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  1. #1
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    26 slick for road use

    Hi all,

    A couple months ago, I switched out my knobby 26x1.95 tires on my old Mongoose Hilltopper SX hardtail for Kenda K838 slicks (26x1.95) @ 55psi and noticed a fair reduction in noise and rolling resistance.

    I was wondering if there is noticeable speed/acceleration benefit going to narrower slicks - I'm not sure about anything below 1.5 width since the roads are pretty bumpy where I am and I travel on average at 15-25mph. Or could it be that any benefits from tires will be countered by aerodynamics (upright position) at those speeds?

    I ride on roads almost all the time, with the occasional packed dirt trail, and would like to be safe in the rain as well.

    I've looked at a couple like the Kenda Kwest K193, Panaracer RiBMo, Continental Sport Contact, etc. but I'm not sure what kind of difference it's going to make.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I've seen a lot of bead separations in Kenda Kwests, so I'd recommend avoiding those. I'm currently running continental top contact winters (just put them on, still waiting to see how they do in serious ice and snow) and they roll pretty well on light dirt and pavement. Schwalbe marathon Supremes are great fast pavement tires and big apples are good comfortable all-rounders, if a bit slower. I think 1.5-2" is right on for wet/rough roads and light dirt, but I tend to err on the side of wide.
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  3. #3
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    I'm currently using the 1.6" Geax Street Runner and am very pleased with the ride, quietness, and effort required.

  4. #4
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    Not in use currently, but I used a pair of Spec Armadillo Hemisphere tires for a few years of all year round MN commuting. Not specifically slick, but a very nice 26er tire for the city.
    No fuss with the MUSS

  5. #5
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    26 slick for road use

    I use 1.35 Schwalbe Kojaks, real slicks. I like them a lot. I ride around 20 miles every morning and parts of the road here are quite bad and have had no issues at all. I'd recommend those.
    I can't compare them to a wider slick since they are the first I bought. But compared to my regular 2.1 off road tires they are a huge difference on the road.

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    Hi, Hoongern. Welcome

    Going from knobbies to slicks is a big difference for everybody- no two ways about that. From fat slicks to narrower slicks is debatable. My personal feeling is that it generally does help (all else equal), but not nearly as much as the change you already made. Over rough pavement or soft surfaces, it`s easy to get TOO skinny, which actually slows you down, but I doubt 1.5 would cause you any trouble for chip seal and potholes unless they get super bad. If you have a lot of climbing or stop and go, the weight difference between fat and skinny will be a bigger point than the resistance.

    What I find makes even more difference than width is the tire construction. I love soft and pliable tires for good conditions. Compared to stout, heavy, bombproof tires, the "foo-foo" stock in similar widths is always more comfortable and my perception is that they`re considerably faster. Unfortunately, they`re also more prone to flats and they wear faster.

    In 26 inch sizes, there aren`t a lot of choices for soft sided tires. For stout, there are more than you can shake a stick at.My personal choice of nice weather paved rides are 1.25 Paselas. Ribmos are probably similar, but I`ve never tried them, so can`t say for sure. Big Apples are a nice combination of fat and soft, and actually pretty tough somehow.

    I`ve used Kwests in 26 X 1.5 and 20 x 1.5, and like them as a medium duty tire (haven`t had the problem that Solomon mentions). Good price, too. I also use Sport Contact 26 x 1.3 as a cushier and maybe slightly faster version of the Kwests (they`re what I have mounted currently, in fact). They cost a lot more than Kendas, though. I`ve never used any of the Marathon series at all.
    Recalculating....

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the replies so far! It sounds like I would probably get some improvement, but not nearly as much as I got changing to the slicks in the first place. Thanks rodar y rodar for the input on tire construction - I'll definitely have to do a bit more research and figure out what I need.

    Unfortunately, I was involved in an accident this morning - another "road-laws-don't-apply-to-me" biker tried to cross the road illegally, perpendicularly across 4 lanes & double yellow line, right into my path. Thankfully I left with no serious injuries. Gonna have to re-true my wheels and potentially change the fork/suspension, so I'm unfortunately going to hold off on the tires for now while I sort out other things.

    Thanks though, for all the replies and suggestions!

  8. #8
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    Sorry to hear about the accident, hoongern, glad you escaped without more serious injuries, hope you feel OK today after getting banged up. Sorry about your bikes injuries, hope it gets well soon.

  9. #9
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    Damn it man! That is a bummer. Glad you made it out ok.
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  10. #10
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    I have marathon supremes as well (in the rear, 2.0) and continental contact 2, 1,75 up front. I pump these to max and they have very low rolling resistance, extreme grip (its almost scary). And they have good grip in the rain.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

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  11. #11
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    Specialized quit selling the fat boy 1.5 mtb slick, but they can still be had new on eBay or possibly your lbs. Fast, light and reasonably durable. Fastest way to ride at mtb

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  12. #12
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    How slick do you want?

    I run 26" tires with a minimal tread. Panaracer T-Serv Protex's and Vittoria Randonneur Pros are both great. Both of these I run in nominally 26 x 1.5". I say nominally, because the Panaracers run a little small, so their 1.75" is actually closer to 1.5. They also offer the tire in 1.5, I imagine it is closer to 1.3".

    Great tires, excellent puncture protection, long lasting, and the Panaracers have a high rubber content, making them cushy and stick to the road well. The Vittoria's have a bit stiffer sidewall, but they make a great rear tire for me, and on my tourer I run them fore and aft. The Panaracer's I really like as a front tire for my commuter, as I travel over rough roads daily and that rubbery tire adds a little cushion to the constant impacts.
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  13. #13
    AZ
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    Lace a set of 700c rims to a spare set of mtb hubs and run road bike tires. There are thousands of choices in tires.

  14. #14
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    I'm running Ritchey Tom Slicks 26x1.0 on my commuter. I like them a lot, very low rolling resistance @ 100psi. My commute is entirely on the road but it gets pretty ruff in spots and these tires do well. I was running some Kenda 26x1.5 slicks (not sure what the model is) the reduction in rolling resistance is nice but it's not an immense difference.

  15. #15
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    I've used the Pasela folding 1.25s at 90-95psi with extra-lightweight Continental 650C inner tubes. That's a very light combo and accelerates really easily. Since they don't have a lot of volume, I have to make sure they're up to pressure before piling 30 pounds of groceries into my rear panniers, or I'm at risk for a pinch flat.

    Not all knobby tires are necessarily slow. Really high-end tires can be surprisingly fast. This year I did a self-supported ride to the top of Mt. Spokane and back on my Race King 2.2 Supersonics, and placed 3rd on the Strava leaderboard for the 3900ft road climb among other things. Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Grrr... you win THIS time, gravity!! near Spokane | Times and Records | Strava Knobby or not, those tires have incredibly supple, easy-rolling casings.



    The nice tires help, but the key to really going fast on a flat-bar bike is (no surprise) aerodynamics. And the rider is most of that, so try this easy trick: rest your palms on your handlebar right next to your stem, so your forearms channel air around your body instead of scooping it into your chest. The faster your airspeed, the more this boosts your speed. At 20mph you should pick up at least 1mph.

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    The nice tires help, but the key to really going fast on a flat-bar bike is (no surprise) aerodynamics.

    The faster your airspeed, the more this boosts your speed. At 20mph you should pick up at least 1mph.
    I think that aerodynamics help more for a rider who`s already fast, tires a bigger help for the rest of us. I pay attention to the airflow, but at 13 MPH or so, unless it`s really bad (panniers) or I have winds to contend with, it`s not a huge issue. Now, if I often rolled at 20 MPH...
    Recalculating....

  17. #17
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    I've tried tires smaller than 1.5" and didn't like them. I definitely felt faster, but the ride was really harsh over my rough roads and I was in serious danger of pinch flats. In fact, the first time I hopped my front wheel up onto a curb to make my way around a traffic jam I was rewarded with a loud pop and two punctures. After that I gave up on hopping up or down curbs until I wore those tires out. Luckily they barely lasted 6 months.

    Neither the Rando Pros nor the T-Servs cramp my style like that, nor do either of them give me the brutally harsh ride high PSI skinny tires did.
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  18. #18
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  19. #19
    Did I catch a niner?
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    3 seasons: Nanoraptor 2.0
    winter: mount & ground 1.9

    The nano looks almost the same as when I purchased them used on craigslist. If I was to go with a slick I would probably do something more like a Continental Town and Country with an inverted tread they're pretty cheap and nashbar right now. The nice thing I like about these tires is you could get away with them in some winter and if things get a little more rugged. I like a tougher tire on my commuter, I would rather get there a little slower then be on the side of the road changing a flat. Truth be told I don't think I am any slower on a Nano.
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