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Old 08-13-13, 10:26 PM   #1
daihard 
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Road tyres for a mountain bike - how much better?

Hi.

I've just given my wife my old mountain bike - a 2002 Gary Fisher Marlin. It's got the original knobby tyres. She feels that it's too much effort to ride up the hill on this bike. She may have a point. I just got a Cannondale Quick CX 1, and compared to the Marlin, the Quick is a LOT easier on my legs. Now she wonders if switching to thinner tyres would have a similar effect.

What do you guys think? Being a novice myself, I can't give her a reliable answer. If the difference is mainly due to the tyre size (26" on the Marlin vs 700mm on the Quick) rather than the kind of tyres, I'm afraid road tyres won't help much if at all.

I've been told in another thread that using slick tyres on a "26er" mountain bike can greatly improve the ride. Will doing so also make a "more effortless" ride?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-13-13, 10:32 PM   #2
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Meaning just a smoother , not Knobby tread.. Effortless? Depends on which way the wind is blowing...


I have 26 - 1.75 Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tires on my daily ride Bike..
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Old 08-13-13, 10:32 PM   #3
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2.25" slicks on my GF Wahoo and pumped to 70 psi. Very nice...but all the slicks in the world can't make up for 34 pounds of MTB weight .
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Old 08-13-13, 10:42 PM   #4
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2.25" slicks on my GF Wahoo and pumped to 70 psi. Very nice...but all the slicks in the world can't make up for 34 pounds of MTB weight .
Very true. I don't think the Marlin weighs much more than the Quick (as far as I can tell) though, probably because of the frame size difference (XS vs S).
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Old 08-13-13, 10:47 PM   #5
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I took the MTB to Bend last year and rode the Benham Falls trail with about 25 psi in the slicks. Too lazy to put the knobs on. Slicks did just fine for just cruising along save for a very few areas with sand on rocks.
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Old 08-13-13, 11:12 PM   #6
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To be clear, my wife is complaining about the ride on the uphill streets, not off-road. She hopes (and I do too) that thinner, road tyres will help her ride up those hills with less effort.
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Old 08-13-13, 11:36 PM   #7
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They will, absolutely.

I've given thought to the Michelin Country Rock 26x1.75's, since I already have some experience with MTB semislicks; I ran Intense Micro Knobby 2.25's for a couple summers, and at full inflation, they were FAST! For me, 60+ psi was like lightning, 55 and lower was like pedaling through sand. If I thought I was really done with the trails, I'd jump on the Country Rocks in a second, but I still like to get a little silly on a ride on impulse, my Michelin Country Dry 2's handle that better.
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Old 08-14-13, 05:53 AM   #8
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Yes. Switching from lower pressure knobbies to higher pressure, thinner slicks will make a big difference when rolling along, but not as much difference for hill climbing
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Old 08-14-13, 08:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daihard View Post
To be clear, my wife is complaining about the ride on the uphill streets, not off-road. She hopes (and I do too) that thinner, road tyres will help her ride up those hills with less effort.
Slicks will help but the Marlin is still a boat anchor. It was a entry level mountain bike with a whole bunch of iron parts. The fork alone is going to weigh in around 3 lbs...and is unnecessary for on road riding. Unfortunately you have a problem here that isn't easy to fix. But for a lighter bike, your wife would probably enjoy riding a bicycle more. To get a lighter bike, you'll need to spend cash to either retrofit the Marlin or buy a new bike. Retrofitting the Marlin and attempting to lose several pounds is going to be expensive. At the very least it will likely cost what the Marlin did new. Now you have around $800 invested in a $400 bike and it still wouldn't be all that light.

I'd suggest starting with a new bike that is sized to fit your wife. And don't skimp on it. Spend enough to get something that is light enough for her to power up hills. Try to get something in the low 20 lb in terms of weight. That's not going to be cheap. To justify the cost, think of the weight differential between you and your Quick and the weight differential between your wife and her Marlin. You have a bike that is a smaller fraction of your mass than she does and, not to take anything away from women, she has less muscle mass to push that bike around with.
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Old 08-14-13, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
2.25" slicks on my GF Wahoo and pumped to 70 psi. .
Hi, unless your an elephant, totally and utterly pointless, rgds, sreten.

Around 40 psi back and 30 psi front will be far better.

Last edited by sreten; 08-14-13 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 08-14-13, 02:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daihard View Post
To be clear, my wife is complaining about the ride on the uphill streets, not
off-road. She hopes (and I do too) that thinner, road tyres will help her ride up those hills with less effort.
Hi,

Nice good rolling tyres, not necessarily thin, will make a MTB much nicer to ride,
you will go faster, further, with less effort everywhere, but the least lower uphill.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 08-14-13 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 08-14-13, 03:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
To be clear, my wife is complaining about the ride on the uphill streets, not off-road. She hopes (and I do too) that thinner, road tyres will help her ride up those hills with less effort
So how is she on the laws of Physics? Particularly the Newtonian ones that are concerning Gravity?
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Old 08-14-13, 03:28 PM   #13
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diahard:changing tires won't completely transform the bike,but you will notice improvement. Lighter tires will require less effort to spin up,smoother tires will roll better and handle better. Since she has front suspension,she can get away with skinnier tires without sacrificing alot of comfort.

Check her wheels for a sticker that says something like '559xnn' where nn is the rim width in mm. Check that against this chart to see what size tires you can fit:
http://www.schwalbetires.com/tech_in...dimensions#rim

Note:you don't necessarily have to go narrower,as long as you go lighter/smoother. They're expensive,but my 2" Schwalbe Marathon Supremes are some of the best tires I've ever run,and pretty light for such a wide tire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Yes. Switching from lower pressure knobbies to higher pressure, thinner slicks will make a big difference when rolling along, but not as much difference for hill climbing
Lighter tires help with hill climbing. Swapped the Specialized Crossroads on my Safari for Supremes of the same size and dropped like a 1/2lb off each wheel. Def noticed the difference on my big hills.

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Hi, unless your an elephant, totally and utterly pointless, rgds, sreten.
Around 40 psi back and 30 psi front will be far better.
We've been through this before,please stop doing that.
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Old 08-14-13, 05:13 PM   #14
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Hi, unless your an elephant, totally and utterly pointless, rgds, sreten.

Around 40 psi back and 30 psi front will be far better.
Not on class G asphalt. Whatever floats your boat.
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Old 08-14-13, 06:37 PM   #15
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Thanks for the advice, everyone.

My wife is 5' 2" and weighs about 115 lbs. That may explain the effort she needs to make in order to climb up the hill on the Marlin. It's an XS frame but may still be quite heavy for her.

We will check out the Schwalbe tyres. She rode a short trail today (without me!) and said she kinda liked it as is, so getting smoother tyres would make it even better for her.
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Old 08-14-13, 06:47 PM   #16
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I found a set of Ritchy slicks at a garage sale, 26X1.25 front and 26X1.5 rear. I put them on my mountain bike that had 2.-whatever knobbies. The slicks made a ton of difference on the road.

Last edited by koolerb; 08-14-13 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 08-14-13, 07:07 PM   #17
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I found a set of Ritchy slicks at a garage sale, 26X1.25 front and 26X1.5 rear. I put them on my mountain bike that had 2.-whatever knobbies. The slicks made a ton of difference on the road.
That's great to know. Thanks!
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Old 08-14-13, 09:42 PM   #18
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I put a set of Continental Gatorskins 559 X 11/8 at 100 psi and it made a world of difference.
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Old 08-15-13, 08:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Thanks for the advice, everyone.

My wife is 5' 2" and weighs about 115 lbs. That may explain the effort she needs to make in order to climb up the hill on the Marlin. It's an XS frame but may still be quite heavy for her.
That's what I'm talking about. She's 115 lb and you've got her riding a bike that weighs in at more than 30 lbs. That's 26% of her body weight. Let's say you weigh in at 180 lb. You should go out and ride a bike that weighs 46 lb just to have the same weight differential. You could add half again to that weight to compensate for the muscle mass difference. How do you think you'd feel riding around all day on a bike that weighs almost 70 lbs. I bet you'd struggle up hills too.

A 30 lb bike, by the way, is 16% of 180 lb. She'd need a 19 lb bike just to have the same bike to weight ratio as you do for a heavy mountain bike. Get her a lighter bike so that she can enjoy bicycling as much as you do.

The knobbies don't help, either
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Old 08-15-13, 08:11 AM   #20
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That's what I'm talking about. She's 115 lb and you've got her riding a bike that weighs in at more than 30 lbs. That's 26% of her body weight. Let's say you weigh in at 180 lb. You should go out and ride a bike that weighs 46 lb just to have the same weight differential. You could add half again to that weight to compensate for the muscle mass difference. How do you think you'd feel riding around all day on a bike that weighs almost 70 lbs. I bet you'd struggle up hills too.
FWIW, I'm not much taller or heavier (at 5' 6" and 135 lbs). I see your point, though. The Marlin must feel heavier and require more effort on her, if not by a huge margin. Given the input on this thread, we are now discussing trading the bike in for a lighter hybrid model.
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Old 08-15-13, 10:45 AM   #21
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FWIW, I'm not much taller or heavier (at 5' 6" and 135 lbs). I see your point, though. The Marlin must feel heavier and require more effort on her, if not by a huge margin. Given the input on this thread, we are now discussing trading the bike in for a lighter hybrid model.
Good idea. Don't go with the cheapest one, however. It costs more to take weight of a bike than to buy a light one to begin with.
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Old 08-15-13, 03:53 PM   #22
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Thanks for the advice, everyone.

My wife is 5' 2" and weighs about 115 lbs. That may explain the effort she needs to make in order to climb up the hill on the Marlin. It's an XS frame but may still be quite heavy for her.

We will check out the Schwalbe tyres. She rode a short trail today (without me!) and said she kinda liked it as is, so getting smoother tyres would make it even better for her.
[edit: I now see others made the same suggestion. It's the first thing that came to my mind when reading the original post, and I couldn't restrain myself any longer than to reply to the quote above. 8-) ]

Smooth tires, about 1.5" max width, maybe even 1.25 (which is what I used to ride on my MTB-turned-commuter.

But, might I kindly suggest that if you want your wife to enjoy bike riding and not just tolerate it, get her a nice, much lighter, suspension-less hybrid or whatever type of bike she is more comfortable with.

The tire solution you're looking at will be a very minor improvement because of what others have pointed out - it's a very heavy moutnain bike with features that are just worthless, in fact counterproductive, on the road.
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Old 08-15-13, 04:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
FWIW, I'm not much taller or heavier (at 5' 6" and 135 lbs). I see your point, though.
The Marlin must feel heavier and require more effort on her, if not by a huge margin.
Given the input on this thread, we are now discussing trading the bike in for a lighter hybrid model.
Hi,

The best way up a hill on the road is not surprisingly a proper road bike.

A hybrid makes more sense if touring and mild off roading is involved.

If you go for a hybrid, at 5'2" make sure its based on MTB (559mm)
wheels, not 700C (622mm) wheels. I'd also apply that to a road bike.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 08-15-13, 04:46 PM   #24
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We've been through this before,please stop doing that.
Hi,

70 psi is appropriate for 28mm tyres and an average rider.
Its way, way too much for 57mm tyres and no way will
I stop saying that is the case, as it is also dangerous.

rgds, sreten.

35 psi back and 30 psi front is more than enough
for most riders for 57mm tyres and much safer.
There is little to no advantage going a lot higher.
(Though good pressures do depend on rider weight.)

Last edited by sreten; 08-15-13 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 08-15-13, 05:08 PM   #25
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I would just get a roadbike, many hybrids have poor geometry for power generation (trek 7.1fx, marlin city bikes, etc). They tend to have tall headtubes, and short toptubes, bad for mustering all the strength you need to get into the pedals while going uphill. The weight of the bike makes a larger difference going uphill (than say level ground) but geometry is very important for generating power to drive all that (or little mass).
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