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Knobblies for Road

w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
edited January 2017 in Road general
Hi All,
Just wondering if there is any thoughts about what is grippier for winter road riding, knobblies or slicks?
I currently have 33mm Cyclocross tyres on my winter bike. They feel grippy and the width does inspire confidence, but they do feel slow and hard work. I did a 45 mile road ride on Sunday with the CX tyres on and was struggling to keep up on the hills for the last 3 or 4 miles. The speed wasn't too high, weather was cold but not windy. So was thinking whether or not to swap back to 28m slicks? I have unused 28m Vittoria Corsa G+ I could swap the cross tyres for.
All that being said, my preference is on grip - I'd rather struggle with keeping up on the club ride rather than slipping and sliding on the road.
In previous winters I've used the CX tyres and been ok, (I ride CX/Off Road as well and just kept the same type tyres all winter) - so I admit my fitness has dropped. I'm now just riding road, tends to be early starts so frosty roads, quite country roads not all have been gritted.


  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    DJ58 wrote:

    Yeah had read that, I get that falls can and will happen. I do train indoors, most days infact - but I'm going to ride at least a couple of times a week outside when possible. I also ride XC Mountain Bike so when the weather is really bad the 29er comes out, but I'm looking at doing more road and wondering about the grip from knobblies or slicks and whether people think there is no grip benefit from knobblies on the road, so the extra effort may be wasted effort (good for fitness yeah, but damn hard work)

    I know I could buy studded tyres, but generally if the weather is bad enough for studded tyres I'd be in the woods getting muddy on the mtb. I know this may be contradicted myself, but hoping you guys can see the logic in the question?

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Its all about rubber on the ground. Knobblies will have less grip on tarmac and be harder work.

    If you hit ice only studs will help.
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,172
    I have not used them, what about something like these, might fit the bill rather that knobblies, if you have the clearances for them. ... er-premium
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,234
    w00dster wrote:
    but I'm looking at doing more road and wondering about the grip from knobblies or slicks and whether people think there is no grip benefit from knobblies on the road,

    There is absolutely no grip benefit from knobblies on the road, for lots of reasons to do with physics.
  • If you think knobblies will help on ice, you are fooling yourself... they won't

    There are studded ice tyres... Schwalbe has a couple in 700 c and Nokian a lot more
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Sorry guys, I wasn't expecting knobblies to help on ice. The question is more about wet / slippy roads, maybe an element of frost (at worst), but certainly not ice. Thinking about single digit rides, roads aren't great, country roads where farmers tractors have left lots of wet mud, tarmac is broken in lots of places due to farm traffic. (For example, Friday is expected to be 6 degrees and damp, Sunday pretty similar but wetter)
    Thinking about it though there is nothing for the knobbles to actually grip into on tarmac, so as has been said above, no benefit. Its just me being lazy and not swapping tyres out after a cross ride.
    As mentioned above, if there is ice about, the mountain bike comes out and I drive to the trails.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    For tarmac then it's got to be slicks.

    Once you get loose material & mud then knobblies may help cut through that and provide more grip.

    Your choice is going to depend just how many lanes you're travelling on and if you'd be better with the knobblies to cut through the mud that's been left - or stick to more main routes where cars have cleared the debris.

    Get another wheelset and have knobblies on one, slicks on the other ...
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Just ask yourself what are the other club riders using ? Presumably they're not faiing off like skittles whilst you're struggling on your knobblies ?
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,842 Lives Here
    cougie wrote:
    Its all about rubber on the ground. Knobblies will have less grip on tarmac and be harder work.
    This. Knobblies will have less rubber on the road so often provide less grip. Some tread may help disperse water, but I believe you need to be about 80mph to aquaplane on a road bike tyre. The compound of rubber makes a difference, find out what others think work well in winter. You could ask on a cycling forum. :wink:
    But knobblies only have disadvantages on road.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Most club mates ride Bontrager All Weather tyres (as I do on my commuter bike with rim brakes), we are affiliated to Trek hence the Bontrager tyres. Other winters I've used Conti 4 Seasons.
    The 28mm Vittoria Corsa's have just gone on, will be on it tomorrow so will see what its like.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    if it was a 28mm tire with knobs vs a 28mm slick tire of the sdame compound, then the slick would win.


    33mm vs 28mm, are you running the same pressure in both, if the knobbly tire is softer and able to conform to the road better then you will have more grip with the knobblys than you think

    likewise tire compound ... a lot of knobbly tires run a much softer more compliant compound than slicks so they stick to wet roots and arnt getting worn down by the massive milage that road tires do

    a softer compound will be a lot more grippy in cold conditions.

    so it depends on the tires to be fair .... but most likely the slicks will be better
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    If the surface has some 'slime' on it then a small amount of tread can help if you are running slightly wider tyres (circa 35mm and wider) some tread can help remove that from the tyre/road interface, but as noted above you can't aquaplane a bike tyre on just water!

    Even my quality MTB tyres (Schwalbe EVO compound) don't give the same grip on the road as my 28mm Conti Ultrasport II (a commuting tyre so not the stickiest) so not sure I agree with FD.
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