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  1. #1
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    Tires. Slap me upside the head and knock some sense into me...

    I have one bike that has to do it all. It's a Hardrock as if you couldn't have guessed that. Mostly I ride it on pavement- roads and bike paths- a lot, then some gravel- rail trails and once in a while some dirt but never in mud. I've been rolling in Specialized Hemisphere Armadilos and they've done a fair job of it. But now the rear is severely weather checking and cracking after only 6 months. I'm a bit of a Clyde at 260#. This could be a contributing factor as the front seems fine. The tires need to be 26"x 1.5" or better due to rim width.

    So here's my dilemma. My fitness is improving and I think a proper road tire would encourage me by giving me a higher top speed and ability to use the 100 gear inches that I rarely get to use now. Something like a Kojak or Pannaracer or even that uber tire from Compass, although I'd feel like such a poseur with the tan sidewalls although I'm sure it's a fine tire.

    However, the kid in me that never had a BMX or MTB when he was a kid wants- needs- the fattest Big Apples that will fit. 2.35". Or maybe some Holy Rollers. They look so awesome and like so much fun. I rode a Surly ECR with 3" tubeless tires and could not believe how "light" they felt. But it was a short ride and I'm not planing on going tubeless. I usually ride 10-25 miles at a minimum and would like to work towards 100 miles in a day. Just because it's a huge goal from where I'm at now. Two sets of tires is possible but impractical.

    So what do I do?

  2. #2
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    Keep your pair of balloon slicks! I have a 29er with 700 X 42 tires but there are days I find myself wishing I had balloon tires to soak up imperfections and bumps in the road.

    At my age, I'd gladly sacrifice some speed for greater riding comfort.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GravelMN's Avatar
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    When you have one all purpose bike, you have to live with some compromises. A CX tire might be the middle ground you are looking for. Schwalbe Smart Sams would give you decent performance on pavement and still do an outstanding job on gravel or hard packed dirt. As long as you stay out of soft sand or mud, either would be a fine tire for general purpose riding and wouldn't look out of place on your Hardrock.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXLHardrock View Post
    However, the kid in me that never had a BMX or MTB when he was a kid wants- needs- the fattest Big Apples that will fit. 2.35". Or maybe some Holy Rollers. They look so awesome and like so much fun.
    Why wouldn't you want the tires you think will give you so much fun?
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  5. #5
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Here's the best collection that I've found of tires that might suit your needs.

    Not that there might not be a better tire elsewhere, it's just a good example of different tires in one spot.
    Updated K2 pics 9/10/14
    Click PR Logo
    PedalRoom

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Why wouldn't you want the tires you think will give you so much fun?
    Excellent question. Probably because of my German DNA. I'm pre programmed to think form must always follow function. In reading reviews I see there's a lot of subjective opinion. One group thinks BA's are the fastest tire and can't believe they've waited so long to buy them while others can't believe how slow they roll. If the published numbers are accurate, the BA's are 13% lighter while being 3% taller than my current Hemispheres.

    Thanks GravelMN for the tip on the Smart Sams, I'll look into them for sure.

  7. #7
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXLHardrock View Post

    So what do I do?
    When I could only have one bike to do it all I splurged on a second wheelset so I could have the right tire for the ride I wanted to do (swapping tires is a PITA but swapping wheels is easy). Slicks to go to work on 4 days a week. Knobbies for trail rides on the weekend. BUT considering the bikes I see on CL these days there's no way I'd do that now. I'd have just get a second bike. Of course I've had as many as 12 bikes at one time, getting by with only 7 now. Just today I saw a Mongoose IBOC Zero-G SX on Phoenix CL for only $50, and that's a serious upgrade from a Hardrock.

    Anyway, my favorite tire for mixed use is the WTB all Terrain Comp.

    Robot Check
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 08-10-14 at 03:13 PM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  8. #8
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Too bad you didn't post this question about a week ago. Bike Tires Direct had Michelin Country Rocks on sale for $10. A little skinnier than you're looking for, but SO cheep!
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  9. #9
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXLHardrock View Post
    So what do I do?
    Here's my Hard Rock at the top of some trails displaying its street slicks. Go with what you need the most, which it sounds like are street slicks.

    You can also reward yourself and buy a knobby tire to put on for those times when you must do some trails.

    But know that you can do trails on slicks, you just won't be quite as fast

    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  10. #10
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    Having another bike would be ideal but the current one rides in the sleeper of my highway tractor so space is kinda limited. And as cheap as CL bikes are, they rarely come in a 64cm or XXL, even bike shops don't usually have that size in stock.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Tim_Iowa's Avatar
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    Check out the Vee Rubber Speedsters or MK3's. I have the ITS MK2's (the previous version) in 26 x 2.1" and I absolutely love them as a road and gravel tire. They're pretty fast on any road surface; they have lots of float but low rolling resistance. The MK's have "micro knobs" that are perfect for gravel, and the Speedsters have a little less tread.

    These tires were designed for BMX bikes, so the 20" and 24" sizes are much easier to find than the 26" ones. But there are some 26" Speedsters on eBay for $25 apiece.

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