Tubes Tires 101

Discussion in 'Bicycle Repair' started by MotorbikeMike, Jan 25, 2009.

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  1. Hi all, the first thing that I like to tell new owners is, "get rid of those Knobby MTB tires!" One of my customers mounted a set of Knobby Kevlar tires on his Whizzer, as he was tired of getting flats. Well, after he turned a corner a couple weeks later and the knobs were all between him and the asphault, pretty soon it was Asphalt "1" boy on bike "0"!

    He of course picked up himself, and the Green Whizzer, and upon returning home, circular filed the Kevlar MTB knobbies.

    As far as reasonable tires? I have used, and enjoyed Cheng Shin "Goodyear" type Cruiser tires, also the "City Travelor" they make. Duro's "Street Slick" is nice, and low priced, and modern tread except Knobby might work well for you.

    Specialized "Armadillos" are a bit pricey but very nice also, they are Kevlar based, and very much more "round" than a cheap tire.

    I do NOT like the Carlisle type "oval knobbed" tires very much, especially on the front.

    Who else?


  2. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD Active Member

    I have the Chen Shing "Goodyear" type on two of my motorized bikes, and several balloon tire bikes I've restored also wear those tires. I have the red 26" on my '46 Columbia, while my Whizzer NE-5 is shod with the 24" white walls. They have performed quite admirably, and I plan to continue using those tires on upcoming restorations and / or motoredbike creations.

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  3. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    Sheldon Brown discussed bicycle tires and tread patterns here. His conclusion? knobbies are useful only for off-road use. In fact, for on-road use, ANY tread reduces traction. Why do you think that race cars use slicks?

    And, it is impossible to hydroplane on a bicycle, unless you're running at about 10 PSI tire pressure. (tires at 10 PSI would hydroplane at about 30 MPH)

    I can recommend the Innova swiftor. Thry're inexpensive, plus they offer a near slick design, with inverted tread. Not expensive, either. The lack of tread makes for a very smooth ride. Keep in mind though, that the rubber used in the Swiftor is relatively soft. This makes for excellent traction and cornering, but, if you lock up the rear wheel, the road will grind away the tire quickly. I would suspect that it's more susceptible to road damage, than a tire with harder rubber, too. Be sure to put a liner inside.

    BTW. Bell makes a Kevlar belted cruiser tire, which I put on the front wheel of my bike. So far, so good.

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  4. alex

    alex Guest

    What would you guys recommend for crazy road gripping power, I don't ride in the rain or on ice just on hot asphalt, so I don't need any of that fancy stuff.

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  5. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I have found the Schwinn Typhoon ballon tyres very good for grip in the dry but they are expensive.
    Cetainly the best of the ballons although I've not tried the Quikbrick that come on Felt cruisers - they are probably excellent too. The Spezialised Armadillo kevlar with pink walls is very good also but wears out faster than the Typhoon ballons. On a 2-stroke the tyres wear out faster because they have better accelleration I guess. The Armadillos aren't as comfy a ride as the Typhoons and they inflate to about 80 psi whereas the Typhoons max at 35 psi. If the pressure drops on the Typhoons the tyre can roll sideways on the rim on corners. In the wet I just slow down because no tyre is that safe. I've seen a cut slick on a Cannondale and I tried riding on it - it was the comfiest ride I've ever had by a long shot.
    Valentino Rossi blamed his tyres last year for his lack of performance against Casey Stoner but now they are both on Bridgestones he'll have to find something else to blame.
    I think those cut slicks are probably the best tyre available for a motored bike even if they wear out fast. They are quiet and good at speed.
  6. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    For a first go, try the Innova. They really grip well.
  7. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    I ran a pair of slick sticky tires years ago, the kind that trials riders use in Moab; they grip the road well, but the problem came when I kept having flats because they picked up more **** off the road than normal tires as well. I've had great experience with the cheng shin "goodyear" style, the middleweight "tractor" style tread (shaped like little diamonds), and the cheng shin middleweight street tread (I don't know how to describe it, it is like the tread on my Bridgestones for my Nighthawk 550).
    I know there are companies making 4-ply 26" bicycle tires, but I'd say unless you are doing an extended across the country adventure, save your money and go with something cheaper...

    I'm gonna look into the bell kevlar street treads...
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2009
  8. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Any particular Innova in mind? They make a very big range of tyres from very knobbly to very smooth and not all would be good for a motored bicycle.
  9. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    John: Above, in the third post of this thread, I talked about it - the Innova Swiftor. I posted a link to where I bought a pair of 'em, as well as a photo of the 'tread.'

    I was really happy with that tire until I had an emergency stop on my old cruiser & locked up the rear tire. The asphalt ground away the rubber, all the way to the fabric... But, they grip like crazy, & have a very nice ride. (I bought the 26x2.0" (57-559 ISO)) They also added about a full MPH to my top end with a friction drive. The roller wasn't slipping at all on the Swiftor, like it did a bit with the standard cruiser tire. (On the original tire, I believe the roller was 'slipping' just a tiny bit whenever the 'teeth' on the roller went over the recess in the tread.) You could see that the edges of the tread were getting rounded off).
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
  10. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I see now Loquin. That Swiftor looks identical to the best tyre I've ever ridden on. If it is soft wearing it could be a bit expensive given that we do more miles than push bikes and that we have more accellleration plus you have added wear from the friction roller. I wonder if the Swiftor would have kept my bike upright when I pulled on the front V-brake when I was rounding a downhill corner and the bike went down. It was wet and maybe greasy and maybe no tyre would have stayed upright when the brake was applied. Might not have happened if I'd had a rear V-brake instead of a coaster I couldn't use because I needed to position the pedals for the corner. Slicks are brilliant in the dry but can be very bad in the wet.
  11. loquin

    loquin Active Member


    For a bicycle, they (slicks) gives better traction under all conditions except (possibly,) snow.

    a bike tire is rounded, and this tends to squeeze water out fron under the tire. They will not hydroplane - they can't. in order to hydroplane at 30 MPH, you would HAVE to be running a tire pressure of 10 PSI, but at 40 PSI, hydroplaning speed is approximately 60 miles per hour.

    If you have tread in the tire surface, there's less surface area in contact with the road, and less gripping ability. Tire rubber deforms to small surface imperfections, which will provide the 'grip' when the friction is reduced by water, ice, or oil/grease

    In order to wear at the same rate, tires with tread, which have less surface area, need to have rubber that's little harder than the rubber in a slick design. This reduces the effectiveness of treaded tires to grip the road.

    Look at the tires on race cars - there's little (to no) tread on them. And, they have a lot of oil on those racetracks at times... But, they grip well.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  12. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Until the track gets wet & then the slicks have to come off immediately & be replaced by treaded tyres.
  13. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    again, at the tire pressures and speeds for motorized bikes, it's impossible for them to hydroplane. A race car can and will hydroplane, though, and testing confirms that wide tread channels can help route water from under an auto tire.

    There can be reduced traction due to water/slick stuff, but, the only road condition that will be helped by tread on a bike tire is snow. Every other condition is going to suffer reduced traction, with a bike tire, if there's tread present on the tire. Think about it. Traction in slippery conditions is created with rubber-to-road contact, and with imperfections in the road surface deforming the rubber surface of the tire. In non-slippery conditions, the bulk of the traction results from rubber-to-road contact, and the greater the amount of rubber, the greater the amount of traction. Thus, slicks give the most grip in dry conditions. In wet/slippery conditions, surely having tread helps though??? Not. The small imperfection on the road surface, either sticking up, or forming a 'hole,' can 'fall' on rubber, or can fall 'on' a tread channel. When that imperfection causes the rubber of the tire to deform, THEN there's traction. If it falls on a tread channel, though, there's no traction until the tire slides enough for the imperfection to actually make contact with rubber. But, once the slide starts, the traction is further reduced, and it's harder to stop the slide. (ref static coefficient of friction versus kinetic coefficient of friction)
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  14. graucho

    graucho Active Member

    loquin didnt steer me wrong on that tire. I took his advise and bought a pair for my stanton friction bike and have put on about 600 miles so far. I liked them so much for the price I bought another pair for the GEBE set up. Like he said, smooth ride, a little extra speed. I haven't had to hit the brakes down to the cords though. :smile:

    Oops I forgot. Zero trouble in the rain with road traction.

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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  15. I like my IRC Metro II's! I have a set of the Bell comfort tires on my 4 stroke w/ Kevlar, they seem ok.

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