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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-20-05, 08:52 PM   #1
MadeInKIM
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where do i put my ONE CX tire... front or rear?

So i ride a fixed gear Van Dessel Country Road Bob.
I'm using Armadillos (23mm, maybe 25, not sure) right now.
I have only ONE good CX tire, should i put it on my front or rear wheel?
I mainly ride nowadays for commuting... not far, mainly flat, only 10-15 mins.
~ellis
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Old 01-20-05, 08:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadeInKIM
So i ride a fixed gear Van Dessel Country Road Bob.
I'm using Armadillos (23mm, maybe 25, not sure) right now.
I have only ONE good CX tire, should i put it on my front or rear wheel?
I mainly ride nowadays for commuting... not far, mainly flat, only 10-15 mins.
~ellis
-- Check out this thread entitled "Tires: Mix or Match?" in the Bicycle Mechanics forum. The thread was originally posted on January 4th, 2005

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Old 01-21-05, 04:01 PM   #3
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Front, no question about it. Front tire does almost all braking and steering, and is responsible for the stability of the bike. Loose the front, and your going down in a hurry. Loose the rear, no problem, kind of fun actually. Makes you feel like a muscle car. My bike has one CX tire on the front, and a slick on the back. Works great.
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Old 01-27-05, 11:10 PM   #4
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I'd have to disagree with putting the more traction on the front. You could just as easily ride in a relatively low gear, that decrease your momentum, with the CX tire on the back so that way you would have more traction. Even though your braking power is mostly in the front doesn't mean that you need the tire solely for braking. Snow increase your road resistance anyway. It's the ice you have to be careful for. And on ice you can't brake without skidding anyway. I would put it in the back. You need traction for pedaling, not coasting or braking. Low gearing will solve all braking/control issuses.
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Old 01-28-05, 12:51 AM   #5
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You NEED traction on your front tire or else you end up on the ground. How many successful front wheel skids have you done? and how many successful rear wheel skids have you done? Which was more fun? You're riding fixed anyway, so you have a better feeling of traction on the rear wheel anyway. Put the good tire on the front and slide the bike around like one of those drifter kids in their rice mobiles.
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Old 01-28-05, 02:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loaf
You NEED traction on your front tire or else you end up on the ground. How many successful front wheel skids have you done? and how many successful rear wheel skids have you done? Which was more fun? You're riding fixed anyway, so you have a better feeling of traction on the rear wheel anyway. Put the good tire on the front and slide the bike around like one of those drifter kids in their rice mobiles.
Loaf,
as a winter commuter, im not sure why you would even try an intentional "front wheel skid" on the snow/ice other than to impress people only by wiping out. Maybe your a downhill ice hucker, maybe not, but for commuting and touring, you want a grippier tire in the rear for traction and pickup.
The front wheel is simply being pushed by the rear wheel, and is manipulated by your bars. No other force involved except centrifical force, your weight placement (which is usually mostly on the the rear wheel) and gravity. Knobbys in the front are for hooking up, and his road bike isnt meant to do that.

Slicks are meant to cut through a smooth path (or rain) with hardly any friction, solid contact, and no roadbuzz. Your front wheel is your fine steering wheel, so you want a narrow tire there to "slice" into your path.

You move fwd when cycling, both wheels more or less hit the same terrain, so if you are to turn riding over an ice patch, dont think you wont slip if you have a knob on the front, slick in the back. Rubber is rubber in that aspect.
Knobby or slick, front or back, they will both fail you turning on ice.
The idea is to allow the bike to roll into the ice without over-pedaling, and its all about weight placement anyway.

So yes thats my vote, CX tire in the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IchbinJay
You need traction for pedaling, not coasting or braking. Low gearing will solve all braking/control issuses.
Thats right! Its so simple.

MadeinKIM, this is the right advice. Or you can just try both and let us know your experiences.
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Old 01-28-05, 03:13 AM   #7
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Heres the "Tires: Mix or Match?" thread.
I actually think it died out way too fast.

Tires: Mix or Match?
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Old 01-28-05, 06:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IchbinJay
I'd have to disagree with putting the more traction on the front. You could just as easily ride in a relatively low gear, that decrease your momentum, with the CX tire on the back so that way you would have more traction. Even though your braking power is mostly in the front doesn't mean that you need the tire solely for braking. Snow increase your road resistance anyway. It's the ice you have to be careful for. And on ice you can't brake without skidding anyway. I would put it in the back. You need traction for pedaling, not coasting or braking. Low gearing will solve all braking/control issuses.
But your rationale only addresses the issue of braking in the front, not the need for steering. My big problems occur when I can't control the front tire well enough to hold my line--even at low speeds. And a CX tire wouldn't help that much for control (front) or traction (back) on ice in any event, right?
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Old 01-28-05, 06:45 AM   #9
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I don't know about all the talk around this winter forum about knobbies for snow and CX for ice and low psi and such. My winter riding became easy when I switched to 23's no tread at 115psi. If you're riding the road you're only riding through ice -patches-, it's not as though the entire road is one big swath of ice in a city. You won't get traction on any ice that can't be cut by hard thin tires and you won't need any in those instances as the best way to ride over it is to hold your line and let your momentum carry you. The benefits of shedding, never having to clear ice from your ride, being able to get traction for acceleraton or braking from the asphalt or concrete beneath the snow or pack and not being at risk of a pinch flat far outweigh the "traction" looked for by riding on top of the stuff for me.
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Old 01-28-05, 08:49 AM   #10
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Useless argument but here is my Opinion.
1. Always keep the best ruber on the front.
2. You will have more control with better tread on the front for the reasons stated above (steering, control, stopping).

I have tried various combinations and this is what I have found to work best.
Enjoy
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Old 01-28-05, 09:53 AM   #11
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FRONT - no question.

If you don't have 2 equal tires, ALWAYS put the one with the best traction on the front. Period.
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Old 01-28-05, 09:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHouston
If you're riding the road you're only riding through ice -patches-, it's not as though the entire road is one big swath of ice in a city.
Obviously Toronto does a better job of clearing the streets than Calgary does. Some of the side streets around here are like 200 yard curling rinks.
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Old 01-28-05, 01:51 PM   #13
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gmacrider is absolutely right. there should be no serious dissent on this point. As for 23s in the snow and ice, that's just ludicrous. the first bridge or overpass you cross will leave you wimpering. In NYC this week, the storm left us with piles of snow that have yet to clear. some roads I ride have 10-15 foot patches of thick, loose snow over ice. Add to that 12 foot plate steel cover over construction sites and a 23 ain't goin' nowhere. I've tried. In fact, one street with such plates, cars haven't been able to drive up because they are so slick.

one studded tire up front with low-ish psi and a nearly bald knobby on back works great for me. oh and fenders. gotta have fenders.
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Old 01-29-05, 07:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powers2b
Useless argument but here is my Opinion.
1. Always keep the best ruber on the front.
2. You will have more control with better tread on the front for the reasons stated above (steering, control, stopping).

I have tried various combinations and this is what I have found to work best.
Enjoy
wow, i really dont understand some people.
Powers, You may have worn out quite a few tires in your day, but i dont understand the logic here.
Better rubber up front (what? quality?), YES, no doubt about that because the tire lasts 2-3 times longer than the rear (front brake shoes do too)
and you get a "feel" for the front moreso than you do the rear because, well your hands control it.
So that deserves a better quality rubber.
So yes, a better quality, more solid tire is what you want in the front.
But thats not what this thread is about.

The CX tire in the rear will make your ride more comfortable.
Treads or knobs on a CX tire in no way help you steer safer, they give you less contact on the road but a wider surface to ride with, the reason they grab better is because your getting vertical contact from the tire as well, resulting in hook up (ideal for the rear wheel more-so).
But for stopping? nope.
youre getting too technical if you think a better rubber actually makes that much of a difference in your stopping. Its the terrain that judges your breaking ability aside from your brakes and timing.. any tires will stop on a dime, as long as you apply your front and rear brake in the right way.

if your going down a steep hill, say in Seattle down Cherry and 2nd, you:
1- sit far back to put weight over the rear wheel,
2- feather the front brake while breaking 90% with the rear.
3- too much front brake and you will go over the bars, even on a flat.

In no way will any difference in rubber quality help you on ice, its nieve to think such a thing. And tread wont help you stop, it lets more air pass between road to tire contact, therefore less surface contact to width ratio. (Assuming you have your tires at a good pressure).
You need to roll over snow/ice, not rely on tread to help you. And try to avoid riding on ice unless you have studded tires. end of story.
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Old 01-30-05, 08:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmacrider
Obviously Toronto does a better job of clearing the streets than Calgary does. Some of the side streets around here are like 200 yard curling rinks.
Does that mean that teams of people run in front of cyclists sweeping the path smooth while others try to slide 42lbs stones into the cyclists' wheels?
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Old 01-30-05, 10:00 AM   #16
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Is anyone here a physics major? I really think that we need someone to do a little research. I can't. I almost failed physics in high school. Or maybe a mechanical engineer? Anyone?
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Old 01-30-05, 11:03 AM   #17
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Jobst Brandt.
find essays by him and try to read them despite his somewhat boring style. haha

So how do you feel about this? whatre you thinking? Got a specific question? i know a few physics majors.

We could start by thinking about the purpose of, and what goes into each tire. its probable you could figure much of it out from there.
also know that consciously shifting your weight balance that you put on each wheel can save your ass.
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Old 01-30-05, 05:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
Does that mean that teams of people run in front of cyclists sweeping the path smooth while others try to slide 42lbs stones into the cyclists' wheels?
I don't know about the stones, but having someone run in front of you sweeping the path sounds pretty good to me! I don't even care if they have team uniforms.
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Old 01-31-05, 03:16 AM   #19
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Putting the CX tire on the rear will give you better acceleration. Putting the CX tire on the front will give you better steering (and accident avoidance). You make the call.
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Old 01-31-05, 07:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
Putting the CX tire on the rear will give you better acceleration. Putting the CX tire on the front will give you better steering (and accident avoidance). You make the call.
I don't think it can be said any clearer than this.

Get another tire and ride with two?
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Old 01-31-05, 12:19 PM   #21
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What I said applies for riding on snow. Standard road tires (including Armadillos) or slicks will give you better control and traction on pavement. There are always trade offs.
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Old 01-31-05, 02:18 PM   #22
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Ludicrous? Hardly, don't knock til you try it. I should explain that I don't really consider packed snow to be ice. If there is any surface texture or granulation at all the cutting effect of hard thin tires provides traction. You can cut through or make a groove in what has ben packed by cars for a day or a week. If there's been a freeze over snow it usually breaks up on the street, under snow and the pack itself provides traction. If it's perfectly dry and a major freeze comes along (like in winter of 98, although there was snow mixed with that it was mainly 6-8 inches solid ice though not so bad here) I'm staying home to watch the trees and powerlines fall anyway, maybe take some photos of the damage and the purty ice. Anything else I have to go to work whether the plows are out or not, as on this day early on this winter, 23cm snow followed by rain at -7 (not quite cold enough to freeze the warm rain before it hit the ground, resulting in water over ice, ice over snow or water over packed snow.) There have been a few days worse than this since then and last winter was no picnic either. Thin hard road tires can provide traction over it or through it no studs needed, no tread required. A little tread is helpful but i think it's the high PSI that makes the difference for me.

I'm not really recommending anyone try it though unless you're very sure of yourself. It's definately different than any trick used to gain surface area or grip. You use momentum, balance and weight differently. I know some others that do it but like me they're out there all day long in the crap, pulling themselves through unplowed streets and shedding through several inches of brownstuff on the plowed ones.

Ice over snow in a freezing rain, 6 hour ride (example)
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Old 01-31-05, 02:39 PM   #23
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Dammit, how many more times are we going to be subjected to that corny picture?

Seriously, if you're thinking about putting a CX tire on at all it means that you're interested in some positive traction. Ask yourself where you'd like that to be: attached to your drive system or your control system? As a general rule, I think fast but out of control is probably less desireable, at least for most folks. Unlike solewheelin, I steer with my front wheel, so that's the most important place to have traction.

I've run slicks in the winter and this year I run knobbies. Maybe it's purely a mind game, but I like the positive engagement of wide knobbies (2.1" inches of love, baby!). Now it's true that they're wide enough that I float over some stuff that I would otherwise cut right through. On the other hand, a few miles of my commute are a MURP. There hard pack snow is pretty common and I wouldn't trade my offroadies for anything.

YMMV.
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Old 01-31-05, 03:00 PM   #24
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The only corny one is the one with me in it, suckah. I don't get a say in what goes up on the server hehe.
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Old 02-02-05, 05:03 PM   #25
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Yup. ludicrous. I only knocked it after I tried it -- for over two years. I commuted daily for two winters from Brooklyn to downtown NY on a Cannondale t700 that I had used for a pacific coast bike tour. It was probably the best commuting bike I have ever owned and one of the best bikes period. I ran armadillo 23c tires all of the '03/'04 winter without major incident - though ice patches did cause skidding and steep hills in slush . . . well let's just say, I was learning lots about controlling a fishtail. I felt the way you do -- generally 23c work fine. And they do work ok. but last year as I was crossing the Brooklyn bridge, which was iced over (and when I say ice - i mean ice, not slush or whatever your world is full of). I was doing my trick of controlling my rear when a gust blew me on my ass. allow me to add that every other cyclist was walking his bike. and even then mostly just sliding around. The next day I bought a studded tire for the front. went right over the iced bridge while pedestrians were having problems moving forward.

that bike was unfortunately stolen and I replaced it with a dumpy jamis mtn bike with big fat knobby tires. cost me $80 and performs better on snow and ice than any 23 ever could. I am amazed at how much better it is in the snow and ice. In fact, when I see people riding in the slopped up - iced over streets on their 23c I think to myself, "poor fella."

In fact, I just hopped on my 23c cannondale rain bike to ride down to the fulton pier in Brooklyn (I lent my friend the jamis cuz we had to get there in time for the Idiotarod -- fifth place!!!) and as we plowed through the slush on the side of the road, I thought, "yup no question about it, this is ludicrous."
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