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Tyre Combination (the theory ?)

simonB2014simonB2014 Posts: 3
edited June 2014 in Cyclocross
Well hello, and yes I am a noob.
And yes, this section is 'Cyclocross', but I actually do 50/50 tarmac & off-road (heathland/woodland/gravel)

Anyway ...
I was looking into which tyre to put on my Tricross, when I read a comment elsewhere that hinted at putting different tyres on front & back.

My current 'problem' is the rear wheel slipping on loose uphill and/or mud, so was thinking of swapping out the rear tyre out for something with more bite.

Then I read something about needing the most 'aggressive' tread up front ... the reasoning being that if your front slips (assume sideways) then you are down.
Personally I don't think my riding is that fast or aggressive at the moment .. I've not experience this problem yet ;)

Still, it's all got me thinking ....
Something with good forward push on the rear, and something with studs up front ?

So ... is it common to use a combination of tyres ?
Is there a 'standard' approach to guide as the the best style of tyre for each ?

Would welcome your thoughts and/or experience......


  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    In racing, the most challenging terrain tends to be "off camber", which generally means riding or turning across steep slopes, which are often quite slippery. There's also a lot of hard cornering on slippery ground. In both cases you want your front wheel to be rooted, but a bit of sideways slippage on the rear wheel isn't necessarily a bad thing, depending on your personal riding style. Because it's a race, you also want to take any opportunity to minimise rolling resistance (so you don't automatically use the grippiest tyres unless you actually need them). Performance under braking tends not to be a major factor.

    What this means is that you want a front tyre with good sideways grip for the conditions, whereas that's less of a priority on the rear (though forwards traction might be more of a priority depending on the course/conditions).

    If you're not racing, this is probably over-thinking the problem. Put something fairly grippy on the back, don't worry about the marginal increase in rolling resistance or the fact you can't slide the back out through corners. Above all, though, think about weight positioning. If you're spinning the back wheel, make sure your weight in the right place; if you're not occasionally feeling the front wheel coming off the ground, you're too far forward...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • TGOTB,
    Thank you so much.
    I've been trying to find some answer/explanations to this for some time and found little forthcoming ... and thinking that I'm going mad even asking.

    So again, thank you for making some of this a bit clearer.
    I'm certainly going to take my weight balance a bit more seriously and do some experimenting.
    i.e. "if you're not occasionally feeling the front wheel coming off the ground..."
    I'm currently struggling on the uphills, shifting my weight whilst still pedalling ... but I'm going to set some time aside to play.

    All good stuff to fill a few afternoons looking into :)
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