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Siping tires for improved traction on gravel?

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Siping tires for improved traction on gravel?

Old 05-03-21, 07:41 AM
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rbrides
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Siping tires for improved traction on gravel?

What experience do you folks have siping bike tires? In my motorsports days racing dirt ovals it was extremely common.

I have a set of Specialized Pathfinder Pro 38c tires. As the picture illustrates, they are slick in the very center of the tire surface to make them more versatile and accommodating for a variety of surfaces. To save a few dollar and NOT buy another set of tires with slightly more aggressive tread, I'm considering siping this center slick so as to improve the traction on gravel rides.

Comments?

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Old 05-03-21, 07:50 AM
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Mr. 66
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Sounds like a bunch of effort with, at best, a minimal improvement.

I would not bother.
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Old 05-03-21, 10:35 AM
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Without specialized equipment, I imagine it would be difficult to control the depth of cut. Years ago, a friend had a mobile business siping heavy truck tires from the back of his truck, so I had a chance to observe how that process worked. Not sure I would take the risk of cutting into the casing on a bike tire when the benefits are questionable at best on a tire with such a small contact patch.

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Old 05-03-21, 10:42 AM
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compound material of a bicycle tire has more purpose than the physical design. Creating a lesser contact patch in my opinion, might lessen the predictability for that tire. You'd likely notice more from trying different PSI values.
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Old 05-03-21, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Without specialized equipment, I imagine it would be difficult to control the depth of cut. Years ago, a friend had a mobile business siping heavy truck tires from the back of his truck, so I had a chance to observe how that process worked. Not sure I would take the risk of cutting into the casing on a bike tire when the benefits are questionable at best on a tire with such a small contact patch.
I agree. Go slightly too far in, & the TPI rating is compromised.
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Old 05-03-21, 11:31 AM
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Looking for trouble with minimal gains, IMHO.
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Old 05-03-21, 11:34 AM
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I think you'd be better off just reducing the tire pressure when riding on gravel.
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Old 05-03-21, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
I think you'd be better off just reducing the tire pressure when riding on gravel.
+1. Minimal (if any) gains for that type of tire plus high risk of screwing it up and lots of time required to try to do it properly. But...I'm also the kind of guy who likes to experiment for the heck of it so after going for a ride with lower pressure and you're still not happy try doing just the rear tire and test it out. I say rear because it's likely to slip more when hammering.
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Old 05-03-21, 02:30 PM
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it's your bike, your life.
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Old 05-03-21, 02:38 PM
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Siping right requires a tool like this, which costs about what a tire costs. So probably not worth the $$.

On the other hand if you already had the tool and experience siping tires, I'd say go for it. Those center bits on the Pathfinder pros are pretty thick rubber. That is uncommon, for almost any other other bike tire it would be a bust as there is no thick rubber for any siping action.
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Old 05-03-21, 03:18 PM
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That looks like a decent tire for packed surfaces like levees, fire roads, canal paths, etc. Probably not great on loose pea gravel or mud, but I doubt it's intended to be. I'd leave it alone. If it's not for your style of riding, there's a bazillion other gravel treads our there that probably are.
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Old 05-03-21, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
That looks like a decent tire for packed surfaces like levees, fire roads, canal paths, etc. Probably not great on loose pea gravel or mud, but I doubt it's intended to be. I'd leave it alone. If it's not for your style of riding, there's a bazillion other gravel treads our there that probably are.
I agree. If the PZero Velo 4S looked like that I'd have picked one up.
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Old 05-04-21, 09:03 AM
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I looked at the pic of your tire, center band is smooth. If you are really adventurous you could try making marks across the band with a soldering iron. With a light touch it might work. Who knows, maybe the next great thing. But like most have said, you risk compromising the tire.
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Old 05-10-21, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Without specialized equipment, I imagine it would be difficult to control the depth of cut. Years ago, a friend had a mobile business siping heavy truck tires from the back of his truck, so I had a chance to observe how that process worked. Not sure I would take the risk of cutting into the casing on a bike tire when the benefits are questionable at best on a tire with such a small contact patch.
Since bike tire sipping is not a common practice, I agree.
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Old 05-10-21, 07:12 AM
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Thanks all for your important input! Bike tire sipping is not a a good idea! I will not attempt it.
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Old 05-10-21, 07:14 AM
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Dirt hard track and gravel are rather different surfaces. Gravel roads have far larger stones, more like riding on large ball bearings then greasy dirt. Andy
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