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Tire swap on comfort bike

Old 10-27-09, 05:46 PM
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npdion
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Tire swap on comfort bike

I'm currently riding a Trek Navigator 300 comfort bike exclusively on streets and sidewalks; annual use 500-1,000 miles. Current tires are Bontrager Comfort 26x1.95 (semi-knobby?).
I'm thinking of swaping the tires to something more "street smart" to reduce drag/increase speed/improve cornering, possibly the Michelin City tire.
Question 1: Do I gain anything significant by doing this?
Question 2: That particular tire comes in widths of 1.85 and 1.4. Based on my hardware/riding profile, which do I choose? Pros and cons?
Question 3: Existing rims have an O.D. of .88 in. Will I have to swap tubes as well if I go to the 1.4?
TIA
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Old 10-27-09, 06:13 PM
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1. You can gain less rolling resistance, a better ride and more grip on pavement.

2. depends on what you are comfortable with, I'd go with 1.4s

3. I always replace the tubes when I replace tires...and keep the old ones for spares.
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Old 10-27-09, 06:16 PM
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Thanks Chipcom.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by npdion View Post
Question 3: Existing rims have an O.D. of .88 in. Will I have to swap tubes as well if I go to the 1.4?
I'd get new, smaller, tubes. The ones that you have are probably a little too big to work well with a 1.4" tire. They'll work in a pinch (pun intended), but it's kind of hard to cram all that inner tube into the tire carcus while you're installing them. If the tube sticks out under the tire bead anywhere, it'll either blow out or pinch flat.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:56 AM
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Old 10-28-09, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by npdion View Post
I'm currently riding a Trek Navigator 300 comfort bike exclusively on streets and sidewalks; annual use 500-1,000 miles. Current tires are Bontrager Comfort 26x1.95 (semi-knobby?).
I'm thinking of swaping the tires to something more "street smart" to reduce drag/increase speed/improve cornering, possibly the Michelin City tire.
Question 1: Do I gain anything significant by doing this?
Question 2: That particular tire comes in widths of 1.85 and 1.4. Based on my hardware/riding profile, which do I choose? Pros and cons?
Question 3: Existing rims have an O.D. of .88 in. Will I have to swap tubes as well if I go to the 1.4?
TIA
My wife and use a pair of 1994 Trek Navigators. When it came time for new tires I purchased Continental Town and Country tires for them. These are 26 by 1.95 tires.

Nice thing about them is that when you are on asphalt the contact with the paving is about 3/4" wide. Very low rolling resistance. As soon as you get on gravel or dirt you have tread alongside this center strip that gets traction. These Conti Town And Country tires are used on a lot of police bicycles around the world. Our city police bicycle mounted officers use them. On these Town And Country tires we have done 50 to 55 mile a day rides and we are 68 years old. Back in June when I did my age ride I used the Navigator with the Town And Country tires on the SRT. Did 70 miles in comfort.

On my 700 by 35c Multitrack I run Conti Travel Contact tires that perform as good as the Town And Country tires. I have had no punctures with either of them. Not bad considering that going down into Manayunk on the Towpath Trail there are stretches of much broken glass.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:07 AM
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npdion,

Forgot to mention.

If you go to buy tires at a Trek dealer they will probably try to sell you another set of Bontrager tires.

Last week I picked up a pair of Continental Touring Plus tires that I had ordered through the local Trek dealer. In 700 by 37c size for the Multitrack. The Travel Contact tires went onto the wife's Raleigh Detour.

In my conversation with the dealer I learned that Bontrager will be revising a portion of their tire line. They are doing away with a number of their tire designs. Bontrager does not make tires. They simply have them made to their design specs. I have a pair of 700 by 35c Hardcase tires. Ran them a month and figured they had to go. Very high rolling resistance. A 50 mile ride left my legs felling like I had done a century ride. Bontrager hired two individuals with knowledge in the tire business and will be revising their specifications.

So if you go through a Trek dealer the tires would probably have to be ordered. Took about a week for mine to come in. Be prepared to pay a bit more. Tire prices have gone up. The Town And Country tires are up around $35 to $40 per tire. I found this to be true for the Travel Contact and the Touring Plus I have bought.

Sunday was my wife's first ride on the Raleigh Detour with the Continental Travel Contact tires replacing the Kenda tires that came on it. At the end of the day she was amazed at the difference in how the bike handled. Hills were much easier. The bike coasts a lot faster and longer now.


Check the Continental tire web site on the Internet. They have a 2009 catalog in pdf format that you can download and read at your leisure. Read the stuff on tire casing design and construction to get an idea of what the rolling resistance thing is all about. What you would be looking for is under the City/Trekking and ATB-Tyres. Charts show sizes available.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:19 PM
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Pump your tires rock hard and keep'm rock hard to lower rolling resistance almost to zero. Been doing that for decades.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:51 PM
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I'd put on Schwalbe Big Apples or Fat Franks. You keep the comfort and still roll fast. I would not recommend skinny tires on a 26" bike. They give a harsh ride.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:54 PM
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Thanks Whiteknight.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:54 PM
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Old 10-28-09, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post

3. I always replace the tubes when I replace tires...and keep the old ones for spares.
I thought I was alone on that point!!!

I'll keep a used 700C and a used 26" tube in my bike bag on our rides on the SRT. Use them when somebody is along the trail with a flat. Better than handing them a new tube.
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Old 10-28-09, 02:07 PM
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The conventional wisdom is that for more efficient riding on 26" MTB wheels you should put narrower, higher pressure slicks, 1.25-1.5".
The Schwalbe Big Apple style of fat slick provides a useful alternative. Big Apples have a very thin, tough, flexy sidewall, good puncture resistance and a big air pocket. They are very efficient at easy cruising speeds and behave very well over rough cobbles and bumps. At higher speeds, narrower profile tyres have lower air resistance but at cruising speeds, that is not so important.
Ive been using BA for well over a year and they are great for nipping around town in all weather.
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Old 10-28-09, 02:15 PM
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Yeah, any of the above would work great! I personally prefer a bit lower psi for comfort, but either way works. I would second the recommendation for a tire close to 1.5"

No knobs! Those kill your speed more than anything.
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Old 10-28-09, 05:28 PM
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+1 on the Continental Town and Country tires. I have a set of 26 X 1.9's on a Trek Navigator. They are the fifth set of tires on this bike that has over 10,000 miles put on over the past 3 years. I've had narrower tires that had higher pressure, but the Conti's have been the fastest tires by at least 2 - 3 mph, under 20 mph. I've read postings by others who've noticed the same faster rolling characteristics, going against the common axiom of skinner/higher pressure = faster. The Conti's at 55 psi are faster than the previous 1.75's that ran at 75 psi. They have good traction and seem to be wearing OK, with 800 miles on them so far. I run on both street and rocky mountain trail.
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Old 10-28-09, 05:38 PM
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I used to swear by conti town & country tires, but the quality of them has gotten sketchy over the last few years, depending upon where they are made. So for the Big Dummy I tried Serfas Drifters and like them as much as I used to like the Contis.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I used to swear by conti town & country tires, but the quality of them has gotten sketchy over the last few years, depending upon where they are made. So for the Big Dummy I tried Serfas Drifters and like them as much as I used to like the Contis.
Chipcom,

The Town and Country along with a number of other Conti tires are made in India. Two years ago I had one of them that shed threads from along the bead. That same tire also developed sidewall cracks rather quickly. The last set I bought about a year ago are holding up well. So far the police bikes in this city have had no problems with them.

I suspect that some of these foreign companies are not too picky when it comes to their suppliers of synthetic rubber. I have seen this in different tubes. I used to work in a Firestone plant. In-process testing of Butadiene that went into gum dip latex used to coat tire fabric. The purity of the butadiene was critical in the "quality" of the final rubber. Bad bd could make rubber that did not hold up very well. Plays hell with the polymer "chains".

Do the Serfas tires have anything on the sidewalls as to country of origin?
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Old 10-28-09, 08:08 PM
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You don't want 'rock hard' tires. The reasons are simple. Assume the tire was a rock, is that a good thing? Didn't think so, when you hit a bump, the tire won't give and your horizontal energy gets converted into vertical energy. Unless you are on a launch pad, that's wasted energy.

I subscribe to Bike Quarterly, and they do tire tests. Softer is faster, more comfortable and longer lasting than hard.

As far as the tire goes... your choice balances off weight, price, speed, etc.
Schwalbe makes a very nice tire in the Marathon Supreme. Also very expensive.

In the midprice group there are a bunch of nice tires like the Michelin Pilot and Vittoria Randonneur and Panaracer Ribmo. I would prob get the 1.75, and I wouldn't go below 1.5

You can find tires cheaper than that. But I have had enough of them, no more cheapies for me.
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Old 10-29-09, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Whiteknight View Post
Chipcom,

The Town and Country along with a number of other Conti tires are made in India. Two years ago I had one of them that shed threads from along the bead. That same tire also developed sidewall cracks rather quickly. The last set I bought about a year ago are holding up well. So far the police bikes in this city have had no problems with them.

I suspect that some of these foreign companies are not too picky when it comes to their suppliers of synthetic rubber. I have seen this in different tubes. I used to work in a Firestone plant. In-process testing of Butadiene that went into gum dip latex used to coat tire fabric. The purity of the butadiene was critical in the "quality" of the final rubber. Bad bd could make rubber that did not hold up very well. Plays hell with the polymer "chains".

Do the Serfas tires have anything on the sidewalls as to country of origin?
Not sure where the Serfas are made, I'll have to look when I get home. But visually comparing an older T&C that was made in Germany to the later version made in India, the difference in quality is very obvious. The Serfas is more what the T&C used to be.

FYI, my past experience with them was as a cop...and later outfitting an entire department bike patrol (wow, 5 bikes ) with them.
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Old 11-25-09, 10:13 PM
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I am also thinking of changing to a smaller faster tire. I think from every thing I've read I will go with the Continental Sport Contact 26x1.3 in. I have a Raliegh 2003 SC-30 Sport Comfort . And I believe this tire will make the journey easier and more enjoyable.
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Old 11-25-09, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Pump your tires rock hard and keep'm rock hard to lower rolling resistance almost to zero. Been doing that for decades.
Big heaping pile of FAIL coming your way.
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Old 11-25-09, 10:25 PM
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Bontrager does not make tires. They simply have them made to their design specs
90% of all bicycles and cycling gear is manufactured in this fashion.
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Old 11-26-09, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
90% of all bicycles and cycling gear is manufactured in this fashion.
Only 90%? I thought it was more than that...
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