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  1. #1
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Thinking about switching to a skinnier, knobbier tire for 'cross on my mountain bike

    'Cross isn't one of my training goals this season, but I figured I'd do a couple when the weather was crappy enough that I wouldn't rather be riding my mountain bike on mountain bike trails, at my own pace.

    The weather was pretty crappy today, so I went to a 'cross race. It was pretty much a grass crit and, as anticipated, it sucked. Cyclocross is like that. Tons of rolling resistance in the grass, which is always a problem for me.

    Anyway, it got me thinking - right now, the bike is set up with 2.25" Schwalbes, a Rocket Ron up front and Racing Ralph in the back. I held onto the set of tires I used previously, both 2.1" - a Nevegal and a Nobby Nic. I'm tempted to put those back on and see if it sucks less. I'd most likely stick with Nev up front and NoNi in back, basically how I had them before. I don't really like ramped knobs on a rear tire.

    My thinking is that when I'm riding through grass and the kind of mud that shows up on 'cross courses, I'm pretty much guaranteed to lay the blades of grass all the way over or sink through the mud to the harder surface beneath. So if I use a little narrower tire, I don't have to move as much grass or mud aside. I think bigger knobs on the back might also give me a little better stability in sand, even if I give up some going to a narrower tire.

    Anyway, I wondered if anyone had experimented with this. I don't really want to buy anything because there are only three races left in this series and I probably won't go to all of them. But if I can be a little more competitive with a change in the stuff I already have, wtf.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  2. #2
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    It sounds like you're riding your mtb. Rolling resistance will almost always be your biggest issue on a mtb - I have friends running tubless tires (not just any tire mind you) on their Arch and crest rims. Something to think about next year.

    Also sounds like you're talking about wet grass courses. I tend do do fine, relatively speaking with all around tires (fango, grifo) while friends swear by mud tires (pdx, rhino). The big difference is how you ride when you get tired. I don't like to sacrifice rolling resistance for a very small section of mud or off-camber wetness - I'd rather pay attention in those spots and ride as focused as my pea-brain allows.

    A few years ago a buddy said that tread matters less than having the right pressure, I think that's true save for pure mud-fests.

    ymmv

  3. #3
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    thinking back I never answered your question, sorry.

    Your line of thinking is in line with the consensus. I remember reading an interview with Katie Compton about this very topic. Narrow(er) tires "sink" better and get on to the firmer ground. We don't have much mud out here but someone from the Northwest could probably give the skinny on the latest mud-trends.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I am someone from the Northwest. And when I anticipate doing 'cross this season lines up pretty well with trying to improve mud performance. Anyway, if Katie F'ing Compton thought narrower tires did better for this stuff... who am I to argue?

    If I take 'cross seriously again in a future season, I'll get some more 'cross tires and do it on my 'cross bike. Which becomes a whole other ballgame. But yeah - for now I'm doing them on my hardtail MTB.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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