Old 07-13-05, 10:43 AM
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Tire and Wheel Questions; MTB to Commuter Bike Conversion

Hi all -- I am a biking and MTB newbie who recently purchased a Ď04 Marin Hawk Hill. In addition to XC stuff I use it as a commuter bike.

My questions relate to buying wheels and tires that I can switch into for commuting (the bike came with MTB-oriented tires). Some pretty basic questions Iím afraid:

-- How do I determine how "wide" a tire the Marin can take? Is it a function of wheel size/width, clearance on the bike, other factors, combination of factors? There is a tire called the hookworm that gets fairly good reviews as an urban/commuter tire, but it is 2.5" and I wonder if it is too wide to fit.

-- Is it pretty easy to switch out wheelsets? I donít think I want to do the tire switching thing, so hoping wheelset switching is pretty straightforward.

-- As for tires, Iíd like something durable (I ride in bike lanes on roads where debris, small pieces of glass, etc. are fairly common) with decent handling in corners and over the sort of loose gravel/dirt one occasionally finds on city streets. Iíll forego the curb-jumping in exchange for something a little more performance-oriented, but donít want or need to maximize speed with a really thin, slick tire at the expense of durability and cornering (including in variable weather conditions).

After reading various threads on the subject in this forum, I am thinking about the Hookworms or the Specialized Nimbus Armadillos. But Iím wondering if they arenít a bit too ďurban assaultĒ oriented, and if I should go with a bit lighter, thinner tire since I am less interested in assaulting urbanity than in moving through it quickly and efficiently. Is there a tire in the 1.75" to 2" range that offers durability and cornering while being ďslickĒ enough to make for a quicker ride?

-- With the above in mind, what wheels would you recommend pairing at a reasonable price with the tires?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions, and for all the great info in this forum!
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