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Using Mountain bike as road bike - Guidance

Old 07-03-22, 05:27 AM
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Using Mountain bike as road bike - Guidance

I have a Cannondale F2 MTB from 2020. I had ridden it for two years, mainly on paved trails. Got off the bike with (kids, wife, life). Now getting back into riding. I shoot for 80-100 miles a week. I can Avg about 14MPH, but it takes a lot of effort (more than I remember). Before, I would meander off the paved trail and onto more rugged terrain. Now, I rarely (if ever) leave the pavement.


Is there any advantage in switching to slick tires, or at least thinner hybrid tires? Should I look into a new bike? it is my main form of exercise as I can't run without getting excruciating back and hip pain.
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Old 07-03-22, 05:38 AM
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If you're only riding solo, you don't need to get faster unless you want to ride faster just for the heck of it.

Since you just got back to riding, your old cycling strength is gone. You'll have to train to get it back. It won't be overnight. Would take months.

I know quite a few "roadies" who ride with hardtail MTB with wide knobby tires on paved roads and able to hold 20 mph for long periods.

Give it two months and then decide if you got back your old performance back or you want to get even faster with better equipment.
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Old 07-03-22, 06:15 AM
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I like the idea of getting more street oriented or dual purpose tires. If you stay with it, then consider a new bike which will meet your needs.

As the above poster said, if you are riding alone speed doesn't matter. It is just a way to measure your improvement over a given route.
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Old 07-03-22, 06:22 AM
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I agree with the others.
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Old 07-03-22, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs
If you're only riding solo, you don't need to get faster unless you want to ride faster just for the heck of it.
...
I know quite a few "roadies" who ride with hardtail MTB with wide knobby tires on paved roads and able to hold 20 mph for long periods.
All that may be true, but riding wide knobby tires on paved roads just isn't as much FUN. If you know it will be smooth roads all the way, a set of road tires (or at least lightweight touring or hybrid tires) will be lighter and faster and the bike will handle much better.
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Old 07-03-22, 09:55 AM
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slick (and similar) tires will make a significant difference

the tires can / will weigh less - and will roll better (less rolling resistance)

but it still won't be a road bike (but for some that is not or barely a negative)


rode MTB with smooth tires on the roads for years during the colder/winter months ; used smooth tires in sizes from 26x1.0 back in the day to just fairly recently 26x2.15 (and many in-between)

this worked well for the shorter group rides - as long as everyone was on a similar bike ... if one person showed up with a road bike then there was some grumbling ... lol

Last edited by t2p; 07-03-22 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 07-03-22, 09:57 AM
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Cannondale 2020 F2 ?

not familiar with this bike

what size tires ?
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Old 07-03-22, 12:32 PM
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Tires, as already mentioned, and aerodynamics are going to affect you speed the most. If you have a 800mm width handlebar, you may want to consider something closer to 650-700mm.
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Old 07-03-22, 02:58 PM
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I'd at least swap out the tires if they are knobbies for a touring tire, perhaps a narrower one. Google "best bicycle touring tires".

The Schawalbe Marathon Plus HS440 comes highly recommended.

I used an old steel unsuspended mountian bike for road bike duty for a few years. It's stock tires where closer to a hybrid type with a center spine and a small pattern tread so I left them.

I found it too uncomfortable though so I replaced it with a comfort bike. The tall riding position took the pressure off my hands, and despite more weight on the seat, is much more comfortable down there thanks in part to a suspension seat post.

The aerodynamics of a mountain bike aren't that bad, They're probably heavier, But often not by as much as you might think compared some hybrids. For many folks a mountain bike with appropriate tires does a fine job. If you want speed/efficiency, By a drop bar road bike. I had one in my teens, I Have 0 interest in them now.It was unquestionably faster though, especially into a head wind.

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Old 07-03-22, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Hamzee
I have a Cannondale F2 MTB from 2020. I had ridden it for two years, mainly on paved trails. Got off the bike with (kids, wife, life). Now getting back into riding. I shoot for 80-100 miles a week. I can Avg about 14MPH, but it takes a lot of effort (more than I remember). Before, I would meander off the paved trail and onto more rugged terrain. Now, I rarely (if ever) leave the pavement.
Is there any advantage in switching to slick tires, or at least thinner hybrid tires? Should I look into a new bike? it is my main form of exercise as I can't run without getting excruciating back and hip pain.
Yes, of course. Thinner Slicks will be significantly 'faster' running. Also get tubes to match. Depending on your own mass, there's no reason to stay with a tire width intended for serious off-road riding.
There are good slicks for all the mtb wheel sizes. If complete slicks trouble you a bit, mentally; there are light 'file' tread tires which come close. A good, SUPPLE, lighter weight tire will be a joy to ride... no sense in plodding along on knobbies, you can get as good a workout on slicks and enjoy the process more.
There are a number of websites which can give you a good tire pressure start point based on your mass, the rim width (& size) and the tire specs... google bicycle tire pressure calculator.
and slicks, semi-slick will be fine on gravel trails, as long as you don't need to deal with mud...
"Hybrid' brings to mind cheap, stiff, unrelentingly harsh ride... read reviews, if the review sounds like it comes from someone knowledgeable about bikes.riding...
I had a Fisher Tassajara I had 'converted' to 'commuter' (2nd wheelset with 1.5" / 40mm width slicks) and rode 10 mi. each way for 8 yrs of commuting. It was a fun ride only reason I stopped using it was to 'loan' to another guy who needed something to ride... I think he still rides it , 10 yrs later...
don;t hesitate - all good!
Ride On
Yuri
Edit: I did after about 4 yrs, put a rigid fork on it, and drop bars...

Last edited by cyclezen; 07-03-22 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 07-04-22, 10:53 AM
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FWIW, I decided last year, at 73, to change out the knobby tires on my FS E-mtb and my Full Susp MB to discourage me from doing much off-road riding, figuring injuries today will be riskier than before. I put Maxxis Holy Rollers on both bikes and am very pleased because they ride/roll much nicer and much quieter on asphalt paths, etc. I did have to give up on tubeless too on both bikes; but, again, it was a very good move for me, and it may be a good direction for you. I've always stayed with 26" wheels for MTBing, and got four 26 x 2.2s for these bikes, along with Bell self-sealing tubes.

A few years ago, I also changed over the tires on my 8.5DS because I rode that mostly on asphalt, gravel. or easy dirt. There, I swapped stock relatively-knobby 38mms for Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS440s 45mms. Again, a great move. These tires made the DS my most flexible bike, and even though it's the heaviest of my non-e-bikes, it's the one I'm tossing in the allroad for up-north visiting and riding this summer. I'm sure I'll be riding mostly on asphalt with my Trek 820-riding friend, but we won't hesitate to take these into whatever inviting dirt paths we encounter.

Note that I had NO interest in slick nor thin, especially. I just wanted easier-rolling tires on these bikes that would still fit the kinds of bikes they are -FOR/TO ME- AND simply but effectively improve their rolling capacity. I sought to re-purpose my bikes, not transform them. Good luck with your change-over!

Last edited by BiciMan; 07-04-22 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 07-04-22, 07:56 PM
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Yes, slicks will help quite a bit. However, not all slicks are created equal. Some (like Rene Herse), roll incredibly fast. Others with cheap casing (Like the Kenda Kwest) ride like a garden hose: harsh and slow.
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Old 07-07-22, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Hamzee
I have a Cannondale F2 MTB from 2020. I had ridden it for two years, mainly on paved trails. Got off the bike with (kids, wife, life). Now getting back into riding. I shoot for 80-100 miles a week. I can Avg about 14MPH, but it takes a lot of effort (more than I remember). Before, I would meander off the paved trail and onto more rugged terrain. Now, I rarely (if ever) leave the pavement.


Is there any advantage in switching to slick tires, or at least thinner hybrid tires? Should I look into a new bike? it is my main form of exercise as I can't run without getting excruciating back and hip pain.
There's a big difference between mtb tyres and slick tyres. Slicker tyres have much more less rolling resistance. Converting the existing bike is the cheapest way, but with different bike with different geometry gives the best advantage on paved trails. You don't need to have drop bar on your bike. Narrower gravel or cyclocross tyres give a chance to drive also on gravel roads without bigger risk of falling on tight turns. Even cheaper is to pump up the existing tyres to max pressure, that gives better rolling.You lose a bit of the grip, but that doesn't matter, if you're mainly driving on asphalt or hard packed gravel. If you have suspension fork with lock option, you can also use it.
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Old 07-07-22, 09:50 AM
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My experience with putting slicks on mountain bikes is that you wind up with a pretty nice riding bike, but the gear ratios are a bit low.

as to whether you should, people have been putting slicks on mountain bikes to make commuter and utility bikes for 40 years now. Itís a better trick on a Hardtail than it is on a full suspension. Hard tails, especially general-use ones that donít cost too much, have a lot of friendly features like rack mounts, fender mounts, extra bottle mounts, and other places to put things. Full suspension bikes are usually awkward with no mounts for anything, no space for frame bags, and front shifting kind of a mess. They are only really good at being mountain bikes. There are some that are better than others depending on their suspension design and overall things have gotten a lot better in the last 10 years but thatís still generally true.

iím kind of confused about your bike because so far as google knows, the last time Cannondale made a F2 was in 2010, not 2020

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Old 07-07-22, 11:22 AM
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With 1.5" slicks, you'll be able to ride fast (enough) on pavement (or, at least the same speed as you're going, with much less effort), and still be able to take on most "gravel" roads and trails.. Rock gardens aren't fun, but that's why they make SPDs.
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Old 07-08-22, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta
Yes, slicks will help quite a bit. However, not all slicks are created equal. Some (like Rene Herse), roll incredibly fast. Others with cheap casing (Like the Kenda Kwest) ride like a garden hose: harsh and slow.
Do you work for Rene Herse? You sure name drop their tires a lot.
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Old 07-08-22, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71
Do you work for Rene Herse? You sure name drop their tires a lot.
Because their tires kick @$$
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Old 07-18-22, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Hamzee
I have a Cannondale F2 MTB from 2020. I had ridden it for two years, mainly on paved trails. Got off the bike with (kids, wife, life). Now getting back into riding. I shoot for 80-100 miles a week. I can Avg about 14MPH, but it takes a lot of effort (more than I remember). Before, I would meander off the paved trail and onto more rugged terrain. Now, I rarely (if ever) leave the pavement.


Is there any advantage in switching to slick tires, or at least thinner hybrid tires? Should I look into a new bike? it is my main form of exercise as I can't run without getting excruciating back and hip pain.
Hope it's not too late.

In general slicker tires mean better rolling resistance, but only if you get certain models. I recently had a chance to compare my friend's custom built Cannondale mountain bike with 26x2.2 tires and a Specialized Sirrus hybrid with 700x28 tires. The Cannondale was running pretty fast tubeless fat tires and it was a wow experience for me. With my bellow the average level of fitness the Cannondale was super easy to roll, it was significantly faster on the tarmac, on sand, on climbs, pretty much everywhere.

My advise, if your bike takes 26x2.2 tires try Continental Speed King II Race Sport, they have significantly better rolling resistance than most of gravel/CX/Touring tires. They are not the best tires for challenging mountain terrains, but should put a smile on your face on the tarmac. Anyway, do check this site before you buy your tire.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/mtb-reviews
https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...gravel-reviews
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Old 07-20-22, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by t2p
slick (and similar) tires will make a significant difference

the tires can / will weigh less - and will roll better (less rolling resistance)

but it still won't be a road bike (but for some that is not or barely a negative)


rode MTB with smooth tires on the roads for years during the colder/winter months ; used smooth tires in sizes from 26x1.0 back in the day to just fairly recently 26x2.15 (and many in-between)

this worked well for the shorter group rides - as long as everyone was on a similar bike ... if one person showed up with a road bike then there was some grumbling ... lol
to use these narrower tires on a mtb, do we need new wheels or can we use stock oem mtb wheels the bike comes with? thanks.
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Old 07-20-22, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Duo
to use these narrower tires on a mtb, do we need new wheels or can we use stock oem mtb wheels the bike comes with? thanks.
the stock OEM MTB wheels (rims) should work well

I've used smooth 1.0 to 2.15 size tires on the same OEM wheels (rims)

top pic - 26 x 1.4 tires are installed

middle pic - 26 x 1.5 tires are installed on the bike in front ; 26 x 2.15 tires are installed on the bike sitting directly behind it

bottom pic - gotta squint a bit - but to the left of the small tractor is a bike with 26 x 1.0 tires installed

I would not recommend the 1.0 size - tad too narrow ... (at the time seemed like a good idea lol)

Last edited by t2p; 07-20-22 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 07-20-22, 07:02 PM
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I've ridden 1.5" grooved slicks on a 26" mtb and maintained fairly fast road average speeds. It was fun. As someone mentioned though, the gearing was a little off for the speeds.
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Old 07-20-22, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by alexk_il

My advise, if your bike takes 26x2.2 tires try Continental Speed King II Race Sport, they have significantly better rolling resistance than most of gravel/CX/Touring tires. They are not the best tires for challenging mountain terrains, but should put a smile on your face on the tarmac. Anyway, do check this site before you buy your tire.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/mtb-reviews
https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...gravel-reviews
The Conti tires are great - but the Race Sport versions can be a challenge to find

Last edited by t2p; 07-20-22 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 07-20-22, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by t2p





the stock OEM MTB wheels (rims) should work well

I've used smooth 1.0 to 2.15 size tires on the same OEM wheels (rims)

top pic - 26 x 1.4 tires are installed

middle pic - 26 x 1.5 tires are installed on the bike in front ; 26 x 2.15 tires are installed on the bike sitting directly behind it

bottom pic - gotta squint a bit - but to the left of the small tractor is a bike with 26 x 1.0 tires installed

I would not recommend the 1.0 size - tad too narrow ... (at the time seemed like a good idea lol)
thanks. normally i ride road bikes, but would like to use my mtb a bit more on the road without additional wheel expense. currently i ride a touring bike with wide tires and so much more comfortable over a narrow tire road bike.
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Old 07-21-22, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p
The Conti tires are great - but the Race Sport versions can be a challenge to find
Oh... Jusk checked with Continental UK, these are discontinued already. My advise for everyone to grab a pair if you can find one. If not, why not to go for the next one in the BijeRollingResistance table?

Thunder Burt Super Ground Addix Speed

Here is the link to the table again: https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/mtb-reviews
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Old 07-26-22, 10:20 PM
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I have an old Fisher Mt Tam bike I still ride, bought in 1985. I had the fat, knobby tires for years, but I've been away from the rocky trails for a long time, and finally replaced them with Continental Ride Tour tires from Amazon. Don't know if they're that fast, but they are smooth and quiet. I put them on the same rims as the 2 1/4 in knobbies.
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