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  1. #1
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    Rain tire suggestions

    I've pretty much been a fair weather rider for the last few years but want to start commuting to work more during fall and winter. I'm looking for a good all around tire that will handle the rain in Seattle a little better than my slicks. I'll be commuting on my cyclocross bike and don't plan on riding in major rain or ice or snow. So just a tire that is wider like 28mm+ and has good traction for wet roads w/ a slight drizzle. Any recommendations? I saw a few recommendations for the Continental Top Contact tires but they are only offered in 37mm+.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Tires make little difference in the rain. Good bike handling skills are more important.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  3. #3
    Socrates Johnson AngrySaki's Avatar
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    Based on what I've read in the past, DeiselDan is correct. Bicycle tires are thin enough that you don't get any sort of hydroplaning so complete slicks are just as good as ones with "tread/grooves".

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    You want something with good wet weather "sticktion" but not a tire that every little bit of glass or sharp stone will stick to. For the sticktion part, I like Conti 4000s the best, but they pick up more glass than I like. If you're good about picking out the glass bits every couple of evenings, they're great. For all-round performance, I like Schwalbe Duranos. They wear really well and hold fairly well in the wet. Their only drawback is that the sidewall could be tougher, not that they blow out or anything, but you can cut the sidewall if you hit something just right. For a good tire with sidewall protection, I've used Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech. They wear very well, stick well enough, and have good protection. This list is in order of performance and inverse order of flatting potential. 25c or 28c are good choices. I've run all these tires year-round in the Seattle area, including major rain and snow.

    I agree that slicks are a good choice in the wet. I disagree that tires make little difference. Road racing your buddies in the rain will make a believer out of you.

    Tires I hate or have gone down on or that have injured my friends in the wet:
    Conti Gatorskins
    Conti 4 Seasons.
    Schwalbe Marathon Plus
    Vredestein Fortezza SE (sold by Performance)

    You want to learn about this, take your bike buddies and a stack of tires out to Marymoor and ride the track slowly in the rain. Wear some padded gear and don't say I didn't warn you.

  5. #5
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    Carbonfiberboy, I'm surprised that you've had problems with the Conti Gatorskins. I've logged a few thousand miles on mine with no problems. The only thing I've found is that when it's wet you must be VERY careful of anything steel, like railroad tracks, manhole covers, expansion joints, etc (this seems to be the case for any tire I've ever rode on, so I don't think its a Gatorskin problem). Otherwise, they've been flawless.

  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shepherdsflock View Post
    Carbonfiberboy, I'm surprised that you've had problems with the Conti Gatorskins. I've logged a few thousand miles on mine with no problems. The only thing I've found is that when it's wet you must be VERY careful of anything steel, like railroad tracks, manhole covers, expansion joints, etc (this seems to be the case for any tire I've ever rode on, so I don't think its a Gatorskin problem). Otherwise, they've been flawless.
    I just don't like how they ride. This is a rain tire thread, and as you say, they are less than impressive in the wet. I'm sure there are folks who do, but no one I know runs them here anymore.

    For fun, here's a link to the famous Tour magazine tire test:
    http://www.conti-online.com/generato...gp4000s_en.pdf
    It's 5 years old now, but still interesting to read, even though some of the tires tested are not made any more or have changed somewhat.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the suggestions all. What's interesting is that you listed both the Conti 4 Seasons and Schwalbe Marathon Plus as tires you didn't like. Those 2 were also on my list of possibilities. I currently ride on 23mm 4000s. Maybe i'll give the 25mm 4000s tires a try and run them at lower pressures. I currently ride mine at 95psi front and rear. Any suggestions for tire psi if i got the 25mm for rain? I'm 141lbs so I can get away with the lower tire pressures.

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayai_240 View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions all. What's interesting is that you listed both the Conti 4 Seasons and Schwalbe Marathon Plus as tires you didn't like. Those 2 were also on my list of possibilities. I currently ride on 23mm 4000s. Maybe i'll give the 25mm 4000s tires a try and run them at lower pressures. I currently ride mine at 95psi front and rear. Any suggestions for tire psi if i got the 25mm for rain? I'm 141lbs so I can get away with the lower tire pressures.
    23/25 X (current tire pressure) is the usual. It's thought that neither wider tires nor lower pressure improves adhesion in the wet or dry. In spite of "knowledge" to the contrary, that's the physics of it.

    Be that as it may, the biggest tire difference I find in rain riding is the higher incidence of flats in urban and suburban environments, because stupid Americans throw beer bottles out of their cars and the broken glass sticks to wet tires very well, though to some more than others. Hence in winter I usually go to a less sticky tire than I ride in summer, the opposite of what might seem to make sense. I just avoid tires that my buddies or I have crashed on. I run rim brakes, so I also allow a lot more stopping distance, since nothing much happens for the first 20'.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Lower pressure does improve grip - up to a point. Works on motorcycle, should work on bicycle too.
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertÓ.

  10. #10
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    Lower pressure does improve grip - up to a point. Works on motorcycle, should work on bicycle too.
    One hears this about bicycle tires. However the equation for sliding friction has no term for surface area. IOW it doesn't really matter. Be that as it may, touring by motorbike through Europe, Africa, and the USA, I found that I got best performance in every weather by adhering to the manufacturer's recommended tire pressures. Not everyone agrees with that.

    This website:
    http://www.bikerhiway.com/motorcycle...er_riding.html
    says, "Additionally, a slight increase in tire pressure will improve wet-weather traction."
    This website:
    http://www.netrider.net.au/articles/?page=wetriding
    says similarly, " It is a myth that lowering tyre pressure helps the tyres to heat up and give an increased contact patch."

    I get best performance in the wet with the same tire pressures I use in the dry. The reason is that the most important thing is that the tire not deform. Tires are made to corner on that part of the tread that the manufacturer expects to be in contact with the road. By lowering tire pressure, the shape of the cornering tire is altered out of spec.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    One hears this about bicycle tires. However the equation for sliding friction has no term for surface area.
    Yes, elementary physics. But if you put surface imperfections into the equasion, tyre with lower pressure will compress and sort of follow surface imperfections - up to a point. My experience is that some 15 % bend in the tyre profile at the contact point is perfect. Too little, or too much pressure worsens traction.

    As far as motorcycles go - some 10 to 20% lower than manufacturer's recommendations has always worked best for me - both dry and wet. Tyres will not last as long, but grip does improve.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I get best performance in the wet with the same tire pressures I use in the dry. The reason is that the most important thing is that the tire not deform. Tires are made to corner on that part of the tread that the manufacturer expects to be in contact with the road. By lowering tire pressure, the shape of the cornering tire is altered out of spec.
    Same here. I actually agree. Just my dry riding pressure is slightly below manufacturer's recommendation. Aim for that sweet spot of sligh deformation - not too much, but some.
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertÓ.

  12. #12
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    I run panaracer pasela tourguard 700x35. Great all around tire.

  13. #13
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    leave the slicks on you'll be fine.

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