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  1. #1
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    These tires are killing me...

    My commute just takes too long with these knobby tires. I arrive considerably more tired too. I extend my regular ride (15 miles) by 2 or 3 miles so I can ride on an MUP instead of my normal arterials when it's snowy/icy too. It's just taking too long! I'm running 26X2.10 Maxxis Hard Drives on my winter bike. Riding a MTB on the road is bad enough, but these tires are sucking the life out of me.

    Is there a more narrow MTB tire available? I thinking a 26X1.5 with tread that's good enough for some snow and ice but is still fast rolling, does such a beast exist? I tried it on my slicks but they were, well, too slick.

  2. #2
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer
    My commute just takes too long with these knobby tires. I arrive considerably more tired too. I extend my regular ride (15 miles) by 2 or 3 miles so I can ride on an MUP instead of my normal arterials when it's snowy/icy too. It's just taking too long! I'm running 26X2.10 Maxxis Hard Drives on my winter bike. Riding a MTB on the road is bad enough, but these tires are sucking the life out of me.

    Is there a more narrow MTB tire available? I thinking a 26X1.5 with tread that's good enough for some snow and ice but is still fast rolling, does such a beast exist? I tried it on my slicks but they were, well, too slick.
    Oh man, I feel your pain. My main commuter is an mtb with 26x1.95 studded knobbies for the ice and snow. I find if the icy bits are just in a few places, I can ride with my 26x1.5 slick on the front and it is way faster. I just have to be careful on the ice patches.

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    Ok kemmer there is a solution to your problem if you can get by without studded tires. There are two or three hybrid tires that have aggresive tread design that will work well in snow and slush but have a continuous center bead. I like the Specialized Crossroad armadillo.

    I know for a fact that in Utah you don't need studded tires because the main roads are only snow packed a few days out of the winter. A lot of snow plows and sanding and moderate winter tempertures make for reasonable winter road conditions.

    I would go to the DI (Deseret Industires Trift stores) and find a good used bike for 15 bucks and put studded tires on it for those days that you might need studded tires to get to work. Maybe three to five days during the winter unless it's a really bad winter. Then you might need to use it twenty days.

    On hard surfaces with the tire inflated to maximum air pressure the hybrid tires roll a whole lot better than pure knobby tires.

    These tires are great for winter commuting.

    Now once you got the right tire make sure you got enough air in your tires. Use 65 - 70 psi when commuting on dry and wet roads. And don't trust your judgement by using the squeeze method. Get a good floor pump with a gage you can read and keep the pump in the house to keep it warm so it's close by and ready when you need it. Check the tire at least every other day for correct pressure.

    If it snows and you are riding in the snow or slush. Take the air pressure down to 25-35 psi for better traction.

    Also, there are some low rolling resistant knobbie tires which use smaller knobbies placed closer together which roll pretty good on the pavement. I have some Hutchinson's that are like this but I don't know the model name. However, I have not used them on snow yet. I can only say that they roll relatively easy on pavement. But nothing is going to be as good as a road tire.

    I can say from experience, (I have six bikes all with different tires), that the tread pattern and tire compliance is more important than the width of the tire. I have some wide 2.1 inch tires on my old mountain bike from Avinir which are basically a slick with motorcycle street tire like cut outs. These thing roll as well as my road bike tires. But of course the road tires are faster due to higher pressure and narrower less wind resistant profile.

    The Continental town and countries might work on soft packed snow good enough to use in winter. They will roll really well on pavement since most of the center area is slick. I don't think the Town and Counties would work very well on ice or hard packed snow though.

    Here is a picture of the Specialized Crossroads.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hezz; 01-05-07 at 06:34 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer

    Is there a more narrow MTB tire available? I thinking a 26X1.5 with tread that's good enough for some snow and ice but is still fast rolling, does such a beast exist? I tried it on my slicks but they were, well, too slick.
    It appears that we are talking about 34 miles of commuting per day, is that correct? I am pretty familiar with that distance on a mountain bike as my moring rides sometimes extend into that range. Although my miles are usually not on pavement for the most part.

    First of all, if it were me I wouldn't be running anything but studs in icey conditions. I don't trust any other tires on ice. Around here, when there is snow there is usually a degree of ice as well, so I usually run studs any time there is anything like snow or ice on the ground.

    The biggest problem you are going to run into is the tread. Tread presents more rolling resistance than tire width. IOW, going to a more narrow agressively treaded tire like a 1.5 will have more resistance than a tire like the 2.1 Town & Country which has an inverted tread.

    I have 1.4 Ritchey Tom slicks that i run in the summer and i also run Conty 2.1's and some IRC mythos slicks which are 1.95's. I have also run Bontrager Connection trail tires in the past.

    So basically if you want a tire with tread enough to provide any form of traction in snow, than you will have rolling resistance. Possibly a slight bit less with narrower knobby tires but appreciably more than a wider slick tire.




    IRC Mythos XC Slick


    Continental Town & Country

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    Kemmer,

    I am from Utah myself. Wasatch front area. I don't commute but I ride a lot in winter.

    Generally I would say on the average winter during December, January and Febuary. There will be ice on the road about one day out of five work days. This is just a general subjective average.

    That being the case, most of your winter commutes will be on dry or only wet pavement. The Town and country tires will work really well for this and will be almost as fast as pure road tires. If you want a greater measure of safety the Specialized Crossroads should work better in the snow than the Town and country, ( if you get caught in a snow storm during commuting), but they won't roll as well.

    Then if you can get a cheap DI bike and put some studs on it you are covered for all conditions. The studded tires will cost more than the bike but you are covered for those few bad icy days. And it is well worth your safety to spend the needed cash on those studded tires. If you get a hard workout once a week from the studded tires it will be good. The other days will be easier and you can recover better on those days.

    My winter bike is a 15 year old crome molly DI mountain bike that I have been fixing up here and there. Next year it will get a new transmission.

    If you are careful and can scout out a few DI locations you can often get a good winter bike for peanuts. Most of the bikes will be cheap Wal-mart type kids bikes but now and again there will be an older good quality steel frame mountain bike with a high quality frame.

    By the way, I know Sandy pretty well. What is your commuting route?
    Last edited by Hezz; 01-05-07 at 07:11 PM.

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    OK,

    I just went out and looked at my winter bike. The tires are Hutchinsons Pythons. They roll pretty well and should work well on snow.

    Mine are not the tubless kind. Or if so, they are being used with a tube.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hezz; 01-06-07 at 08:18 PM.

  7. #7
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    You want a semi slick instead of an aggressive knobbie. Schwalbe makes several of their touring tires in 26" versions including the Marathon XR, Marathon Cross and Hurricane. From Nashbar the Kenda Krad and Krisp tires look pretty good.
    You can also use a more agressive tire on the front and a slick or semi slick on the rear. Its easier to stay up if the rear slips and more weight is on the rear wheel so more of the tire drag is there also.
    I don't recommend running only one studded tire but if you must put it on the front. If your front slips you will go down, while rear slips are fairly easy to recover from.
    Craig

  8. #8
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBBaron
    I don't recommend running only one studded tire but if you must put it on the front. If your front slips you will go down, while rear slips are fairly easy to recover from.
    Craig
    I have seen this advice before and tried to follow it, with poor results. My experience (disclaimer: this winter only) has been best with the studs on the back. My conditions are mostly bare pavement or crusty snow with occasional glare ice. With a slick on the front, I just have to make sure I don't try to corner on the icy bits. Also, I have lots of hills to deal with so studs on the back tire are essential.

    Just my two cents worth, ymmv.

  9. #9
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Snow and ice are two separate things. Your have to consider each.

    If it's just snow and pavement, semi slicks will be good enough. It's always a compromise between traction in soft stuff and rolling fast on harder stuff. You can't have the best of both at the same time, but semi slicks do well for what you want.

    If there is much ice you need studs. If you need studs for ice you need two tires not just one, that concept of one studded tire is just plain wrong. Eventually it will hurt you if there is much ice, or the ice is bumpy.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    Eventually it will hurt you if there is much ice, or the ice is bumpy.
    You have surely got that right

    I have an extra set of wheels for my mtb/commuter, one with slicks and the other with knobby studs. I haven't had a reason to switch the back tire yet this year (there is always some ice), but the bike path is usually snow free so I have been running the slick up front when the weather is nice. It makes a big difference.

  11. #11
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advise! I'm liking the Crossroads, I think that's sort of what I'm looking for. Conditions on the trail are snowy on the day of the storm, plowed with a little hard packed snow/ice after that. I have several bikes so it wouldn't be a big deal to outfit one of them with studs, but so far I haven't needed them.

    Hezz, I live at about 90th and 700 E. I normally take 900 E to about 13th S or so and then head west and take whatever street I feel like into downtown. I take the Jordan River Parkway when road conditions keep me off the main streets. The parkway is not exactly convenient, but I haven't found a suitable route that's less out of the way and the parkway is very quiet and beautiful on those snowy days.

  12. #12
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mercator
    You have surely got that right

    I have an extra set of wheels for my mtb/commuter, one with slicks and the other with knobby studs. I haven't had a reason to switch the back tire yet this year (there is always some ice), but the bike path is usually snow free so I have been running the slick up front when the weather is nice. It makes a big difference.
    My bike with studded tires has been sitting in my house since the begining of December. It has not moved. I think I'll put it back in the garage with the other bikes tomorrow.

    I predict a huge snowstorm the day after.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
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    Kemmer,

    Exellent commute. The Crossroads don't roll real great but they are much better than big wide knobbies. Sounds like you are set bike wise if you need to go with studded tires.

    I love the Jordan River parkway. Not exactly a straight shot for commuting but a beautiful ride and not many travelers this time of year. You probably know that it does run strait from about 88th south north up to about 300 south. But with all the curves it takes a lot longer to get there. It does get really icy though after a big snow because they don't plow it. Or at least they didn't last year.

    Ya 900 east if definately the way to go. 700 east would be scary in the morning with any ice or snow on the side and all those cars.

    Good luck and let us know if those Crossroads work for you.

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