Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  

Go Back   > >

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

User Tag List

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-23-12, 05:42 PM   #1
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One slick tire on mountain bike. Should I replace the front or rear tire?

I have a mountain bike, and I'm thinking of replacing one of the tires with a slick tire like one on a road bike. I'm a bit cheap so I don't want to replace both, so I'll just do one.

Would there be a difference whether I replace the front tire, or rear tire? If so, which one would be better?
kenhv74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-12, 06:16 PM   #2
I let the dogs out
AlphaDogg's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boulder, CO
Bikes: 2011 Fuji Roubaix 1.0, 2003 Ti Merlin Solis, & 1994 Raleigh MT200
Posts: 1,934
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Replace both.
AlphaDogg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-12, 06:36 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Grid Reference, SK
Bikes: I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
Posts: 3,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In an ideal world, both is the correct answer. You said you don't want to replace both because you are cheap and don't want to - this may very well be your proud way of saying you are broke and can't.

If it were me I would probably replace the front as a slick tire will give you more traction on pavement and you always want your best tire on the front. If you have an imbalance of traction and one tire lets go before the other pray it is the rear, because when the front tire lets go you are almost certainly going down, but you have a decent chance of recovering from a rear wheel slide.

However, the most effect would likely come from putting the road tire on the rear as most of your weight is over the rear tire and the resulting tire flex is what causes rolling resistance, and a road tire is generally made to have less rolling resistance than a mtb tire. Also you generally put more pressure in a road tire which decreases the amount of flex.

So my recommendation is to get a decently wide road tire (similar width to the mtb tires you have) so your bike is not tilted fore or aft and making it feel and/or handle weird.

And inflate both the road and the remaining mtb tire up to their max pressure for least rolling resistance.
LarDasse74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-12, 07:16 PM   #4
Have bike, will travel
Barrettscv's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois
Bikes: De Rosa Professional, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Gavia, Schwinn Paramount, Motobecane Grand Record, Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Raleigh Roker, Origin8 monstercross, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2
Posts: 11,408
Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 435 Post(s)
Find a treaded tire and put it on the front. This one is affordable:
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
Barrettscv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-12, 03:22 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,256
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 619 Post(s)
Unless you're looking to get a skinnier tire while you're at it, you can try sanding all the knobs off. It'll be reasonably fast with a power sander. Do note that puncture resistance will lessen, and it requires some skill. If you go too deep, you'll weaken the tire.
dabac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-12, 09:00 AM   #6
Senior Member
Looigi's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 8,951
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
You can get slick MTB tires for ~$15. Check Nashbar, Performance, etc.. Too much for you?
Looigi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-12, 09:25 AM   #7
Reynolds's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Bikes: 1998 Pinarello Asolo, 1992 KHS Montaña pro, 1980 Raleigh DL-1, IGH Hybrid, IGH Utility
Posts: 6,097
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Slick tire on the rear.
Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-12, 09:50 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
Posts: 35,425
Mentioned: 105 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3762 Post(s)
There's no automatic answer. It partly depends on your ultimate goal. I assuming that the bike is being converted to a pavement use bike.

If you want the most immediate benefit, put the slick in back because that's where most of the rolling resistance is generated.

But assuming that you have a long range plan to make this a road bike, and also assuming that the new slick tire will be narrower than the old tires, then you'd want it in front. That offers 2 benefits. The wider tire is the more loaded one, the tire you want to get rid of will wear out faster, getting you where you want to be sooner.

If you put the new tire in back, there's a good chance that it'll wear out and be replaced while you're still ridding the old one up front.
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-12, 10:31 AM   #9
acidfast7's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid
Posts: 6,899
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)

i have knobbies (MTB) and will replace the rear with a Schwalbe Marathon Plus (26 x 1.5"). When the front knobbie wears out I'll replace it as well.

start with the worn tires.

15 USD tires suck, but something good if you're changing from knobbies to slicks.
acidfast7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-12, 09:34 PM   #10
Constant tinkerer
FastJake's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,640
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
If they're the same width, I'd put the slick tire on the rear. I have this setup on my winter MTB (knobby front, slick rear) because when the ground is snow-covered the knobby front keeps me upright, but the slick rear keeps the bike a little quicker and a lot less noisy on dry pavement. Plus I can still hit the single-track with it if I want to.
FastJake is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:07 AM.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
  • Ask a Question
    get answers from real people!
Click to start entering your question.