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  1. #1
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    Tire size range...

    Hi,
    Back in early June, I got my first bike, a Trek 7.1 FX. I was liking it fine, but based on stories of speed increases with slimmer tires , I may have ruined it. I still don't yet feel comfortable doing tire installations because I'm afraid of reattaching the wheel incorrectly(a bit paranoid), so I went and had them done at Performance Bicycle. I had them install Continental Ultra Sport II tires in the 700x28 size. I knew they would make the ride a bit tougher and wouldn't have as much traction, but the bike feels too bumpy now, and I've nearly slid out twice coming down my gravel driveway, not something I expected even with slim tires. I have had them on for 3 days and 80+ miles and I am seriously taking them off and keeping them as a spare set, as I have seen an increase of roughly 1 mph which is not enough to justify the torture and loss of traction. I would just put the old tires back on, but I didn't think to ask to keep the old ones and the shop threw them out. After reevaluating what I want in a tire, my priority is traction on rough surfaces , absorption of road vibration, and speed in that order. I don't really know much about tires in general though and don't know much beyond smoother=less traction, rough=more traction. Does anybody have any recommendations for tires? What sizes can I reasonably fit? The 28's almost seem to small, but haven't given me any issues on that front. Approximately how big or small can I go with my tires?
    Last edited by brdn54; 08-03-15 at 12:18 AM.

  2. #2
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    I go with 35. They seem to hit the sweet spot on a hybrid and aren't any slower than a 25.

  3. #3
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    I put "Schwalbe Marathon Almotion OneStar 28" 40-622 Reflex" on my crosstrail and like them. A relatively lightweight, very low rolling resistance, durable, as good traction as the OEM specialized tire (which is also a very good tire) except in mud, better on stones. $32 if ordered from Europe, much $$ more in the US. The OEM tubes may also be heavy, so you may want to try "light weight" tubes since the Schwalbe has decent puncture protection.

    There are a lot of other tires out there.

  4. #4
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    The Marathons look very nice, but the are ridiculously expensive here. Could I fit 38's or will it max out at 35's? How couls cyclocross tires roll on the road? Would you lose a lot of speed?
    Last edited by brdn54; 08-03-15 at 06:26 AM.

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    A few things to consider.

    1. If you did notice a 1 mph increase in speed with the Contis relative to your stock tires, that had nothing to do with the width. It had everything to do with better tire construction and absence of a 'tread': more supple sidewalls + less 'tread' = slight decrease in rolling resistance.

    2. As far as grip ("traction") is concerned, it's not so straightforward as you might think. All else being equal, less 'tread' = more grip on paved surfaces; more 'tread' = more grip on loose surfaces (gravel; dirt). You can't have both, so you have to choose a tire that compromises in the direction in which you'll do most of your riding.

    3. A cyclocross-style tire will work, and be fairly quick on pavement, but you will sacrifice grip on pavement in favour of loose surfaces (what a 'cross tire is designed for).

    4. If you were asking me to recommend one tire for the kind of use you describe: good grip on pavement; decent grip on loose surfaces; fairly quick on both; and reasonably priced, I would strongly suggest the Panaracer Pasela TG with folding bead, probably in the 35 or 37 width. I've used this tire extensively over the years, in both 26" and 700c sizes. They are very hard to beat as an 'all around' tire: good grip; good 'flotation' and comfort in those widths (which allow you to use lower pressures); and pretty reliable/decent puncture resistance: Panaracer: Professional Bicycle Tires| Urban
    "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die." Mel Brooks

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by brdn54 View Post
    The Marathons look very nice, but the are ridiculously expensive here. Could I fit 38's or will it max out at 35's? How couls cyclocross tires roll on the road? Would you lose a lot of speed?
    Go with Road Cruiser or Delta Cruiser. Unless you're looking to go long distance touring, I would avoid the weight penalty of the Marathons and get a lighter tire. Puncture proof Marathons are a must if you're a long way from the nearest town on the road but for every day urban and trail riding close to home, they're overkill.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brdn54 View Post
    Hi,
    Back in early June, I got my first bike, a Trek 7.1 FX. I was liking it fine, but based on stories of speed increases with slimmer tires , I may have ruined it. I still don't yet feel comfortable doing tire installations because I'm afraid of reattaching the wheel incorrectly(a bit paranoid), so I went and had them done at Performance Bicycle. I had them install Continental Ultra Sport II tires in the 700x28 size. I knew they would make the ride a bit tougher and wouldn't have as much traction, but the bike feels too bumpy now, and I've nearly slid out twice coming down my gravel driveway, not something I expected even with slim tires. I have had them on for 3 days and 80+ miles and I am seriously taking them off and keeping them as a spare set, as I have seen an increase of roughly 1 mph which is not enough to justify the torture and loss of traction. I would just put the old tires back on, but I didn't think to ask to keep the old ones and the shop threw them out. After reevaluating what I want in a tire, my priority is traction on rough surfaces , absorption of road vibration, and speed in that order. I don't really know much about tires in general though and don't know much beyond smoother=less traction, rough=more traction. Does anybody have any recommendations for tires? What sizes can I reasonably fit? The 28's almost seem to small, but haven't given me any issues on that front. Approximately how big or small can I go with my tires?
    An average of 1 mph is, IMO, pretty significant. Nonetheless, if you want to go back to the stock tires, the Bontrager H2 size 35mm is widely available. If for some reason it is out of stock, I concur with the recommendation of Panaracer, though the tire I have used in recent years are the Ribmo and the Urban Max.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
    Go with Road Cruiser or Delta Cruiser. Unless you're looking to go long distance touring, I would avoid the weight penalty of the Marathons and get a lighter tire. Puncture proof Marathons are a must if you're a long way from the nearest town on the road but for every day urban and trail riding close to home, they're overkill.
    Have to respectfully disagree with NormanF here, most of my flats happen in the urban setting as there is plenty of debris on the shoulders and the risk is highest near construction sites.

    If I were rolling on the back roads I wouldn't bother with Marathons, but as it is, I roll mainly on Marathon Plus -- the weight penalty is worth being able to roll over broken glass if you don't see it in time and not worry.

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    The Almotions are lighter than my Specialized OEM tires... and are not puncture proof. Some of their other models provide more protection. Those that worry that much about weight and want effective puncture protection (or just don't want to deal with flats on the road), get the heavier Schwables with better protection and use light weight tubes. The difference evens out.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShortLegCyclist View Post
    Have to respectfully disagree with NormanF here, most of my flats happen in the urban setting as there is plenty of debris on the shoulders and the risk is highest near construction sites.

    If I were rolling on the back roads I wouldn't bother with Marathons, but as it is, I roll mainly on Marathon Plus -- the weight penalty is worth being able to roll over broken glass if you don't see it in time and not worry.
    Lighter tires come with puncture protection and I haven't had a flat problem. The weight penalty would be an acceptable trade off on the open road or back country trails miles from the nearest bike shop or town whilst I was touring. I haven't needed to consider buying Marathons yet.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
    Lighter tires come with puncture protection and I haven't had a flat problem. The weight penalty would be an acceptable trade off on the open road or back country trails miles from the nearest bike shop or town whilst I was touring. I haven't needed to consider buying Marathons yet.
    You are probably much more observant that I am as far as not having flat problems.

    My attention is pretty much 100% on cars and pedestrians and I rarely have time to notice broken glass or construction debris in my path, I have to hope the tires can shrug it off.

    So far, Marathons have, the only puncture I have had with a Marathon Plus was a nail that no tire would have stopped (it went through the tire and back out again in the shape of a U).

    Since I'm commuting and have deadlines to get to work, I would much rather have a flat on a recreational ride in the country where I don't have to be anywhere any particular time. I basically cannot afford a flat on my commute.

  12. #12
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    Modern tires will deflect anything but a nail.

    As you point out, no tire would have stopped it.

    Kevlar-lined tires are tough enough for the every day hazards of an urban commute.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
    Modern tires will deflect anything but a nail.

    As you point out, no tire would have stopped it.

    Kevlar-lined tires are tough enough for the every day hazards of an urban commute.
    Can't say that in general, well you can but that would be misleading and certainly not proven on the street. My buddy ruined two named brand kevlar-lined tires on a sharp curb as he avoided a squirrel. Freak accident perhaps, but it was a long walk home anyway.

    One's everyday urban and trail hazards are quiet different than another as are some tires are better than others. Modern tires seem to me to be better in terms of sidewall damage/blow outs than those made 20 years ago, but I dunno.

  14. #14
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    All I can say is from personal experience, I haven't had a flat. Yet.

    Maybe I'm lucky.

    Sometimes even the best tires will fail in an unexpected situation.

    That said, my tires are still holding up.

  15. #15
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    A bit more on my riding situation, I live on a farm far out in the sticks or at least I do until I go back to school in a few weeks. The roads around here are basically midway between cobblestone and smooth asphalt, I also have to ride about 1/3 of a mile on gravel(decently well packed) to get out on the road from my house.
    I'm looking at these tires:
    Continental Touring Plus(700x37)
    Continental Touring Plus Reflex Road Tire
    Vittoria Randonneur(700x32)(LBS recommendation)
    Vittoria Randonneur Cross Sport Tire
    Forte Gotham ST(Cheapo option)(700x35)
    Forté Gotham ST Road and Mountain Tires, 700 x 32, 700 x 35, 26 x 1.75
    Continental City Ride II(700x37)
    Continental City Ride II (700c) - Flythe Cyclery Raleigh NC
    Panaracer Pansela(700x32)
    Amazon.com : Panaracer Pasela Tire with Wire Bead, 700 x 32C, Gumwall : Bike Tires : Sports & Outdoors

    Trying to narrow my search down a bit. Anyone have bad experiences with any of these tires?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by brdn54 View Post
    A bit more on my riding situation, I live on a farm far out in the sticks or at least I do until I go back to school in a few weeks. The roads around here are basically midway between cobblestone and smooth asphalt, I also have to ride about 1/3 of a mile on gravel(decently well packed) to get out on the road from my house.
    I'm looking at these tires:
    Continental Touring Plus(700x37)
    Continental Touring Plus Reflex Road Tire
    Vittoria Randonneur(700x32)(LBS recommendation)
    Vittoria Randonneur Cross Sport Tire
    Forte Gotham ST(Cheapo option)(700x35)
    Forté Gotham ST Road and Mountain Tires, 700 x 32, 700 x 35, 26 x 1.75
    Continental City Ride II(700x37)
    Continental City Ride II (700c) - Flythe Cyclery Raleigh NC
    Panaracer Pansela(700x32)
    Amazon.com : Panaracer Pasela Tire with Wire Bead, 700 x 32C, Gumwall : Bike Tires : Sports & Outdoors

    Trying to narrow my search down a bit. Anyone have bad experiences with any of these tires?
    Vittoria Trail II

    Schwalbe Road Cruiser
    Schwalbe Delta Cruiser
    Schwalbe Little Ben

    Michelin Protek Cross Max

    All worthy of consideration

  17. #17
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    After reading reviews on the overwhelming amount of tires on the market to choose from, and taking recommendations from everyone

    These 4 are the competitors:
    Vittoria Trail II (700x35)
    Vittoria Randonneur(700x32)
    Panaracer Pasela TG (700x35)
    Michelin Protek Cross Max(700x35)

    I definitely want something that is gonna give me traction on gravel, as no matter where I'm going I always ride on 2/3 of a mile of gravel. Plus, the option of being able to use the back roads around here would cut the miles I'm riding down significantly.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by brdn54 View Post
    After reading reviews on the overwhelming amount of tires on the market to choose from, and taking recommendations from everyone

    These 4 are the competitors:
    Vittoria Trail II (700x35)
    Vittoria Randonneur(700x32)
    Panaracer Pasela TG (700x35)
    Michelin Protek Cross Max(700x35)

    I definitely want something that is gonna give me traction on gravel, as no matter where I'm going I always ride on 2/3 of a mile of gravel. Plus, the option of being able to use the back roads around here would cut the miles I'm riding down significantly.
    A pair of those are more affordable than a Clement Explorer USH 60 tpi. About $50-60 sounds reasonable for a mixed pavement/trail tire upgrade.

  19. #19
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    I was faced with a similar dilemma and replaced 35mm tires with 32mm Continental Touring Plus Reflex Road Tire that I purchased from Performance. They feel about the same speed, but do grip better. So far about 800 miles without any flats.

  20. #20
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    Unless you recalibrated the computer, a 1 mph increase is partially attributable to the difference in tire diameter.

    At 80 rpm cadence and 48x11 gear, the computed speed for 700x35c is 28.2 and 700x28c is 27.8 Now, we all know a hybrid isn't going to be able to cruise at that speed, but it was used as the extreme example. Add to this the fact that a person rides harder when they think they have done something to speed up the bike, a 1 mph difference is virtually nothing.

    I gained 2 mph on a 20 mile loop when I first started wearing bike shorts several years ago... I know it wasn't the shorts as much as my head that changed.

    I do concur that a nice 35 mm tire will be good for you. I personally ride the Clement tires mentioned above, and they seem to be worth the price. I have not ridden any of the others on your short list other than Panaracer Paselas on my 27" wheels for another bike, and I like them for that purpose. I think the Clement tires handle gravel a bit better... but it could be a difference in the bikes.
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