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Commuting Bike - Tire & Mod Recommendations?

Old 08-05-15, 12:27 PM
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Cuitarded
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Commuting Bike - Tire & Mod Recommendations?

Hi all,
So a few weeks back I purchased a hybrid bike. Having not ridden a bike since high school (I'm 30 now), I really was out of touch with what to look for in a bike, and really relied on recommendations from the local bike shop. I settled on a Cannondale Quick CX 4, except for some reason this one came with hydraulic instead of mechanical brakes.

The primary purpose was to commute to work, which is a 11 mile trip one-way on mostly packed surface and pavement. However I also take the bike on light trails as well (some dirt, gravel, etc...). So I wanted something that would allow me to do both.

I've been commuting for a few weeks now (2-3 days a week) and I've noticed that most of my riding is really on asphalt or some hard packed road or trail. I've begun wondering what I can do to make my commute more efficient.

Firstly, did I pick the "wrong" bike?
From all my reading it seems maybe I should have gone with something more road oriented? This bike is not really high end so I'm not sure it would make a huge difference if I had gotten a straight road bike.

That said, it appears tire choice also is more a factor on efficiency of the ride. The stock tires are 700x35 Kenda Happy Mediums. They are kind of an all-around tire and to my surprise they actually got some very good reviews.
Would I see a significant increase in speed / efficiency if I switched to a lighter slick?
It seems choices are limited at a 35mm width.

The rims are Maddux DC 3.0 (for which I cannot find any specs on the Maddux website). What ranges of tire widths would fit on these? From my understanding ideally matching the tire width to the rim (to be seamless) is the most efficient, and I am assuming here that the 35's are the ideal width for that rim.

Any other recommendations (upgrades or modifications)? Am I way out to left field here? Please tell me if I am grossly misinformed, I'm trying to get more knowledgeable about biking in general.

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-15, 12:32 PM
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Try some 700 X 28 tires.You will feel fast and have more fun.
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Old 08-05-15, 12:35 PM
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Thanks 10 Wheels.
Would I have to get different wheels / rims for the narrower tire?
Going from 35 to 28 sounds like the rim would be too wide.
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Old 08-05-15, 01:33 PM
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Here's a chart for tire/rim widths: LINK

You can find your rim width by checking for an ETRTO label somewhere on your rim. Should read something like 622x17.

I prefer wider tires for commuting, as they can soak up the bumps of city streets nicely and really aren't any slower than a slightly thinner tire. My favorites are Schwalbe Kojaks, which are offered in 35mm.

If you're currently sitting in an upright position, you could try a slightly more aggressive one. It's as simple as flipping your stem upside down to lower your handlebars. It will change your reach and posture, but it's a free way to see if that improves your efficiency. If so, you can spend a little to get your cockpit set up so it's comfortable.
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Old 08-05-15, 02:02 PM
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Maddox DC 3.0 29" MTB Rim 32H Black Bikewagon

Looks like 622x17
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Old 08-05-15, 02:22 PM
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I would keep what you have until you wear them out. Then I would look into getting similar sized commuter tires such as the Schwable Marathons. I would not go smaller than the 35mm size you have. You will build efficiency the more you ride. The tires /bike are not what is holding you back. Don't over think it, just keep riding.
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Old 08-05-15, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Try some 700 X 28 tires.You will feel fast and have more fun.
^^^^This^^^^

You will receive nothing but opinions concerning tires. Some are spot on and others makes one scratch their head an wonder if the poster ever really used what they recommend.

I've found the posters to rely on in this forum and 10 Wheels is one that provides sound advice. As in this case.

That being said, as one pointed out your tires aren't holding you back at this stage of the game. Until you develop the engine no amount of money thrown at any mechanical part of the bike will make enough of a difference to matter. For now, spend your money on GOOD lights, rain gear, safety equipment and things like that. Engine power will come with time.
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Old 08-05-15, 03:22 PM
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I went through the same stage three years ago, and what I'd suggest is - don't bother. Riding regularly is the biggest upgrade you can do at this stage, and as you ride, you will start realizing what you need.

If you still have an itch to scratch though, take a look at 700x32 Panaracer Paselas. If you ride on clean roads with a low chance of getting a flat, these will give you a really good ride for fairly low investment - I bought mine for $20 each at Jenson USA, and they have free shipping about $50, just what you need to stock up on flat kits and chain lube
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Old 08-05-15, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightdiver View Post
Here's a chart for tire/rim widths: LINK

You can find your rim width by checking for an ETRTO label somewhere on your rim. Should read something like 622x17.

I prefer wider tires for commuting, as they can soak up the bumps of city streets nicely and really aren't any slower than a slightly thinner tire. My favorites are Schwalbe Kojaks, which are offered in 35mm.

If you're currently sitting in an upright position, you could try a slightly more aggressive one. It's as simple as flipping your stem upside down to lower your handlebars. It will change your reach and posture, but it's a free way to see if that improves your efficiency. If so, you can spend a little to get your cockpit set up so it's comfortable.
Try bending your elbows more first.
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Old 08-05-15, 05:36 PM
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Something in the 28C-35C range will work fine on your rims. I'd suggest a 32C touring or commuter tire since the Kenda Happy Medium is more of a hardpack CX tire than anything else. The Panaracer Pasela and T-Serv are fast rolling and moderately priced, or something like a Vitt0ria Randonneur would also work.
Your handlebar position has a lot of adjustment available, in addition to flipping the stem you can lower the stem by moving spacers from under the stem to above the stem and you can replace thicker spacers with several thinner spacers for finer adjustment. Also consider bar ends to get more hand positions.
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Old 08-06-15, 01:57 AM
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As an owner of the 2015 Cannondale Quick CX 4, I think I can speak from experience on this bike quite well.

Firstly, if you're looking to change to slicks, 700 x 28c is a great choice. The rims feet this size quite well. I've been riding for about 2 months on a currently 7 mile commute each way. Got my average speed to usually 14 mph if I'm pushing. With the 28s, I'm easily at high 15s, and 17-18 if I'm pushing. There is a good benefit from going with thinner slicks. For me, I chose to get some cheap Continental Forte Strada K's. Once they wear out, I'll get the Continental Gatorskins or Schwalbe Marathons. And of course, my Happy Mediums are still there if I ever want to hit the fire roads.

Secondly... you'll get faster in time as you ride more. I'm starting to see that the "engine" upgrade that everyone talks about is solid. Keep that up.

Third. You can make your bike just a bit more aggressive by messing around with the fit of the bike. For example, make sure your seat height is high enough that your legs are just almost fully extended on the bottom most point of your downstroke, but not so much that your hips are moving side to side. I'm 5'11" and got a Large frame, and after riding the bike for a couple weeks, I just noticed that my thighs were much too sore to keep going. Adjusting the saddle helped tons.

Also, you can play with stem height. I reversed my stem so that it doesn't angle upwards, but downwards. Also I moved the spacers so I have two spacers on top, and two more on the bottom. This gives me a more aggressive position.

With these adjustments, I'm starting to feel much more content with my purchase. Try some of those out, you might too.

Here's my rig:



Threw some bar ends on it, wrapped tape on it, and it gets me low enough. Not drops obviously, but definitely comfortable and lower.
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Old 08-06-15, 08:15 AM
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A slick tire will roll faster. However, if you are on mixed trails and dirt, there is no advantage of going to a 28mm tire.
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Old 08-06-15, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Cuitarded View Post
Thanks 10 Wheels.
Would I have to get different wheels / rims for the narrower tire?
Going from 35 to 28 sounds like the rim would be too wide.
I started a NY to LA tour on 700 X 35 tires.

Hated them.

Put on 700 X 28's and enjoyed the ride.
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Old 08-06-15, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
A slick tire will roll faster. However, if you are on mixed trails and dirt, there is no advantage of going to a 28mm tire.
35's will soak up some of your pedalling effort.

Not so much so with 28's.
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Old 08-06-15, 08:48 AM
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Thanks everyone for the advice, I'm going to stick with the 35's in the short term, get some more practice.
Once I get some more time on this bike I may got to something thinner. I'll try playing around with the bike adjustments too.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-07-15, 01:05 PM
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I know this was not my thread, but it informed me. I just changed my tires two days ago. My ride to work today and yesterday was harder than it has even been. I am not sure of the tire width before, but I know that the tire size that I got this time was a 700c32-45kev. I think I need to go back and buy a tire that is 700c by 28 for an easier ride.[h=1][/h]
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Old 08-07-15, 01:17 PM
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It's difficult to make an informed recommendation without a solid idea of what you're riding on. For instance, how hard is the hard pack you're riding on? If you were to ride over a section and look back, would you see prints of all the little knobs from the center of your existing tires as well as the bigger knobs on the sides? If that's the case, stick with what you got (size-wise and knob-wise). If there's merely an indentation in small gravel, you might try a 32 or even a 28. Will you ever ride after a rain? What happens to the trail surface then?

I'd stick with what you've got until it wears out, or at least through the winter. Next spring revisit the tire thing; if you're still riding and having fun, try a different tire or two.
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