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Old 12-13-09, 07:53 PM   #1
DG Going Uphill
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Mixed terrain tires for the Bay Area

Hi All,

I may post this question on the touring or cyclocross forums, but since our geography is a bit idiosyncratic, I thought I'd start here.

A few weeks ago I sold my Madone 5.2 (tough decision, but the right one) and picked up a Marin Cortina cyclocross bike (amazing deals right now at the new Marin outlet in SOMA). I am enjoying starting to do mixed terrain riding again (it's been decades), but I'm not loving how incredibly slow my tires are. The tires are Vittoria Cross XG, 700 x 34 (http://cyclocrossworld.stores.yahoo....crxgpro70.html). They are amazing off road (I gain speed when I hit the dirt!), but pretty bad on road (lots of resistance, poor traction). I'm in SOMA, so it looks like my future is a lot of riding roads to get to the Marin trails. I don't expect to do anything that has drop-offs or that is super technical, so while I need some traction, I doubt I need a ton. So, what do you guys recommend? Here are my priorities:

1. Rolling resistance balanced against traction for road and trail
2. Weight
3. Flat prevention
4. Longevity

Ideas?
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Old 12-13-09, 09:17 PM   #2
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Every time this question comes up, lots of people recommend the Ritchey Speedmax as being a good combination of offroad traction and onroad speed. I bought a pair but haven't gotten around to trying them yet (current wtb tires aren't worn out yet...).
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Old 12-13-09, 09:30 PM   #3
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I really liked the Bontrager Select Invert tires. They smooth center line has them rolling really fast on pavement and the inverted tread works pretty well on fire roads.
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Old 12-13-09, 09:39 PM   #4
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Heh, I have the Cross XGs on a bike. I rode that bike part of the way up Hamilton on a lark. The buzzing on the way back down was deafening!

As for tires that work better on a mix, Vittoria Randonneurs and Randonneur Cross tires seem like they'd fit the bill pretty well. Not the lightest tires, but I had a pair of Randonneurs that I replaced after a few thousand miles not because they wore through, but because they were too squared off.
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Old 12-13-09, 09:46 PM   #5
DG Going Uphill
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x126, My wife has the Randonneurs and I have been eyeing them, but the weight seems insane for what the tire is.

Pacificaslim, I will take a look at the Ritcheys. I had the Michelin Jets a while back and thought they were very good, except they were too narrow. While a bit more agressive, the Speedmax does look similar but wider.
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Old 12-14-09, 11:44 PM   #6
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I do a lot of mixed terrain riding in the Headlands and Mt. Tam, and have used the mountain bike versions of both the Speedmax and the WTB All Terrainasaurus -- both 26 x 1.5 or pretty close to that. Definitely prefer the the Terrainasauruses. They're much grippier on dirt but don't feel any slower on pavement. They come in a lot of different sizes for road bikes -- 32, 35, 38, I believe.
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Old 12-15-09, 12:15 AM   #7
DG Going Uphill
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I do a lot of mixed terrain riding in the Headlands and Mt. Tam, and have used the mountain bike versions of both the Speedmax and the WTB All Terrainasaurus -- both 26 x 1.5 or pretty close to that. Definitely prefer the the Terrainasauruses. They're much grippier on dirt but don't feel any slower on pavement. They come in a lot of different sizes for road bikes -- 32, 35, 38, I believe.
Thanks for the suggestion. Those tires came on my Bianchi San Jose. I felt they were too heavy and slow for my purposes in the 700c size. I'm not sure what width they were. I just ordered a pair of the new Michelin Jets, since I mostly liked the old ones. It looks like the new ones may corner better on the road, but I'm not sure how they will do in the dirt. I almost ordered the Ritcheys, but a lot of reviews on the web say they aren't the most predictable (I'm OK if a tire isn't all about traction, but I want it to give out in a predictable way). I may try them to see for myself if the Michelins don't work out. Conti has a promising new tire, but it costs $160 a pair, which I think is too much. I may also look at the Schwalbes, which people seem to either love or hate.
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Old 12-15-09, 12:55 AM   #8
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This is an interesting thread to me because I have a unicycle that I ride both on dirt and pavement. I will investigate some of the suggested tires and see what's available in a 29er!
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Old 12-15-09, 01:11 AM   #9
DG Going Uphill
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This is an interesting thread to me because I have a unicycle that I ride both on dirt and pavement. I will investigate some of the suggested tires and see what's available in a 29er!
I'm very curious what makes a good unicycle tire. I suspect it's quite different from a two wheeler, no? By the way, MTU riders blow my mind.
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Old 12-15-09, 02:01 AM   #10
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I'm very curious what makes a good unicycle tire. I suspect it's quite different from a two wheeler, no? By the way, MTU riders blow my mind.
Well the last tire I installed was a WTB Weirwolf which is pretty good for dirt. But on pavement it's not so good. I don't know if it's rolling resistance or just shear bulk but it feels pretty sluggish when trying to accelarate. Also, due to the unique way that a unicycle wheel pivots, the tread got worn down really fast. The Bontrager Select Invert that BlastRadius mentioned sounds like it could be a good compromise but I don't see any mention of that in a 29" size
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Old 12-15-09, 02:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentben View Post
Well the last tire I installed was a WTB Weirwolf which is pretty good for dirt. But on pavement it's not so good. I don't know if it's rolling resistance or just shear bulk but it feels pretty sluggish when trying to accelarate. Also, due to the unique way that a unicycle wheel pivots, the tread got worn down really fast. The Bontrager Select Invert that BlastRadius mentioned sounds like it could be a good compromise but I don't see any mention of that in a 29" size
The Select Inverts I had were 700x35/38, i.e. 29" size.
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Old 12-20-09, 03:11 PM   #12
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Hi All. I went with the new Michelin Jets. I have had a few rides and think this is an excellent tire for my purposes. Yesterday, I rode the road out to Alta and Donahue (these tires are much, much faster on the road than the Vittoria studs), went up Alta Fire Road, down the Bobcat Trail, and up the fire road to Cozelman, then back to SF. The tires performed great on all conditions, even through a little of the mud. I wouldn't say these tires are for people who like to bomb through muck, but if an all rounder is needed, I think they will do. Going down Bobcat, the grip was totally secure, as it was when climbing. I ran 55 in the rear and 50 in the front.

The ride itself was fabulous. The air temp as in the fifties, but there was a blustery wind that kept me moving to prevent freezing on the ridges. The headwind out was so bad that I was in my climbing gears on the bridge, but that made for a nice return home. A good day for an adventure.
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