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Old 10-30-14, 01:33 AM
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If you plan to ride on dirt, don't get Gatorskins since those are road tires. I mean you can ride them on dirt, but you might not enjoy it because it'll slide around especially in turns. I recommend you get some kind of touring or trekking tire instead. Road tires are ok in hard pack rocky dirt going up or if it's flat, but I don't dare go down those trails on my 28mm road tires.

I have Schwalbe Marathon Supreme on my commute/all-arounder which is very nice tire for street use, rolls quick and handles very nice on pavement, highly puncture resistant, and light for it's size, but at $80, it's also very expensive. Rides decent on dirt, but cornering is still a bit sketchy. I have dropped the pressure to 30 PSI and taken it up and down single tracks dirt roads that are nothing but rocky dirt and handled ok as long as my lines were very clean, but high speed corners are still sketchy.

A less expensive option might be Schwalbe Marathon Racer wire bead or Panaracer Tserv at around ~$45.

My thought is that a narrower tire won't change your top speed very much unless those Kendas have knobs, but they look smooth. Going with one of the smooth tires I mentioned will make the ride easier and they are lighter so they will accelerate faster and that will be the most noticeable effect.
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