    sounds like you want cyclocross tires. I prefer the road, and 28c road tires. But....if you're sliding around off the road, you need offroad tires. And a helmet....

  8. #8
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Sure, the limiting factor is usually brake clearance. You can prob go larger, take it to a bike shop and they can tell you how big a tire will fit. A 30 or 32 should be fine. Larger is better in the dirt, narrower is better on the road. And I will warn you that knobbies on the road secrete superglue. Or at least it feels like that after you've been keeping up with somebody who doesn't have knobbies for 30 miles on the road. So there is also the question of how much knob you want. The bigger the knob, the worse the drag gets, the better it is in the dirt. Personally, I would pick small knobs if there's a choice. I have never gotten a cyclocross tire; so I am not sure the variation you see in the Mtn bike world is available there.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    I should look into those...college campus is littered with busted beer bottles!

  10. #10
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    First question is why are you riding on the sidewalk?

    Second question is why are you not wearing a helmet?

    Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in most cities, and you are far more likely to get hit as you cross a street on a bike if you're coming off the sidewalk than if you are riding with traffic, plus you can go a lot faster on the street than the sidewalk, and there aren't any telephone poles to leap out in front of you either.

    I don't want to offend you but truthfully you should work on your bike handling skills if you think 25's are too narrow... its not an indication of the tire as much as the rider in this case, I'm thinking. I, and most guys I know that commute on roadbikes run anything from a 20-25 w/ 0 problems. I regularly ride in the rain, across muddy grass, through gutters filled with wet leaves with rarely an issue.

    Anyways you can probably fit a 32 on there max, get a semi slick like the Kenda Kwick perhaps. They roll decently and have SOME tread. If you do get the Kwicks, the rear tire should be mounted backwards for best traction. The tread goes like < in front and > in the rear for more of a scooping action for the rear. A lot of shops dont read the directional guide on the sidewall :-)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    The first thing I'd recommend is you start wearing a helmet.

    I've been hit 3 times, and I was never at fault. I had people cut me off and pull out right in front of me. They didn't SEE me. All three times, my helmets been destroyed and all three times I was fine except for road rash.

    L8R
    Helmets are cheap so It's not really a big surprise your helmets were destroyed. People always say their helmet was totaled as if it is made of titanuim. They are only good for prevention of minor injuries. That said you should have young children wear one for riding around the driveway but If you hit a car fender or a curb at 25 mph head on you can now shop for a wheelchair even if that helmet could save your brain which is unlikely. 800 people a year die on bikes in the USA while 16,200 die from falls(wear a helmet around the house, may save someone), 3,600 by fire, 11,700 poison and 42,000 in car wrecks. With that last one it would make sense that the government should take away my miata and give me a so called safe SUV. If you want a helmet that is great but there is no evidence that they absorb the kind of force that would kill you or cause brain damage. A few times on these very boards I read of dead riders with helmets. People point out the ones without as if it was a sure thing they'd be with us if they have spent 30 bucks on a helmet but never say anything about the rider who died with a helmet.

    Maybe one day a helmet that really work will be developed for now I am going to need more than "look thin plastic and styrofoam was crushed. Even people like Snell say helmets will not prevent death.

    http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/hfaq.html#A10

    While US helmet use was increasing from near zero to 30% or more from 1986 to 1996, there was virtually no difference between the trend lines for cycling and pedestrian fatalities. It is difficult to pick out on Tom Kunich's trends chart which line represents cyclists and which one pedestrians. (Data from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)). The results have been the same in Canada where large increases in helmet use have had no detectable affect on Canadian fatality trends.

    The rapid increase in helmet use in Australia following legislation showed no helmet benefit. {8** The rates of decline in cycling equaled or exceeded rates of decline of cyclist head injuries. {9** Likewise, New Zealand experienced a dramatic rise in voluntary use prior to mandating but no reduction in the rate of serious head injuries. Reductions in cycling also were experienced. {10**
    Last edited by Deep_South; 04-20-04 at 12:52 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    I use 700X23c Armadillos and regulary ride the canal banks around here which are covered in Sand and Gravel usually at between 15 and 17 MPH. The only way to get more traction in riding in dirt and sand is to practice riding in dirt and sand but start at slower speeds. You can't ride like you do on the road and expect not to slide around alot. Anyway, that's my 2 cents. You can ride dirt with a 23c tire (just not rocks bigger than gravel sized). If I rode a majority on dirt I would likely go with a 25 or 28 though.
    Sunrise saturday,
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    lost in the moment.

  13. #13
    pluralis majestatis redfooj's Avatar
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    never gotten a flat in xxxx miles with Hutchinson Acrobats...they're semi-slicks so there's a bit of tread on them. Your best solution is just to stop riding on the sidewalk... and probably stop mashing on the pedals at a low gear...

  14. #14
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    hey guys, thanks for the feedback

    1. theres no way im riding on the roads down here... theres no birms (i think thats what they're called) or anywhere to even ride on. the people down here drive like complete idiots. they're either old and cant see - or react for that matter if they do manage to see you, or they're just ignorant and like to drive their 10,000lb SUVs at 40mph OVER any posted speed limit... i'll take my chances on the sidewalk anyday before getting on that road.

    2. looking back, i think i would have been better off with a mountain bike. but, since we cant go back, i think i'll swing by the LBS one of these days and see what kind of wider/more-off-roadish tires they have. riding ability or not, these tires just aren't suited for the riding i'd like to do. i want to cut through the grass and ride down gravel roads and ride on the uneven sidewalk and run over twigs/branches/etc.

    thanks again,
    -mike

  15. #15
    Closet Bike-a-holic tourist's Avatar
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    1a. GET A FLIPPIN' HELMET
    The road don't go nowhere, stays right where it is.

    www.friscocycling.com

    www.hopefellowship.net

  16. #16
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supadupamikey
    hey guys, thanks for the feedback

    1. theres no way im riding on the roads down here... theres no birms (i think thats what they're called) or anywhere to even ride on. the people down here drive like complete idiots. they're either old and cant see - or react for that matter if they do manage to see you, or they're just ignorant and like to drive their 10,000lb SUVs at 40mph OVER any posted speed limit... i'll take my chances on the sidewalk anyday before getting on that road.
    Sounds like my ride every single day. Legally you are probably restricted to the road in the first place, and yes, its daunting at first, but once you're out there for a week or two you (should) develop a lot of "traffic smarts" quickly. If I'm late to work I have to buzz down a 35mph 6 lane road with a merger to 4 lanes and cars going in excess of 50mph at times, and never had a big problem. I really think that barring the worst possible circumstances, you are far safter on the road than the sidewalk. I've been commuting for over 3 years now and have yet to be hit, and I've commuted down some pretty hairy roads.

    Remember, you have the RIGHT to an entire lane. You do not have to give right for cars, they are obligated to pass you safely or wait until its safe to do so. They might get pissed off occasionally, oh well.

  17. #17
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    Even people like Snell say helmets will not prevent death.
    This has been done and probably shouldn't be responded to, here. It doesn't matter if a helmet doesn't prevent death. They do prevent fractured skulls, severe concussion, bleeding on the brain and a number of other injuries and visits to the hospital for even the smallest impacts.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

  18. #18
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    ok... let me put it this way... i dont want to ride on the road, nor the sidewalk for that matter. i'd rather ride through the grass and off-road and ride over whatever gets in my way.

    if i get some different tires, will be bike be ok for that? or should i start saving my pennies to buy a mountain bike?

    thanks,
    -mike

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Get a helmet. Ride the road, it IS safer is and legal. Riding sidewalks
    is illegal (check your local ordinances!).
    Tire width had nothing to do with your crash but maybe under inflation of the tires did plus you need to become a bit more bike savvy.
    Take your share of the road, sharing roads with cars does not mean they get the whole lane. A bicycle is a vehicle and must follow the same rules.
    Am 71 years old, have over a quarter million miles on the road as a cyclist, and yes, I wear a helmet and run 'skinny' tires.
    Experience is the best teacher.
    Pedal on!

  20. #20
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Check out "Effective Cycling" - John Forester, Amazon Books and other places, for some tips on riding with cars.

    And, yes, I am interested in the Armadillos.

    I am 64 yo and have no problem handling my bike with 700x23's. Sounds like you need more experience in handling your bike, or a bike designed for where you want to ride.

    See:

    http://www.johnforester.com/

  21. #21
    Pat
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    I know riding on the sidewalk FEELS safer. But it really is not.

    Every driveway is an intersection on a sidewalk. Most bicycle/car accidents occur at intersections. On a sidewalk, you are multiplying intersections and greatly increasing your risk. Most drivers do not look both ways down the sidewalk before the back out, they just go. They are not expecting a cyclist to come buzzing down the sidewalk at 15 mph. Besides, who has the right of way in this case, the motorist or the cyclist? Another thing, sidewalks are narrow and as you noted covered with junk. Also people walk their dogs on sidewalks.

    Out in the road, there are clear rules of right of way. Once you learn how to ride in traffic, it is amazing how safe it is. Forester found that the cyclists with the lowest accident rates were commuters who rode on busy roads at peak traffic levels. Of course, you happen to fall in the group with just about the highest accident rate: college riders.

    As has been sugggested, I would strongly urge you to get a copy of Forester's Effective Cycling and read it.

    Good luck.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the help guys.

    I went to the LBS earlier and talked to them and they suggested Specialized Infinity tires in 700x32. So, I picked up a set and some new 700x28/38 tubes since the ones I had were for 700x20/28.

    So, I mounted the tubes/tires on the wheels, but, it seems to be a really tight fit near the valve stem... it seems like the 'boot' on the valve stem is just a wee bit too wide and therefore the tire cant 'seat' all the way in the wheel... maybe i'm just being a perfectionist... but, i dunno... would it be ok to use the 700x20/28 tubes in these tires? Is it because the wheels are a little too narrow for these tubes/tires?

    I didn't feel like messing with it anymore, or I would have broke it back down again and used the 700x20/28 tube just to see if the tire fits perfectly... any input?

  23. #23
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Go to your LBS and have them do it and watch and see if the tube is wrong or your technique is wrong.

  24. #24
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    For going off-road (or off-sidewalk, as the case may be), the x32s will serve you well. Wider tires also handle better in "puddles" of gravel that you encounter on pavement.

    All the advice given so far is good, except for Deep South's helmet rant. You can get a good one for a lot less than the cost of one visit to the emergency room. Until you're comfortable riding on roads, it won't be safer, so don't sweat that angle for now. And some roads really are unfit for cyclist traffic, period. Like DnvrFox says, get help from your LBS (Local Bike Shop) until you've gained more familarity with the bike. When you're ready to ride roads, you may want to invest in a mirror. There are several types.

    Good luck, happy trails, and tailwinds!

  25. #25
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    Push the valve back into the tire from the rim side as you seat the tire. If you put the valve nut on before fully seating the tire, it won't sit right. The tubes I'm using right now don't have threaded stems, so this isn't a problem. I wouldn't use a smaller tube. Inflating it to correct pressure in a tire that is larger than what the tube is designed for can put extra stress on the structural integrity of the rubber, as it needs to stretch farther to fill the tire properly, and becomes a thinner layer of rubber.
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