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Old 05-22-12, 03:33 PM   #1
john426
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tire questions

I have a few questions about tires for touring bikes. I am going on the Erie Canal since there will be crushed stone for much of the ride they suggest wide tires with slicks. I have an old diamondback mountain bike that I converted to a touring bike. It presently has full knobby tires. How much easier will the bike run with slick tires?

Second question: the bike has 2.5 inch tires. How much of a thinner tire can I put on the rim?
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Old 05-22-12, 03:46 PM   #2
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Any multi-purpose mtn tire with small blocks or center slick will do. As far as ease of rolling that will come with a smooth road and adequate pressure. No reason to go narrower than 1.5". If you're carrying weight or are heavy I'd go with 1.75" or bigger.

Basically a supple casing and light tread for low rolling resistance is traded for durability and puncture resistance.

Schwalbe Big Apples come in fat sizes and roll easy, Michelin Country Rock look affordable, Panaracer T-Serv in 1.75" is very nice rolling tire, Schwalbe Supremes are expensive and come in 2.0" size, Continental Travel Contact is tough, the Serfas City Drifter and Continental Town and Country are what most folks would think of for that use.

Last edited by LeeG; 05-23-12 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 05-22-12, 06:15 PM   #3
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1.5 would be about as narrow as I would go. I run a set of Forte Gotham (Performance Bike) city tires in the 1.75 for most of my touring on my expedition bike. I typically use this bike on rails to trails, some single track, fire breaks, gravel roads and some pavement. Me and the bike fully loaded hit the scale in the 300# range. They aren't slicks, and they aren't overly aggressive either. But I have been very happy with them so far.

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Old 05-23-12, 12:21 AM   #4
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I run 1.95" semi slicks. Most of Europe is paved or crushed stone, but sometimes the potholes can be rough when loaded. I'm extremely happy with these tires. Very strong, and good rolling resistance for where I go.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:23 AM   #5
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For loaded touring on a gravel trail, I prefer a 2.0 width tire. Am very happy with 26X2.0 Schwalbe Dureme on the front and same size Schwalbe Extreme on the rear. If I used different tires, I would likely stay with the same size for gravel.

For loaded touring on pavement, I prefer a 37mm or 1.5 inch width tire. I used 700cX37mm tire on a couple hundred miles of gravel and my tires felt like they were digging in to the loose gravel whereas a friend had 26X2.0 inch width tires that seemed to roll over the gravel better.

I would suggest you avoid the big deep knobs with a lot of room between each knob, but you do not need to have a slick tire either, you want a tread that does not dig little holes in the ground as each of those little holes took work to create.
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Old 05-23-12, 08:17 AM   #6
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John426, Often mountain bike rims are narrow enough for a 1" tire, not that I'd recommend it. Generally anything 1.75"-2" is perfectly fine. I like dual pattern tires on my mountain bike, semi smooth center with knobs on the side and use 2" Conti Double Fighter Duals.

Full knobbies mean a couple of things to me. Real aggressive tread with wide voids for soft soil or tightly packed small knobs for general use. My sister has some of the latter and they're really not too power sucking on paved roads and work well on gravel paths.

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Old 05-23-12, 08:54 AM   #7
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The perfect tires in my last tours are Schwalbe Marathon 26x1.75. They are extremely stable to punch and tear. I travelled by mountain roads with some of stowny dirts with havy loaded cycle bags. This terrain also has the thorny grass plant that presents serious danger to punch a tire in several points. These tires were never punched by it in two weeks of run.
The half-slicks Michelin Hard Terrain are perfect for mixed routes with dirt and asphalt. They excellently ride by sands. But on asphalt they are not significantly worse than full slicks.
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Old 05-23-12, 03:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. I am going to try for a 1.75 or a 2 inch tire with a center slick. John
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