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From Fat to Skinny

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From Fat to Skinny

Old 04-29-13, 09:52 PM
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From Fat to Skinny

I recently moved back to a skinny tire from some big fatties on my commuter and thought I'd give a few of my impressions.

The former tires of which I logged about 800 miles on are Schwalbe Big Apple 2.35"
The new tires are Nashbar Streetwise city tires 1.5"
Both on a 26" wheel.

The nashbars are light and the big apples heavy. Very heavy. I lost over a pound per wheel in weight.

I expected to gain some speed with the thinner and much lighter rubber. This didn't happen. My average speed on my commute is pretty much identical.

With the thin tires I feel that I can accelerate a bit quicker. The bike feels much lighter.

The the thin nashbars do not roll as well as the big schwalbes. There's less downhill acceleration and whatever gains in getting up to speed do not carry over in maintaining velocity. I think the rotational mass of the big tires might actually help me maintain a more steady pace.

My hill segment times have improved with the thinner tires, and I subjectively feel that hills are a tad easier.

The thin tires don't ride as rough as expected. The big apples do ride like a full suspension in comparison, but I'm still comfortable over rough road on the new tires.

I think a 1.5" tire with a higher max psi would be better for me. Even at the max 60psi I feel like the tires might be deforming too much. I'm not a light rider (225lb).

I plan to put another 300 or so miles on these to learn a bit more about what is right for me. At this point, I'm thinking a slightly wider tire might be the ticket. The big apples are fun tires to ride, but I really do feel like I'm driving the tires. I don't really care for them past mile 15 or so in a ride.
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Old 04-29-13, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mattgmann
I recently moved back to a skinny tire from some big fatties on my commuter and thought I'd give a few of my impressions.

The former tires of which I logged about 800 miles on are Schwalbe Big Apple 2.35"
The new tires are Nashbar Streetwise city tires 1.5"
Both on a 26" wheel.

The nashbars are light and the big apples heavy. Very heavy. I lost over a pound per wheel in weight.

I expected to gain some speed with the thinner and much lighter rubber. This didn't happen. My average speed on my commute is pretty much identical.

With the thin tires I feel that I can accelerate a bit quicker. The bike feels much lighter.

The the thin nashbars do not roll as well as the big schwalbes. There's less downhill acceleration and whatever gains in getting up to speed do not carry over in maintaining velocity. I think the rotational mass of the big tires might actually help me maintain a more steady pace.

My hill segment times have improved with the thinner tires, and I subjectively feel that hills are a tad easier.

The thin tires don't ride as rough as expected. The big apples do ride like a full suspension in comparison, but I'm still comfortable over rough road on the new tires.

I think a 1.5" tire with a higher max psi would be better for me. Even at the max 60psi I feel like the tires might be deforming too much. I'm not a light rider (225lb).

I plan to put another 300 or so miles on these to learn a bit more about what is right for me. At this point, I'm thinking a slightly wider tire might be the ticket. The big apples are fun tires to ride, but I really do feel like I'm driving the tires. I don't really care for them past mile 15 or so in a ride.
Michelin Run'R 1.5 26" tires are good for 87psi. I run them at 75, tubeless, on my mtb commuter...
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Old 04-29-13, 11:11 PM
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Pretty much that's all you can really expect because skinnier tires change your sustained or top speed too much. As you've mentioned, the lower weight only changes how fast your wheels can accelerate pos or neg because of reduced inertia. Difference in rolling resistance is probably trivial. There is likely a big difference in aerodynamics, but that doesn't really matter until you're going like 20 MPH.

How much do you want to spend on tires? Panaracer Tserv are pretty nice, but they're around US$40 each. I think you can get it in 1.75" which is fairly close to the 700x42 (1.6") tires that I'm running on my rigid hybrid commuter.

Believe it or not, cutting out one or two pounds from each wheel on a car makes a noticeable difference also.
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Old 04-30-13, 12:26 AM
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Thanks for the comparison. If I didn't have so many hills I would have bought big apples by now.

The Continental Sport Contact comes in a 1.6" 80 PSI. Not the longest lasting tire but I like them. I only weigh 160 max.
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Old 04-30-13, 08:13 AM
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I also like the Continental Contacts and the TServs in 26". Have an old school conti contact w/ 7000 +/- miles and only 1 or 2 flats. Mostly used on front.

However, you would have to pry my big apples from my cold hands. I am running the 26 X 2.15's, Performance line. The higher end BA's are lighter and have a more supple sidewall. Makes a difference in weight and ride compared to the 2.35's, reg wire bead.
Only time they feel slow at all is when loaded, pulling a trailer, pointed uphill. Feel just a bit squishy w/ some loss of energy. Gotten used to it though because that con is worth the fast, smooth ride, especially when up to speed on our rolling hills.

I have had excellent life from the conti's, the panaracers, and also, maxxis overdrives in the 26" size.

Ride lots. Have fun. Stay safe.
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Old 04-30-13, 08:56 AM
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I'm building my self a xtracycle with 26'' wheels. I already have fatty slick 26x1.95 and I was thinking about putting 26x 1.5 but if I get you all correctly I'd better keep my 26x1.95 right? The bike will probably always be quite loaded when I use it.
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Old 04-30-13, 09:07 AM
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I may go back to the big apples, or at least keep them on a spare wheelset. I kind of have my eye on these, https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...thon_racer_429

They seem to have everything I'm looking for. I'll put some wear on these cheapy nashbars first though.
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Old 04-30-13, 09:24 AM
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Also keep in mind that comparing the rolling resistance of a high quality fat tire to a cheap skinny tire may not exactly be fair.
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Old 04-30-13, 11:53 AM
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I would consider those Nashbar Streetwise neither skinny nor light.

I've got some 26x1.25" Panaracer T-Servs which roll really well. They weigh 240g each (claimed), and at 32mm wide are still one of the fattest slick tires I own. (Yes, I'm a weight weenie.)

That said, I'm not at all surprised that your average speed didn't change much. Lighter tires feel very different, and I personally believe that over a long enough ride you fatigue sooner with heavy tires, but the differences in actual speeds are minuscule, even in theory. Rolling resistance as a product of tire construction and rubber quality is often a much bigger factor than weight.
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Old 04-30-13, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
Also keep in mind that comparing the rolling resistance of a high quality fat tire to a cheap skinny tire may not exactly be fair.
For sure. Though the nashbar tires do seem of decent quality considering the price.
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Old 04-30-13, 07:09 PM
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Let me just point out that 2.35" is not fat, and 1.5" is not skinny.

Thanks to the weather we had here last week I rode my 4.8" wide tires on the fat bike (12 psi), 35mm on the commuter (60 psi), and 23mm tires on the road bike (120psi) and they were all awesome. Sure, different bikes, differnet conditions, different speeds, and oh yeah different clothes! Some folks ride fat bikes (4+" tires) 365 days a year and love them to death. Others will only ride high pressure (21-23mm) race tires and would never even consider anything wider.

My point is, there is a right tire for you and your bike and your preferences. It could be any of them, The more you ride the more you'll know what you like. There is no right or wrong, what's right for you is all that matters. I just happen to like them all, Different strokes ya know...

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Old 04-30-13, 07:24 PM
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Currently running skinny tires. I run from 26x2.35 Big Apples to 700x25 Conti GP4s on my Surly Troll. It really changes the ride and handling.
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Old 05-01-13, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by AusTexMurf
I also like the Continental Contacts and the TServs in 26". Have an old school conti contact w/ 7000 +/- miles and only 1 or 2 flats. Mostly used on front.
I have no idea how many miles are on mine and they aren't quite done for, it just seemed like I noticed wear much quicker than other tires. Relating to your post, the rear position is wearing much faster than the front (also relative to other tires) and I should probably rotate them next time they get swapped. The only flats I get with them is during the upcoming blackberry season, when I switch to some noticeably harder to push 1.75 Schwalbe Citizens (not recommended if you want a "fast" tire).
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Old 05-01-13, 01:14 PM
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Did you remember to recalibrate your speedometer, Matt? By my math, your tires lost 1.7" in diameter.
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Old 05-01-13, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dramiscram
I'm building my self a xtracycle with 26'' wheels. I already have fatty slick 26x1.95 and I was thinking about putting 26x 1.5 but if I get you all correctly I'd better keep my 26x1.95 right? The bike will probably always be quite loaded when I use it.
I'd go with the wider tires. Not only will you be carrying more weight,but the extra length of longtails gives more leverage to bumps in the back. Instead of the bump-bump of a regular bike,you get a bump...Bump! on a longtail.

Before I got my Big Dummy(all steel,2" BA's) I was considering a Gary Fisher(all alloy,1.5" Bontragers). So glad I got the Dummy instead.
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Old 05-01-13, 04:20 PM
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I've always wanted a Big Dummy just because the name is so cool. A Kona Ute would be nice too, but I'd have to get two Utes to get the same cool name factor.
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Old 05-01-13, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder
I'd go with the wider tires. Not only will you be carrying more weight,but the extra length of longtails gives more leverage to bumps in the back. Instead of the bump-bump of a regular bike,you get a bump...Bump! on a longtail.
Are you referring to actual stresses on parts? I ask because I've only ever known longer wheelbases to ride better, which makes sense because the rider is, relatively, closer to the fulcrum that the front wheel acts as when the rear hits a bump.
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Old 05-02-13, 12:35 PM
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I've ridden the same pair of streetwise (26x1.5) the past couple summers and liked them. I recently switched to some fatter paselas, 1.75, and dont like them as much. cant say for sure why, maybe just familiarity. Still at 10bucks a tire the streetwise have been great.

also tried the cyclops cst (2.4) for a little while and those felt pretty sluggish
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Old 05-02-13, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by tdister
Are you referring to actual stresses on parts? I ask because I've only ever known longer wheelbases to ride better, which makes sense because the rider is, relatively, closer to the fulcrum that the front wheel acts as when the rear hits a bump.
No I mean you actually feel bumps in the rear more. The BD has a really long wheelbase,but the rider is towards the front(about the front 3rd of the bike) instead of the middle on regular bikes. So when I'm loaded up for my bike clinic,there's 180lbs of rider weight biased towards the front with 45lbs of gear weight biased towards the back. There's a noticeable lag between the front and rear wheels hitting a bump,and the longtail acts as a lever to make you feel it more.

I have one of the original models with the old style snap rack. It jettisoned on me three times when the main road I take was under construction. Had to buy the new version rack hooks to keep it in place.
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Old 05-02-13, 05:14 PM
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I can see both sides of the coin. One skinnier tires are easier to pedal fat tires takes a little more effort. If going long distance over 5 miles I would rather have smaller tires bad roads or not on my mtn bike turned commuter. I run the skinny pan racer pro v 26x1.50 I also have fatties to 26x 2.25 I run on my mongoose mtn bike. I can really tell a big difference in them like nite and day. On the skinnier wheel I dont half to exert much power to keep 12 mph. On the fat tires I exert double if not triple the power to get to the same speed .plus skinnier tires make the bike very responsive the fatter the tire it seems more sluggish to me .
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Old 05-02-13, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder
No I mean you actually feel bumps in the rear more....
I think I see what you mean. It seems I've only heard them riding better. I do remember someone saying that they learned to stop unweighting the seat on bumps with their BD. It was described more as not enough weight on the rear more than any leverage issues. I've never ridden anything longer than my LHT afaik.

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Old 05-02-13, 06:33 PM
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Sorry but 1.5 inches is not skinny.

The width of the tire is only one part of the equation. For example, I run 25s on 19mm (internal) rims. This results in a totally different feel from a 25 on a conventional road rim.
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Old 05-02-13, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Did you remember to recalibrate your speedometer, Matt? By my math, your tires lost 1.7" in diameter.
My speedo is my phone (gps). Thanks for the thought though.
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