Which slick 26" tires for hilly college town?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Which slick 26" tires for hilly college town?

    Hello all, first post here. Last year I built a bit of a hybrid, based around a fairly lightweight Fuji Thrill frame (no shocks) with drop handlebars. As of now, it has 26x1.95 semi slicks on both front and back rims. I'm looking for more of a road feel, so I've been looking at narrower slick tires.

    What should I be looking for? Tread type? Lighter weight, or heavier and more durable? I've been primarily directed to these two tires:

    Panaracer Stradius Extreme MTB Tire

    IRC Smoothie Tire

  2. #2
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    Your choice of course...

    but personally I prefer something with a bit more tread and some cross siping for wet roads. Especially if riding the bike is your primary means of transportation. If you are a fair weather rider then a slick tire is fine. It also depends on the road sufaces that you ride primarily. A slick will do well on wet concrete or cement paths, but can be a bit scarry on wet ashphalt, depending on how smooth the surface is. A little tread can go a long way on wet surfaces. It also depends on how much road trash you have in the area that you ride. Light tires are great if the roads, bike lanes, paths etc. are kept nice and clean. But if not, nice light tires usually equate to plenty of puncture flats. I run to tires like the panaracer Tserv http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...6&category=179 , or the Continental Contact http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...2&category=179 . Neither are particularly light, but both are durable and protect well against road hazards, and they wear very well. Not the cheapest tires out there, but they make up for the extra cost in durability.

    Like I said, your choice. But in a campus area I'd go for a little more durability and puncture resistance.

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  3. #3
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    I had some really lightweight Specialized 1" semi slick tires (slick on the contact area in the middle) on my bike for a while when I had front suspension, they were very fast but they're pretty frail and don't soak up any bumps... Since going completely rigid and only using my bike on the road I've had the Schwalbe Cityjets, which are absolutely great. They're very fast, grip round corners like you're being guided on rails and very durable, the only thing is they do weigh a bit if you're a weight watcher (500gr per tire ish...).

  4. #4
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    I used these when I was commuting regularly on the 26"... about a mile of my commute is on dirt roads, and I never had a problem with them. And at 8 bucks a pop, you might as well give them a shot. I put 2000 miles on them before I switched to the 29er wheels. Just realized that's 400 miles on dirt. They're still hanging in my shop on stand-by.

    8 dollar tires that hold up like that? Can't beat that with a stick.

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  5. #5
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    I use Panaracer Stradius on my roadie, they're good tires. I don't use 'em on my commuter because light weight tires tend to flat easier. I say go with the IRC. Aside from durability, I always look for tires with a folding bead. Wire beads have a way of being difficult when you have to change a flat.
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  6. #6
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    i have panaracer pasela 1.25" tires and love them! not really fully slick but they have little resistance and they have the tread to help on wet pavement too. i have about 100 miles or so on them so far and not a problem at all
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  7. #7
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    I love my 2.0 Schwalbe Big Apples. Roll beautfully at 60psi and handle great. No vibration at all on the road and they're damn hard to puncture (I've hit decent sized chunks of glass before when I had a car in the way of avoiding them, no problems). They are a bear to get on the rims, however.

  8. #8
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    Schwalbe Marathon 1.75"s have been very good to me. I would not go thinner than 1.5", personally...there is little to be gained, much to be lost. I had a perfectly fine set of $15 Cheng Shin 1.5" inverted tread tires on my MTB touring bike that had me questioning the need for expensive tires. I had the Pasela 1.25s on the same bike during a long tour. They rolled nicely, but now that I have tasted the 1.75" fruit, I will never go back.
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  9. #9
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    I run Michelin Country Rocks and at 1.75" wide they're almost too narrow for me. They have an inverse tread though that is nearly slick and are very fast rolling. Did I mention that they stick to the road like glue in turns?
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    Hm, I'll have to check these out. The Schwalbe Cityjets seems like the best deal mentioned here (link).

    So is choosing 1.25 or 1.75 purely a matter of personal preference? What kind of performance differences are there between narrow and moderate diameter mtb tires?

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    I would not go thinner than 1.5", personally...there is little to be gained, much to be lost.
    What exactly is lost by using narrow slicks on a mountainbike? Keep in mind my Fuji Thrill frame is very small/light compared to your typical more offroad-centric frames. I can understand using narrow tires with a hefty frame not being the best idea.

  12. #12
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    With a thinner tyre you won't get the longevity or puncture resistance generally speaking, also you'll sacrifice ride comfort and in my experience you're better off in wet weather with a larger tyre with some grip at least where the tyre surface contacts the roads when cornering.

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    I use Michelin City Trekking Tires (http://www.rei.com/product/774366). They are a little on the heavy side, but highly puncture resistant. I've yet to get a flat of any kind, and they are big enough I can run a little lower air pressure for a smoother ride. A pretty good tire for the money.

  14. #14
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    I ride the Kenda Kwest slicks on my commuter. I love them. They are either 1.5 or 1.25.... I believe 1.5... and 100 PSI so they roll really really smooth. They are a little heavy compared to say the Kenda Contenders on my 700c, but they feel really durable and I've hopped off curbs and run through gravel and glass with no problems. Poke around and you can get a pair for less than $30. 100 PSI is key. I used to have some 1.75's that ran at 60-80 and the decrease in rolling resistance was huge.
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  15. #15
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    If you want skinny-Tom Slicks are about as thin, light, fast rolling as you can get. Last ok too........YMMV

  16. #16
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    I was using 1.1" WTB Slickasaurus tires on my commuter, at about 95 psi. Very nice grip, but a little too prone to punctures. I'm using some Conti Ultra Gatorskins now (about the same width), and while they're a pain to install/remove, and don't feel quite as nice, they're supposed to be much more bulletproof. Haven't had them on long enough to know if that's true yet!

  17. #17
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    Good job!

    I'm running the a pair of Kenda Kwests also. The 100 p.s.i. version is my preferance. I've never slipped even in wet situations. They are very fast and smooth riding.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsp_2177
    i have panaracer pasela 1.25" tires and love them! not really fully slick but they have little resistance and they have the tread to help on wet pavement too. i have about 100 miles or so on them so far and not a problem at all
    That's what I'm using, in combination with lightweight Continental 650 Light tubes. The upscale T-Serv variant adds black sidewalls for improved resistance to sidewall ageing. Not cheap, unfortunately. But they accelerate fast, and have low air drag because they're narrow. Puncture resistance is OK for a performance tire.

    My bike can end up around 75-80 pounds with a full load of groceries, so I do sometimes question whether a 29mm tire is big enough... next time I might bump up to a 1.5".

  19. #19
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    I have 1-1/8" slick tires on my commuter, and 23mm tires on my road bike. The 23mm tires have a purely cosmetic tread, which is worn off the rear tire anyway. Both of those bikes see plenty of rainy miles. It's really tire compound that matters for keeping traction on a wet road, imho. You want really soft rubber. Also, finding a good tire pressure for you and your use is important.

    Fatter tires are nice if you put a lot of stuff on the bike, as the above poster mentions.

    PS. If you're riding on snow and ice, fat tires are a lot more forgiving and more likely to let you recover a skid.
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  20. #20
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    Hookworms:

    http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc...kworm_Tire.htm

    I don't know if I'd say they were the best for your situation, but I really like em.

  21. #21
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    I would also recommend the Michelin City tires for riding on pavement. They're a little heavy but have a Kevlar anti-puncture belt that is resistant to flats. I have the 26x1.85 (47mm) size, they are quite fast on pavement. Tread is essentially a slick with some rain grooves; fast on pavement but predictably poor off-road.

    For some off-road ability I recommend Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires 26x1.75(47mm). These are also a little heavy, have a Kevlar belt, but a more aggressive tread to handle mild to moderate off-road conditions. Not quite as fast as the Michelins but much more versatile. Mine where a bit$# to get seated on the rim; I sincerely hope they stay flat free!

    Both have a reflective strip that's beneficial for commuting or touring.

  22. #22
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    These have been my road-only tires I swap when I feel like pretending I have a road bike:
    https://www.phattire.com/congranprixs.html

    They weigh 210g in 26x1, last forever, and are 100% legit road tires, not just semi-slicks.



    Last edited by f3rg; 09-02-2009 at 02:43 AM.

  23. #23
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by f3rg
    These have been my road-only tires I swap when I feel like pretending I have a road bike:
    https://www.phattire.com/congranprixs.html

    They weigh 210g in 26x1, last forever, and are 100% legit road tires, not just semi-slicks.



    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/one9us/3486399987/" title="Wahoo Roadie by aar0on, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3600/3486399987_88670be67d_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="Wahoo Roadie" /></a>
    Betcha that bike takes off quick from a stoplight

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by f3rg
    These have been my road-only tires I swap when I feel like pretending I have a road bike:
    https://www.phattire.com/congranprixs.html

    They weigh 210g in 26x1, last forever, and are 100% legit road tires, not just semi-slicks.



    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/one9us/3486399987/" title="Wahoo Roadie by aar0on, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3600/3486399987_88670be67d_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="Wahoo Roadie" /></a>
    i'm loving these tires, do you think they would handle some jumps on pavement and hitting of curbs? i live in nyc and hop on & off curbs on a regular basis (like 4-6" curbs)
    RH SL Pro

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    i'm loving these tires, do you think they would handle some jumps on pavement and hitting of curbs? i live in nyc and hop on & off curbs on a regular basis (like 4-6" curbs)
    The tires are pretty thick, so I'm sure they'd survive 4-6" jumps. I keep them set around 100psi, so there's no tire flex at all.

  26. #26
    2:1
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    why exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmines757
    What exactly is lost by using narrow slicks on a mountainbike? Keep in mind my Fuji Thrill frame is very small/light compared to your typical more offroad-centric frames. I can understand using narrow tires with a hefty frame not being the best idea.
    A 26 x 2 tire has close to the same rollout as a 700 x23 tire, but with the cush and floatation of a mountain bike or cruiser tire.

    A 26 x 1 tire has a teeny tiny rollout comparatively, each revolution it goes WAY less far than a 26 x 2 or 700 x 23. Plus the tires are super hard, so the wheels handle more twitchily, there's much less shock absorption, and due to the lighter weight there's less centrifugal force which causes the wheels to lose speed very very rapidly when you stop pedaling.

    Also think of the classic 29er analogy, about the guy on the skateboard with little hard wheels and the guy on the skateboard with big soft wheels, both rolling into a gravel patch. Who stays rolling, who gets tossed around, and why.

    For more seemingly counterintuitive mind-blowing discussion about this, check out http://www.balloonbikes.com

    I have Marathon Supremes on right now and it's all good. Much lighter than Big Apples but with all the "balloon bike" comfort and efficiency; not as flimsy as the Marathon Racer.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2:1
    A 26 x 1 tire has a teeny tiny rollout comparatively, each revolution it goes WAY less far than a 26 x 2
    Huh??
    You gonna have to help me out on the math of this one dude.

    By my reckoning its about 7.5% theoretical difference, probably less in real life with lower inflation pressure in a larger balloon tire.

    Maybe your definition of "teeny tiny" and "WAY less far" are different than mine.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphod123
    I would also recommend the Michelin City tires for riding on pavement. They're a little heavy but have a Kevlar anti-puncture belt that is resistant to flats. I have the 26x1.85 (47mm) size, they are quite fast on pavement. Tread is essentially a slick with some rain grooves; fast on pavement but predictably poor off-road.

    Both have a reflective strip that's beneficial for commuting or touring.
    I have the Michelin City 1.85's and like them. I came from Forte City Slicks and got tired of the hard ride and flats. I finally cut one open badly and went tire shopping. I'd say the Michelins are just about as fast, the only difference I notice is getting moving from a stop (they are heavier), and the ride, much better! Cobbly roads and poorly filled pot holes are much smoother now. I started off running the max 85 psi, but you just don't need it with the larger tires. I've settled around 40 psi front, 45-50 psi rear. Good ride, and litterely no difference in speed that I can tell compared to max pressure.



    A note on rollout changing with tire pressure: it won't. Radius changes, but you still have to rotate the tire around it's entire circumfrence, so the rollout stays the same.

    Think if a tracked vehicle (tank, snowmobile, dozer, whatever). If the track is 150 inches long the vehicle will travel 150 inches to rotate the track 1 revolution, regardless if the track is routed as a circle, square, triangle, or something resembling your car's serpentine belt.

    EDIT - as I think about it, a tire with a curved profile like a bicycle will have more of an effect on rollout with tire pressure because you can essensially start riding further out on the sides, which have a smaller circumfrence. My argument stands up better on square profile tires, like a car. I left the statement in there just as something to think about.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by f3rg
    These have been my road-only tires I swap when I feel like pretending I have a road bike:
    http://www.phattire.com/congranprixs.html

    They weigh 210g in 26x1, last forever, and are 100% legit road tires, not just semi-slicks.


    Low - Ri - Der

    That BB looks kind of low to the ground. Pedals hit the floor on turns?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by newaccount
    Low - Ri - Der

    That BB looks kind of low to the ground. Pedals hit the floor on turns?
    No, never really had that problem because I keep the inside pedal up on turns.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by f3rg
    No, never really had that problem because I keep the inside pedal up on turns.
    On my commute, I lean and pedal through some sharp turns. Depending on the bike, I may scrape the pedal.

  32. #32
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    Apologies in advance but at the risk of taking this thread off on a bit of a tangent I kind of disagree with a few points previously raised.....

    Quote Originally Posted by 2:1
    ... Plus the tires are super hard, so the wheels handle more twitchily, there's much less shock absorption,
    True, I think shock absorption is probably the biggest advantage. Re handling some would say more responsive, not twitchy.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2:1
    ... and due to the lighter weight there's less centrifugal force which causes the wheels to lose speed very very rapidly when you stop pedaling.
    I think the concept you're looking for here is inertia, not centrifugal force (which is a fictitious or reactive force concept). Fact is with a larger tire you have a heavier mass rotating so it takes longer or more energy to slow it down. True, but think of how much more energy was required to get heavier tires up to speed and rotating in the first place.

    Keeping them rotating is another matter. I don't know and don't really care to study the full deal on this one but surely its simply a function of overcoming whatever forces are trying to slow it down (rolling resistance, hub resistance etc.) I've read the website you linked to and the bit about rolling resistance in particular very carefully. There's also another study somewhere online about resistance of longer and skinny contact patch vs fat and short contact patch. Call me a skeptic as I can't help but feel that the study is conducted under such contrived conditions (constant speed, perfectly flat road already rotating mass?) and with little to no disclosure on methodology as to be meaningless to a real world cyclist. All I know is I don't see pro roadies adding weight to their wheels to go faster or more efficiently.

    Let me clarify - I'm not knocking the fat slick concept, I'm just presenting a dissenting viewpoint - I think fat slicks have a rightful place and for someone like the OP looking for a slick for riding around college and dropping curbs or for the cruiser bike it is probably the way to go.
    But IMHO fat slicks are not the panacea, solve everything, best of the best for everyone solution. I still believe a skinny slick is going to be faster for most riders under most conditions so to me tire choice is a continuum between faster or more comfortable with side choices related to flat resistance, gearing impact and so on.

    Sorry if this takes discussion off track here...

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcp_nz
    I think the concept you're looking for here is inertia, not centrifugal force (which is a fictitious or reactive force concept). Fact is with a larger tire you have a heavier mass rotating so it takes longer or more energy to slow it down. True, but think of how much more energy was required to get heavier tires up to speed and rotating in the first place.

    Keeping them rotating is another matter. I don't know and don't really care to study the full deal on this one but surely its simply a function of overcoming whatever forces are trying to slow it down (rolling resistance, hub resistance etc.) I've read the website you linked to and the bit about rolling resistance in particular very carefully. There's also another study somewhere online about resistance of longer and skinny contact patch vs fat and short contact patch. Call me a skeptic as I can't help but feel that the study is conducted under such contrived conditions (constant speed, perfectly flat road already rotating mass?) and with little to no disclosure on methodology as to be meaningless to a real world cyclist. All I know is I don't see pro roadies adding weight to their wheels to go faster or more efficiently.
    I don't think the idea of a constant speed, perfectly flat road and already rotating mass is meaningless. Measuring rolling resistance under those conditions would give a pretty good picture of how efficient the tires would be for someone riding a long distance without a lot of stopping and starting. Me, on a long road ride, for instance. Granted I have more fun when there are curves and hills.

    I think that a big part of the wide vs. narrow tire debate is air resistance, though. All the power generated by a cyclist has to go somewhere. Some of it overcomes drivetrain and bearing friction, some of it overcomes rolling resistance, and some of it is used fighting air resistance. On a climb, some of it is converted into potential energy. If the cyclist is going fast, like 15+mph, air resistance, at least in the flats, is the single biggest counter force. I'm too lazy to look for an article right now.

    If we look just at air resistance, it's useful to think of drag as coming from the rider, the bike and the wheels. Continuing my laziness, I'm not going to find an article about this one, but the wheels generate a pretty shocking amount of air resistance, although it's still a lot less than the rider's contribution. While fatter, lower-pressure tires may have lower rolling resistance, they're also less aerodynamic. For mountain bikers, aerodynamics are not very important - we need all the grip we can get, ride on surfaces that have higher rolling resistance than roads, and typically don't ride at speeds at which there's a lot of air resistance unless we're descending and likely more interested in controlling than gaining speed or putting in additional energy to maintain speed. Road cyclists going fast are more likely to benefit from a tire that reduces air resistance than a tire that reduces rolling resistance, though. Which is how fatter tires can simultaneously have lower rolling resistance and be slower. Also it's more weight to get up a hill. So I think that if the bike is going to be used on roads by someone who wants to be efficient at moderate to high speeds, it doesn't matter if the 25 or 28mm tire has lower rolling resistance than the 23mm tire, because energy loss to air resistance in the fatter tire is greater than energy savings due to lower rolling resistance.

    It's also not too important for most of us because we're not trying to figure out how to shave a few seconds off our time trial or hold a little more energy in reserve for a hilltop finish or a field sprint. If, subjectively, my riding experience is better with one tire than another, I'm going with the one that I enjoyed more. Maybe that's getting to work more quickly, or getting a quicker jump coming out of a stop light, maybe it's a more comfortable ride, maybe it's spending less time fixing flats. Obviously any road or tri racers are free to disagree with me. And anyone else, for that matter.

    My commuter has 1-1/8" slicks, which I think are 28mm wide. My road bike has 23mm slicks, my cx bike has 34 or 35mm low knobbies, and my mountain bike has 2.1" full knobbies. I'd say that I feel the least resistance on the road bike, although comparing slicks and knobbies isn't really fair.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  34. #34
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    I hate to put a second side track to this thread, but what`s the story on your bike, f3rg? That thing must weigh less than my tube bag! Do you ride trails with it? And just how much DOES it weigh, if you don`t mind? Actually, if you already have a thread on it, a link would probably be better in order to not disrupt this thread any more than it already has been.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I hate to put a second side track to this thread, but what`s the story on your bike, f3rg? That thing must weigh less than my tube bag! Do you ride trails with it? And just how much DOES it weigh, if you don`t mind? Actually, if you already have a thread on it, a link would probably be better in order to not disrupt this thread any more than it already has been.
    With those tires and tubes, it weighs around 18.5lbs. That's a road-only set-up, obviously. Normally, I have 2.1" Nevegals or 2.35" Kinetics Stick-E tires on it, and it spends most of it's life wrestling with roots and rock gardens. With the heavier tires, it's roughly 20.5 to 21lbs. I'm actually replacing the carbon rigid fork with a 100mm cushy fork once UPS brings it to me in a few days, to see if it'll get me around a race course a little faster. I love love love the rigid, but it's taking a toll on my wrists at those higher speeds, and actually slows me down. I'll swap back to it next spring when the trails are too wet to ride and I have to stick to the road or bike paths again.

    Here it is with a Kinetics Stick-E up front, and a 1.7" Klimax Lite in the rear. I've also tried swapping the front for a 2.1" Nevegal, and both set-ups work great. The rear spins up instantly, the the front gives extra cushion since the fork doesn't have any.



    ...and here it is with the previous frame, just being a smart-ass:


  36. #36

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    WTB Slickaursarus (1.5)...been using those for a while on my hybrid...love it!

  37. #37
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    Bontrager makes a great tire for this. It's a 700x38 Invert @ $17 each. You have a great stree/touring tire that seeps water way like a squeegee and it provides some cush even at 90psi
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

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