Wide Mt. Bike Tires vs. Thin Tires



For the sake of this discussion assume that all things are equal
regarding quality of parts. I have an inexpensive mt bike with the
standard fairly wide tires and am thinking of getting a new inexpensive
26 in. bike however this one has the very thin tires. The mt. bike
tires appear to be at least three times as wide and possibly 4. Since
there is much less friction associated with the thin tires and remember
all things considered equal can I assume that the same energy and
exertion that I put into pedaling the mt. bike will be at the very
least 2 or more times effective when pedaling the bike with the very
thin tires.
 
S

S o r n i

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> For the sake of this discussion assume that all things are equal
> regarding quality of parts. I have an inexpensive mt bike with the
> standard fairly wide tires and am thinking of getting a new
> inexpensive 26 in. bike however this one has the very thin tires. The
> mt. bike tires appear to be at least three times as wide and possibly
> 4. Since there is much less friction associated with the thin tires
> and remember all things considered equal can I assume that the same
> energy and exertion that I put into pedaling the mt. bike will be at
> the very least 2 or more times effective when pedaling the bike with
> the very thin tires.


Sounds like you're buying the second bike just for the skinny tires?

Do you ride on dirt trails, gravel paths, or pavement?

Horses for courses.

BS (no, really)
 
S o r n i wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
> > For the sake of this discussion assume that all things are equal
> > regarding quality of parts. I have an inexpensive mt bike with the
> > standard fairly wide tires and am thinking of getting a new
> > inexpensive 26 in. bike however this one has the very thin tires.

The
> > mt. bike tires appear to be at least three times as wide and

possibly
> > 4. Since there is much less friction associated with the thin tires
> > and remember all things considered equal can I assume that the same
> > energy and exertion that I put into pedaling the mt. bike will be

at
> > the very least 2 or more times effective when pedaling the bike

with
> > the very thin tires.

>
> Sounds like you're buying the second bike just for the skinny tires?
>
> Do you ride on dirt trails, gravel paths, or pavement?


95% pavement.
 
D

David

Guest
<[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
>
>>

> 95% pavement.


Instead of another bike, you could buy new tires. Or new wheels & tires, if you wanted
to swap 'em regularly. They don't really need to be skinny tires, just low rolling resistance
slicks. And those work fine for *light* trail use too. I've had MTBs for many years, but I
ride my road bike (26mm tires) on dirt & mud sometimes too.
 
B

BB

Guest
On 7 Mar 2005 08:40:25 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

>> Do you ride on dirt trails, gravel paths, or pavement?

>
> 95% pavement.


There have been lengthy discussions on this; in short, the finding was
that the width doesn't make that much difference. Seems counter-intuitive
to me, but that's what they say.

The KNOBS, however, do make a big difference in the rolling resistance.
There are road tires with a bit of tread but no knobs.

That's what I use on my secondary/mostly-road bike. They work fine on
fireroads and dry trails, and are only lacking in wet conditions or where
you need good grip (i.e. steep climbs). I use Michelin Rock, but these are
becoming increasinly difficult to find and other companies have come out
with competing products. If this is the sort of off-road riding you do,
perhaps a new set of tires would do.

If you're getting a second bike for road use and want to keep it cheap
because of theft worries, an old used mountain bike is a good option. You
can get a bike that was top-notch for its time but is just outdated, and
might look beat up enough that no one cares to steal it. Some people even
spray-paint them with multiple colors to make them even less attractive.
:)

On my old mountain bike, I changed to more roadworthy tires, a slightly
more padded seat so I don't have to wear bike shorts, and a riser
handlebar for comfort and foamy grips so I don't have to wear gloves.

--
-BB-
To e-mail me, unmunge my address
 
D

D T W .../\\...

Guest
<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> For the sake of this discussion assume that all things are equal
> regarding quality of parts. I have an inexpensive mt bike with the
> standard fairly wide tires and am thinking of getting a new inexpensive
> 26 in. bike however this one has the very thin tires. The mt. bike
> tires appear to be at least three times as wide and possibly 4. Since
> there is much less friction associated with the thin tires and remember
> all things considered equal can I assume that the same energy and
> exertion that I put into pedaling the mt. bike will be at the very
> least 2 or more times effective when pedaling the bike with the very
> thin tires.
>



It sounds like your describing a hybrid bike tire and not an MTB?
A hybrid is not an MTB, but it sounds like what you want if you ride 95%
pavement.
How thin is "very thin"? Most MTB tires are @ 2.1"
1/4 of that is @ .5" ,,,,,,,,,,NOT
How about 1.5"?

--
DTW .../\.../\.../\...

I've spent most of my money on mountain biking and windsurfing.
The rest, I've just wasted.
 
BB wrote:
snip

> There have been lengthy discussions on this; in short, the finding

was
> that the width doesn't make that much difference. Seems

counter-intuitive
> to me, but that's what they say.


Who is they : ) I was expecting at the very least twice the distance
and half the effort for my skinny tires. Hard to figure out if there is
less resistance why the same amount of energy is needed to go equal
distances all things being equal.
 
P

(Pete Cresswell)

Guest
Per [email protected]:
>can I assume that the same energy and
>exertion that I put into pedaling the mt. bike will be at the very
>least 2 or more times effective when pedaling the bike with the very
>thin tires.


No way.

On a straight, flat, paved surface I estimate 15-20% advantage for 1.25" slicks
at 90 psi over 2.5" moderate tread Mutano Raptors at 35 psi.... and judging from
other threads, my estimate is generous.

Not only that, but I have no way of telling how much diff is from fat/soft vs
skinney/hard and how much is from sick vs the "AeroDyne" effect of the tread on
the fat boys.

Also, the surface is an important variant. On pavement, no question
hard/skinney rolls better. When you get to rough ground, soft ground, grassy
surfaces, gravelly surfaces there's a crossover point. I can think of plenty
situations where I've ridden both tires and big/soft rolls about ten times
easier than skinney/hard.
--
PeteCresswell
 
P

Phil, Squid-in-Training

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> BB wrote:
> snip
>
>> There have been lengthy discussions on this; in short, the finding
>> was that the width doesn't make that much difference. Seems
>> counter-intuitive to me, but that's what they say.

>
> Who is they : ) I was expecting at the very least twice the distance
> and half the effort for my skinny tires. Hard to figure out if there
> is less resistance why the same amount of energy is needed to go equal
> distances all things being equal.


You definitely won't gain 100% more speed with skinnier tires. With the
different tires, most likely a 1.95 and 1.5" tires from Walmart, you're
looking at about a 1-3mph speed difference (assuming 10-15mph on an MTB),
and not much more.

If you don't have a cyclometer, this will be very hard to judge, as the
"just dropped some money on new stuff" effect will ALWAYS cloud your
perception.
--
Phil, Squid-in-Training
 
D

David

Guest
<[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
>
> BB wrote:
> snip
>
> > There have been lengthy discussions on this; in short, the finding

> was
> > that the width doesn't make that much difference. Seems

> counter-intuitive
> > to me, but that's what they say.

>
> Who is they : )


A web search will reaveal rolling resistance test results.

As BB mentioned, getting rid of the knobs is key. Not all slicks
are created equal though. Some tires of the same size have less
rolling resistance than others. Since you seem interested in this,
find actual test results if you can.

I've had various slicks on MTBs, between 31 and 48mm (1.9"). The
fastest were probably the 31 (although I didn't do side by side testing).
The 48s seemed as fast or faster than the 32mm tires, and the slowest
was a 38mm "slick-like" tire (slick tire with siping grooves) designed for
road-going MTBs. Real slicks are noticeably faster than mostly-slick tires.
I think that's due to the thinner tread layer in the real slick.

If you're gonna do 95% pavement, 5% light dirt, and want to be faster on the road,
buy this tire, from these guys:
http://harriscyclery.net/site/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1320

If you decide to do loose dirt, or serious MTBing, spend a few minutes to put your
knobbies back on.
 
B

BB

Guest
On Mon, 7 Mar 2005 17:14:19 -0800, David wrote:

> If you're gonna do 95% pavement, 5% light dirt, and want to be faster on

the road, buy this tire, from these guys:
> http://harriscyclery.net/site/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1320
>
> If you decide to do loose dirt, or serious MTBing, spend a few minutes
> to put your knobbies back on.


Yeah, that's what I thought once. Eventually I found myself on on a "light
dirt" trail with slick tires, needing to brake. The bike quickly slid off
the trail, and once in the grass the brakes were completely inneffective
(as the tires couldn't grip at all). The rest was inevitable.

If you're going to ride slicks, put the knobbies back on ANYTIME you go
off-road.

This guy felt the slicks made a huge difference vs light tread. While I
agree it does vs semi-slicks (with knobby sides), I don't feel it makes a
lot of difference against tires with light thread and no knobs. A lot of
its perception, I suppose.

--
-BB-
To e-mail me, unmunge my address
 
D

David

Guest
"BB" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]

> If you're going to ride slicks, put the knobbies back on ANYTIME you go
> off-road.


If you're going to have one bike, and do both road and real dirt, you can just swap the
back tire for the road--leave the front knobby on all the time. It's the rear knobby that
wears out fastest, and slows you the most. And you're much more secure in the dirt with
a knobby front, whatever you have in back. So you're can ride a lot of stuff without
doing the tire change.

But I still ride my road bike in the dirt sometimes, skinny road tires at both ends.
 
P

(Pete Cresswell)

Guest
Per BB:
>Eventually I found myself on on a "light
>dirt" trail with slick tires, needing to brake. The bike quickly slid off
>the trail, and once in the grass the brakes were completely inneffective
>(as the tires couldn't grip at all). The rest was inevitable.
>
>If you're going to ride slicks, put the knobbies back on ANYTIME you go
>off-road.


That's the reason I like some tread on my front wheel no matter what. Did a
couple face plants already when I forgot...

For "road" use I run a 1.25" slick on the back, but a 1.25" knobby cross tire on
the front.
--
PeteCresswell
 
B

BB

Guest
On Mon, 7 Mar 2005 22:26:01 -0800, David wrote:

> If you're going to have one bike, and do both road and real dirt, you
> can just swap the back tire for the road--leave the front knobby on all
> the time. It's the rear knobby that wears out fastest, and slows you the
> most.


As long as you don't have any fast road turns or any dirt climbing to
speak of, that should work. The knobby front will give you the best
turning & stopping power in the dirt, but will reduce these same
capabilities on the road. It makes sense that most efficient rear tire
would be the one with the least tread necessary to get sufficient grip on
the dirt trails.

My closest dirt riding is a three-mile climb away (and a very fast winding
trip back down), and the turns coming back down gets REAL squirrely if I
have knobs on the front tire. The last thing I want to do is crash on a
road at 35mph, so I change to a treaded (not knobby) front tire if I'm
going up there, which works OK even with a knobby tire on the back.

--
-BB-
To e-mail me, unmunge my address
 
O

Old Timer

Guest
On 7 Mar 2005 08:02:50 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

>For the sake of this discussion assume that all things are equal
>regarding quality of parts. I have an inexpensive mt bike with the
>standard fairly wide tires and am thinking of getting a new inexpensive
>26 in. bike however this one has the very thin tires. The mt. bike
>tires appear to be at least three times as wide and possibly 4. Since
>there is much less friction associated with the thin tires and remember
>all things considered equal can I assume that the same energy and
>exertion that I put into pedaling the mt. bike will be at the very
>least 2 or more times effective when pedaling the bike with the very
>thin tires.


You won't go wrong with the Avocet 1.9" city slicks someone here
mentioned. They are fine tires.

However, if I may make a suggestion also, "Been there, done that." I
even have two new unused ones on my tire rack in the cellar that will
probably sit there another year.

Even better, may I suggest you get two 1.0" Tom Slicks from
Performance Bike. About $17 each, sometimes they go on sale. 1.0"
tubes (hard to find in shops, I've found, but Performance and Nashbar
have them). Run 100 psi in them. You now have what is essentially a
road bike as far as rolling resistance is concerned. It will feel like
a new machine. Of course, if you can get a set of spare wheels, just
have one with the slicks and one with knobbies, and you now have two
bikes for one, with no changing of tires. That's what I have on one of
my Treks. When I travel, I only have to take one bike but am ready for
any kind of riding.

Old Timer
 
P

Phil, Squid-in-Training

Guest
Old Timer wrote:
> On 7 Mar 2005 08:02:50 -0800, [email protected] wrote:
>
>> For the sake of this discussion assume that all things are equal
>> regarding quality of parts. I have an inexpensive mt bike with the
>> standard fairly wide tires and am thinking of getting a new
>> inexpensive 26 in. bike however this one has the very thin tires.
>> The mt. bike tires appear to be at least three times as wide and
>> possibly 4. Since there is much less friction associated with the
>> thin tires and remember all things considered equal can I assume
>> that the same energy and exertion that I put into pedaling the mt.
>> bike will be at the very least 2 or more times effective when
>> pedaling the bike with the very thin tires.

>
> You won't go wrong with the Avocet 1.9" city slicks someone here
> mentioned. They are fine tires.
>
> However, if I may make a suggestion also, "Been there, done that." I
> even have two new unused ones on my tire rack in the cellar that will
> probably sit there another year.
>
> Even better, may I suggest you get two 1.0" Tom Slicks from
> Performance Bike. About $17 each, sometimes they go on sale. 1.0"
> tubes (hard to find in shops, I've found, but Performance and Nashbar
> have them). Run 100 psi in them. You now have what is essentially a
> road bike as far as rolling resistance is concerned. It will feel like
> a new machine. Of course, if you can get a set of spare wheels, just
> have one with the slicks and one with knobbies, and you now have two
> bikes for one, with no changing of tires. That's what I have on one of
> my Treks. When I travel, I only have to take one bike but am ready for
> any kind of riding.


Don't forget the likely spacer-on-one-of-the-axles adjustment for adjustment
free shifting.

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training