Commuting on knobby tires- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Commuting on knobby tires

    I know everyone on here says riding with knobby tires on pavement wears them down quickly, but quickly is a relative term. How many miles do you guys ride on pavement before you see wear that affects your mountain biking performance?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by john777
    I know everyone on here says riding with knobby tires on pavement wears them down quickly, but quickly is a relative term. How many miles do you guys ride on pavement before you see wear that affects your mountain biking performance?
    That is going to depend a lot on the tire, particularly how soft the compound is. It would not surprise be if some tires last at least 3 times as long as others. It also happens a lot faster (as in several times quicker) on the rear than the front.

  3. #3
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    I do about...

    1000 miles a year commuting. On my pavement tires I can run about two years on them before they need replacement. My off road tires will only last at the most 500 miles on pavement. And off road performance degrades even sooner than that. I've only had one set of off road tires that lasted a full year on the road, and those were a very hard compound tire and not really that good off road to begin with. Basically if I ran my knobbies for both commuting and off road I'd be replacing them 4 to 5 times more often than my road specific tires if I wanted to maintian good off road performance. It's one of those things, pavement just seems to raise particular hell with soft off road rubber compounds.

    Good Dirt
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  4. #4
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    Ditto what's been said... I do about 1800 miles per year commuting, and the only mtb tires I've found that can get up into the 1000 mile range are such a hard compound that they suck offroad anyway. You can make them last longer if you rotate them faithfully, but who remembers to do that? The rear does wear significantly faster (this is true of any road tire too).

    To directly answer your question, I'd say that after even 200 commuting miles, the rear tire will perform noticeably worse on the trail. Depending on your bike, your weight, and weight distribution on the bike, you might get 500 out of a front tire before you noticed a difference on the trail. The side knobs don't wear as fast, so it will corner reasonably well on the trail, but you'll start to notice loss of traction when applying power to the rear.

    The best knobby commuting tire (oxy-moron) that I've found was a $10 Forte' house brand tire from Performance Bike. They don't make it any more but it was called the 'versa trak'. I got probably 1500 commuting miles out of a set, with some trail use mixed in...but they were pretty lame for trail use.

    In some ways, the more you pay for the mtb tire, the faster it's going to wear on pavement... you pay more for grippy rubber compounds, and grippy rubber compounds are soft.

    Just explain to the significant other that you either need to buy another weelset to mount your commuting tires too, or you need another bike.
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  5. #5
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    Conti Verticals can easily manage 2000 km on the road plus off road riding...

    Crossmarks can easily do 2500 km on the road plus off road riding.

    Pump the tires up hard will increase life alot.

  6. #6
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    I better go check

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Conti Verticals can easily manage 2000 km on the road plus off road riding...
    I don't think my Conti Verts even lasted that long just on the trail! At least not on the rear (did not use them in the front).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    I don't think my Conti Verts even lasted that long just on the trail! At least not on the rear (did not use them in the front).

    Pump them up...UST ride fast.

  9. #9
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    I have no idea how long it takes to wear out a set of knobbies on the pavement- I can`t deal with the squirm and the BBBZZZZ for long enough to find out.
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
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    The BBBZZZZ is beautiful... reminds me of my jeep. If you want to have a conversation, stop. Otherwise, just listen to the glorious music of mud terrains.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  11. #11
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    My homemade studded tire must have deafened me, I don't hear the knobbies any more.

  12. #12
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    I've been commuting on my HT lately and am realizing that I actually enjoy the hum of knobbies on pavement as well. Sure creates a lot of rolling resistance, but that can also be beneficial fitness-wise and a nice way to mix it up once in awhile. I would think that a less aggressively knobbed tire like a Nanoraptor or Smallblock 8 might also wear slower, since there is more of the tire surface contacting the road at one time? Just a thought.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    I've been commuting on my HT lately and am realizing that I actually enjoy the hum of knobbies on pavement as well. Sure creates a lot of rolling resistance, but that can also be beneficial fitness-wise and a nice way to mix it up once in awhile. I would think that a less aggressively knobbed tire like a Nanoraptor or Smallblock 8 might also wear slower, since there is more of the tire surface contacting the road at one time? Just a thought.

    I had a Nanoraptor on a commuter/townie bike for a while, and it did OK. Since it has that (essentially) continuous tread down the center, you really could not tell it was wearing down, and it was pretty hard rubber as well. I always thought that was a decent tire for a mix of paved and dirt roads with some trails thrown in, though I never though much of it as a trail tire. OK to get me through, but not particularly confidence inspiring.

  14. #14
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    OK first off I am more of a beginner then anything else and really can only go off of my experience with the current tires I have. I have been riding my Bontrager XDX's that came on my bike for commuting and off trail riding for almost a year now. I do average 75 miles a week commuting and riding at lunch, mostly all on trail. I do about 30 more on single track each week.

    The rear is getting pretty wore now after close to 1k. I run them pretty high pressure for commuting and quite a bit less for off trail. I have not rotated them yet but if I did now I bet I could get at least another 500 out of them before I was really sliding around off trail.

    Only thing that sucks is that I have gone through 4 tubes in the rear. For as much commuting I have been doing I have been considering something different to ride.....but I kept up with and passed two roadies last night, so I'll stick with the 29er for now

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