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Completing a Century on a Hybrid/Comfort bike (26", 1.95 tires)

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Completing a Century on a Hybrid/Comfort bike (26", 1.95 tires)

Old 03-18-13, 10:45 AM
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Completing a Century on a Hybrid/Comfort bike (26", 1.95 tires)

Hello, everyone!

I have big dreams of completing a century in 4 months. The only bike I have is a Raleigh Venture "Comfort" bike, with nice fat 1.95" tires. Aside from training, which I recently started, I use the bike for riding around my area with my children, and on occasional somewhat long and very casual rides with grown up friends.

Is there any way to complete a century with those tires? Or are 1.95 way too slow and require too much effort? I'm on a somewhat tight budget, and don't want to invest into new tires unless I really have to.

I've done some reading, and some online resources say that 25mm is an absolute maximum for a century, while others say that they've done centuries on mountain bikes.

This would be my first century, so I have no personal experience, and am a newbie in ultra-long distances.

Thank you very much for your advice!

Elana

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Old 03-18-13, 10:55 AM
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If you are in good shape and don't mind a slower pace, a 26 inch tire will work.

I know a guy who does a 125 mile event on a Surley Pugley, and that has a tire bigger than 25mm;



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Old 03-18-13, 11:04 AM
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I have quite often ridden over 100 miles in a day on my expedition touring bike, on which I currently run 1.75" tyres. There's a weight penalty, but if you're fit enough and not in a hurry, there is no problem about riding big distances on big tyres.

Much more important is how comfortable you are on your bike. You're probably going to be out there for a while, and you need to have done enough long rides beforehand to reassure yourself that you aren't going to succumb to back pain, knee pain, saddle pain or whatever.

And just in passing, a century wouldn't normally be described as an ultra-long distance. Obviously it seems huge to a beginner, but the real ultra-distance guys (I'm not one of them) regard it as the minimum trip.
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Old 03-18-13, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
I've done some reading, and some online resources say that 25mm is an absolute maximum for a century
That's ridiculous. I've never done a century on tires so skinny.

Really, all you need is a bike that you're comfortable on, and don't dawdle too much during breaks. Centuries are largely mental.
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Old 03-18-13, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
If your in good shape and don't mind a slower pace, a 26 inch tire will work.

I know a guy who does a 125 mile event on a Surley Pugley, and that has a tire bigger than 25mm;



I hope to be in good shape by the date of the century, LOL. No, I don't mind a slower pace one bit, in fact I feel safer (one of the reason I picked the thick tires to begin with. Other being that I've never foreseen myself doing any long distance rides at the time of the purchase).

I'm just worried about not completing the distance during the 11 hours or so of official ride time..
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Old 03-18-13, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I have quite often ridden over 100 miles in a day on my expedition touring bike, on which I currently run 1.75" tires. There's a weight penalty, but if you're fit enough and not in a hurry, there is no problem about riding big distances on big tires.

Much more important is how comfortable you are on your bike. You're probably going to be out there for a while, and you need to have done enough long rides beforehand to reassure yourself that you aren't going to succumb to back pain, knee pain, saddle pain or whatever.

And just in passing, a century wouldn't normally be described as an ultra-long distance. Obviously it seems huge to a beginner, but the real ultra-distance guys (I'm not one of them) regard it as the minimum trip.
Got it.

OK, I stand corrected on the long distance classification. At this point, 100 mile finish line and the moon seem similarly far away to me . I hope to change that in the upcoming months.

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
That's ridiculous. I've never done a century on tires so skinny.

Really, all you need is a bike that you're comfortable on, and don't dawdle too much during breaks. Centuries are largely mental.
Phew, ok, thank you!

I'm pretty comfortable on my bike, thanks to an upgraded seat and very very steady hybrid tires. Good point about the mental toll!
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Old 03-18-13, 01:17 PM
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One thing to consider is how you ride.
With skinnier/lighter tires, acceleration is much easier.
IF you tend to vary your pace, every time you accelerate back up to speed, it takes extra energy.
Going uphill also takes extra effort.
Money may be tight, but something like these relatively inexpensive tires would make life so much easier.
I replaced the 26X1.50" tires on my "grocery getter" with these 1.25" and the difference was amazing.

http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...et-runner-tire
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Old 03-18-13, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
One thing to consider is how you ride.
With skinnier/lighter tires, acceleration is much easier.
IF you tend to vary your pace, every time you accelerate back up to speed, it takes extra energy.
Going uphill also takes extra effort.
Money may be tight, but something like these relatively inexpensive tires would make life so much easier.
I replaced the 26X1.50" tires on my "grocery getter" with these 1.25" and the difference was amazing.

http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...et-runner-tire
Thank you, I'll keep these in mind.

How much of stability do you lose going from 1.92 to 1.25? (Sorry for ridiculous question, I've never had thinner tires in my life)
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Old 03-18-13, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
Thank you, I'll keep these in mind.

How much of stability do you lose going from 1.92 to 1.25? (Sorry for ridiculous question, I've never had thinner tires in my life)
On good pavement, the skinnier tire is more stable. The skinnier is meant to hold higher air pressure and will keep it's shape in the corners better.
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Old 03-18-13, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
On good pavement, the skinnier tire is more stable. The skinnier is meant to hold higher air pressure and will keep it's shape in the corners better.
Thank you. I guess I'll see with training and longer distances how things are progressing, and maybe will switch to thinner tires in a couple of months.
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Old 03-18-13, 02:13 PM
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1.25" (32mm?) might be too narrow to be a reasonable fit on the rims on a 'comfort' bike, I'd suggest 1.50 as a realistic minimum size. look for tires with a high thread count, and relatively light weight, these will roll faster. Vitorria Randonneur Pro come in 26x1.50 (40-559) and would be an excellent choice, you'll probably need to special order these, or mail order.
http://www.amazon.com/Vittoria-Rando.../dp/B000OCZVYO

you'll likely want a smaller innertube for these, as the tubes in your 1.95's will not be happy stuffed into a 1.50. you'll also want to run a higher air pressure in the smaller sized tire, I'd guess maybe 65-75 PSI.
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Old 03-18-13, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pierce View Post
1.25" (32mm?) might be too narrow to be a reasonable fit on the rims on a 'comfort' bike, I'd suggest 1.50 as a realistic minimum size. look for tires with a high thread count, and relatively light weight, these will roll faster. Vitorria Randonneur Pro come in 26x1.50 (40-559) and would be an excellent choice, you'll probably need to special order these, or mail order.
http://www.amazon.com/Vittoria-Rando.../dp/B000OCZVYO

you'll likely want a smaller innertube for these, as the tubes in your 1.95's will not be happy stuffed into a 1.50. you'll also want to run a higher air pressure in the smaller sized tire, I'd guess maybe 65-75 PSI.
Thank you. I should probably visit a bike shop to make sure everything fits the way it should.

Why do you think I"d have to custom order these? Are they not the ones listed on Amazon (actually, I cannot find the specs in the amazon listing)
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Old 03-18-13, 02:39 PM
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Question: Looking at tires at amazon, and come across something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Cheng-Shin-C78...ity+tire+26%22

With a line in description that says : "This is NOT the same diameter as a fractional tire size such as 26" x 1 1/2"* "

What is a fractional tire size, and how does a 26" x 1 1/2" differ from 26" x 1.5"?

Thank you!
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Old 03-18-13, 02:40 PM
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what I meant, a local bike shop probably doesn't stock that tire, so they would have to special order it, usually takes most bike shops a week. or you can order it from Amazon or whatever...
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Old 03-18-13, 02:44 PM
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I wouldn't stress too much about the tires, honestly -- I used to ride all over the place on my hybrid, and while I have a road bike now, I've done 70-80 miles on the hybrid quite a few times. While good tires are really nice, the biggest issue I ran into was lack of hand positions -- my hands would start to go numb. If I were going to do a century on it now, I'd get some bar-ends to have another way to grab on. And if you don't have gloves and shorts that fit well, look at those.
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Old 03-18-13, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
Question: Looking at tires at amazon, and come across something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Cheng-Shin-C78...ity+tire+26%22

With a line in description that says : "This is NOT the same diameter as a fractional tire size such as 26" x 1 1/2"* "

What is a fractional tire size, and how does a 26" x 1 1/2" differ from 26" x 1.5"?

Thank you!

a source of endless confusion.

a 'fractional size' means a sie with a fraction like x 1-1/2 as opposed to decimal like 1.50 .... 26" 'fractional' tires fit a completely different rim size such as were used on old english 3-speeds. see http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html for the gory details. the ISO size is the safest way to go. 26 decimal sizes are xx-559 (where xx is the tire width in mm, like that rando pro I mentioned is a 40-559). 26" fractional sizes can actually be any of 3-4 different rim sizes, which is a real mess.

btw, Cheng Shin tires are the cheapest of the cheap. they range from barely OK to really awful. that tire probably weighs twice what the rando pro does in the same size.
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Old 03-18-13, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pierce View Post
a source of endless confusion.

a 'fractional size' means a sie with a fraction like x 1-1/2 as opposed to decimal like 1.50 .... 26" 'fractional' tires fit a completely different rim size such as were used on old english 3-speeds. see http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html for the gory details. the ISO size is the safest way to go. 26 decimal sizes are xx-559 (where xx is the tire width in mm, like that rando pro I mentioned is a 40-559). 26" fractional sizes can actually be any of 3-4 different rim sizes, which is a real mess.

btw, Cheng Shin tires are the cheapest of the cheap. they range from barely OK to really awful. that tire probably weighs twice what the rando pro does in the same size.
OK, got it! Thank you!

I just showd Cheng Shin tires here as an example that had that fractional warning. If I decide to upgrade, I'll definitely go with one of the recommended options. I guess I'll see when I get past the 50mile ride if I need to upgrade or not.
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Old 03-18-13, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
Question: Looking at tires at amazon, and come across something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Cheng-Shin-C78...ity+tire+26%22

With a line in description that says : "This is NOT the same diameter as a fractional tire size such as 26" x 1 1/2"* "

What is a fractional tire size, and how does a 26" x 1 1/2" differ from 26" x 1.5"?

Thank you!
http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
answers it better than probably any of us ever could.
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Old 03-18-13, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
I wouldn't stress too much about the tires, honestly -- I used to ride all over the place on my hybrid, and while I have a road bike now, I've done 70-80 miles on the hybrid quite a few times. While good tires are really nice, the biggest issue I ran into was lack of hand positions -- my hands would start to go numb. If I were going to do a century on it now, I'd get some bar-ends to have another way to grab on. And if you don't have gloves and shorts that fit well, look at those.
Thanks! I have bar ends and proper hand and rear end accessories on my shopping list .
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Old 03-18-13, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by elanamig View Post
OK, got it! Thank you!

I just showd Cheng Shin tires here as an example that had that fractional warning. If I decide to upgrade, I'll definitely go with one of the recommended options. I guess I'll see when I get past the 50mile ride if I need to upgrade or not.

re: training, I'd plan on doing a few 25 mile rides at a sustained increasingly faster pace til you can do that in about 2 or 2.5 hours with no breaks. then do a couple 50 mile rides, plan on a break every couple hours and allow 4-5 hours plus break times. then do a 75-80 miler, ditto rest for 10-20 minutes every couple hours., and of course, pace yourself. if the 75 miles doesn't leave you dying in agony then you're ready to try for 100

also, if you're getting aggressive with training, DO take at least one full day of rest off the bike a week for your muscles to recover.

on the longer rides (50 miles+), energy replenishment is critical. munch on an energy bar or two every hour, and HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE.
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Old 03-18-13, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by pierce View Post
1.25" (32mm?) might be too narrow to be a reasonable fit on the rims on a 'comfort' bike, I'd suggest 1.50 as a realistic minimum size..............
Bull! 26x1.25" are designed for MB rims. One would have to get a custom built wheel with extraordinary wide rims to come close to having any issues.
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Old 03-18-13, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Bull! 26x1.25" are designed for MB rims. One would have to get a custom built wheel with extraordinary wide rims to come close to having any issues.

I note also the OP's Raleigh has single wall low end Weinmann rims. I'd be worried about how much pressure those could safely handle. a 40mm, no big deal. a 32mm, you're getting up into the 80-90 PSI range. This Raleigh is a low end steel frame, 1x7 speed hybrid/comfort bike, http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/life...rt/venture-13/
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Old 03-18-13, 04:54 PM
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My "grocery getter" (86 Rockhopper) has OLD, USED low end Weinmans (for just a bit longer) and I have no qualms about pumping my 26x1.25's up to 105 PSI. No problems in 2 years.

I'd be more concerned about trying to ride a 100 mile trip with 40/14-34 gears.

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Old 03-18-13, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pierce View Post
re: training, I'd plan on doing a few 25 mile rides at a sustained increasingly faster pace til you can do that in about 2 or 2.5 hours with no breaks. then do a couple 50 mile rides, plan on a break every couple hours and allow 4-5 hours plus break times. then do a 75-80 miler, ditto rest for 10-20 minutes every couple hours., and of course, pace yourself. if the 75 miles doesn't leave you dying in agony then you're ready to try for 100

also, if you're getting aggressive with training, DO take at least one full day of rest off the bike a week for your muscles to recover.

on the longer rides (50 miles+), energy replenishment is critical. munch on an energy bar or two every hour, and HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE.
This is sound advice.

I say work with what you have for now and upgrade later, as your stamina increases, if so desired.

It would also be helpful if you learn how to fix a flat and carry a couple of extra tubes and tools with you for when you do your training rides. Nothing ruins a ride more than having to walk your bike home.
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Old 03-18-13, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pierce View Post
re: training, I'd plan on doing a few 25 mile rides at a sustained increasingly faster pace til you can do that in about 2 or 2.5 hours with no breaks. then do a couple 50 mile rides, plan on a break every couple hours and allow 4-5 hours plus break times. then do a 75-80 miler, ditto rest for 10-20 minutes every couple hours., and of course, pace yourself. if the 75 miles doesn't leave you dying in agony then you're ready to try for 100

also, if you're getting aggressive with training, DO take at least one full day of rest off the bike a week for your muscles to recover.

on the longer rides (50 miles+), energy replenishment is critical. munch on an energy bar or two every hour, and HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE.
Thank you for advice! I'll be working up to 25 miles during the next month, and signed up with a local bike club for a 26 mile ride in April. That will tell me where I am, and from that point I will begin more goal-oriented training. Based on online resources I think my training will consist of ~45 minute rides daily during the week (for a total of 30-40 miles or so), and one long ride on one of the weekend days, and the long ride will slowly and steadily increase in distance as the weeks tick by. I made a mistake in my original post - I have 5 months to prepare, not 4. I think it's doable. My training at the moment is still indoors on stationary bikes, because it's still snowing out here. Once I'll stop getting frostbite on my face, I'll start riding outside.

Food and drink - Yes! I already picked up that if I'm hungry or thirsty then its too late. Thanks for the reminder.
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