Commuting tire (and maybe wheels) recommendations for my cross bike?
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  1. #1
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    Commuting tire (and maybe wheels) recommendations for my cross bike?

    I'd like to swap my knobby tires out of my cross bike when not in cross season in favor of slicker tires, but am not sure what...

    My cross tires are 700x30c Kenda Kwick Cross that came OEM with my 2009 Fuji Cross Comp.

    I am looking for a replacement slicker tire, in 700x28c to 700x32c. I am not sure what size is best (28c probably has less rolling resistance, 32c seems to be easier to come by). I found the Vittoria Randonneur Pro and Randonneur Cross Pro tires, for example, and wonder if they're good (and what the exact difference besides weight, is; I wouldn't mind a higher TPI too for ride comfort---I certainly love my road bike's Evo CX and their 320 TPI). My cross bike is also my "play with the kids" bike so something that could go on packed trails would be great, but is not my #1 requirement.

    The "play with the kids" bike part also means that if someone has a good recommendations on cheap wheels for commuting, I would consider a dedicated set of wheels so I can quickly get on the trails with the kids.

    Thanks for recommendations!

  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon
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    You might get a better response by posting this on the wheels & tires forum.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I'm still new here

  4. #4
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    I am very happy with the Panaracer Pasela ..700x32

    Running them when my Cross Check is set for commuting with fenders/rack/pannier

  5. #5
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    I just swapped out 700x32 Randonneur Pros for Conti 700x28 Grand Prix 4 Season. The Vittoria weighs in at 450g while the Conti is 270g. Visually there isn't much of a width difference between the two tires, the Conti looks about as wide as the Vittoria but what I didn't care for was the reflective sidewalls and decided to swap tires.

    I have low really low miles on them and also got them from pbk. If you want to try them out I'll let you have them at a super low price since it appears that they are out of stock from pbk at the moment.

  6. #6
    jrm
    jrm is offline
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    Im using

    a 28c panaracer tserv in back and a 30/32 WTB allterrainasursus up front. Fun set up..

  7. #7
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    I like Continental Gatorskins, and they're readily available in 28mm.

  8. #8
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    Pasela 32s. I'm on my 3rd set. I have yet to get a flat.

    They roll pretty well, they're not too heavy, they wear like iron and they cost $22 bucks a piece. Possibly the only bargain in the world of tires.

  9. #9
    Riding towards Delmarva.
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    (greetings from Slowtwitch)

    I like 32mm Continental Touring Plus Reflex tires on my SOMA cross bike, available at www.biketiresdirect.com
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    "Anyone can ride fast downhill."
    me

  10. #10
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    Really like my Conti Sport Contact tires on my cross commuter. Roll really well, look cool, and have nice puncture protection.

  11. #11
    Go Blue
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    I have used the Continental GP 4 Season tire and its predecessors for years with no complaints. I have 25s on my commuter, which is a cross bike. But then also come in 28s.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  12. #12
    What'd I do?
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    The best you'll do here is to find out what everyone else is using. I use 25c Maxxis ReFuse. I've only been using them for a day, though, so that's not worth much. I used Paselas/T-Servs for a long time because of their toughness. As far as comfort, if that's the most important thing, get at least a 28, and figure out what the lowest safe pressure is. I run the 28c T-Servs at about 90 pounds. I'll run 32s as low as 80. With the stock wheels, you won't get much more. If you want a dedicated commuter wheel/tire setup that's fast, not too heavy and comfortable, I recommend an Open Pro rim, or similar profile rim, with butted spokes, covered with a nice 25c "training" tire. Whole setup would be less than $500, and could probably be found cheaper.

    Edit to add: The tread on the Paselas and T-Servs is really tough, but the sidewalls are relatively fragile, especially on the 25's and 28's.
    Last edited by StageHand; 04-28-2011 at 05:50 PM.
    Good ideas by chance, not design.

  13. #13
    Big is relative
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    Kitsap Peninsula rider. I use 25mm Gatorskin Ultras. I have lots of gravel on the shoulders and the gatorskins have good sidewalls to prevent flats from debris. Decent ride too.
    Retired sailor

  14. #14
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    Here are some other schitzo thoughts:

    1. I have used Vittoria Randonneur Pros in 700 x 35 on a pair of 36 hole Velocity Dyad rims for loaded touring on a surly long haul trucker. Bike and rider is 275# +/-25. I like to haul beer/extra water for dry camping/the kitchen sink/etc, and seek out gravel roads and even unimproved rail ballast or tame forest trails to get away from people. I wanted a tire and rim that would tolerate this kind of stress (an old pair of what I thought to be uber-tough Mavic MA40s and 28 mm tires at 140psi still squished,squirmed, and wobbled under the load), but still be relatively fast-rolling for the majority of the time spent on well-maintained roads. For this, the large Vitt Pros are superb, but they're slugs compared to any 25 or 28mm tire on an unloaded bike.

    2. Compared to other tires IN THEIR CLASS, the 35 mmVittoria Randoneur Pros feel fast rolling and sure footed, but I only barely tolerate their heft and sluggishness for a 2 mile empty ride to work, and the 32's would be plenty adequate for loaded touring on most roads. At the 28mm size, their threadcount is also nothing to write home about compared to other offerings, and the price has increased a fair amount. The Schwalbe Marathon Supremes are intriguing and current price difference is not that big. I would also discourage you from using anything with knobs ie the Randonneur Cross. Short of pure mud, you will be amazed at what can be ridden with a good quality slick, and your cross tires are available if traction is needed. Short of rain-slicked clay, I found the 35mm standard Randonneur Pro to have plenty of traction just from it's large contact patch and low-slung weight on a touring bike, and even 23's often work okay during the occasional "path less traveled". There are definite tread sidegrooves on the Randonneurs, with a smooth middle, whereas the Cross has a blockier midline. I have not used it, but would expect it to be slightly slower on asphalt and have slightly less mileage. That said, the differences appear minor and it might come down to price and whichever is available in the desired size.

    3. For training on the cross bike on nasty winter days, hauling 15# to work, and occasionally hobbling along a packed gravel path with the kids, I'd probably aim for something lighter and more efficient than "urban" or "touring" tires. The big volume crowd offers good arguments for wide tires, and it is certainly hard to generalize, but I've found a substantial decrease in efficiency for most tires >28mm, and for most of us in these kinds of scenarios, the vast majority of our time is still spent on the road. Unless the concrete is really choppy or you're a frequent curb hopper and short-cut seeker through mud or deep gravel, there's no reason (IMO) to go above a 28mm tire. A 25mm or 28 mm Gatorskin or other comparable tire is extremely versatile. It fits on most road bikes and could be raced in a pinch, without much real world efficiency loss over a true race tire, yet you can ride through road junk without as much concern, and get away with dropping pressures for a gravel trip.

    4. Alternatively, as others have mentioned, the Panaracer Paselas are a supple high volume tire, with long lasting rubber and a hint of tread. So, if you want the volume, but not the boat anchor feel of many larger tires, a pair of 32mm Paselas would work well. Their attributes are suppleness and efficiency at relatively low pressure, so if you go too narrow and then pump them up to avoid pinchflats or to increase perceived speed, you're asking for punctures and sidewall deterioration, without the benefit of big volume. I never had good luck with them on a loaded bike (although some have), and they don't seem to hold up to long-term UV exposure if the bike gets locked outside every day. But, for floating down gravel roads or across the city park, without as much efficiency loss as many big tires, they would be a good choice. They're cheap too. I personally don't like the tour guard version with the anti-puncture layer as they feel more boardy and are a bit heavier. On an empty bike, and keeping pressures reasonable, I've never had punctures with the standard Pasela's - they seem to conform over debris instead of shoving them through. Tour Guards might make sense in an area with lots of glass, but the long-wearing rubber is generally pretty hard and thick already, and with extra anti-puncture layers, you're losing the efficiency advantage of a "wimpy big volume tire."

    5. On the skinnier side, I also have a pair of 24mm modern Continental Grand Prixs from probikekit.com. They're close to the GP4000 in suppleness, have a tad more volume (they ride like a 25), and retain the sticky black chili compound which seems to work well in rain, for less money than the 4000s. So far they're wearing like iron. If you ever used the GP3000s, it seems to be the same kevlar anti-puncture layer, but in a slightly larger casing with much improved rubber. They don't feel like Vittoria Corsa's by a long shot, and have no extra sidewall protection, but they're definitely sportier than many other "training tires." Cost is in the middle.

    6. As far as wheels, it's hard to have too many. A 2nd set would be good for cross alone. Obviously you're already thinking "how much is my time worth?" Changing tires is hard on sidewalls and tubes when you're rushed and pinching them. Dyads and other wide touring rims are overkill, and it's become increasingly difficult to find versatile, medium width/weight rims. Can't go wrong with Mavic Open Pros or CXP33's. Lot's of arguments on this, but I feel they're worth the price premium. Another set of open pros/Velocity Aeroheads/DT Swiss or the like would work fine. Could also look into a set of slightly wider rims (maybe the mavic Open Sport, Velocity Synergy, or Sun CR18) which would tolerate 25's and fit wider tires better, should you ever want to go that route. If your current cross tires are already well worn and would make for okay road tires, you could get a pair of tubular rims for strictly cross, and use the current set for for farting around.

  15. #15
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    Conti GP 4 Seasons are the primo 28 mm tire, IMHO. I've had a set of these on my main commuter bike for the past two years, 2700 miles, and they still have plenty of tread left on the rear tire. These are probably the lightest 28 mm tire available and roll very nice, plus they handle well on wet roads. They have the same flat resistance as Gatorskins.

    In contrast, I tried some Panarace Pasela TG w/ folding beads in 28 mm and they felt sluggish. I ended up selling them because they felt so slow. I swear, my average speed dropped at least 1 mph after I installed these on my bike.

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