View Full Version : Slick/Semi-slick tires for my mountain bike?

05-09-2008, 02:50 PM
I have a mountain bike and I just moved to Portland. I'm looking to switch out the huge knobbies that are on bike with some more road-friendly tires. Any suggestions? I'll be riding mostly on the road, but I can't rule out the occasional foray onto a little dirt, though it won't be hardcore off road biking.

I saw the Maxxis High Roller Semi-Slick and the Tioga Factory XC Slick, but I'm sure there are lots and lots of other tires out there. Any suggestions?

05-09-2008, 03:57 PM
I really like the Continental Contact, made primarily for 700c, but they have a 1.5" wide 26" size. I run a set of 700c x 37 on my touring bike. No flats in first 1000 miles.

On my MTB I have Performance Fast City ST/K with kevlar belt, 26" x 1.25" wide. Great tire, and inexpensive.

I have run the Specialized Armadillo tires in the past, both MTB and 700c. Very sturdy, not real good handling, especially in the rain. They tend to come apart when they wear out. Tread separates from the tire.

Have also run Continental Town & Country for MTB, don't recommend. Work well for a while, then the tread tends to separate from the tire.

05-09-2008, 09:12 PM
Have you read up on this thread (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1661)?

Simple Nature
05-09-2008, 09:51 PM

Great selection and great tires. Love the Marathon series. Their tubes rock too.

05-10-2008, 07:29 PM
I just went from 2.25 inch Continental Town & Country, which lasted for a good six years and never had a flat (they just wore out) to 1.5 inch Schwalbe Marathons on the mountain bike that I use for a commuter and it rides like a new bike. I love them.

05-11-2008, 09:00 AM
some people have delusions about a semi slick tire. they dont work. ride knobbies mountain biking, especially here in the mud, or ride slicks on the road. you can ride slicks on dirt, gravel, and some slick spots while commuting.

semi slicks dont work in the mud, and they will suck for commuting.

you will not find a more flat resistant tire than the schwalbe marathon plus ( if you can find it as their supply chain sucks) REI has them BUT is often sold out with no hope to get more in a timely manner. they still roll allright ( as opposed to the armadillo which rides like it has a square profile. for those with low clearance road bikes, try the schwalbe stelvio and stelvio plus in 23c. they are like the marathon but better handling and a folding bead.
you wont beat a schwalbe tire for commuting.

have a sliding scale for performance characteristics to flat protection.
nice road tire- continental gatorskin w/kevlar- schwalbe stelvio/stelvio plus-schwalbe marathon/marathon plus. note the lack of armadillo.
i train on the conti gatorskins now.

good luck.

i have a pair of 700 28c marathon plus tires with one season on them with TONs of life left that need a good home. i dont commute or train on my cross bike anymore and my road bike doesnt have the clearance for them. i could let them go for cheap. private message me.

05-15-2008, 07:14 PM
I think that I'm going with the Marathon HS368, but I'm not sure if I should get the 26" x 1.75" or 2.00".

Any suggestions?

05-15-2008, 07:38 PM
I think the 1.75" will be quite sufficient for anything short of a profoundly sucking MUD PIT :) and will be slightly faster on road.

05-19-2008, 06:48 PM
I bought the 1.75" Marathon HS 368 for my bike and they are fantastic. Of course, the only thing that I have to compare them to is my huge knobby tires.

Simple Nature
05-19-2008, 08:16 PM
For a decent selection of quality tires, check out Coventry Cycle Works on Hawthorn at NE 20th. They carry stuff most other shops don't even consider [they cater to recumbents].

I use the 1.50's and have run them at 100psi... 2" means more cush but max out at 70psi... note the difference in the 1.5, 1.75, and 2.0... 40, 47, 50... the bigger jump is from 1.5 to 1.75.

You can call Coventry and see if they have any of the HS368's in 559 [26"] on the wall.

05-20-2008, 08:13 AM
I've found that I prefer wider tires for commuting, particulary in the winter. My favorites are Conti Town & Country 2.1" tires. They have a max inflation of 80 psi, although I put about 150 miles per week on mine at 90 psi. At 90 psi they have a lower rolling resistance than a 1.25" tire at 90 psi. The reason for this is tire deformity. A 2.1" tire has a considerably larger diameter than a 1.25". It deforms less at an equivalent pressure. On the conti, I'm probably only contacting the road surface w/ about .5" of tire surface. If you want, you can find plenty of research on the net on why this works. Sheldon Brown used to have an excellent essay on tire construction that explained why large volume tires have a lower rolling resistance than narrow tires at the same pressure. Because of the huge volume, the conti will also take a considerably lower pressure. They also act as a suspension system. On days when I feel like doing some mud and gravel on the way to work, I lower the pressure down to 40 psi. This lets the traction surfaces on the outer portion of the tread make contact with the rolling surface. I'm not going to ride through a mud bog with these, but I've come pretty close out on some single track in the Tillamook.

Another poster mentioned a problem with tread separation on contis. After 2500 miles my contis aren't showing much wear at all. Only 1 flat in 2500 miles, a construction staple through a rear sidewall at about 35 mph. I do run tire liners in them.