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Thinner tire sizes for mountain bike

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Thinner tire sizes for mountain bike

Old 07-02-19, 04:09 PM
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MrProsser
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Thinner tire sizes for mountain bike

I recently got a bike from a friend and I would like to use it for commuting, and generally getting around town. This means it will largely be driven on pavement, and the most off-road use it will see will be on very fine crushed rock walking paths. However, it needs a bit of love, especially the tires which are badly worn. The current setup is a bit weird, with a front tire that is 26"x1.95" on a 559x18 rim, and a rear tire that is 26"x1.75" with a 559x27 rim. I would like to move to a thinner slick, but I am not quite sure how low I can go. I've seen a few threads like this one:
http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...tain-bike.html

which include links suggesting that the front could go as low as 1.1" or so, but I am not sure about the back. One of the examples on that thread mentioned they moved from 2.125" to 1.5" which would be fine with me, but they do not mention the rim size. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had experience with this, or knows of a lower limit I should make sure to shy away from for each of those rims.
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Old 07-02-19, 04:44 PM
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1.5 inch is good.

One of the wheels was likely changed out at some point, most likely due to damage or theft.
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Old 07-02-19, 04:44 PM
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There's a note at the end of this page about tire widths:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
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Old 07-02-19, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MrProsser View Post
I recently got a bike from a friend and I would like to use it for commuting, and generally getting around town. This means it will largely be driven on pavement, and the most off-road use it will see will be on very fine crushed rock walking paths. However, it needs a bit of love, especially the tires which are badly worn. The current setup is a bit weird, with a front tire that is 26"x1.95" on a 559x18 rim, and a rear tire that is 26"x1.75" with a 559x27 rim. I would like to move to a thinner slick, but I am not quite sure how low I can go. I've seen a few threads like this one:
http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...tain-bike.html

which include links suggesting that the front could go as low as 1.1" or so, but I am not sure about the back. One of the examples on that thread mentioned they moved from 2.125" to 1.5" which would be fine with me, but they do not mention the rim size. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had experience with this, or knows of a lower limit I should make sure to shy away from for each of those rims.

Get some of these and forget about narrow -- go as wide as will fit:

https://www.renehersecycles.com/prod...tires/26-inch/
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Old 07-02-19, 04:52 PM
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I've used 26x1.5 on my MTB commuter for about 10 years and my next tires will be wider. The Performance slicks I used were pretty stable, but the ones I replaced them with are too squirrelly for me now.
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Old 07-02-19, 07:46 PM
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I like the Continental Travel Contacts and their 26X1.75 rides like a narrower tire on hardpack. Pressure can be dropped off road. Very versatile, smooth and easy rolling, durable, and flat resistant.

The Panaracer TServ is a nice tire for a 26" mtn bike commuter as well. Available in 1.25, 1.5, and 1.75. The 1.75 - 2.0 width on a 26 tire is the sweet spot for me.
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Old 07-02-19, 08:21 PM
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Tire size is third to suppleness and tread pattern IMO. I'd go for a supple wall, non-knobby tire in 1.5/1.9.
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Old 07-03-19, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
1.5 inch is good.

One of the wheels was likely changed out at some point, most likely due to damage or theft.
​​​​​
I was in a very similar situation to the OP, gifted an old MTB to commute with. I gradually worked my way down to 1.5 slicks and now use that width on my latest commuter.
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Old 07-03-19, 06:45 AM
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Long story short: My main commuter from 1997 to 2015 was a mountain bike with 26" wheels. I have put about every type of tire on it. Wide, thin, tread, slick and hybrid (smooth center section, knobby shoulders...very bad all around). 1.5" slicks are the narrowest I'd go. I now run 1.85 slicks and am very, very happy.

In the winter it wears 1.65 studded snow tires with aggressive tread. Those are not so great on dry pavement, but incredible on snow and ice.
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Old 07-03-19, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
The problem is that thinner sizes changes the geometry of the bike (handling).
Just because a thing happens doesn't mean it's a problem.
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Old 07-03-19, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I've used 26x1.5 on my MTB commuter for about 10 years and my next tires will be wider. The Performance slicks I used were pretty stable, but the ones I replaced them with are too squirrelly for me now.
Similar for me. I've been on 26"x1.75" tires for years, gonna try to fit 2.1" Rat Trap Pass next time around.
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Old 07-05-19, 12:03 PM
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Nashbar used to offer house-brand Kevlar-belted 26x1.25 tires that I used for a long time. I forget their pressure rating; maybe 90psi.

I now ride Continental Tour Ride/Ride Tour 26x1.75 at 60psi. They roll fast and I've not had a single flat in 3 years. They're also affordable - less than $25 online.
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Old 07-07-19, 01:09 PM
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Only issue I had with Continental Travel Contacts , was I got quite bored

with all the 'experts' pointing out my once knobby tire was worn smooth in the center/...






/...
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Old 07-07-19, 02:57 PM
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I use 26" Gatorskins on my commuter. The rims are Mavic XM317s which specify a tire width of 1.5 to 2.1, but the Gatorskins are 26x1 1/8. I've been using them for years and I'm on my second pair. No issues at all.
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Old 07-08-19, 10:43 AM
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I agree. 1.5 slick is about ideal.

I've used the 26x1 1/8 gatorskins (and 1" panaracers), and they do nothing for the bike. Technically they are a little slower unless you are riding on new pavement - but that is a different story. High pressure doesn't make you faster.

WGScott is probably right (go big or go home), but there are some good selections for fast commuter slicks in the 1.5 size - it gets harder to find as you go larger. Sure - you could go for reneherse tires - but those are rather exotic - not the most durable tire for commuting.
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Old 07-08-19, 10:47 AM
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47mm is the answer to your unanswered question. Here is the official chart. Take it with a grain of salt - I've gone outside the boundaries. But its a good benchmark.




Originally Posted by MrProsser View Post
I recently got a bike from a friend....
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Old 07-08-19, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
you get more flats with supple tires...if your commute is strewed with debries.

if you decide to take your supple tires on mtb trails, they also more likely to get cut up.
Of course it's a compromise, but I meant sidewall suppleness, which has a big effect on ride quality. The op didn't mention trail riding.
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Old 07-08-19, 08:55 PM
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We mostly don't run cotton clinchers or tubulars on commuter bikes either
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Old 07-08-19, 10:48 PM
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Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. The answer to all tire questions. If you want to know what bike to get, Surly LHT.
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Old 07-09-19, 06:10 PM
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I have schwalbe landcruisers in 2" which work for your rim widths. Cheap, but heavy and very durable overall. I traverse tons of glass due to inconsiderate yahoos and am flat free for a year and 1/2 of 60% commuting. knock on wood
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Old 07-10-19, 11:11 AM
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depends what you mean by supple.
high thread count tires tend to be harder to puncture but easier to tear
low thread count tires (with thicker cords) tend to be a little easier to puncture, but harder to tear. That works well with tubless as the sealant can easily repair a small hole, but not a gash.

but of course if we are talking sidewall - supple tires have thin sidewalls. I don't tend to get sidewall cuts on pavement - just gravel and off road.
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Old 07-22-19, 09:52 AM
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My Cannondale was considered a mountain bike with no front shock when I bought it in 1995. These days it would be considered a hybrid or commuter. It came with knobby tires intended for dirt use. Over the years, it has become the trailer hauler for when the boys would get pulled behind. To make like easier, I ditched the knobbies for a much smoother ride. I attached a pic of the tires I have on it now. Unfortunately, I don't have a size for you. I do commute, but I use my road bike. I have Gatorskins on it and would recommend them highly.

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Old 07-22-19, 05:46 PM
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Like others, I've been on various widths and styles since '90 but now I use fat slicks. Maxxis DTH is my current fave, I have four pairs now and need to get some more for my other 26ers. They are fast, light, and cheap, but not the most durable.

This is my Stumpjumper which I commute on via Old Croton Acqueduct Trail (mild trail), South County Trail (Paved+very mild trail), and the streets of Manhattan and the DTHs handle it all with no issues. The other week the S County was super muddy but these tires just floated right over the soup.

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Old 07-22-19, 05:55 PM
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Lots of knowledge here. The OP just needs to digest it and make a decision. Be Well. Bluesfrog
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Old 07-23-19, 08:52 AM
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I have these on my new bike in 650b. No long term review yet, but they feel awesome. https://global.bluelug.com/fairweath...kin-11320.html
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