THe Panaracer TrailRakers you recommended are probably one of my favorites right now. Took them out for a spin tonight and they were very inspiring. They held very well and didn't feel like they slowed me down. The ground was totally frozen with a few icey spots - so basically it was like a hard pack condiditons - and they worked great. Looks like I found my foul weather tires for that bike... then the Schwalbe Fast Freds for the dry summer stuff. Thank you - Oh great Tire Guru!

Also the longer cranks were very noticable in the beginning of the ride (175 to 180mm) - after a while the blended in - but I couldn't tell if I was climbing better due to them or if it was in my head - anyway I 'felt' quicker with less effort - and it's all about how you feel.

I'm heading to bed - later!