Fast 26" tires for road and pavement:



danielhaden

New Member
Jan 17, 2006
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Some reports on two faster 26" tires.

Serfas Barista at 26" x 1.25" is considerably faster than others of its size. However, it is quite cushy and has "crit stripes" for secure steering; so, if you're heavy, consider a Specialized Fatboy on the back and a Barista on the front.
Barista is a super-light anti-flat product, and as such can protect Kenda Ultralight and other light inner tubes in the front tire. Performance.com has some "regular" inner tubes that are quite light at this size and suitable for the rear tire.
Barista and other 1.25" tires will actually fit onto regular mountain bike rims; however, Velocity Synergy rim is recommended for road-ish results.
Barista is suitable for road club events, even if all you own are mountain bikes.

A weird secret emerged at the 26" x 1.9" size, and it has to do with a yellow label. When a label is bonded into the sidewall, it is called a "Hot Patch".
Look for Kenda Kross Plus with the yellow hot patch. Versions without the hot patch are super-slow non "plus" versions.
At barely 600g for the "Plus" with the yellow patch, and able to support a 1 size smaller inner tube in the front tire due to acceptable puncture resistance, this may be the fastest 1.9" size tire. It is luxuriously secure and speedy on gravel. As it can be pumped up to 70 pounds, it isn't too shy on the road, so it is good for mixed surface riding. It is not suitable for road club events.

Some other weird, but related news:
DT alloy spoke nipples are far stronger than the traditional versions. This eliminates any possible reason to ever use a heavy brass spoke nipple for slower hills. Brass is half the strength of . . .heat treated. . .aluminum alloy and brass is much heavier.
Alloy spoke nipples are lighter, inexpensive, and located at a very effective place to save some weight. Since it is going around, multiply its effectiveness by 3.14 (PI).
Use medium strength threadlocker (permatex blue) or spoke compound (same) for optimum results.

With this information, owners of mountain bikes and 26" tourbikes like Rivendell Atlantis, can keep one set of wheels pre-loaded for off road, and the other set on a fine recumbent road rim, pre-loaded for road and with a smaller cassette.

There's not a lot of reasons to do this, but perhaps you live on a rough road where you do most of your training, yet happen to be a member of a mixed club or road bike club? There's a good reason indeed.
Or maybe you're a performance mountain cyclist who would like to go on a long road tour such as RAGBRAI or Oklahoma Freewheel. There's another good reason.
It is nice for your skeletal health to both train and perform on the same bike even though that may sometimes look odd.
With some zippy tires, the 26" hardtail bike can perform exactly as a cyclocross bike, which uses the above system of 2 different wheelsets preloaded with appropriate tires and cassette so you can easily switch functions.
The disadvantage of doing this is that the small cranksets on 26" bikes will require small cogs on the back for road performance; however, mountain derailleurs tolerate no smaller than 28t, thus necessating the use of an 11-28 (less gaps=more road performance) which isn't road performance specific, but is highly workable on tour.

Continental road tires are available in 26" x 1" (559 x 25mm) but there is doubt whether it is faster than Barista because the weight is nearly identical, thus the larger and softer Barista does beat it easily on chip-n-seal roads.
Surprisingly the SECA RS (700c cousin of Barista) beats out a lighter weight Continental anti-flat tire because of a similar difference in ability to smooth road abberation.
So, perhaps it is wise to ignore the 25mm width tires whenever a mountain bike is concerned unless the machine is to be operated indoors. ;)

However, if you'd like to tour on the 26" bike, well, you're in luck! Have fun!
 

Timmer

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Aug 10, 2003
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I had those tires on last summer for my commute. They were fast and grippy, although I had a few flats with them mostly when they were wearing down, at about 2,000 miles. got 3,000 mi. out of them, I'm 200 lbs. the flats mostly occured when I hit a trail nearby that some glass was present. for cold and winter I put on some serfas drifter tires and don't have any problems with those, just heavy and slow and bullet proof. gonna try some hutchinson top slick this year. allready put them on rims and they are really tight and may be difficult to change if I get a flat. I'm skeptical about them. my two cents, Later.
 

danielhaden

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Jan 17, 2006
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Hutchinson Top Slick? Well, that's a new perspective for me. Okay, if you enjoy flats and the previous tires didn't flat enough then the Hutchinson is the way to go.
I can't quite seem to find a use for the sort of tire that flats frequently, but perhaps I'd like it if there were a lot of very cute and helpful cyclists in my area, who would be glad to stop and help with the flats. . . Yeah, I see where the Hutchinson could be very useful. ;)
If that's not the point, then maybe some Panaracer Flat-Away (a soft, featherweight kevlar felt) could help?

Hey, thanks for the comments on the Barista. I liked hearing about the 2000 miles part. For its light weight range, that's fantastic mileage! Thanks for the good news.

Timmer said:
I had those tires on last summer for my commute. They were fast and grippy, although I had a few flats with them mostly when they were wearing down, at about 2,000 miles. got 3,000 mi. out of them, I'm 200 lbs. the flats mostly occured when I hit a trail nearby that some glass was present. for cold and winter I put on some serfas drifter tires and don't have any problems with those, just heavy and slow and bullet proof. gonna try some hutchinson top slick this year. allready put them on rims and they are really tight and may be difficult to change if I get a flat. I'm skeptical about them. my two cents, Later.