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Tires for silt covered road (flood)

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Tires for silt covered road (flood)

Old 03-09-12, 09:23 PM
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Gregoyle
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Tires for silt covered road (flood)

Hello all,

I'm new to the forum, but I've been lurking here a little while to try to soak up information. This is a great forum!

Here is my issue:

I've been riding to work on my MTB with Panaracer RibMo 1.25's for a couple of months now. I'm in San Antonio, and my favorite route is partly on a Greenway. In San Antonio, the Greenways are also flood zones for the rivers and creeks. Well, after a large amount of rain, the Greenway (along with some of the concrete roads) gets flooded and covered with a fine, slick river silt.

The silt is the most slippery surface I've ever ridden on. The first time I hit it I didn't even see it; it was dark and my tires slid out from under me sideways. I was on the ground before I could even get a hand off the handlebars. Luckily I was able to absorb the brunt of the blow, so my bike was spared :-). I've since invested in much brighter lights.

I also try to plan my routes such that I avoid the silt-covered areas after it rains, but you can't always predict when it will be wet when the rest of the road is dry.

I just ordered a Nashbar Steel Cyclocross (fits 35s or so with fenders), and I'm looking for decent road tires for it that would hopefully have a chance of getting traction when the silt covers the road. The two I've been focusing on are the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial and Marathon Dureme. They seem to have the best grip along with low rolling resistance. I'd also like them to be puncture resistant, but grip is definitely the priority. Of the two, the Mondials look like they'd do better in mud, but I can't really tell just from looking at them.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks,

Greg
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Old 03-10-12, 10:08 AM
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Grim
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Thats a tough one. How thick is the silt?
I'd think you are on the right track with more tread to cut down to the pavement. I like a Vittoria Randonneur tires I have. Also have some Conti Top Tourings what run smooth on the road but have some depth to the tread I have been happy with. Not fast like a slick on the street but the do ok.
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Old 03-10-12, 10:22 AM
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fietsbob 
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Conti travel contact rides on a smooth center band ,
and has a row of knobs on the edges that come into contact on soft surfaces,

but with edge knobs, just don't corner at very high speeds, on the road..

where you lean the bike way over ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-10-12 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 03-10-12, 10:33 AM
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Gregoyle
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The silt isn't really that thick, maybe 1/2 inch or less in most places, it's just left over from when the road and greenway were flooded. The worst is when it's over the concrete; it fills in the little tiny pores (is that what you call them?) and gets really slick. Thankfully the portion with concrete is very small, and most of the way that gets flooded is asphalt.

I looked at the Conti travel contacts. I was thinking that the smooth center band might screw me in this situation, because they won't really be able to sink into the dirt to catch the knobs on the edges.
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Old 03-10-12, 10:39 AM
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fietsbob 
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I had the 26" version on my bike for years, only took them off to quiet the comments
from people who thought I wore the tire bald in the center..
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Old 03-10-12, 11:53 AM
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I have Marathon XRs on one of my bikes. The XRs were discontinued in 2009, but later revived as the Mondials. If I had a commute that was a mix of road and silt covered trail, I'd go with the Mondials. They're really great tires for mixed surfaces.
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Old 03-10-12, 12:42 PM
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unterhausen
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seems to me that you want a bigger tire more than anything. Any tire will get a little flotation on loose stuff, but thinner tires will dig in occasionally which can throw you off.
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Old 03-10-12, 12:54 PM
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scroca
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Studded tires?
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Old 03-10-12, 02:01 PM
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Hmmm, maybe I'm not describing the surface very well...

Imagine that you have fairly smooth asphalt or concrete, and then you take really slick mud in one hand and spread it over evenly, leaving maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch on top (0.5 - 1 cm or so). The thing that makes it so slick is the mud filling in the roughness of the pavement.

I think something to "cut" through the mud might do it. Although I'd prefer to avoid studs or big knobs :-). This is really more of a just in case measure. 90% of the time the roads are dry, and most of the rest I plan my routes to avoid the portion that floods when it rains.

Really anything with some kind of tread is going to be an improvement over my RibMo's, which are almost slicks. I'm probably spending too much mental energy on this, but it would be nice to avoid another surprise fall.

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

-Greg
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Old 03-10-12, 04:24 PM
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With the surface you describe, tires like the Continental Top Contacts or Continental TourRide may work. They both have tread with depth, while rolling smooth on pavement.

I have a set of Conti TourRide tires on my son's bike. They ride well on the street and on dirt paths. They dig in very well on dirt paths, so they should at least be better than your RibMo tires.
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Old 03-10-12, 06:17 PM
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I ride those greenway trails also and I have a pretty good idea about where you may be talking about on the Salado Greenway.

There is a stretch that runs between S.S. Lions park on the southeast side and in between Commanche park that has about three bad spots with that thin layer of silt.

To be honest with you, I don't think there is a tire made that can prevent you fron slipping and sliding on that slime since it is purely wet clay and even a knobby tire will just fill with the clay and be like riding a slick and your then back to square one.

Best advise is do as I do and avoid it until it dries out enough to be able to ride over it, which may take a day or two of dry weather.

It would help if the maintainance people who are suppossed to attend to the trails would be a little faster at keeping the trail clean since it doesn't go away once it is dry and just sits there waiting for the next rain to turn slick again.

Where do you ride?
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Old 03-10-12, 10:08 PM
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Jimbo, you have it pinned down! That section of the Salado Creek greenway is exactly where I'm talking about. The road gets it a little bit where the greenway goes under I-35. So far I've just been planning my route around it, but I've come to it since that first time and felt my tires slide.

The problem is that it can be a few days after the rain and the mud will still be wet, when the rest of the roads are completely dry. That was when it bit me in the butt (almost literally) the first time.

I think that a couple heavy rains that *don't* flood the greenway would wash some of it away; the problem is that the creek floods pretty regularly.
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Old 03-11-12, 12:02 AM
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This would probably get you the best possible grip in the silt, the only problem is it may wear out quicker than a "summer" tire but you could probably get away with them on the front only. http://www.conti-online.com/generato...Winter_en.html
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Old 03-11-12, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Jimbo47 View Post
To be honest with you, I don't think there is a tire made that can prevent you fron slipping and sliding on that slime since it is purely wet clay and even a knobby tire will just fill with the clay and be like riding a slick and your then back to square one.

Best advise is do as I do and avoid it until it dries out enough to be able to ride over it, which may take a day or two of dry weather.
+1
Part of my trail ride is along the rivers here and that stuff is slicker than deer guts on a door knob! Worse than wet leaves.

Studs would be best but really not practicle
avoidance or walking through there is probably the easiest option.
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Old 03-11-12, 08:55 AM
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1/2" thick? You may get marginal improvement with treaded tires but anything that's significantly better in that goo will have a downside on dry pavement. If the Dureme has softer rubber I'd pick that over the Mondial as it'll get grip on hard surface under the silt. Biggest difference will be to find another route.

One of the more distubing training rides I had years ago was a double paceline where I was on the right side dropping back, I immediately came on some 1/8" clay slip where the curb lane had a crown at the white line. As I pulled off the front I slid sideways about 3', once I got into clean asphalt I caught back up to the pack, they were waiting for the crash but I managed to stay upright.
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