Very Wide Tires For Offroad?



C

Chris Hedges

Guest
I am thinking of trying some wider tires - perhaps 42C front and 38C
back (complete guesses) to create a set of wheels for my cyclocross bike
that I can use for offroad rides. Two things are troubling me. The
selection of very wide tires at 700C seems very limited, and I don't
really know whether wider tires will help me do what I am trying to do.

Despite being between mountain bikes, I recently accepted an invitation
to take a 80 mile off-road ride - mainly very rough jeep roads in the
foothills but with a couple gravel, county maintained stretches. I put
a pair of the widest cyclocross tires I had available, 33C, on my
cyclocross bike and had a great time. In fact, I had so much fun on the
"road" bike that I am thinking of foregoing the mountain bike for awhile
and simply setting up some off-road 700C wheels.

The 33C tires worked well with two exceptions. First, on a recently,
graded (larger than) pea gravel stretch they tended to "knife in" to an
uncomfortable degree a couple times. Second, on rough 4WD trails,
bombing down the descents was not a possibility. Part of this was
mental but part seemed to be genuine instability.

What do you think? Is this plan worth pursuing? Any tire suggestions?
 
P

Phil, Squid-in-Training

Guest
Chris Hedges wrote:
> I am thinking of trying some wider tires - perhaps 42C front and 38C
> back (complete guesses) to create a set of wheels for my cyclocross
> bike that I can use for offroad rides. Two things are troubling me. The
> selection of very wide tires at 700C seems very limited, and I
> don't really know whether wider tires will help me do what I am
> trying to do.


Try here and searching on google:
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=196

Not only are they cheap, but readily available.

> The 33C tires worked well with two exceptions. First, on a recently,
> graded (larger than) pea gravel stretch they tended to "knife in" to
> an uncomfortable degree a couple times. Second, on rough 4WD trails,
> bombing down the descents was not a possibility. Part of this was
> mental but part seemed to be genuine instability.
>
> What do you think? Is this plan worth pursuing? Any tire
> suggestions?


I think it's a good idea, but your chainstays and seatstays are your
limiting factors here.

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training
 
C

Chris Hedges

Guest
Phil, Squid-in-Training wrote:

> Chris Hedges wrote:


[snip]

>>The
>>selection of very wide tires at 700C seems very limited,

>
>
> Try here and searching on google:
> http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=196
>
> Not only are they cheap, but readily available.


[snip]

Wow. That takes care of part one. What a dunderhead I am. I've been
looking under "road," "700C," and "cyclocross," not 29". Thanks.
 
D

DRS

Guest
"Chris Hedges" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> I am thinking of trying some wider tires - perhaps 42C front and 38C
> back (complete guesses) to create a set of wheels for my cyclocross
> bike that I can use for offroad rides. Two things are troubling me.
> The selection of very wide tires at 700C seems very limited, and I
> don't really know whether wider tires will help me do what I am
> trying to do.


If you define very wide as 700x38 and up then there is a reasonable
selection. My quick, non-exhaustive search brought these up:

Continental
CountryRide 700x37, 42, 47
* Twister 700x32, 37, 42
Contact 700x28, 32, 37, 42, 47
TourRide 700x32, 37, 42, 47
Contact Security 700x37, 42, 47
CityContact 700x32, 37, 42, 47

Vittoria
Ranndoneur Cross 700x28, 32, 35, 38
Easy Rider 700x35, 38

Ritchy
* Alphabite TrailMix 700x35, 40
Max Cross 700x35, 40

IRC
* Mythos CX Slick 700x35, 38, 40, 42
Cross Country 700x35, 38

Michelin
Transworld Sprint 700x35, 40

Schwalbe
* Marathon XR 700x35, 40
Marathon Cross 700x38
Hurricane 700x40
Marathon Plus ATB 700x40

Vredestein
Perfect Max 700x28, 32, 37, 47
Perfect 700x28, 32, 37, 47
Spider 700x37, 40
Scarab 700x32, 37, 40, 47

Hutchinson
Acrobat 700x28, 32, 37, 42
Globetrotter 700x28, 32, 37, 42

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daveornee

New Member
Sep 18, 2003
2,763
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0
Chris Hedges said:
I am thinking of trying some wider tires - perhaps 42C front and 38C
back (complete guesses) to create a set of wheels for my cyclocross bike
that I can use for offroad rides. Two things are troubling me. The
selection of very wide tires at 700C seems very limited, and I don't
really know whether wider tires will help me do what I am trying to do.

Despite being between mountain bikes, I recently accepted an invitation
to take a 80 mile off-road ride - mainly very rough jeep roads in the
foothills but with a couple gravel, county maintained stretches. I put
a pair of the widest cyclocross tires I had available, 33C, on my
cyclocross bike and had a great time. In fact, I had so much fun on the
"road" bike that I am thinking of foregoing the mountain bike for awhile
and simply setting up some off-road 700C wheels.

The 33C tires worked well with two exceptions. First, on a recently,
graded (larger than) pea gravel stretch they tended to "knife in" to an
uncomfortable degree a couple times. Second, on rough 4WD trails,
bombing down the descents was not a possibility. Part of this was
mental but part seemed to be genuine instability.

What do you think? Is this plan worth pursuing? Any tire suggestions?

As other posters indicated there are now lots of choices of wide "29" tires.
The other part of the consideration is rim width.
"If you use a very wide tire on a narrow rim, you risk sidewall or rim failure. This combination causes very sloppy handling at low speeds. Unfortunately, current mountain-bike fashion pushes the edge of this. In the interest of weight saving, most current mountain bikes have excessively narrow rims. Such narrow rims work very poorly with wide tires, unless the tires are overinflated...but that defeats the purpose of wide tires, and puts undue stress on the rim sidewalls."
Quoted from Sheldon Brown's site. You will find a very useful chart there on rim width and compatible tire width at URL:

<http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html>

and scroll down to the red and green color chart. Mavic A719 rims and Sun Rhyno in 700C can help considerably in the width compatibility area.
 
B

Booker C. Bense

Guest
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

In article <[email protected]>,
Chris Hedges <[email protected]> wrote:
>I am thinking of trying some wider tires - perhaps 42C front and 38C
>back (complete guesses) to create a set of wheels for my cyclocross bike
>that I can use for offroad rides. Two things are troubling me. The
>selection of very wide tires at 700C seems very limited, and I don't
>really know whether wider tires will help me do what I am trying to do.
>
>Despite being between mountain bikes, I recently accepted an invitation
>to take a 80 mile off-road ride - mainly very rough jeep roads in the
>foothills but with a couple gravel, county maintained stretches. I put
>a pair of the widest cyclocross tires I had available, 33C, on my
>cyclocross bike and had a great time. In fact, I had so much fun on the
>"road" bike that I am thinking of foregoing the mountain bike for awhile
>and simply setting up some off-road 700C wheels.


_ WTB Nanoraptors, at least for the front. If you ride in
clay/mud they gum up too fast for the back. I use 35mm
cyclocross tires in the back.

>
>The 33C tires worked well with two exceptions. First, on a recently,
>graded (larger than) pea gravel stretch they tended to "knife in" to an
>uncomfortable degree a couple times.


_ Put a fat tire in the front and a skinnier one in the
back. Unless the gravel is really deep, "knifing in" on the
back tire works pretty well as you get to the solid stuff
underneath to get traction. You likely won't be able to get a fat
enough tire to really float on the gravel to fit a cyclocross
frame.

> Second, on rough 4WD trails,
>bombing down the descents was not a possibility. Part of this was
>mental but part seemed to be genuine instability.
>


_ I think this just goes with the rigid frame and drop bars.
Fatter tires help, but even the widest drop bars aren't as
wide as a flat bar and this is the one place suspension really
makes a difference. If you don't have inline brake levers already
get them, makes a huge difference when descending.

>What do you think? Is this plan worth pursuing? Any tire suggestions?


_ Yes. Cyclocross bikes are a lot of fun on dirt roads,
especially uphill.

_ Booker C. Bense

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C

Chris Hedges

Guest
Booker C. Bense wrote:

[snip]
>
>>The 33C tires worked well with two exceptions. First, on a recently,
>>graded (larger than) pea gravel stretch they tended to "knife in" to an
>>uncomfortable degree a couple times.

>
>
> _ Put a fat tire in the front and a skinnier one in the
> back. Unless the gravel is really deep, "knifing in" on the
> back tire works pretty well as you get to the solid stuff
> underneath to get traction. You likely won't be able to get a fat
> enough tire to really float on the gravel to fit a cyclocross
> frame.


Since I have been digging into this a bit more, measuring the frame and
fork and jamming old mountain bike tires here and there, I think I will
be okay with a 38 in the back. The fork, on the other hand, does not
appear to be 42 compatible. Now I'm thinking of replacing the fork . .
.. maybe with something like a cross-check fork. The surly site says it
can handle a 44 tire.

>>Second, on rough 4WD trails,
>>bombing down the descents was not a possibility. Part of this was
>>mental but part seemed to be genuine instability.


> _ I think this just goes with the rigid frame and drop bars.
> Fatter tires help, but even the widest drop bars aren't as
> wide as a flat bar and this is the one place suspension really
> makes a difference. If you don't have inline brake levers already
> get them, makes a huge difference when descending.


Darn. Of course what I'd like to hear is that big tires would make an
enormous difference. Still, if I can ameliorate the "carving" problem
on gravel and improve the descents, it would be worth it.

(I think I am in the minority that feels more stable on the drops. I
actually took off my in-line brakes about a year ago! Thanks, nonetheless.)

>>What do you think? Is this plan worth pursuing? Any tire suggestions?

>
>
> _ Yes. Cyclocross bikes are a lot of fun on dirt roads,
> especially uphill.
>
> _ Booker C. Bense
>
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B

Booker C. Bense

Guest
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

In article <[email protected]>,
Chris Hedges <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>Booker C. Bense wrote:
>
>[snip]
>>
>>>The 33C tires worked well with two exceptions. First, on a recently,
>>>graded (larger than) pea gravel stretch they tended to "knife in" to an
>>>uncomfortable degree a couple times.

>>
>>
>> _ Put a fat tire in the front and a skinnier one in the
>> back. Unless the gravel is really deep, "knifing in" on the
>> back tire works pretty well as you get to the solid stuff
>> underneath to get traction. You likely won't be able to get a fat
>> enough tire to really float on the gravel to fit a cyclocross
>> frame.

>
>Since I have been digging into this a bit more, measuring the frame and
>fork and jamming old mountain bike tires here and there, I think I will
>be okay with a 38 in the back. The fork, on the other hand, does not
>appear to be 42 compatible. Now I'm thinking of replacing the fork . .
>. maybe with something like a cross-check fork. The surly site says it
>can handle a 44 tire.


_ The Surly front fork will easily handle a 44 tire.
Or if you want to go nuts you can put one of these
on the front

http://www.bikeman.com/bathroom/news/2004sep27iglehartforks1.htm

bit pricey though...

>
>>>Second, on rough 4WD trails,
>>>bombing down the descents was not a possibility. Part of this was
>>>mental but part seemed to be genuine instability.

>
>> _ I think this just goes with the rigid frame and drop bars.
>> Fatter tires help, but even the widest drop bars aren't as
>> wide as a flat bar and this is the one place suspension really
>> makes a difference. If you don't have inline brake levers already
>> get them, makes a huge difference when descending.

>
>Darn. Of course what I'd like to hear is that big tires would make an
>enormous difference. Still, if I can ameliorate the "carving" problem
>on gravel and improve the descents, it would be worth it.
>


_ Maybe I'm just chicken. Nanoraptors on the front help quite a
bit and being in the drops likely gives you more leverage for
steering. I find it very hard to keep my weight back far enough
when I'm in the drops though. My compromise was to get bars that
are much wider than I would use on the road and use the inline
levers to effectively have a narrow flat bar. This works well
enough that I no longer switch back and forth between a flat
bar for mostly MTB like riding and drops for mixed riding.

_ Low tire pressure also helps. With fat tires
and narrow rims you need to be a bit cautious about going
too low, but in general the lower the better.

_ Booker C. Bense

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D

DRS

Guest
"Booker C. Bense"
<[email protected]> wrote

[...]

> _ Low tire pressure also helps. With fat tires
> and narrow rims you need to be a bit cautious about going
> too low, but in general the lower the better.


We don't know how wide his rims are. He'd probably get away with a 38 tyre
on 17mm rims, although 19 or even 21 would be better. For a 44 nothing less
than 19mm, 21 preferred.

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C

Chalo

Guest
daveornee <[email protected]> wrote:
>

[quoting Sheldon Brown]
> "If you use a very wide tire on a narrow rim, you risk sidewall or rim
> failure. This combination causes very sloppy handling at low speeds.
> Unfortunately, current mountain-bike fashion pushes the edge of this.
> In the interest of weight saving, most current mountain bikes have
> excessively narrow rims. Such narrow rims work very poorly with wide
> tires, unless the tires are overinflated...but that defeats the purpose
> of wide tires, and puts undue stress on the rim sidewalls."


I used to run 2.6" tires on 19mm wide aero rims. As Sheldon pointed
out, they had to be well inflated in order to remain laterally stable.
That still did not defeat one major purpose of such a tire, which is
to provide a bigger "footprint" than a narrower tire. Even if a fat
tire is inflated until is isn't squishy anymore, its width will
prevent the tire from sinking into loose surfaces, which was the OP's
main problem.

> and scroll down to the red and green color chart. Mavic A719 rims and
> Sun Rhyno in 700C can help considerably in the width compatibility
> area.


Those are excellent rims, but if one desires to mount both wide and
narrow tires on the same wheels, the rims had better fit the narrow
ones.

Chalo Colina