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Best combined road / off road tire

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Best combined road / off road tire

Old 03-03-09, 04:47 PM
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RFC
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Best combined road / off road tire

I am primarily a road biker. I have just purchased a used cyclocross bike that I want to use for combined road, path, canel trail, fire road, etc., use. So, I am looking for tires that run smoothly on the road while having sufficient traction for light, nontechnical, offroad use. Puncture resistance is also a plus.

While it may seem that I am in the wrong forum, I figure that if there is one thing you guys know, it is tires.

What do you suggest?

Also, what about tire size -- 28, 32, 35?

Many thanks

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Old 03-03-09, 05:07 PM
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If the paths have soft surface like sand you will need 35s. I use 28s which are fine on hard packed dirt paths, but have been uncomfortable on sections with 1/4" gravel. The Panaracer Pasela TG foldable is light, but has a kevlar belt for moderate puncture resistance. Tread pattern is meaningless unless you want to ride through mud.
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Old 03-03-09, 05:13 PM
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I rode my entire tour on stock kendas 700x32c. They worked out great. I had no problems riding on roads or towpaths and I did my entire tour camping as well.

If I were you I would get the 32c Specialized Nimbus Elites. They are really great all around. Way better than stock for rain, road, and paths. Shouldn't have to worry about too many flats either.

My friend has a set that he uses for commuting and road riding. He loves them and can not stop talking about them. He used to get flats like on a weekly basis and has not had one since he put them on.

I use (right now) a Specialized Infinty on the back and the a bontrager race lite on the front. Both at 32c.

Let us know what you end up doing.
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Old 03-03-09, 05:31 PM
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I couldnt find a pic of the nimbus but this is what I ride on my rear and this is the step down.
These are the infinity.
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Old 03-03-09, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
If the paths have soft surface like sand you will need 35s. I use 28s which are fine on hard packed dirt paths, but have been uncomfortable on sections with 1/4" gravel. The Panaracer Pasela TG foldable is light, but has a kevlar belt for moderate puncture resistance. Tread pattern is meaningless unless you want to ride through mud.

+1 I haven't actually toured on this tire yet but I rode the D2R2 on 700x35s and they worked just fine. I rode the "long course" which worked out to about 112 miles, 70% on dirt roads (some of which were referred to as "jeep tracks", and these were fine. I was able to really bomb the descents and didn't lose traction on all but the steepest and loosest of climbs (as much as 20% grade). I'd hazard a guess that any solid touring tire in a wider than you might normally use width would be good. The main issues being pinch flats if you hit an errant rock or pot hole, and comfort over less-than smooth surfaces. As stated above unless you're hitting mud, or loose dirt, tread pattern isn't going to do much. Sand or loose rocks will mess with your day no matter the tread pattern too, but a fatter tire will usually fair better than a skinny in those conditions.
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Old 03-05-09, 10:08 PM
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Schwalbe Marathons work well for the mixed conditions you listed.
The widest you can fit, IMHO, will be more effective. Have ridden the regular
Marathons lots of km on dirt/gravel roads, plus a few logging roads, some cow paths,
limestone rock dust/chip trails and regular broken up paved surfaces- they are pretty
puncture resistant & long lasting.
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Old 03-05-09, 11:11 PM
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My vote is for Marathon XRs. They are extremely puncture resistant. They roll pretty smooth on road despite the road noise they produce. My current set of 700x35s has 3000 loaded miles and I only had one puncture. They are showing minimal wear and I expect to get 2-4000 more miles out of them. I've taken these tires on some poorly maintained fire roads and they kept they're grip flawlessly. Just the other day I rode with them in 1/4 inch of fresh wet snow on pavement and they didn't slip or skid once.
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Old 03-05-09, 11:36 PM
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When this question comes up here or on roadbikereview, the usual winners are:

dirt tire that works pretty good on road as well: Ritchey Speedmax. (said to be long lasting as well, and they're cheap).

road tire that works pretty good on dirt as well: panaracer pacella (i have these and like them a lot)
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Old 03-05-09, 11:44 PM
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I have used Schwalbe Marathon XR, the XR is an excellent tire in my opinion. It has a very high level of puncture resistance and offers great grip in the conditions you are looking to use your bike in.

Downsides are cost, and the high level of protection and longevity carries some weight penalty.

Schwalbe has a new one out this year, the Marathon Extreme. It is apparently a successor to the XR, they claim comparable (if not better) performance at less weight.
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Old 03-05-09, 11:49 PM
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Have a look at the Schwalbe Hurricane.

Originally Posted by Schwalbe
The Hurricane runs fast and quietly on asphalt. It has enough traction for occasional off-road use. In its folding version it comes in at just 560 g. RaceGuard protection provides optimal protection against punctures. Also available with Kevlar-MB-Belt and reflective lines as an everyday tire.

http://www.schwalbetires.com/node/1355
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Old 03-06-09, 08:16 AM
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On that same note, there are Kenda Kross's. Same concept. Flat in the middle of what looks like an MTB tire on the outside. My vote is still for the nimbus or the infinity. You will notice a HUGE different on the road in regards to noise, traction and puncture resistance. These tires are magnificent in the rain and the beauty is you can infalte them to over 100psi which will make your road riding way more efficient, comfortable, and manageable..
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Old 03-06-09, 09:12 AM
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If yer gonna get a true off road tire, I second the Ritchey Speedmax. The 42mm versions are the best rough dirt road tire I've used to date. They're pretty heavy in that size as they come in a steel bead, but they roll fast for a knoby and grip quite well in loose dry conditions. Still, I use them on the pavement mostly in order to get to the dirt roads, so my priorities might be different.

If pavement is just as important as dirt, I would get one of the many fine touring tires mentioned in at least 32mm, maybe as much as 38.
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Old 03-06-09, 10:15 AM
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I have recently put Michelin City Trekking tires on my old Trek 820 Antelope. 26x1.4. They are great on the pavement and do well on the gravel Forest Service roads. Most of my rides include both. This tire also comes in 26x1.8, 700x32 and 700x35. I would recommend the 700x35 if you do a lot of riding on gravel/dirt. I inflate mine to about 85-90psi. If I am going to be on gravel for a long time I'll drop that down to 65-70.

http://www.rei.com/product/768733

Last edited by sedges; 03-06-09 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 03-06-09, 10:22 AM
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+3 for Schwalbe: Marathon XR, Marathon, or Big Apple. The Big apple is my favorite, but I dont ride very fast when offroad ~ 12 MPH average.... if you want faster, the marathon has more tread for traction. The big apple light looks interesting if you want to weight the selection towards the road side of things.

I just used the big apples for a ~350 mile mostly offroad tour and was very satisfied.
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Old 03-06-09, 10:42 AM
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I've been using Vittoria Randonneur Cross and like them quite a bit. They're not too expensive, they have rolled over broken glass and various other crap and have not flatted, and they work well on dirt trails. I have yet to try them on gravel roads, but I would imagine they would handle it well. I use the 35c, but they're more like 32s...

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