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  1. #1
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    Narrower tires for an older MTB? (off-road tires)

    I'm hoping the collective wisdom of the forum can help me out here. Just getting back into mountain biking again with my old '88 full rigid GT Timberline. Clearances are pretty tight, both front and rear, as the rear now has canti brake posts welded on rather than the issue, under the BB C/U brake. Not that there was a whole lot of clearance there anyway.

    Can anyone recommend a decent off-road tire (mostly for trail riding and a little light mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest) that isn't quite so fat as most of these modern ones? I'm getting clearance issues with the sidewalls scraping on the (open) brakes. I was able to ride a bit this past week that way but eventually I'm going to blow through the sidewalls that way, not to mention the extra effort scraping along. I already opened up the barrel adjusters quite a bit to get a little more clearance and don't really have any more to get out of that.

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S. Something that folds would be ideal. I do a fair amount of bike-camping/short tours. Incorporating a little mountain biking from a base camp en route would be nice (be rollin' touring rubber rest of the time).
    Last edited by Medic Zero; 08-22-2011 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Canti not V brakes! ;)

  2. #2
    Former Bike Wrench
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    The IRC Mythos II in a 26 x 1.95" run narrow, have good all-around traction, come in folding bead, and are cheap.

    IRC Mythos XC II Racing Kevlar Tire 26x1.95 / 2.1 at Price Point

  3. #3
    local trails rider
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    What tires do fit OK?

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    What tires do fit OK?
    Recently I was running Continental Town & Country's (2.1's?) and they fit okay. I tossed on some mountain rubber I had laying around in my storage space this past week and experienced the fit issues.

    I am at work at the moment, when I get home I'll take a look at what size those (mismatched) tires were, but I think they both may have been 2.1's or 2.0's. They didn't look very big, I think it is the knobbies on the sides of the tires that are the issue.

    EDIT: The Town & Country's I was running before are actually 1.9's
    Last edited by Medic Zero; 08-21-2011 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Wrong size tire listed!

  5. #5
    local trails rider
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    Another thing: can you get a picture that shows your brakes?

    I'd think you could get a V brake to clear the tire if the tire clears the frame. Maybe there's something you can do to the brake setup.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Another thing: can you get a picture that shows your brakes?

    I'd think you could get a V brake to clear the tire if the tire clears the frame. Maybe there's something you can do to the brake setup.
    I don't think so, but maybe. I've since dismounted them to do my daily commute to work, so here's a couple of pictures taken today with Vittoria Randoneur tires mounted:





    Should I take a couple more pics more along the centerline?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    What tires do fit OK?
    Just got a chance to double check the rubber stack:

    The Continental Town & Country's that fit okay are 1.9's not 2.1's like I thought.

    The mismatched set of mountain rubber I was rolling from out of the depths of my storage space were:

    Front: IRC PIRANHAPRO T.C. in 2.10

    Rear: IRC MYTHOSXC in 2.10
    This one also has "2.10R" listed on it, I assume that means it is supposed to be rear specific?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    The IRC Mythos II in a 26 x 1.95" run narrow, have good all-around traction, come in folding bead, and are cheap.

    IRC Mythos XC II Racing Kevlar Tire 26x1.95 / 2.1 at Price Point
    Thanks for that!

    Their 2.1 is too big, it turns out that was what I was running on the rear. Interestingly the salvaged one that had been sitting in my storage space for who knows how long has a different tread pattern despite having the same name:



    EDIT: Just spotted the "II" in the name of the one you posted, I imagine that explains it!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic Zero View Post
    I'm hoping the collective wisdom of the forum can help me out here. Just getting back into mountain biking again with my old '88 full rigid GT Timberline. Clearances are pretty tight, both front and rear, as the rear now has V-brake posts welded on rather than the issue, under the BB C/U brake. Not that there was a whole lot of clearance there anyway.

    Can anyone recommend a decent off-road tire (mostly for trail riding and a little light mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest) that isn't quite so fat as most of these modern ones? I'm getting clearance issues with the sidewalls scraping on the (open) brakes. I was able to ride a bit this past week that way but eventually I'm going to blow through the sidewalls that way, not to mention the extra effort scraping along. I already opened up the barrel adjusters quite a bit to get a little more clearance and don't really have any more to get out of that.

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S. Something that folds would be ideal. I do a fair amount of bike-camping/short tours. Incorporating a little mountain biking from a base camp en route would be nice (be rollin' touring rubber rest of the time).
    Schwalbe, Specialized, Bontrager, Kenda (at least) still make 1.7-1.8" knobby tires.
    mtbtires.com
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  10. #10
    local trails rider
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    Aha: you have cantilever brakes and not V.

    To me, it looks like your brake setup (geometry) might not be quite ideal for either braking or tyre clearance. Sheldon Brown (RIP) has a page on cantilever geometry:
    The Geometry of Cantilever Brakes

    The front rack may get in the way of any big changes, though.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Aha: you have cantilever brakes and not V.

    To me, it looks like your brake setup (geometry) might not be quite ideal for either braking or tyre clearance. Sheldon Brown (RIP) has a page on cantilever geometry:
    The Geometry of Cantilever Brakes

    The front rack may get in the way of any big changes, though.
    RE: the bolded bit: Ah! Sorry! Still figuring out some of the terminology!

    Could I upgrade to V brakes? Would that help mitigate the issue?

    I'm not worried about the rack, the brakes are hitting first. Eventually the Sekai I picked up as a back-up will probably become my full-rigid MTB during the summer, leaving the GT for touring and commuting, but I expect to have much the same issue with it since it is a '91.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Schwalbe, Specialized, Bontrager, Kenda (at least) still make 1.7-1.8" knobby tires.

    Thanks for that! I'd only started to search manufacturer by manufacturer and had noted that Conti at least offers its Mud King in 1.8, not sure if that would be ideal as I am also dealing with some roots that are often going to be wet. Also don't know if that is a folder or not...

  13. #13
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic Zero View Post
    I'm not worried about the rack, the brakes are hitting first.
    I mean that the brakes should maybe be set up so that they are a bit wider, but there might not be room to do that because of the rack.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  14. #14
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    I ride an old bike , its original tyres were 1.95" Panaracer Smoke , ever since they wore out i've used cheap end continentals , 2.2 and now 2.3 , the front is fine but the rear is far too tight a fit (mines rubs just inside the chain stay where the tyre runs near) , I sit and cut off half the knobbly outer edge bits with a sharp craft knife blade.

    Better half knobbles on a 2.3 than none or 1.95 tyres, and they're cheap (13 -GBP each)so no real issues about ruining an expensive tyre
    I scurry away with my hardtail between my legs

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrAitchGee View Post
    I ride an old bike , its original tyres were 1.95" Panaracer Smoke , ever since they wore out i've used cheap end continentals , 2.2 and now 2.3 , the front is fine but the rear is far too tight a fit (mines rubs just inside the chain stay where the tyre runs near) , I sit and cut off half the knobbly outer edge bits with a sharp craft knife blade.

    Better half knobbles on a 2.3 than none or 1.95 tyres, and they're cheap (13 -GBP each)so no real issues about ruining an expensive tyre

    Really? Is that because of the volume difference when running them low pressure? Less pinch flats or what? Should I expect to have problems running a 1.7, 1.8, or 1.8 instead of the 2.1's?

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