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  1. #1
    Junior Member AlanMintaka's Avatar
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    Specialized Crossroads 26 Tires, bad on wet surface, dirt?

    Hi Everyone,
    This is my first post here, so if I test any of the forum rules, please accept my apologies up front.

    I have a Trek 7200 hybrid with a pair of Specialized Crossroads 26" 700 X 38c (38-622) tires. They're good on dry pavement and well-packed dirt roads. They're not so hot on softer dirt roads (patches of 1/2" loose sand, e.g.) and lousy on wet pavement. I've stuck with them because I wasn't doing a lot of riding in the latter conditions.

    Now I'm semi-retired and have had the time to get around more on the Trek. This includes more loose-packed dirt roads and more wet days on both dirt and pavement. Can anyone here could recommend a tire that would give me better performance in those conditions than the Crossroads have been giving me?

    Thanks for your time,
    Big Al Mintaka

    "I believe a leaf of grass
    is no less than the journey-work of the stars."
    --Walt Whitman

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    They can't be both 700 and 26-inch--700 is road bike size and 26-inch is mountain bike size (and some hybrids, I think). if they have a 38 on them, they'll be 700x38s, roughly equiv to 26x1.5 (26 and 700 refer to the diameter of the wheels, 1.5 and 38 refer to the width of the tire itself). Doesn't matter, for the purposes of this discussion, but it's helpful to know the difference.
    A tire swap is the fastest and easiest thing you can do to a bike and make a big difference. I haven't used Crossroads in awhile, but as I recall, they're combination tires, skewed a little toward pavement, but usable on fire trails and dirt roads. That would make them less than perfect for looser stuff, and nothing works very well on wet leaves. A tire swap should certainly help.
    I used to be a pretty serious mountain biker, but I've turned more to the road in my old age, so I'm not familiar with specific offroad tires. I'd go to a bike shop and ask for a recommendation. They'll also be able to tell you what fits widthwise, so you don't order something that's too wide.

  3. #3
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    7200's have 700cc wheels.

    Do you have the regular Flak Jackets or the Armadillos?(Dillos have maroon sidewalls) I used a set of Flak Jacket Crossroads for a winter and liked them. No probs on wet pavement,and they did good in the snow which makes me wonder why they wouldn't do good in loose dirt. I read reviews of some Dillos being slippery in the wet due to the tread compound,so if that's what you're running that could be the problem. As far as other tires,realise that anything good in the dirt won't do well on the street,and vice versa. Two completely different sets of conditions,so there has to be a comprimise somewhere.

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  4. #4
    Junior Member AlanMintaka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    They can't be both 700 and 26-inch--700 is road bike size and 26-inch is mountain bike size (and some hybrids, I think).

    ...

    I used to be a pretty serious mountain biker, but I've turned more to the road in my old age, so I'm not familiar with specific offroad tires. I'd go to a bike shop and ask for a recommendation. They'll also be able to tell you what fits widthwise, so you don't order something that's too wide.
    Hey Velo Dog,
    Thanks for the info and sorry for the delay in responding. Yeah, I got messed up with the tire sizes. I had gone to the Specialized website for specs and photo for my inventory database and simply grabbed the wrong ones.

    The tires on the bike now are the Crossroads 700 X 38c (38 - 622). I should probably go back and edit my gaffe.

    For the record, the stock tires were Botranger 700 X 35c. I still have those in storage. They didn't look fat enough to me for off-road riding so I had those taken off and replaced by the 38c's the day I bought the bike. At that time the 38c's were the widest ones in stock.

    So I'm now basically looking for something "fatter" and/or a different make, if that will give me more traction in sand and rain. I think another responder said something about wet leaves, but my problem with traction was actually on plain wet pavement.

    RE going to the shop for advice, yes, that will be the next step after this thread dies. I just wanted to get some advice from other riders before I went in. I knew I needed a refresher course as evidenced by my screwup with the tire sizes.

    RE old age, I should have appended "semi-retired" with that description too. That's another reason for standing down to less grueling terrain.

    I still have my old Peugeot Orient Express should I ever have the energy to get back into riding the real boonies in this area. It's great for off-road but not so hot on pavement. It's a tiny bike, 17" frame with 26 X 1.75 tires. For muck and snow I have an even wider pair, 26 X 2.125. I bought it in the early 80's when I could understand the tire sizes.

    I can't even ride my old road bike here in NH, a Raleigh Record. I tried to "hybridize" it with a bigger sprocket and cone but no soap. The gearing is just too high for these hills.

    The Trek is supposed to be the compromise solution. If I can find better tires, I may just believe that.

    Thanks again for the info and have a good one,
    Big Al Mintaka

    "I believe a leaf of grass
    is no less than the journey-work of the stars."
    --Walt Whitman

  5. #5
    Junior Member AlanMintaka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post

    7200's have 700cc wheels.

    Do you have the regular Flak Jackets or the Armadillos?(Dillos have maroon sidewalls)
    Hi dynaryder,
    Yes I got corrected on my size screwup by Velo Dog. My tires are the Crossroads 700 X 38c.

    These are the Flak Jacket version, not the Armadillo.

    The originals were 35c but I had them upgraded to 38c when I bought the bike because the 35c's didn't look wide enough to me. What was the width on the Crossroads Flaks that you used in snow?

    Have a good one,
    Big Al Mintaka

    "I believe a leaf of grass
    is no less than the journey-work of the stars."
    --Walt Whitman

  6. #6
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Kenda Kross Plus 700 X 38.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  7. #7
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanMintaka View Post
    What was the width on the Crossroads Flaks that you used in snow?

    I was using 26x1.95". They did fine on wet roads,only complaint I ever had was they were heavy.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanMintaka View Post
    I have a Trek 7200 hybrid with a pair of Specialized Crossroads 26" 700 X 38c (38-622) tires. They're good on dry pavement and well-packed dirt roads. They're not so hot on softer dirt roads (patches of 1/2" loose sand, e.g.) and lousy on wet pavement.
    For 1/2" loose sand, wider is better. Unfortunately, wider tires are unlikely to fit your bike. Except for really extreme conditions, don't expect the tread pattern to do much.

    For wet pavement, believe it or not, knobs are bad. All they do is give you less road contact and, unless they are very solidly braced, they "squirm" during turns and give you an unsetteling feeling. I guess you could hunt around for a soft compound tire but I doubt you'll have much luck in a 700 X 38c size. If it were my bike, I'd just concentrate on making sure I crossed manhole covers and paint strips vertically.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    There really isn't a tire to help with wet conditions. The contact patch on a bike tire is too small for any treads to make any difference. Wet weather handling is more of a handling skill then anything a tire can help you with, as bicycles are NOT cars.

    The Kenda Kross Plus is smooth in the center with knobs on the edge. It works decent on both smooth and sandy surfaces, but at a compromise, which any "all purpose" widgets are.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  10. #10
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    There really isn't a tire to help with wet conditions. The contact patch on a bike tire is too small for any treads to make any difference. Wet weather handling is more of a handling skill then anything a tire can help you with, as bicycles are NOT cars.
    Er,sorry no. There are tires with tread compounds that work better on wet roads. I've gotten enough traction in the rain with my Marathon Supremes to lift the rear wheel when braking on a downhill.

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  11. #11
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Er,sorry no. There are tires with tread compounds that work better on wet roads. I've gotten enough traction in the rain with my Marathon Supremes to lift the rear wheel when braking on a downhill.
    Wow, you proved my wet weather handling advice. Move your butt backwards on the saddle when braking to stop going downhill.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  12. #12
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Trying to find a set of tires to work real well in both stated conditions is going to be tough, and I don't have a tested solution.

    As stated, wet pavement ideally required no tread and an ideal rubber compound... Off road requires a wide tire with at least a bit of tread for traction, with less of a need for rubber compound.

    The compromises you usually see in multi-purpose tires are smooth centers for smooth rolling on the pavement with knobs on the sides to aid in the soft stuff... but these make me nervous, so I avoid them. They make me nervous because I would be on the knobs during cornering when I want the most traction on the road, and I think the knobs would actually detract from traction at that critical moment.

    In looking at tires for somewhat similar conditions myself, I haven't bought them and they are a bit expensive, but the Continental Top Contact looks interesting. In my case, I'm not looking at off road, but some gravel access roads along a potential commute route...

  13. #13
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Wow, you proved my wet weather handling advice. Move your butt backwards on the saddle when braking to stop going downhill.
    My point was the front tire dug in and didn't slide out. I had traction despite the wet road,steep hill,and all the weight on the front. You said "there really isn't a tire to help with wet conditions",but if I'd been on knobbies or cheap brand X tires I prolly would've lost it.

    And I was hanging off the back of the saddle,this was a panic stop where a car cut me off trying to beat me to the light.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  14. #14
    Junior Member AlanMintaka's Avatar
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    Thanks once again to all for these informative replies. There's a lot of great advice here that I can use when comparing tires for my Trek.

    Also, I got refresher course in tire sizes. So I need to do more homework now to see how the newer size designations match up with the capacities of the Trek rims. Those are Matrix 750's, 622 X 19.

    There is a wealth of info on that Sheldon Brown tire size page to help me with that. For the 19mm rims, the current tire width of 38mm is slightly larger than the average recommendation. The max recommended tire width is 44mm. In inch land, that translates as 1.5" to slightly less than 1.75". That's not a lot of play.

    That being said, what about a different set of rims for the Trek? I can use Sheldon Brown's chart to match a wider tire size with a wider rim easily enough. The front wheel also looks like a no-brainer. Just buy a new wheel with a wider rim and tire, install it, adjust the brake pad clearance, and go.

    That back wheel...

    Have a good one,
    Last edited by AlanMintaka; 06-22-09 at 05:17 AM.
    Big Al Mintaka

    "I believe a leaf of grass
    is no less than the journey-work of the stars."
    --Walt Whitman

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    loose dirt and wet pavement. You couldn't have picked more opposite ends of the spectrum.

    If you want significatly better wet road tire it's possible,,but it's probably not going to be better in the dirt,,you could a better dirt tire,,but it's probably not going to be better on wet pavement.

    The Schwalbe Supreme is a very good wet road tire and all around tough tire,,but not stellar in dirt,,I'd still rather use it than the Crossroads as a lot of traction in the dirt can simply come from lowering air pressure. It's also a stupid expensive tire. You might consider getting a frame pump that is easy for you to raise and lower tire pressure as conditions warrant it. Here you go,,a pair of Marathon Extremes for only $150 plus shipping!!!

    http://schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/road_tires


    http://www.conti-online.com/generato...ontact_en.html

    these continentals are pretty nice, I had one on a 26" touring bike. A lot of off road controllability is simply having a wider patch, not necessarily a wider tire. You may have a hard time finding them. I think they'll be ok on wet asphalt as long as you don't lean over onto the knobs. I think they might stick better than the Specialized on wet roads but when the road is wet,,it's slippery. My recollection is that the Continentals were stickier than Specialized but that might be old news. The biggest problem I have with the lower cost specialized wired tires is that the casings start cracking before the rubber wears out. Look around for the continentals, as long as you don't fly around corners on the road they should be better.


  16. #16
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanMintaka View Post
    Thanks once again to all for these informative replies. There's a lot of great advice here that I can use when comparing tires for my Trek.

    Also, I got refresher course in tire sizes. So I need to do more homework now to see how the newer size designations match up with the capacities of the Trek rims. Those are Matrix 750's, 622 X 19.

    There is a wealth of info on that Sheldon Brown tire size page to help me with that. For the 19mm rims, the current tire width of 38mm is slightly larger than the average recommendation. The max recommended tire width is 44mm. In inch land, that translates as 1.5" to slightly less than 1.75". That's not a lot of play.

    That being said, what about a different set of rims for the Trek? I can use Sheldon Brown's chart to match a wider tire size with a wider rim easily enough. The front wheel also looks like a no-brainer. Just buy a new wheel with a wider rim and tire, install it, adjust the brake pad clearance, and go.

    That back wheel...

    Have a good one,
    Make sure the tire clears the front derailleur.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanMintaka View Post
    That being said, what about a different set of rims for the Trek? I can use Sheldon Brown's chart to match a wider tire size with a wider rim easily enough. The front wheel also looks like a no-brainer. Just buy a new wheel with a wider rim and tire, install it, adjust the brake pad clearance, and go.
    Probably won't work but it might.

    When you get into installing larger tires than the bike was originally designed for you can run into clearance issues in all kinds of places that you didn't expect. Another poster indicated the front derailleur as a common one. Your brakes might not adjust far enough outward to install wider tires. You may not have enough clearance at the chainstay bridge or between the chainstays. There is a very good chance that you'll have to install the wheel with an uninflated tire.

    If it was my bike I wouldn't spend money on a wheelset with wider rims unless I had the prior opportunity to test fit the wheel and tire combination.

  18. #18
    Junior Member AlanMintaka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    If it was my bike I wouldn't spend money on a wheelset with wider rims unless I had the prior opportunity to test fit the wheel and tire combination.
    Yes, for that kind of purchase I'd go to the shop for advice on wider rims for my Trek. I'd have them mount the new rims/tires to make sure everything works OK.

    Have a good one,
    Big Al Mintaka

    "I believe a leaf of grass
    is no less than the journey-work of the stars."
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