road tires for MTB

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Kevin in KY, Sep 22, 2003.

  1. Kevin in KY

    Kevin in KY New Member

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    Here's another question from a newbie...

    I've read many previous posts, but still have this question...

    What benefits will I find from putting road slicks on a MTB?

    I'm a big rider, 6 3 230, and wonder which size, brand, etc. of tire would be best for me?

    My LBS says I might notice an increase of 25% in efficiency... is that possible simply from switching tires?

    I'm hoping this fix will allow me to ride comfortably with my casual road biking buddies. Maybe a new road bike will be in the far future.

    Thanks for your input.
     
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  2. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    Can't give any percentages, but I got back into road biking via the MTB - here is what I noticed.

    I started going some distance on the road with my MTB, but noticed that on knobbies, the bike would only go so fast, and then you seemed to hit a brick wall - it just wouldn't go any faster.

    I put on a set of Bontrager slicks - fairly cheap and light. The bike (Trek Y22) definitely cruised at a higher speed, and rode a lot smoother. The only real problem I had was that after a few times on the slicks, I had an insatiable desire to get a serious road bike.

    Also be aware that MTB riding doesn't necessarily give you good endurance. I thought I was in good shape, until some serious roadies led me on a 20 mile ride with lots of long hills. I've since acquired much better endurance, but that first long ride was a real eye opener.

    One of my riding buddies still rides with slicks on his Cannondale hardtail, and does pretty good with it, so you don't absolutely have to get a road bike. Another, we can't seem to get out on the road, but the other two of us got road bikes, and never regretted it.

    We live in and about Lexington, KY - so drop me a line if you want to join us sometime. Lots of terrific backroads around here. We still hit the singletrack in Frankfort on occasion, too.

    --John
     
  3. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    I'd be VERY surprised if the efficiency in going to a slick road tire on a mountain bike was anything less than 25% and would be more inclined to say it was much more advantageous than that.

    Before I got myself a road bike, I bought a relatively cheap set of slick road tires for the MB. The fact that you are losing the energy sapping knobbies and tread patterns and can pump the tires up an average of 30-40 PSI more than a serious offroad tire does wonders to eliminate rolling resistance.

    Coasting becomes more like coasting and not the "whirrr-errr-rrrr-rrrrrrr......) deceleration on the knobs.

    You'll never equal the efficiency of a true road bike, but you will be light years ahead of where you were in riding an unmodified MTB on the street. Just remember to lock out your rear shock and stiffen the fronts as much as possible as well...

    Beware though! What you are experiencing in wanting road tires on your MTB are the first steps toward pure road biking :)

    It happened to me with a vengeance...

    Have a good one!

    Faenor
     
  4. Pat Lee

    Pat Lee New Member

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    I just lost my road bike, and I put some 1.4-inch wide Ritchey Tom Slicks on my MTB so that I could continue to ride. They were faster at the top end and also easier to push up the hills than the 2.25-inch knobbies that were on the bike originally. In fact, the difference was so significant to me that I went back and got the narrower 1-inch Ritchey Tom Slick folding tires instead. I figured if I can ride a 25mm tire, I could still keep up with my riding partner. I was right. There was another improvement in speed and the bike turns much faster than it did with the knobbies or the 1.4-inch slick. It climbs easier too. I attribute the difference to the mass reduction from the change to smaller tires. One more thing. I can't keep up with her on the downhills if she pedals really fast. I would need more gearing for that. I could get a bigger ring and take her though. I'm running a micro-drive setup on a Fat Chance Wicked Lite.

    In my opinion, if you're only riding casually and you like the way your mtb rides on those rides, you're wasting your money getting a road bike. If you're never going to ride offroad, change the tires to the skinniest ones you can stand. Otherwise, you could buy a cheap set of wheels and keep your skinny tires on them instead of buying a whole road bike.

    --Pat.


     
  5. DanBB

    DanBB New Member

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    Hey Feanor,

    Your so right, i want a road bike now so badly!!! over the last few months i've converted my mtb into as much a road bike as possible, rigid forks, mavic sl wheels with 1" conti's on, everything is geared towards speed on it now. I love the bike though it must be said but i would love a good road bike. I planning on competing in time trials next year so my bike will be good for winter training, but will have to get a racer for the season.
     
  6. Kevin in KY

    Kevin in KY New Member

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    OK folks! IRC metro, 26 x 1.5 road slicks are on my bike! I'll let you know how tonight's ride goes, and how much difference I notice in efficiency.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  7. Pat Lee

    Pat Lee New Member

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    Glad to hear you're trying out the slicks. As an experiment, try the 1"-wide ones and let me know if you notice a big difference. I did. I'm glad I switched to smaller tires. Now I just have to find someone to buy the 1.4" Tom Slicks to reduce the transaction cost. Good luck on your roadie rides!

    CAVEAT: In my previous post I forgot to mention that the rim on my mtb is a 26in x 19mm. So, I'm guessing it's narrower than average nowadays, but I would not recommend putting a tire on a rim that is wider than the tire's cross section. In short a 25mm (1") tire on my wheel works, but I wouldn't put a 1.4" tire on a 1.5" wide rim.

    --Pat.

     
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