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Tyre advice for MTB used mainly on-road

Old 09-07-20, 04:32 AM
  #1  
pstares
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Tyre advice for MTB used mainly on-road

Hi all,

Iím looking for some advice on tyres please -

I have a Scott Voltage MTB from circa 2002-2004 which, having not been used much for most of its life, has started having a lot of use recently in these times of COVID.

Itís still on the original fit tyres as supplied which are 26x1.95, whilst they are quite usable and not perished or any issues like that, they are off road tyres and most of the riding I am doing is on road with the occasional bit of gravel / towpaths etc so was looking for something better suited with lower resistance.

I have been given a set of Specialized Nimbus road / hybrid tyres (26x1.50) which are a few years old and lightly used, they fit the wheels perfectly but my current inner tubes are too big.

Whilst weíre not exactly talking huge sums of money to buy smaller inner tubes, before I splash out I wanted to check whether these tyres are a good choice for what I need or am I better just putting the money towards some new, wider, hybrid tyres?

In particular I was wondering about tyre width vs ride quality, and how well suited to the occasional gravel or light off-road use these would be?

Thanks
Pete
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Old 09-07-20, 05:03 AM
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subgrade
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If you're not a very heavy rider, 26x1.50 should do fine on gravel and similar surfaces.
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Old 09-07-20, 05:06 AM
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pstares
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
If you're not a very heavy rider, 26x1.50 should do fine on gravel and similar surfaces.
Thanks for the feedback - Iím currently around 90kg / 200lbs, though hoping the cycling will bring that down a bit...
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Old 09-07-20, 05:55 AM
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They'll do good for whizzing along paths, not as good on gravel, and be careful on rocky stuff for pinch flats.
Wider tyres are definitely better for bouncing up and down curbs etc and will ride smoother.. Something like Schwalbe Big Apples for example.
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Old 09-07-20, 07:04 AM
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Jeff Neese
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You're opening up a can of worms when you ask a group this size "what tire should I buy?". You're going to get a lot of suggestions. The first thing that comes to my mind are Continental Travel Contacts.

Those Specialized Nimbus are not "premium" tires, like Continental or Schwalbe. They're only 30TPI and even though they're narrower than the Travel Contacts, they're actually heavier.

Like I said, you'll get a lot of different suggestions, but it's worth buying good tires. Continental, Schwalbe, and Maxxis all make great tires and are worth the extra money over the bike store service brands like Specialized or Bontrager. Tires are not the place to economize when it comes to your bike.
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Old 09-07-20, 09:47 AM
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ofajen
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Install Continental Contact Speed 26x2.0 or better Rene Herse Rat Trap Pass and you will think you have a completely new bike.

Otto
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Old 09-07-20, 10:18 AM
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Just use your original tires until they wear out and then replace them ..Personally I use my mountain bike on pavement and off road so I prefer to run knobby off road tires all the time. There are some knobby tires out there that roll pretty fast on pavement when pumped up hard....Running narrow slicks on a mountain bike is just wrong, it's like putting low profile rims and racing tire s on a Jeep, looks terrible.
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Old 09-07-20, 10:19 AM
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I've been using Schwalbe marathon 47-559 for many years..



Bike came with Continental Travel Contact, which is good for dirt roads too ..
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Old 09-07-20, 10:56 AM
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I have 700x35mm Nimbus tires on my touring bike. Mine have the 'blackbelt' flat protective layer, but I believe the tires are/have been available without that feature.

THe Nimbusses are very good tires. They roll a little more slowly than the Panaracer Pasela (no flat protective layer) tires I replaced but my rate of punctures has gone way down.

If riding primatrily on road or hard packed surfaces, those tires will be fine. You should be aware that the smaller diameter tire will make it so you feel like you are riding a larger cog (lower gear). If you could cruise on flat ground in 44x18 with 2.1" knobbies you will likely have about the same speed with 44x16 or 15 riding 1.5" wide slicks.
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Old 09-07-20, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pstares View Post
Thanks for the feedback - Iím currently around 90kg / 200lbs, though hoping the cycling will bring that down a bit...
You'll likely be fine with the 1.5. And if you really want to cheap out, see if the bigger tubes work with the narrower tires. I think it's okay, it's going the other direction that generally causes problems.
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Old 09-07-20, 12:22 PM
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This is what I put on my gravel/commuter/beater bike: TIRE 26x1.95 KENDA SLICK K-838 You likely don't want anything knobby since that increases the rolling resistance, and since you're riding mainly on-road something that's more slick than knobby will work just fine. I'm sure the 26x1.50's you have will likely work. You've already got them, so might as well put them on and wear them out. If you don't like them, then you can always put something else on.
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Old 09-07-20, 12:34 PM
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I run 26x2.1" Schwalbe Big Ben's. Nice tire, easy rolling, fast and cushy ride. Big Apples are a lighter version of the Ben's. (Actually the Ben's were developed as a more robust version of the Apples.)

Might also give this thread a read:

The 26" Tire and Wheel Thread
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Old 09-07-20, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
You'll likely be fine with the 1.5. And if you really want to cheap out, see if the bigger tubes work with the narrower tires. I think it's okay, it's going the other direction that generally causes problems.
Thanks, did try the existing inner tubes already but no luck there, they were too big and would have been folding over themselves in places so thought it best avoided!
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Old 09-07-20, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
This is what I put on my gravel/commuter/beater bike: TIRE 26x1.95 KENDA SLICK K-838 You likely don't want anything knobby since that increases the rolling resistance, and since you're riding mainly on-road something that's more slick than knobby will work just fine. I'm sure the 26x1.50's you have will likely work. You've already got them, so might as well put them on and wear them out. If you don't like them, then you can always put something else on.
Only problem with those big slicks is you really want to avoid running over wet metal. I'm not telling the stories about wet trolley tracks and a metal grate bridge, but take my word on it. Otherwise, those tires really are fun to ride on.
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Old 09-07-20, 08:33 PM
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Kenda Krisp 26x 1.5 Never shopped or compared or knew about tires when I got them but they've lasted for years. Kinda smooth in the middle and knobby on the outside edges. Plenty of road riding and lots of dirt winding through the hills on what out here are called fire roads
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Old 09-07-20, 09:10 PM
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Try the Silca tire pressure online tool. You'll have to measure the ACTUAL width of your tires, not what the tires say on the sidewall.
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Old 09-08-20, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Only problem with those big slicks is you really want to avoid running over wet metal. I'm not telling the stories about wet trolley tracks and a metal grate bridge, but take my word on it. Otherwise, those tires really are fun to ride on.
Trolley/tram tracks are to be treated with extra care on any tires, that's a thing that everyone who commutes where they are present has to learn better sooner than later, and better not from one's own experience.

I have made it an instinct to adjust my trajectory to cross the tracks at a wider angle whenewer I need to. I think there has been only one instance in 5 years of commuting in city with tram tracks, when I rode along on a track for a short bit: I was riding along a cobbled street with tram tracks in the middle where roadworks were still in progress. The street wasn't closed to traffic, but there were several local obstacle zones - and at least one of them was not demarcated properly. I found that out only when I swerved around an obstacle on the side, towards the middle of the street, just to see that there is a 5 ft deep trench dug across the street right in front of me. There were two options - slam the brakes and hope that I can stop before the trench (unlikely on the wet cobbles) or cross the 6-7ft wide trench over one of the 4 tram tracks that were bridging the trench. I doubt I'd pull it off if I'd have any time to think about it, but as it was, I chose the second option without any thought and made it over succesfully before I had a chance to get scared.
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Old 09-08-20, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
Trolley/tram tracks are to be treated with extra care on any tires, that's a thing that everyone who commutes where they are present has to learn better sooner than later, and better not from one's own experience.

I have made it an instinct to adjust my trajectory to cross the tracks at a wider angle whenewer I need to. I think there has been only one instance in 5 years of commuting in city with tram tracks, when I rode along on a track for a short bit: I was riding along a cobbled street with tram tracks in the middle where roadworks were still in progress. The street wasn't closed to traffic, but there were several local obstacle zones - and at least one of them was not demarcated properly. I found that out only when I swerved around an obstacle on the side, towards the middle of the street, just to see that there is a 5 ft deep trench dug across the street right in front of me. There were two options - slam the brakes and hope that I can stop before the trench (unlikely on the wet cobbles) or cross the 6-7ft wide trench over one of the 4 tram tracks that were bridging the trench. I doubt I'd pull it off if I'd have any time to think about it, but as it was, I chose the second option without any thought and made it over succesfully before I had a chance to get scared.
Good reminder. Also, wet conditions at night can actually make it harder to see that there are tracks in the road as the lights reflect off the wet pavement.

OK, now I have to tell my trolley track story because I was actually quite adept at crossing them when it happened. I lived in New Orleans in the mid-1980s, and discovered that not only did they wash the streets with water, they actually put soap on the road. I also discovered simultaneously that there is no safe angle at which to cross a soapy train track. The balloon slicks definitely did not help, but I didn't care to repeat the experiment with other tires..
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Old 09-08-20, 07:14 AM
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I just swapped out my knobby tires for these Giant FlatGuard PPT 26 x 1.95 on my 1987 Raleigh Mountain Tour. The tires are made by Kenda with the Giant name on them. A lot less rolling resistance and they can still be used for dirt trails. I was very happy with them after I got them on the bike yesterday and road around for a while. Very different and smoother ride on the pavement compared to the knobby tires.

https://bicyclewarehouse.com/collect...1-95-bike-tire
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Old 09-08-20, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Only problem with those big slicks is you really want to avoid running over wet metal. I'm not telling the stories about wet trolley tracks and a metal grate bridge, but take my word on it. Otherwise, those tires really are fun to ride on.
Luckily out in the country there's not a lot of wet metal to ride over, maybe on a bridge here or there.
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Old 09-10-20, 06:38 AM
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Thanks all for the tips, lots of useful information and points to consider.

As a further question on this, at what point does weight become a consideration for different sized tyres? So for example, if I was to stick with the 26x1.5 tyres and got in to touring or bike packing, how much weight could I reasonably carry (panniers, frame bags etc) before getting in to dodgy territory and warranting bigger tyres?

In practice itís more likely to be a pannier with a laptop and a few clothes for commuting than anything much more substantial but I guess the same principal applies...

Thanks
Pete
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Old 09-10-20, 06:58 AM
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Be careful in your search. I recently made a switch from stock MTB tires to something smoother, I went with the Continental Contact Cruiser. I did notice an increase in speed (about .7 mph faster), but I had to work harder because the tires were heavier. The flats and downhills were nice but anything with an incline took a little extra compared to my stock tires. My stock tires weighed 640 grams each, and the new tires weighed 1025 grams each.

Dont know if it will help but here's a link to the thread I started regarding my tire change out ......
Looking to change my MTB tire to something smoother
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Old 09-10-20, 06:59 AM
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Iv done a similar swap on an old XC bike I have. Swapped the nobbly tyres it came with for some schwalbe land cruisers.

there a little on the heavy side due to the puncture protection strip but roll nicely on tarmac and gravel. should be ok in the wet too. Iíd stay away from wet mud on them tho as there a little slick.

Nice and cheap too. also have a decent reflective sidewall strip. They make great all year round commuting tyres.
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Old 09-10-20, 12:02 PM
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I have Panaracer Gravelking SK 26 x 2.1 on 23mm inner WTB rims on two of my 26" rigid bikes. Ridden mostly on MUT trails and around town. Light off road (easy MTB trails & gravel trails) are doable while still being able to roll fast on pavement.
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