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  1. #1
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    Slick tires for mountain bike commuting

    I was just wondering what your favorite slicks are for mountain bike commuing and also all these guys reporting 5 mph gains just by switching from the big knobbies, could this be a result of changing the tire diameter and not recalibrating the speedometer?

  2. #2
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    2nd question first: Swapping from big knobbies to small slicks will make your speedo read faster than you are actually going, so going the same speed will read faster.

    1st question: true slicks -- Specialized Fat Boys, 26x1.25; commuters -- Kenda Kwest, 26x1.5, or Intense Micro Knobby, 26X2.25, depending on your needs. I run the Intense's.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  3. #3
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    If you are looking for real speed (after adjusting the computer), I don't think there are many out there that can beat the Ritchie Tom Slick. They are a full slick capable of running at high pressure (provided your rims will take it) and have some pretty thin sizes (I've got a set of 26x1.4" that I can run at the 85psi max listed on the sidewall). D

    on't get near gravel with 'em, but for roadie-tizing a mtb for commuting, I don't know if there is much better out there.

    I've also used the Tioga City Slicker and Bontrager Hard Case (some side knobs, but heavy for serious puncture resistance). Our local police run the Hard Cases and they seem to hold up pretty well.
    Last edited by Psycho Mike; 07-16-2008 at 09:20 AM.
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  4. #4
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    I prefer something slightly larger and more durable for commuting. Look for a tire in the 1.5-1.75 range that is designed to be puncture resistance. The skinny tires tend to loose air and pinch flat really easily, plus the bigger tires have a more comfortable ride. My old favorite were continental top touring if you can find those, the new continental street tires, the "Contact" series looks good but I haven't tried them. My LBS is totally sold on the Panaracer UrbanMax. I will be taking a maiden voyage on them today.
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  5. #5
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    Slicked down MTB'muter


    I like the 26X1.40 Michelin XC Road and I commute almost daily 19-miles one way. It is more efficient than knobbies as I was commuting on those for a few months. But a 5-MPH gain... maybe over a few months of building some endurance or maybe it's the excitement of having the smoove rollers... i don't know as I do not have a computer on my bike.


    I just ride...

    I will be putting knobbies back on at some point as I have some side trials I need to explore. Need to stay in ADV-MTB'muter mode, but i'm in recovery right now after breaking my neck in a off-road MX accident: KTM950 - BIG OFF & HOT NEW LOOK - Turkey Day 2007

  6. #6
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    Riding is a lot easier for sure... I didn't pick up 5mph average but I did pick up about a 2mph average (thats calculated distance over time) on my normal 7.46 mile training route. 11.1mph -> 13mph.

    My commute isn't log enough to really notice much of a difference other than being able to roll in high gear a lot easier for a lot longer.

    Geax Roadsters


    Decent traction on loose stuff too - just found their limit the other day pushing too hard into a rutted gravel corner - minor front skid (no fall though)

  7. #7
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    slicks are the way to go

    I don't have a computer yet, so I don't know about the speed increase. But, I know I power through my tallest gear a lot easier with the slicks. I did a 30 mile commute today and chased a roadie for a long time. I think I made him angry though.

    My wheels are at 95psi and the rim allows 113psi and the Maxxis Detonators go up to 100psi.
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  8. #8
    viva la v-brakes!
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    Also bear in mind that the smaller wheel diameter with small slicks will have you in higher gears, not to mention the fact that your on pavement which is a faster surface then dirt.
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  9. #9
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    Peddle Faster Smoother Quciker Longer....

    I agree - you will spin in a higher gear and I could actually use a larger front chain-ring. Need like a 52 to replace the 48, so yea, I must be peddling faster....

  10. #10
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    Bontrager makes a full slick in a 26 x 1.5
    Michelin makes a commuter tire in 26 x 1.8

    Both run right around 20 dollars.

    As far as speed goes both of these tires will roll faster (less resistance). they are lighter than a knobby tire as well and as stated above you are riding on a smooth surface. So imo it is possible to gain an extra 5mph.
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  11. #11
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    Full on slicks make me nervous so I run a tire that has a tread pattern even on my 700c wheels. For a 26" tire, I'm partial to the Specialized Crossroads or Hemispheres, both are 1.95's. If you want a narrower tire, check out the Nimbus or the Borough CX which are 1.5's.
    Eat to Live...not the other way around

  12. #12
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    MTB'muter Slicked Down

    The Michelin XC Roads are 26X1.40 and top out at 87-psi. Not too fat and not too skinny!



    I'm lacing up some "vintage" never used XTR hubs on some MAVIC 121 rims so I can try the Panaracer Urban Max that is 26X1.25 that max at 100-psi.
    No photo yet.



    I make sure that I keep my tires aired to the max limit for less rolling resistance - more efficiency. "FREE HORSEPOWER!" I also found that the Michelin's loose about 5-psi a week so keep a check on them.

  13. #13
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    Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0

    Fat enough that it doesn't look stupid, rolls great, corners beautifully, and, even at 60psi (max is 70, but with the wide slicks, I don't trust my rims), they don't ride too rough.

  14. #14
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    Schwalbe Big Apple 29'ers 2.35
    FWIW I also ran 700x32 Michelin Dynamics







    Good thing spesh gave the stumpy sliding drop outs because I could barely slide a credit card between the tire and the front derailleur.
    I noticed a speed increase with the dynamics ( yes recalibrated speedo) shaving time off of a 3 mile ride by an average of 3.5 minutes.
    With the Big Apples I do notice the mass these are I think said to weigh in at 990g + but once rolling I get the same speeds, times etc.. as I did on the 32mm Dynamics.
    The major difference is that they are far more stable and all around useful, I can hop into a trail, go whizzing off the shoulder into rough gravel etc.... even ran them down an unmaintained road full of wash outs and fist sized rock areas at full speed.
    Last edited by portage29er; 07-15-2008 at 08:30 AM.
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  15. #15
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    I'm running Michelin Country Rock tires on my commuter. They're 1.5" and air up to 72psi. They seem to work great on pavement, tho I haven't tried a full slick to compare them too. That'll be my next upgrade, probably put a full slick in the rear and keep the treads up front.

    I want some tread, as my commute can/will hit some single track on the way home. If I go to full slicks I'll have to stay on the road.

  16. #16
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    It's a little unorthodox but I commuted two miles to school and back every day on 2.1" Panaracer Fire XCs. While they're full knobby they roll nice and fast, they're a good tire to check out if you want the best of both worlds

  17. #17
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    I'm trying these to see if I like them
    http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...il.asp?p=IKSCT
    they have 3 sizes to choose from and the price is right
    or you can browse thru these
    http://www.biketiresdirect.com/searc...sp?so=p&cat=sl
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidweasel999
    It's a little unorthodox but I commuted two miles to school and back every day on 2.1" Panaracer Fire XCs. While they're full knobby they roll nice and fast, they're a good tire to check out if you want the best of both worlds
    Nah...I'm currently running Rampages and they roll a lot faster than my XC's ever did.
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  19. #19
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    I just swapped out my agressive tires for a set of IRC Metro II 26x2.0 (i think).

    Big big difference in the amount of effort it takes to go the same distance compared to my old knobby tires.

  20. #20
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    I like the Forte (Performance) Fast City ST/K's I've been running. They're light, don't get punctures, handle better than I care to push the bike, and they're cheap as heck, too.

  21. #21
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    I just bought a Fisher Tassajara, and since I ride mostly subdivision streets, had the LBS swap the knobby tires out for some Bontrager Hank 2.2s. The larger tires ride extremely smooth, although I admit I have never ridden any other slicks for comparison. Their grip on gravel and dirt washed into the road really surprised me. I have over 300 miles on them now and not had a puncture yet. The only drawback I could see is that they may be heavier than most other slicks.
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  22. #22
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    I read this wrong...editing my stupidity out!
    Replacing the cables and housing on your brakes/shifters feels like getting a new bike for $40.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by portage29er
    Schwalbe Big Apple 29'ers 2.35

    With the Big Apples I do notice the mass these are I think said to weigh in at 990g + but once rolling I get the same speeds, times etc.. as I did on the 32mm Dynamics.
    The major difference is that they are far more stable and all around useful, I can hop into a trail, go whizzing off the shoulder into rough gravel etc.... even ran them down an unmaintained road full of wash outs and fist sized rock areas at full speed.
    I use these on my Kona Kula 2-9. Fantastic tires. Rolling resistance is nil, when compared with the Rampages I was running before. I've taken them off-road a little, and as long as the road less traveled isn't muddy or sandy, I've had good results.

  24. #24
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    I have about 3000 miles on a set of Serfas Drifters 26 x 2.0. Great commuting tires for mtb.

  25. #25
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    Intense Micro Knobby 26x2.25 -- less than 600g, 7,500 L-I-T-T-L-E knobs, and for me and my 819 rims, a perfectly round profile! I'm a clyde, I run 60psi in each, and I can L-E-A-N those puppies over! For the first time, I'm a bit worried about catching a pedal on the asphalt!

    After getting through a week of 'dog days', I was able to do a serious comparison for ride time (no speedo), and I saved 3+ minutes over 5 1/2 miles! And these tires RAIL in nearly ALL conditions (partially cuz of the tire pressure, I do pinball a bit in bigger gravel)!
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiker67
    I just bought a Fisher Tassajara, and since I ride mostly subdivision streets, had the LBS swap the knobby tires out for some Bontrager Hank 2.2s. The larger tires ride extremely smooth, although I admit I have never ridden any other slicks for comparison. Their grip on gravel and dirt washed into the road really surprised me. I have over 300 miles on them now and not had a puncture yet. The only drawback I could see is that they may be heavier than most other slicks.
    Slightly off topic, but I must say that bike looks damn good and so does that Jeep.

    Just a question with regards to using the Tassajara as a commuter bike, is it much more easier compared to the stock knobbly tires? I intend on using a Wahoo as a commuter (well to the trails which are about 7.5 km away) on tarmac and sidewalks and I don't want to switch from slicks to knobblies when I get to the trails.

  27. #27
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    same here

    Quote Originally Posted by citybiker
    I have about 3000 miles on a set of Serfas Drifters 26 x 2.0. Great commuting tires for mtb.
    I have about 4 months on my 26x 1.75 Serafs Drifters FPS (flat protection system) and they are sweet, no problems yet and great traction in wet. We'll see this winter how they take snow. I tried other skinnier (1.25?) tires and my pedals hit the ground on every corner and I got constant flats. I'd say minimum of 1.75 for a MTB frame. good luck...

    -S

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ktse
    Slightly off topic, but I must say that bike looks damn good and so does that Jeep.

    Just a question with regards to using the Tassajara as a commuter bike, is it much more easier compared to the stock knobbly tires? I intend on using a Wahoo as a commuter (well to the trails which are about 7.5 km away) on tarmac and sidewalks and I don't want to switch from slicks to knobblies when I get to the trails.
    Thanks for the comments on the bike & Jeep.

    I think it rides a little bit faster (maybe 1 MPH) with the slicks. I put another set of wheels with old knobby (Bontrager Jones AC) tires on it last weekend to get it ready to ride offroad. I don't know how much, but the tires and wheels were heavier than the stock Tass, and it felt like it rode slower. I didn't switch the magnet for the computer over and therefore don't have any numbers to compare. I guess I am not offering much evidence here, other than it feels better on the road with the slicks.
    My bikes:
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  29. #29
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    I've got a set of 2'' slicks, and with a 48t chainring the difference I found is I want an 11t cassete on the rear instead of the 12-28 I usually run with knobbys. That's about 8-9% difference. If you try slicks and like them you might want to consider a second wheelset with a different cassette. I like Mavic Crossrides for this, with 24 bladed spokes they should help top speed also (warning some newer ones don't have eyelets).
    If you have disc brakes and you're really in a hurry 700c road tires are an option on an appropriate ($$$) wheelset . I run 48tX11t with these also but the diameter is bigger. I think 5mph would be a conservative guess with these.
    I use the slicks for streets, fire roads, and flat sandy trails, but for streets and paved bike paths the 700c's rock.
    It doesn't cost much to try slicks and see what they do for you.

  30. #30
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    I think to get the most adavntage out of slicks you need to inflate them to much higher psi. Even on 2'' slicks I run 80psi rear, and 60 frt. You get a lot more gain from this with slicks than with knobbys. If it rides too hard consider a Thudbuster seatpost. Their size still lets me take shortcuts, and explore trails a little bit.

  31. #31
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    I run Conti Gatorskins 26 x 1.125 on my daily commuter.
    Stupidly fast and you'll feel every bump.
    It'll take up to 100psi as well...


    For something more forgiving, I run Conti Sport Contacts in 26 x 1.6
    Again, very fast but slightly plush at the same time.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiker67
    I just bought a Fisher Tassajara, and since I ride mostly subdivision streets, had the LBS swap the knobby tires out for some Bontrager Hank 2.2s. The larger tires ride extremely smooth, although I admit I have never ridden any other slicks for comparison. Their grip on gravel and dirt washed into the road really surprised me. I have over 300 miles on them now and not had a puncture yet. The only drawback I could see is that they may be heavier than most other slicks.



    I had to join just to comment on that Gary Fisher and principally on those Bontrager Hanks very sharp and snazzy looking with that red outline hot. I hope to have my LBS swap out the knobby tires for the same Bontrager Hanks $27 each only draw back is the max PSI on them is 75 hope to push 80 or more on them only city riding.

    found this website showing off the same slick tires great for commuting the red sidewall is a nice trend adds some personality to the bike

    http://www.mobile01.com/topicdetail....7&last=6405529

  33. #33
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    Maxxis Hookworm tires



    I just discovered this thread and was surprised to see that nobody had mentioned the 26 x 2.50 Maxxis Hookworm tires. A year ago I put a set of them on my 2000 Rockhopper FSR, and they completely transformed the bike.

    On the street, they roll silently, and provide tremendous grip for fast cornering.

    It hard to believe, but after roughly 1,500 miles, the treads still look new. When I installed them, I added a pair of Slime super thick tubes, and I've never had a flat.

    Yes, the tires and tubes add weight, but I'm not racing. I couldn't be happier with them.

    Dave
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  34. #34
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    I love Maxxis,but Kenda seems to be putting out some nice street treads.The new Prototypes are sweet,and the K-Rads are grippy,and cheap.

  35. #35
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    hey kiker67, you bike looks sick with the fatty and red pen stripe!!!! Even though they are a bit larger, I like how they look!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by kiker67
    I just bought a Fisher Tassajara, and since I ride mostly subdivision streets, had the LBS swap the knobby tires out for some Bontrager Hank 2.2s. The larger tires ride extremely smooth, although I admit I have never ridden any other slicks for comparison. Their grip on gravel and dirt washed into the road really surprised me. I have over 300 miles on them now and not had a puncture yet. The only drawback I could see is that they may be heavier than most other slicks.
    kiker67

  36. #36
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    Bontrager Road Warrior 26 X 1.50

    Well, this past weekend, my Michelin XR Road made it's last revolution out back:

    I got about 1,000+ miles out of the back tire since I started riding this slick back in May of this year.

    It would have maybe made another 250+ miles, but the rather large shrapnel made for a rather large sidewall gash:

    So I broke out the ol' dolla'dolla bill ya'll trick:


    I could have positioned it a bit better as the tube was poking out a bit once I got to the bike shop, but it got me there!


    So, I made way to the same shop I bought the Michelin to get another.... NONE IN STOCK!
    Needed something, so I'll try this Bontrager Road Warrior out:



    The Bontrager rides smooth, seems a wee bit thinner than the Michelin, but has same, if not more grip, but that could be due to the larger 1.50 size compared to the Michelin 1.40 size.
    Bontrager max's at 80psi, so this too could attribute to the smooth, gripper feel. Will see how many miles I can get out of this tire but affraid this test will be limited as I have a new wheel tire combo coming onto the bike soon - very soon!!!!
    Last edited by GCRad1; 09-04-2008 at 12:00 AM.

  37. #37
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    My bike is brutally rigid so high pressure tires are very unpleasant. I've tried 26x1.0 @ 125psi and that was like riding on the rims. Way too hard.

    I then went to Fat Boy slicks at ~100psi...still too hard.

    I recently bought a set of Schwalbe Marathon 1.5". They have a wide pressure range (65-100psi) so you can pretty well run them where you want. I'm running 70psi up front and 80psi rear. They are working well so far and I have a lot of garbage on my commute.

  38. #38
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    ... and if we just ...

    Alil off topic here but what kind of front lights do you have on that bike now? and is that a titanium frame? nice bike


    Quote Originally Posted by lordmike
    I run Conti Gatorskins 26 x 1.125 on my daily commuter.
    Stupidly fast and you'll feel every bump.
    It'll take up to 100psi as well...


    For something more forgiving, I run Conti Sport Contacts in 26 x 1.6
    Again, very fast but slightly plush at the same time.

  39. #39
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    Panaracer Urban Max 26x1.25

    Got these new little meats, compared to the previous 1.40's I've been running.




    First impression:
    Ecceleration is quicker, but stop peddling and deceleration is just as quick...



  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by comptiger5000
    Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0

    Fat enough that it doesn't look stupid, rolls great, corners beautifully, and, even at 60psi (max is 70, but with the wide slicks, I don't trust my rims), they don't ride too rough.
    I pump my BAs up to 50psi. They sag back to 40 or thereabouts over a week or so and then hold that for weeks/months. My current pair, I replaced the rear at 4k miles, 5k now on the front. My previous pair I got 3k miles and then sold the bike (and the BAs on it), they are still rolling strong with the new owner.

  41. #41
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    I run Spec'd Rhythm Controls or Compound Controls on pretty much anything that hits the pavement. I keep the knobs mounted on spare wheel-sets for when it's time to kick up the dust.

    The Compound Controls are fast and aggressive but don't give you anything if you have to cut through a park (grass, dirt, etc.). The Rhythm Controls have the raised tread on the edges to provide that extra bit of highly noticeable grip for those off road sections.

  42. #42
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    I just switched over to slicks on a second wheelset for days when not in the mud, and covering distance.
    Schwalbe Marathons. Like them so far...

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtreed99
    I was just wondering what your favorite slicks are for mountain bike commuing and also all these guys reporting 5 mph gains just by switching from the big knobbies, could this be a result of changing the tire diameter and not recalibrating the speedometer?
    Ritchey Tom Slick 1.4s, pumped up to 85 PSI: it's like gliding to work.

  44. #44
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    Hello all, new to the forums here.

    I put a set of Ritchey Innovaders 26x1.95 on my backwoods, but its not even a year and the sidewalls cracked, it sits outside at work, but in my garage at home. i have a pair of those michelin Country Rocks here i will try next, but ive been looking at a Schwalbe tire, except for the price.

    Cheers all

  45. #45
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    WTB Vulpine 2.1's are pretty darn awesome!
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    "Bicycle Lifestyle, realized." D.G.

  46. #46
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    My Specialized FSR Enduro is rolling on Michelin Country Rock 26 x 1.75. Gettin' me a pair of Michelin City with sidewall reflector for my new commuter build. Read a few reviews that said they're heavy but are good in rain and durable.




  47. #47
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    Total NOOB here, but I love that bike. What is it, and are the frame packs custom-made? Isn't that ACU?

    Pete in Atlanta

  48. #48
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    I'm just going to throw another tire in here for consideration. Hutchinson Acrobat 26X1.95.
    Almost a slick, pimple tread in the middle, small swept back knobs on the dges, and flat protection built in. They show up at Nashbar for about $12 every now and then. They roll fast, and are a little more forgiving than full slicks.There is a weight tradeoff for flat protection.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by djork
    My Specialized FSR Enduro is rolling on Michelin Country Rock 26 x 1.75. Gettin' me a pair of Michelin City with sidewall reflector for my new commuter build. Read a few reviews that said they're heavy but are good in rain and durable.

    *snip*

    Nice fork I have the same one. Is that the 85mm or the 100mm model? How are you liking it?

  50. #50
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    Bryank930, it's the 85mm. I like it. It's very stiff and beefy--too much fork for doing city riding I like the remote lockout, works well and allows a few mm of travel, so you still get some cushion for potholes and what not. Should also mention that it's very well made just like anything else made in Germania.

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