Slicks versus semi-slicks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Slicks versus semi-slicks

    I'm looking into buying a new bike and getting back into the sport. But also, I'm mostly motivated by throwing away my car keys and riding to work everyday. I think I've decided on the bike, now I have the dilemma. Slick or semi-slick tires for the road.

    I plan to build a second set of tires with knobbies for the 'real rides'. But, those won't be purchased for awhile. I was originally going to put slicks on for now to commute, and add the knobbies later. But, I've seen some semi-slicks in the LBS and they may be a decent compromise for now. What are peoples experience with them on MTB's for commutes? Will they handle some trail riding fairly well, or will I just slide everywhere?

    It is exciting getting back into MTB'ing, haven't ridden seriously in 10 years. But, learning that things have drastically changed since my last purchase, more choice, and lots more to learn about! I can't wait to get out again.

  2. #2
    ...a wiggle theres a way
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    personally i would go for a set of slicks especially if your just going to be riding on the streets. they are lighter less rolling resistance and for the most part can hold there own in the rain (although some turns do get hairy at higher speeds) my vote is for SLICKS.
    especially since you'll have another set of rims and knobs for the mtn bike rides

    good luck stay safe and most importantly ENJOY the RIDE

    joe

  3. #3
    Which way? Uphill.
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    I vote slicks as well, as long as they aren't true slicks so that they will do fine in the rain.

    If you're just starting back up you probably will only be hitting the dirt on the weekends or at least not every day so just swap out the tires as-needed until you have the spare wheelset. It'll make you quicker at flat repairs and when you get the 2nd set of wheels you won't have commuter tires that are now an unnecessary comprimise.
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  4. #4
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of commuting by bicycle. I started last year and it is the best thing I have done in a long time.
    I have a Maxxis Overdrive 1.75 on the front and a Kenda Kwest 1.95 on the rear. That setup seems super stable and handles well. But I have not tried to ride the bike offroad. No need to.

  5. #5

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    thanks for the advice, I think you're all right - slicks are the way to go. I'll be riding into/from work 5 days a week, and only on the trails once a week max to start probably, so I think yes, slicks are the way to go. There was a nice set (forget the model) at the LBS which looked decent, had an inverse tread pattern to get rid of water (important here, I live in rainy wales). I was worried that switching tires out on the weekends would be a PITA and keep me from the trails. but I remember having to do quick repairs on the trail during enduro races (in my youth), and it wasn't that tough or long of a process. So, it should work perfect. The 'semi-slicks' are a new thing since I stopped riding. I was wondering about performance etc.

    I'm quite excited about it. I moved to a big city 10+ years ago, and although I initially commuted a lot, a few close calls with cars caused me to slowly stop riding. I've since moved and this new home lends itself perfectly to riding; and Wales looks to be a MTBer's dream.

  6. #6
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    According to Sheldon Brown bicycle tires for asphalt do not need any tread at all, it's just there for marketing purposes. People are just used to needing tread for car tires so they assume slick bicycle tires will have less grip, especially in the rain. The relevant article is here.
    I'd say go with the slicks and then get the other wheelset as soon as possible. The semi-slicks are going to be a boring compromise both on asphalt and dirt. Ideally you would have separate bikes but that's obviously expensive.

  7. #7
    occupation : Foole
    Reputation: Fuelish's Avatar
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    My vote goes to slicks, as well ..... and save the $$$ and skip the second set of wheels - changing out both tires to knobbies (and back to slicks) only takes a few minutes, especially when you get used to doing it on a regular basis - just get a good floor pump (or a compressor), as using a mini-pump would be aggravating, to sal the least I swap tires out all the time, by hand - no tools needed other than a good pump !!!

  8. #8
    Five is right out
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjm2664
    thanks for the advice, I think you're all right - slicks are the way to go. I'll be riding into/from work 5 days a week, and only on the trails once a week max to start probably, so I think yes, slicks are the way to go. There was a nice set (forget the model) at the LBS which looked decent, had an inverse tread pattern to get rid of water (important here, I live in rainy wales).
    Hmm... "inverse tread pattern" sounds like the Continental Town and Country. I (and friends) have had bad experiences with those- they puncture easily and are pretty useless for offroad (despite the marketing blurb, duh).

    I'm not sure what you mean by "slicks"- I *assume* you mean narrow tyres designed for road riding (with tread or completely bald). If you get road tyres, get them with some tread as the completely bald tyres *are* more slippery in the wet (despite theory about why bike tyres are unlike car tyres with regards to hydroplaning).
    Since when did the phrase "invest in" come to mean the same as "buy"?

  9. #9
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    The inverse tread pattern could also be the Serfa Drifters and those are pretty heavy. I ditched them for a pair of Specialized Fat Boys (26x1.25) . I'm sure they named those tires after me.

  10. #10

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    if you can fit them in there go for the maxxis holy rollers 2.4. go to maxxis.com and check them out. the have like a checkered design so they are super sticky on the pavement but won't totally let you down in the dirt. they are, after all, dirt jump tires. pump them up though to like 60psi. i rock them. i love maxxis. they're members of the cool tire club.

  11. #11
    living in forever land
    Reputation: ultraviolet's Avatar
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    your limited with a full slick as you can't go anywhere but on the roads
    "the sanctity of this agency requires the loss of a few personal freedoms...."

  12. #12
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    I would go the SEMI Slick route and be able to ride road or trail. As one suggested the Maxxis Overdrive is a good one (but no experience here) One I do have experience with is the Schwalbe Marathon Cross, it's an excellent commuter tyre that will also work very well on light to medium tech trails - I've ridden up loose, rocky gravel hills with them and got good traction (for a hill covered with loose 1"-3" rocks and steep enough to require me to be right on the nose of the saddle)

    *Oh and BTW you're going to build up a 2nd set of WHEELS, not tyres.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  13. #13

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    Second on the holy rollers. Huge high volume tire with a tread pattern over 1/3" deep, I'd guess. I have a mtb set up for road: light training and grocery getter and the holy rollers are fantastic. Based on psi you can have speed or an inch of suspension

  14. #14
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    I use the WTB slickasaurus. Meets my need perfectly as my commute can involve a longer route home on a dirt path that can get a little slippery if it rains a little.

    R/
    D

  15. #15

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    Hi All.

    I run full slick Conti SportContacts on my MTB commuter. It doesn't ever go on the dirt and the full slick is wicked. Really.

  16. #16
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    I've run 2"slicks and found that water in itself wasn't a problem, but they move around under you if there's any sand. I've landed on my a$$ with all kinds of tires if there's wet clay on concrete. I could barely stand up on the stuff. I've also run Bontrager Select Inverts(Kevlar belt optional) and found them to be pretty good all around tires. They work ok offroad for flat trails , or stuff you can use momentum to get over. They have a center rib for going straight.
    Only available from Trek of course.

  17. #17
    Double-metric mtb man
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    My wife (and the local police) use Bontrager Hardcase semi slicks. Good, slick-like center with some knobs on the side. They will do MUT's if you're not super aggressive, but run them with good pressure and the are just about like a slick.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  18. #18

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    I just got a pair of Conti Highway-ride for my old Hardrock (rigid). If it weren't for the weight of the bike, I'd think i was on a roadie... they're that smooth and fast.

  19. #19

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    Thanks for all the advice. I went with this (well, here's the whole bike )



    With a pair of Conti double fighter II's. Opted for a semi-slick, as there are a few single track options on my commute to/from work, and didn't want to be required to stay on the street. Also, the choice I had at the shop for a trade of the stock tires on the Felt and the ones I went with was limited to the Conti's and a pair of very thin slicks, which I thought would have ended up with more flats.

    The bike rides really smooth, and it is so much fun to get back to commuting on a bicycle again.

  20. #20
    Devo
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    that bike as it stands, is a rockin bike!
    perhaps you'll start to ponder a rack and panniers...
    probably lights too
    the world of commuting, touring, and cargo bikes, is an amazing thing...
    bikes aren't necessarily just "sport".
    www.AsanaCycles.com
    "Bicycle Lifestyle, realized." D.G.

  21. #21
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    Go for Panaracer T-serv(slick). Good grip and puncture resistant. Really low rolling resistant

  22. #22
    Brackish
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    Nice bike! When I was a courier I always rode MTBs with slicks and I swore by Tioga City Slicker 1s (not the 2s, I don't really like the 2s that came on my current commuter, a Kona Smoke) and the Cheng Shin cheapos. No performance difference in either tire, the Cheng Shins were dirt cheap back in the day. And the slicker the better, the only thing a tread pattern does on a road tire is reduce the contact patch and take away from your grip to the ground!

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