Need opinions of tire sizes for commuting- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Need opinions of tire sizes for commuting

    Hey folks,

    I know there are numerous "best commuting tire" threads out there. I'm curious about size specifically on a drop bar mtb.

    Vittoria zaffiro worked well in 28mm on my gravel bike. But just got a fargo and I'm going back and forth between 32-40 mm slick/hybrid tires and balloon type slicks of 2" or more.

    Commute is 26 miles rt, all city roads with plenty of stops. I'm curious about balloon tires like big apples, but don't want to waste a lot of enegy getting them rolling every half mile.

    Main focus is suppleness with punture protection. I'm less concerned about durability/longevity.

    So do I stick with the typical commute tire widths or are the balloon tires worth a shot?

    Sent from my VS985 4G using Tapatalk

  2. #2
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    Rim width? Is weight important? Currently running Geax tattoos in a 29 x2.3 on a 35 mm wide rim. Great for off road stuff too. Think about a 2" slick, many options. Look at some maxxis stuff.

  3. #3
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    If you are talking about staying on pavement, I don't think my 2.5" Hookworms are any more comfortable than a 700x40 tire. At 26 miles I'd go with the "skinny" option.

    I've got 700x41 Surly Knards and they roll pretty well, and handle dirt duty well for a skinny tire. I've not punctured them (yet), but I don't think they have anything built in.

    I'm thinking about trying Soma Shikoros, they look pretty sweet on paper for the price and come in a good range of sizes from 700x23 to 700x42.
    Soma Shikoro 700c Road Tire (Kevlar Bead)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Rim width? Is weight important? Currently running Geax tattoos in a 29 x2.3 on a 35 mm wide rim. Great for off road stuff too. Think about a 2" slick, many options. Look at some maxxis stuff.
    Rims are wtb i19 or something like that. I believe internal width is 19mm. Weight is only as big of a factor as it potentially inhibits acceleration from a stop. That is is to say the more I notice a heavy tire slowing my acceleration the more of a factor it becomes.

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  5. #5
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    I had i19 Frequency rims for a while. Typical road tubeless (i.e. Hutchinson Sector 28s) didn't seal, but I think other tubeless ready tires would be ok.

    I just posted about Soma Supple Vitesses in the Salsa forum's Vaya thread. I think they would set up tubeless based on how hard they were to get on my Velocity Aileron rims.
    You change your own flats? Support your LBS and pay them to instead.

  6. #6
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    Aye, skinnier, the better, if you're talking about a good amount on road (50/50?). Take the narrowest tire you can deal with every day offroad, and stick it on.

    FWIW, I've got 40mm Maxxis Refuse tires on my i19s, work great on anything reasonably well packed, but don't expect to exceed a 15-16 mph average, unless you've got legs for days, or an unusually light load.

    I'm okay with the trade-off of comfort-vs-speed, so I don't mind.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbandt View Post
    Hey folks,

    I know there are numerous "best commuting tire" threads out there. I'm curious about size specifically on a drop bar mtb.

    Vittoria zaffiro worked well in 28mm on my gravel bike. But just got a fargo and I'm going back and forth between 32-40 mm slick/hybrid tires and balloon type slicks of 2" or more.

    Commute is 26 miles rt, all city roads with plenty of stops. I'm curious about balloon tires like big apples, but don't want to waste a lot of enegy getting them rolling every half mile.

    Main focus is suppleness with punture protection. I'm less concerned about durability/longevity.



    So do I stick with the typical commute tire widths or are the balloon tires worth a shot?

    Sent from my VS985 4G using Tapatalk

    Hi mate I have run many of these size tires on my Surly Cross Check.

    28mm too small and a harsh ride and plenty of flats. Then some 40 mm Kenda's plenty of comfort but slow to get going but held speed well.

    I found my idea size and tires with the Schwalbe Marthon Supreme in 35mm, these things are fast, comfortable and so far no flats.

    I ran a 2 inch version on my 26 inch Troll, three flats in about three and a half years. The bike is ridden five days a week so that's a great result.

    The Schwalbes are not cheap but I don't believe you will find a better tire. And they are available in all the sizes that you are looking at.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surly in OZ View Post
    Hi mate I have run many of these size tires on my Surly Cross Check.

    28mm too small and a harsh ride and plenty of flats. Then some 40 mm Kenda's plenty of comfort but slow to get going but held speed well.

    I found my idea size and tires with the Schwalbe Marthon Supreme in 35mm, these things are fast, comfortable and so far no flats.

    I ran a 2 inch version on my 26 inch Troll, three flats in about three and a half years. The bike is ridden five days a week so that's a great result.

    The Schwalbes are not cheap but I don't believe you will find a better tire. And they are available in all the sizes that you are looking at.
    Yeah, I'm looking at Marathon Supremes and Vittoria randonneur pro both in 35 mm. I'm also researching panaracer tires in that width as well.

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  9. #9
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    Comparing 3 tires on the same ride, no doubt the skinnier the better. If they can handle the job. I'd go for something in the 33-40mm range with relatively smooth center tread, and be done with it. I like WTB nano and Kenda happy medium. good commuters, and trail capable if there aren't too many rocks.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    FWIW, I've got 40mm Maxxis Refuse tires on my i19s, work great on anything reasonably well packed, but don't expect to exceed a 15-16 mph average, unless you've got legs for days, or an unusually light load.
    Talk like that is going to make me think I am superman or something. I commute 40+ miles round trip on a Salsa Fargo with 2.35x29 Super Motos. I am 40yo guy who weighs 225 pounds and am commuting with clothes and food and laptop. Definitely not a light load and I average 18-19mph to work and 15-16 on the way home.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by samwe View Post
    Talk like that is going to make me think I am superman or something. I commute 40+ miles round trip on a Salsa Fargo with 2.35x29 Super Motos. I am 40yo guy who weighs 225 pounds and am commuting with clothes and food and laptop. Definitely not a light load and I average 18-19mph to work and 15-16 on the way home.
    I'm impressed! I however have 70lbs on you so I'm happy with my 14-15 mph. 40+ round trip? You clearly have more energy than I. LOL

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  12. #12
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    First see what the size of tire will impact the bikes gearing and whether its something you can deal with.Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator

    For commuting you might consider a 70 GI ratio as optimum and say thread count and psi max.

  13. #13
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    You should keep the tire size roughly commensurate with the frame design. Slapping 32c touring (or whatever you want to call them) tires on a bike designed for 2.2s and rough trail riding is like putting narrow street tires on a Jeep. You've mismatched strengths, and if nothing else, it looks silly.

    The Vittoria/Geax Evolution is what you are looking for. https://www.vittoria.com/tire/evolution/
    29 x 1.9 - rolls fast, very cheap (you can find them for sub $15 online - Nashbar: GEAX Evolution 29" x 1.9 Wire Bead Mountain Tire). I have them on my El Mariachi "ruff-commuter." They will look and perform right on your MTB.
    My other bike is a /7.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbaier View Post
    You should keep the tire size roughly commensurate with the frame design. Slapping 32c touring (or whatever you want to call them) tires on a bike designed for 2.2s and rough trail riding is like putting narrow street tires on a Jeep. You've mismatched strengths, and if nothing else, it looks silly.

    The Vittoria/Geax Evolution is what you are looking for. https://www.vittoria.com/tire/evolution/
    29 x 1.9 - rolls fast, very cheap (you can find them for sub $15 online - Nashbar: GEAX Evolution 29" x 1.9 Wire Bead Mountain Tire). I have them on my El Mariachi "ruff-commuter." They will look and perform right on your MTB.
    Mismatched strengths, absolutely. Awkward looking totally true. But I'll forego those things if I'm going to expend noticable less energy on a 32mm vs 2+" tire especially when I have to start and stop every half mile. Now if I'm not really going to notice the difference in speed or energy expended then I'd totally go for a higher volume tire.

    Sent from my VS985 4G using Tapatalk

  16. #16
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    IME, commuting isn't a race, and as such I tend not to think about things like "am I expending 5% more effort restarting at each stoplight because of these tires" and more about "am I comfortable", "can I hop this curb", "is this crap on the shoulder going to puncture my tire", and "will this lunatic driver hit me?"

    So... will you expend more energy with a fatter tire? Likely. How much is a topic of endless debate. Look at the plus side: better training. As a long time commuter, my advice would be the tires I mentioned or similar, if nothing else than to avoid your bike looking anything like this: Converting a mountain bike for the road
    My other bike is a /7.

  17. #17
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    I have used Specialized Nimbus Armadillo or Flack Jacket tyres for a very long time. Right now there are four pairs on bikes in the shed! They wear very well, I have some really old ones still in use, and they are almost impossible to puncture. You can ride over piles of broken glass no problem.

    They also use a kevlar belt for protection so they are quite light and fast rolling for a puncture-protected tyre. A 1.5 inch Nimbus on a 19mm rim is ideal.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbaier View Post
    IME, commuting isn't a race, and as such I tend not to think about things like "am I expending 5% more effort restarting at each stoplight because of these tires" and more about "am I comfortable", "can I hop this curb", "is this crap on the shoulder going to puncture my tire", and "will this lunatic driver hit me?"

    So... will you expend more energy with a fatter tire? Likely. How much is a topic of endless debate. Look at the plus side: better training. As a long time commuter, my advice would be the tires I mentioned or similar, if nothing else than to avoid your bike looking anything like this: Converting a mountain bike for the road
    This was kinda my focus. I've never ridden balloon type road tires. So I didn't know if I would notice the extra energy expended. For me it's not a race but I do try to push it especially on the way home. If it is something like 5% I doubt I would notice that. I was just trying to determine there is a significant difference. Seems like probably not.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbaier View Post
    You should keep the tire size roughly commensurate with the frame design. Slapping 32c touring (or whatever you want to call them) tires on a bike designed for 2.2s and rough trail riding is like putting narrow street tires on a Jeep. You've mismatched strengths, and if nothing else, it looks silly.

    The Vittoria/Geax Evolution is what you are looking for. https://www.vittoria.com/tire/evolution/
    29 x 1.9 - rolls fast, very cheap (you can find them for sub $15 online - Nashbar: GEAX Evolution 29" x 1.9 Wire Bead Mountain Tire). I have them on my El Mariachi "ruff-commuter." They will look and perform right on your MTB.
    Is there any reason to not get the Geax version? I'm assuming they are back stock from being manufactured years ago but did the Vittorias change anything about the tire?

  20. #20
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    I have each and they are the same tire, as best I can tell.
    My other bike is a /7.

  21. #21
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    The touring folks have debated this endlessly and they have settled on various Schwalbe tires and a few others, including the Vittoria Randoneur Pro II. I have the Randoneur Pro IIs in 37-622 size on my rigid "road" 29er, which has Reynolds R29 XC wheels with 20 mm internal width. The tires measure 35mm wide mounted on these rims. I have been running these at 40-50 PSI for mixed road riding, including some gravel roads. You could run higher pressures if you care to. These tires make a good compromise among the factors of puncture resistance, comfort, weight, and price (Chain Reactions Cycles). I can't speak accurately about rolling resistance but they certainly feel lively enough. These tires are quite a bit lighter than most of the Schwalbe varieties, with still good puncture resistance. A 32-622 size is also available. Minimum tire width for the wheel spec is 28 or 32 mm, can't remember which.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramount3 View Post
    The touring folks have debated this endlessly and they have settled on various Schwalbe tires and a few others, including the Vittoria Randoneur Pro II. I have the Randoneur Pro IIs in 37-622 size on my rigid "road" 29er, which has Reynolds R29 XC wheels with 20 mm internal width. The tires measure 35mm wide mounted on these rims. I have been running these at 40-50 PSI for mixed road riding, including some gravel roads. You could run higher pressures if you care to. These tires make a good compromise among the factors of puncture resistance, comfort, weight, and price (Chain Reactions Cycles). I can't speak accurately about rolling resistance but they certainly feel lively enough. These tires are quite a bit lighter than most of the Schwalbe varieties, with still good puncture resistance. A 32-622 size is also available. Minimum tire width for the wheel spec is 28 or 32 mm, can't remember which.
    Funny you mention this tire. Its the exact tire I ended up with. Got the 37-622 even. Maybe a couple hundred miles so far so can't say much about them yet, but I do venture into some of the dirt shoulders on my rural rides and they've done well except when the turf gets soft. A good experience with the zaffiro has me becoming a fan of vittoria. Hope these last a while. At nearly 300 lbs I don't get the life that many do out
    of tires

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbaier View Post
    IME, commuting isn't a race, and as such I tend not to think about things like "am I expending 5% more effort restarting at each stoplight because of these tires" and more about "am I comfortable", "can I hop this curb", "is this crap on the shoulder going to puncture my tire", and "will this lunatic driver hit me?"

    So... will you expend more energy with a fatter tire? Likely. How much is a topic of endless debate. Look at the plus side: better training. As a long time commuter, my advice would be the tires I mentioned or similar, if nothing else than to avoid your bike looking anything like this: Converting a mountain bike for the road
    By all means, every bit of this. I'm a retired commuter. My fave tires of all time were the old 26X1.4 Specialized Nimbus. Not too small, fast enough, about one puncture a year and lasted awhile. Something else not mentioned is cushion. Fatter tire = smoother ride (most of the time). But then I was never a fan of suspension on a commuter.

  24. #24
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    I used to run some bell round about tires.....26x1.75.... they rolled good and didnt seem to have very many punctures, but were a PITA do dismount to fix a flat if you did just happen to get one... they had kevlar as well..... on my current commuter I run knobbies... my commuter is only a few miles, so rolling resistance is not a big deal
    97 specialized rockhopper.- urban beater
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