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Road Tyres for MTB

My Cube Reaction has Smart Sams (29x2.6" wide) and while they actually roll very nicely on tarmac, i cant help but feeling their flat chunky profile is slowing me down. I only ride my MTB in winter and on country roads and some hard pack fire trails and so am looking for something more road orientated for road use. I'm leaning towards Schwalbe marathon Almotion Evo's in 2.1" which seem to get very good reviews from commuters however would they also handle the odd fire trail road or are there any other tyres that might be more suitable? I don't mind something a little chunky so long as they roll well on the road.

Posts

  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 5,699
    Schwalbe also do a G One “bite” series gravel tyre which I find works fine on road. If you are doing very little trail stuff, the Speed series in the same tyres is really good, but not as much grip off road. They roll great on road however.
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Giant MCM One Cannondale Prophet Lefty Cannondale Super V SL Cove Handjob Cervelo RS
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,336
    edited 15 January
    The move from 2.6" wide tyres to 2.1" is a big step. Are your rims suitable?
    Have a look at this tyre/rim chart from WTB.
    https://www.wtb.com/pages/tire-rim-fit-chart
    (Page down to the MTB chart)

    The chart has tyre width in mm down the left and internal rim widths in mm along the top. It shows optimal, compatible and "not suggested" combinations.

    To take a wide tyre like 2.6" (66mm) your wheel could have an internal rim width of about 30mm. It might be wider or narrower, but 30mm is a popular size. If you don't know and it is not printed on the rim, then see if you can find out from the specification for the bike.
    Find your tyre/rim combination and then look up the chart until you get to the narrower tyre you are contemplating (2.1" ie 53mm) and see what you get.

    If the tyre is too narrow for the rim, it will distort the tyre, you won't get good rolling performance and you risk the tyre rolling off the rim. Higher tyre pressures than normal may help, but you will get a compromised ride.

    Going narrow is a good step, but you can end up with a compromised solution if you go too far. Maybe consider less of a big step (2.3"? ) And go for a smoother profile. Staying closer to a tyre width suited to your rim width will allow you to achieve your lower rolling resistance objective whilst still being able to play around with tyre pressures to get a decent ride.

    May I suggest that you look out for tyres that have low-profile centre blocks, or maybe even a continuous tread down the centre, but with larger knobs down the sides. Whilst on tarmac, the centre of the tyre is the main contact, but as soon as you start hitting softer ground or you corner hard, the knobs will do their job.

  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138
    in the day Kojaks or Specialised Fat Boys were da bomb.

    Slick as, skinny, inflate off and go at billion puncture proof miles per hour.

    I used Fat Boys on wet cobbles, canal paths, bit o' single track for years and never had a problem

    go full slick.
  • mugensimugensi Posts: 559

    The move from 2.6" wide tyres to 2.1" is a big step. Are your rims suitable?
    Have a look at this tyre/rim chart from WTB.
    https://www.wtb.com/pages/tire-rim-fit-chart
    (Page down to the MTB chart)

    The chart has tyre width in mm down the left and internal rim widths in mm along the top. It shows optimal, compatible and "not suggested" combinations.


    Thanks for that info. My rims have an internal width of 25mm so according to that chart a 2.1" tyre is ok but i do know what you mean about losing tyre shape/conformity if the tyre is too narrow for the rim.

    I would have no problem maybe dropping down to a 2.3" tyre but the problem is finding a suitable tyre that would suit road use but could still withstand light gravel/fire trail use now and then, too.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,336
    A 2.6" tyre is only just inside the compatible range and I would feel uncomfortable cornering hard, for fear of the tyre rolling off the rim. To reduce the chances of that I'd need higher pressure and that would compromise grip and ride comfort.

    The 2.3" tyre width is a much better choice and will give you lots of freedom to play around with tyre pressures.

    Have a look at this mtb tyre comparison (29 of them). There is a lot of information on it so read carefully, look for the low rolling resistance ones.
    https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/biking/best-mountain-bike-tires?specs=n&n=15&sort_field=#compare

    But they are all mtb tyres. It may be that you would be happier with gravel bike tyres, if you can find any to fit your rims.

    Maxxis used to have a website that had all their bike tyres on it with sizes and characteristics, what the tyre was designed for, compounds etc. It was very useful, but I could not find it after a quick search. It's your bike, so you will be motivated to spend a bit longer looking for it.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,336
    edited 24 January
    @mugensi
    I hope that you are still checking on this thread. I have recently come across a new tyre that has been getting rave reviews for exactly what you are looking for. It comes in 29x2.35" Schwalbe Johnny Watts. Google it and read the reviews.
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