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Bicycle tires that are stable

Old 01-25-18, 11:28 AM
  #1  
lindafranc
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Bicycle tires that are stable

I ride about 7 miles a day on pavement which at times can be uneven, have gravel, get wet or even snow and ice at times. A few years ago I had really good tires but the bicycle store near me closed and I do not remember what the were.

Now I have these slim, treadless in the center of the tires with a little tread on the side of the tires (supposed to direct water away?). I have slipped on wet surfaces and gravel and do not feel secure even on perfectly dry surfaces. Last year I hit black ice and had a major fall and broke my shoulder. I no longer ride when there is ice or even the chance of ice. I do not think I would have fallen like that with my previous tires.

Are there any year-round bicycle tires that will be secure on the road? Any recommendation are greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-25-18, 11:37 AM
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It would help if you mentioned what type of bike you have or what your wheel size is.
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Old 01-25-18, 11:40 AM
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Stable? Genius.
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Old 01-25-18, 11:42 AM
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There is no single tire that is best for everything.

To start with, forget the notion your older tire would have prevented crashing on ice. It woulnnt have made any difference, and the only way To get traction on ice is with studded tires.

Slick tires preform as well as or better than anything on dry and wet pavement. Tires with more tread are better for sand and gravel, because as the tire starts to slip, short contact areas allow the sand or stones to escape, reestablishing traction faster.

In reality you need tread to the sides, but want a continuous center line for low drag on the pavement. So look for a tire which combines a smooth center with a decent tread pattern otherwise.
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Old 01-25-18, 11:43 AM
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Other than ice -- which requires studded tires in most conditions -- I can recommend two year-round, most-weather, most-terrain tires I've used:
Michelin Protek Cross Max
Continental Speed Ride

Both are excellent.

The Continental Speed Ride has a file tread or diamond type pattern. It grips very well on wet pavement. I've even ridden it on thin crusted snow on open fields. It rolls well on pavement and doesn't feel sluggish, and it feels stable and secure on groomed crushed limestone paths and most gravel roads I've ridden. It has good puncture resistance, but there is a tradeoff in puncture resistance in exchange for the relatively light weight (around 500g). I use these on my hybrid, which I ride the most.

The Michelin Protek Cross Max is by far the more puncture resistant, with both thick tread and a thick puncture shield. It's also twice the weight of the Continental Speed Ride, up to 1,100g for the 700x40 size. But it doesn't feel sluggish. Highly recommended if you need maximum puncture protection without going to tire liners or solid/airless tires. I use these on my errand bike so I don't need to carry a patch kit or pump.

You can save a little weight by getting the Protek Cross with the same grippy tread but thinner puncture shield; or the Protek Max with slighly thinner tread but still thick puncture shield. Michelin offers several varieties of the same Protek tire lineup.

Michelin also makes a Star Grip tire for wet and winter (not icy) conditions. However it appears to be an older design that doesn't have the better Aramid fiber puncture shields of the Protek series.
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Old 01-25-18, 12:05 PM
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3 wheels are more stable than 2.
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Old 01-25-18, 12:23 PM
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I am a big believer that the rubber compound itself makes a bigger difference than the tread pattern. I am not sure what is the best bet now for the OP since I do not know what, where or how she rides and I have been gravitating toward high end and therefore, expensive and somewhat flat prone tires. As all around very high end tires, I love the new Vittoria Corsa G+ tires, but at $70 retail and 28c max (and I believe only 700c) and no better than decent on cuts and flats, they aren't for everyone. They are however, very good gripping tires over a wide range of surfaces.

I believe I read on a recent post in another thread that one of the more durable Schwalbe tires (Marathons maybe?) were good gripping tires. The OP might try there or ask others who have used them.

Having tires too hard will make any tire much more slippery. The OP might try dropping the pressure in her tires. (If she dosn't have experience doing this, do it with a pump handy so letting too much out can be corrected.) Again, here is where I wish I knew what she was riding, especially the size (width) of the tire. For wet roads I like to see a nice bulge of the sidewalls with my weight on the bike. So the rim has come down perhaps 1/4 of the way to the pavement after I got on. (Too much and I will get regular "pinch flats" where I hit road irregularities and pinch the inner tube between the rim and the tire casing, leaving a characteristic "snakebite"; two small holes the width of the rim apart. The smaller the width of the tire, the more air pressure is required to prevent these snakebites. So with too narrow a tire, it is impossible to get a good flat-safe ride AND sufficient grip on wet roads to be secure.

So, OP, do your asking around re: better gripping rubber and look for bigger tires (making sure they fit in your bike with good clearance around the fork, chainstays and brakes). (And you see, we aren't just being nosy when we say we want to know what you are riding. There's a lot to consider.)

There are lots of good wet weather and bad road bikes and tires. There isn't one way to do this. But every bike has it's limitations. We want to help you get your's right. Tell us more!

Edit: and to pick a small bone with FB; there are non-studded tires that are far better than most on ice. 15 years ago Vittoria made a bright green cyclocross tire that was fun to ride on the slipperiest surfaces I could find (and stuck so well to dry pavement I kept thinking I might get a chunk of pavement wedged in my fender). I used to seek out puddles and leaves just to reduce the rolling resistance. And I now have the Continental Ice tires. I haven't tried them on a frozen pond, but snow, crusty snow and related ice are fun to ride on. (Leaves have to be treated with caution. Especially late fall and through the winter.) After they have partially rotted, the underside can slide like ice while your tire firmly grips the topside.)

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 01-25-18 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 01-25-18, 12:37 PM
  #8  
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Big +1 on the Corsa G+ tires! However again, it is important to know wheel size and tire clearance and conditions you are riding in?
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Old 01-25-18, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
There is no single tire that is best for everything.

To start with, forget the notion your older tire would have prevented crashing on ice. It woulnnt have made any difference, and the only way To get traction on ice is with studded tires.

Slick tires preform as well as or better than anything on dry and wet pavement. Tires with more tread are better for sand and gravel, because as the tire starts to slip, short contact areas allow the sand or stones to escape, reestablishing traction faster.

In reality you need tread to the sides, but want a continuous center line for low drag on the pavement. So look for a tire which combines a smooth center with a decent tread pattern otherwise.
+1
For years I ran a smooth center, knobbed-shoulder tire, when I had just one bike. It's a good compromise, but doesn't corner well, as you transition from smooth to knobby in the turn.

Simply wet streets shouldn't be slippery, even fo a smooth tire. Rather than water, the problem is motor oil and/or dirt that mixes with the water on the street surface.
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Old 01-25-18, 01:37 PM
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There is no tire that provides adequate traction on ice. Especially black ice. I live with ice and snow 6 months of the year - trust me.

On pavement, slick high-pressure tires provide the greatest traction and performance. Tires with knobs or grooves actually have less traction than slicks, as they deliver less rubber on the road. And the grooves and knobs squirm around while cornering, providing less stable handling.

Grooves on the tread: these are an idiotic feature, as bike tires cannot hydroplane. The only reason they exist on bike tires, is that new or uncritical riders won't buy tires without them. They see these features on car tires, and inappropriately think that this translates over to bikes. It doesn't.

If you are commuting through deep mud or dirt, then _maybe_ you need knobbies. Otherwise, these tires are just a major performance liability, and are actually less safe.
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Old 01-25-18, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
It would help if you mentioned what type of bike you have or what your wheel size is.
Thank you everyone who replied. First, I am currently riding a 2106 Trek Verve with the standard tires. I am not sure about the size tires but they are slim. Slimmer than my old tires on the Giant Cypress DX. I bicycle on pavement roads in the north east US. Most are in good condition but there are some potholes of varying depths, uneven surfaces, and gravel in places. There are some fairly steep hills I ride up and down daily. Vehicle traffic is fairly light with speeds from 20 to 40 mph and there is not much of a shoulder to ride on.

I find that I have dangerously slipped in wet conditions when braking and on gravel going into a turn. This never happened with my old tires. With my old tires I would go down hills at close to full speed. I felt totally secure. After my accident I go slow, and always wear a helmet. My old tires were quiet knobby and had a nice pattern.

I found a tire online called the Continental Four Season. Would this tire be what I need?

Last edited by lindafranc; 01-25-18 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 01-25-18, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
I ride about 7 miles a day on pavement which at times can be uneven, have gravel, get wet or even snow and ice at times. A few years ago I had really good tires but the bicycle store near me closed and I do not remember what the were.

Now I have these slim, treadless in the center of the tires with a little tread on the side of the tires (supposed to direct water away?). I have slipped on wet surfaces and gravel and do not feel secure even on perfectly dry surfaces. Last year I hit black ice and had a major fall and broke my shoulder. I no longer ride when there is ice or even the chance of ice. I do not think I would have fallen like that with my previous tires.

Are there any year-round bicycle tires that will be secure on the road? Any recommendation are greatly appreciated.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,Move to Florida ,,,,,
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Old 01-25-18, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
but there are some potholes of varying depths, uneven surfaces, and gravel in places.
What's your bike+rider weight, and what pressures are you running? Ruts and gravel is where running things on the soft side can help keep the contact wide and stable.

I found a tire online called the Continental Four Season. Would this tire be what I need?
Grand Prix 4 Seasons use a tread compound that's specifically made for wet traction, they work pretty well. Although, they only make them as wide as 32mm.
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Old 01-25-18, 05:16 PM
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My experience with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires is that they are grippy, and make good commuter tires. I assume they are similar to various Michelin Protek tires mentioned above. Also similar to the Panaracer Tour Guard (TG) tires.
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Old 01-25-18, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
I am currently riding a 2106 Trek Verve with the standard tires.
Tells me nothing about what size tires/wheels you have.
What pressure are you running?

I really like my Continental 4000 GPIIS (700c x 25 @ about 90psi)
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Old 01-25-18, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I am a big believer that the rubber compound itself makes a bigger difference than the tread pattern.
I'm a strong believer that you are correct. The effects of rubber compound are readily apparent when comparing summer and winter automotive tires. They feel apparent to me on bicycle tires too.

Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
Thank you everyone who replied. First, I am currently riding a 2106 Trek Verve with the standard tires. I am not sure about the size tires but they are slim. Slimmer than my old tires on the Giant Cypress DX.
My experience is that wider tires feel more stable. Your bike is spec'd with 35 mm wide tires. Those are pretty narrow, and it can be hard to say over the Internet what the widest tire is that would fit your bike's frame.
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Old 01-25-18, 05:35 PM
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I feel like part of the OP's problem isn't tires but riding technique and not riding according to the conditions. Unrealistic expectations might also be a factor.

Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
Last year I hit black ice and had a major fall and broke my shoulder.
Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
I find that I have dangerously slipped in wet conditions when braking and on gravel going into a turn. This never happened with my old tires. With my old tires I would go down hills at close to full speed. I felt totally secure.
Tires are not magic nothing short of studded tires is going to have proper traction on ice. Riding down wet hills covered with gravel at full speed is ill advised.

@lindafranc, I'm sorry to hear that you broke your shoulder but is it possible that you are simply riding too fast and expect too much from your tires? I would suggest learning about bike handling skills. There are lots of online sources and the League of American Bicyclists used to have a course which was very good.

Apologies if I'm off base.


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Last edited by TimothyH; 01-27-18 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 01-25-18, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
... First, I am currently riding a 2106 Trek Verve with the standard tires. I am not sure about the size tires but they are slim. Slimmer than my old tires on the Giant Cypress DX. ...

I found a tire online called the Continental Four Season. Would this tire be what I need?
Linda, I'd try the Schwalbe Marathon Plus in 35c. (I didn't check but 35c is a common size for a tire like that.) Clifford K recommended it and he lives in wet Eugene, OR.) Jonathon said the Trek is spec'd for 35c. I saw 45c on the website for the a women's model but I don't know if that is what you have. Still, 35c is a nice wide tire. IF you put them on and still have say 3/8" clearance all around, you could go to the 45s next time.

Good tires make a huge difference. I fell a bunch if times riding the Vittoria Rubino tires ~10 years ago riding slowly on wet brick. Went to the same company's dual treaded tires. Night and day! Never fell with them. Lost grip and had them re-grip a few times. 10 years later, the tires have changed a lot so don't use this paragraph as reference. I'm just backing your experience. Bike companies like to put on hard rubbered tires that roll fast and last. I, like you, want tires that keep me off the pavement.

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Old 01-25-18, 06:39 PM
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[QUOTE=TimothyH;20132000]I feel like part of the OP's problem isn't tires but riding technique and not riding according to the conditions. Unrealistic expectations might also be a factor.





Tires are not magic nothing short of studded tires is going to have proper traction on ice. Riding down wet hills covered with gravel at full speed is ill advised.
@lindafranc, I'm sorry to hear that you broke your shoulder but is it possible that you are simply riding too fast and expect too much from your tires? I would suggest learning about bike handling skills. There are lots of online sources and the League of American Bicyclists used to have a course which was very good.

Apologies if I'm off base.

I've been cycling for years and never had a fall until I got my newest bicycle. It could be the bicycle itself. The design is different than the Giant Cypress. It sits me different. But I think the tires are to blame overall. As soon as I get on the bike I lose confidence in how I feel on it. I did not feel this way at all on my older bicycles. The old tires were extremely stable. I rode over ice and snow with these. The new tires put me down in an instant.

It is my opinion now that bicycling in general is extremely dangerous. I will say though I think most accidents and serious injuries are preventable. So I will continue to use a bicycle as my main form of transportation but I want to get my risk to as close as zero as possible.

Last edited by lindafranc; 01-25-18 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 01-25-18, 06:47 PM
  #20  
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Be careful of ice and snow. I don't ride on snow much, but I will admit that some icy RR tracks took me down quickly a couple of years ago.

For wet, and general riding, try the Marathon Plus, Protek Max, or Protek Cross Max tires, and as mentioned, probably 35 to 40mm wide or so, if they fit your bike.

Good luck, and BE CAREFUL.
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Old 01-25-18, 08:26 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
I've been cycling for years and never had a fall until I got my newest bicycle. It could be the bicycle itself. The design is different than the Giant Cypress. It sits me different. But I think the tires are to blame overall.
Don't discount what you are feeling. As far as tire width, I found this thread on a different forum that might prove helpful:

Largest tires for Trek Verve 3- Mtbr.com

I know your shop near you closed, but is there any other shop you can get to? An experience mechanic would be able to help in figuring out how wide a tire you can fit into the frame.
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Old 01-26-18, 10:11 AM
  #22  
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Three Wheels

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
3 wheels are more stable than 2.
Yes. I thought about that. However where I currently live it would not be fun (hills) and would be dangerous (little to no road shoulder). But if I lived where you live, I am taking a guess as to where based on your name, it would be safe and an absolute joy.

I think I am going to go with the Marathon. Thank you everyone who replied. Very helpful.

Last edited by lindafranc; 01-26-18 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-26-18, 10:14 AM
  #23  
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have your middle ear checked your balance may be more problem than your tires. or just slow down..
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Old 01-26-18, 12:25 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
have your middle ear checked your balance may be more problem than your tires. or just slow down..
My balance is perfect. I definitely go slow now.
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Old 01-26-18, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by lindafranc View Post
...I am currently riding a 2106 Trek Verve with the standard tires. I am not sure about the size tires but they are slim. Slimmer than my old tires on the Giant Cypress DX...
Ah, that helps. Those are very different bikes. I have two very similar bikes, a Globe Carmel comfort hybrid with spring suspension fork like your Giant Cypress DX; and a 1990s Univega hybrid with rigid fork, comparable to your Trek Verve.

The Verve is a sportier bike, more responsive but also a bit twitchier compared with the Cypress. The handlebar is lower, your riding position is more forward and it will respond more readily to the rider and the road conditions -- for better or worse.

I felt very confident on the Globe Carmel, including on gravel and loose sand, with the 700x40 Michelin Protek Cross Max -- those tires run wider than specifications, closer to 700x45. At around 50 psi they felt very secure on wet pavement, gravel, sand, pretty much anything but gummy wet clay mud (yup, I tried -- had to wash the bike in a nearby stream to dislodge the gunk!).

The Univega hybrid demanded a different riding style. I really had to pay careful attention to my handling. And for awhile I swapped out the original flat handlebar in favor of a slight riser bar, around 1.5" of rise with a bit of back sweep. For the first year it was easier on my back and neck and eased me into better shape and more confident bike handling skills.

And I didn't care for the original tires. I tried two other sets before settling on Continental Speed Rides. Outstanding all around tires if the ride occasionally includes a bit of gravel, sandy trails, wet roads and slippery mud puddles. Stable, secure, confidence inspiring, but also responsive and not sluggish. I recommend these tires very highly for any hybrid bike that will be ridden on surfaces that aren't confined to decent pavement. They're available only in 700x42, although they actually run slightly narrower, and are just about perfect in that size. Run them at around 50-60 psi (not the 85 psi maximum) and they'll feel as secure as wider tires.

A good alternative might be the Continental Contact Speed tire, a somewhat similar design to the Speed Ride, but without the side knobbies (which are useful only on grass, not really even on gravel or sand).

And try reducing the tire pressure below the maximum printed on the sidewalls. Depending on rider weight it's usually possible to safely ride a much lower pressure with improved handling and comfort, without risking blowouts from pinching the tube when rolling over rough pavement, potholes, etc. I weigh 160 lbs and usually keep the Conti Speed Rides around 50-55 psi. Very comfortable and secure. I've ridden them at 75-80 psi and they don't feel any faster while the ride is rougher and less secure on patches of loose sand and gravel.

These two models of Continental tires are excellent values, often discounted on Amazon, Nashbar, Jenson USA, Discount Bike Tires and others.
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