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Safest all round tires for road riding in the rain?

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Safest all round tires for road riding in the rain?

Old 05-01-20, 06:47 AM
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Safest all round tires for road riding in the rain?

I've noticed that my schwalbe marathon tires are really good in the dry and OK in the wet, but some surfaces they don't really like. We have some mups that have this concrete rumble sections that seem to make my marathons slide in the wet. I've had these for about five months so the beads and residue should have gone by now. But I still don't find them confidence inspiring in the wet. I used Mitchellin pro race 3 tires for years and you could throw the bike into any corner seemingly at any speed in the rain, but I eventually I got sick of all the punctures and being late on my commutes. The marathons have been great in that regard and I've found the tread blocks useful when I've had to ride on dirt or mud where the pro race 3s would slide.

I'm thinking about switching back from 23C 25C too. Slightly Bigger contact patch might aid in the grip and confidence aspect. I expect most of this is a mind over matter exorcise.

What do you folks think? Is there a one tire that can do it all well or do you have to accept lower wet grip for a tire that can grip on a lot of surfaces averagely.
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Old 05-01-20, 07:00 AM
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I recommend round tires for all riding situations.
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Old 05-01-20, 07:37 AM
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Know your surface conditions...

Originally Posted by JayKay3000 View Post
What do you folks think? Is there a one tire that can do it all well or do you have to accept lower wet grip for a tire that can grip on a lot of surfaces averagely.
...and know your bike's capabilities. Decide accordingly. I have never found one tire (brand or design) to be grippier than another in wet conditions. I'm in my fifth decade of riding. There are different tread patterns that channel water, grip in loose situations, and provide tread while cornering hard, but these have little advantage in the situation that you are describing. Adjust your speed and technique accordingly.

Why would you use 23c tires? That's a discussion unto itself.

Surfaces or surface features that demand care when wet include: wooden bridges or walkways, railroad tracks, metal gratings or road plates, roots, stones, asphalt with a coating of oil/rubber, etc.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:12 AM
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28c tires, slow down in the rain, and slow down more for special hazards.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:42 AM
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I think the main thing that helps on wet pavement is a softer tread compound, but that is going to wear faster.

While knobbies generally do not help, some texture to the tread does when the pavement also has some texture. But not when you are talking about smooth surfaces like metal or paint on the pavement
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Old 05-01-20, 10:04 AM
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Before changing tires, I suggest playing with tire pressure. Reducing pressure a bit should improve grip and cornering in wet conditions.
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Old 05-01-20, 10:17 AM
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2" tires, with some siping. And some good rider decisions.
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Old 05-01-20, 04:39 PM
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Tread pattern matters little in a bike tire. Softer compounds and lower pressures can help, but unless you are racing just slow down and use common sense. Bike trires are going slow enough and have enough pressure on them that they aren't hydroplaning.

And stay off metal grates and paint lines in the wet, and definitely don't carry glass beer bottles in your shorts pocket. Don't ask me how I know...
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Old 05-01-20, 07:20 PM
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I really like my Michelin Pro-Tek tires. But, the smallest size they come in is 32mm.
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Old 05-01-20, 10:27 PM
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Pirelli Cinturato might be the ticket if you’re willing to go tubeless. It’s one of the few tires on the market that has a race level compound but also proper reinforcement - like Gatorskin level.

Specialized Turbo Pro and Roubaix Pro are also good bets.

IRC Formula X-guard is a pricey option. Not many reviews out there.

Panaracer Race D Evo4 also seems good.

I only have experience with the Turbo Pro but these are all tires with race compounds and tough carcasses.

Last edited by smashndash; 05-02-20 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 05-01-20, 11:52 PM
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In 700x25, Continental Grand Prix Classics (the skinwalls) have been pretty good on wet pavement. It's a sorta recreation of a popular 1970s-'80s tread, not quite slick, with a raised center section and combination of sipes and chevron tread on the shoulders. Black Chili compound, a thin puncture shield, not enough to make it feel sluggish. I've ridden 'em over 1,000 miles since last summer on my '89 Ironman and '93 Trek 5900. Nice riding tires, with a classic look. Price is somewhere between the cheap Ultra Sport II and the GP4k/5k tires. No puncture flats and only a few nicks in the tread. My only flat was a pinch flat after running over a broken cinder block last year.

Only slip I've had was on ice, a freak early spring bit of hail or sleet that left a frozen spot under a thawed puddle. But any tire without metal studs would have slipped on that stuff.

TBH, tho', Conti's cheap Ultra Sport II have been just as good with the lower spec rubber and slicks. No complaints.

If I had a road bike for commuting in rain and it had clearance for 700x28, I'd consider the Continental Contact Speed.

For my hybrid with larger tires, on wet pavement and some minor wet grass or damp gravel (no off road or muddy stuff):
  • Continental SpeedRides, only available in 700x42 (nominal, actually measure closer to 700x38) -- excellent all around tires. Great compromise between low rolling resistance, good grip in all conditions, good puncture resistance and incredible durability.
  • Conti Sport Contact II (now renamed Contact Speed) -- Various sizes. I think mine are 700x32. The shallow diamond/file pattern tread is remarkably grippy in rain. Rode 'em quite a bit last winter, no problems. They're about equal to the Schwalbe Green Guard and Michelin Protek Urban in puncture resistance, maybe a bit better in rolling resistance. Not my favorite hybrid tire but not bad at all as a compromise between good puncture resistance and low rolling resistance.
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Old 05-02-20, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Specialized Turbo Pro and Roubaix Pro are also good bets.
I can concur with this about the Roubaix Pro. I bought a pair for last year's Paris Roubaix sportive; they worked brilliantly on the pavé with not one slip or puncture and have done over 1000 miles since on some of the worst roads in Somerset in all weathers. Not a single puncture, and good grip in all weather conditions including a few frosty morning commutes.
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