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Tires for primarily pavement riding?

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    Tires for primarily pavement riding?

    Just curious what others that are doing mostly pavement riding are using for tires. I would imagine there are those that have no problem with the noise and vibration from some gnarly knoby hardcore off road tires on pavement but I'm more interested in the more smooth and quiet options.

    For pavement I am on 29's that are at least 2" wide. I started out with some Maxxis typical mountain bike tires with what I consider fairly mild and small knobs. Noise from the tires was for sure the loudest part of the bike. Many times pedestrians could hear me coming which saved me the effort of ringing the bell. Since I was mostly on pavement I started asking around and more than one person said if you can have just a pavement bike or set of wheels go with the Schwalbe Big Apples. They are smooth and quiet for sure and I now have around 1000 miles on them. Great tire. Looks to be discontinued or at least super low priority to be manufactured, maybe replaced by the Big Ben?

    Leaning into curves and wet or sandy roads I don't have a lot of confidence in the Big Apples. Even wet grass can be a little slippery because they are basically slicks running at moderate pressures. I am also seeing some wear now so that got me starting to look for other options. I wanted something that was fairly smooth down the middle so I would still get that quite smooth easy rolling on pavement but that then had some tread on the sides for when you get into places that are not clear dry pavement. There are quite a few options like that in a 700 x 30-45 ish but not as much in the 29 x 2-3 range. After a lot of online searching of even out of stock everywhere products I found the Surly Extra Terrestrial in a 29x2.5 and I even found them in stock locally. They were not actually in my store but were in stock at Surly HQ which is also local for me.

    I did about 30 miles on them last night on pavement and so far I really like em. Had them on my rigid steel Surly Pugsley with Surly Rabbit Hole 29 rims at about 30 psi. I would say the Big Apples which were 2.35 vs the 2.5 of the ETs were slightly softer and quieter ride but only slightly. WIth the Apples the BBSHD and chain makes more noise than the tires, the ET's are closer to the noise level of the rest of the bike. Still much quieter and smoother than anything with knobs. I did some moderate speed curves and was actually comfortable leaning into them a bit which I never really did on the Apples. I have not tried any non paved stuff with them yet but I don't fear it like I did the Apples.

    I started out with the Pug with 2 wheel sets but fairly quickly built another bike so I could have a fat trail bike and a 29 street bike. If I expect to be off road I would usually take the fat bike. Originally I had Surly Nate tires on that which were very grippy but also felt very slow and had quite a bit of vibration on pavement so I really did not enjoy the pavement part of the ride getting to the park but this spring I got an assortment of other tires for that and found a combo that seems to work reasonably well on the green and blue trails and isn't too annoying on the streets. For those that are curious I'm currently running a Surly Knard on the rear and a Surly Larry on the front.

    Short term I needed 2 street bikes is why I put the 29's and the new ET's on the Pug but at some point I will likely put the ET's on my Schwinn Axum which is the BBSHD 29er street bike. I think that will give me really good options. If its mostly pavement I will take the Schwinn but should then be no problem if I hit a construction detour or maybe a shortcut through the woods. If its mostly going to be off road I take the Surly but with its current tire combo no problem if the trails are a little further away or I feel like taking the long way home from the park.

    Almost sounds like I work for Surly, I wish. It would great not to have to pay full retail for bikes and bike parts. I had not had the 29's on my Pug since I bought the Schwinn last fall. Man do I like a steel frame. I do like the Schwinn but aluminum has a really different feel plus the walmart suspension fork I think adds its own interesting dynamic to the ride. I can maybe see if you were not on an E bike where there could be performance advantages to aluminum and carbon but on an e bike a little flex and weight just ads to the comfort which is what many of us are after.

    I agree with you about the Big Apples. I moved up to the Big Ben Plus. Deeper tread, and a stickier tread compound for high speed handling. They actually say "moped" on the bead area. Always out of stock here in 26". I usually have to get them from Europe.
    The reflective sidewall on Schwalbe street tires is a big plus also. The thicker tread of the BB+ has also resulted in no flats so far. Better in grass and mud too. I favor 26" for street over 29".
    Less mass to accelerate in traffic is a bigger benefit for me than the lower rolling resistance, and big bump capacity. I would look at Schwalbes E bike 50kph rated "ECE75" over there, Marathon "touring" tires if you need more grip in the wet and dirty situations.
    Tour the world or commute with confidence with Schwalbe's line of road, commuter and touring tires.

    Bikes like ours in Europe are considered Mopeds "Pedelec" is their term, and they take tire safety seriously . In some sizes the BB+ is known as the Super Moto-X. HS439 is the tread pattern of the BB+ and you can shop at Schwalbe by that, or any other pattern # you like better. I think the BA favorslight weight for pedal bikes, and the BB+ strength and grip for E bikes. HS439 tread HS498 tread

    BTW Schwalbes mold release compound is very slippery. You might want to give the new tires a good wash when mounting. I've seen this on car tires too.
    Last edited by Retrorockit; 07-07-2021, 06:35 AM.


      I do really like the Schwalbe tires I have for what they are and they seem like a good quality brand. Yes I do like the reflective strip, wish more brands did that. There were a couple Schwalbe models I saw on their site that looked like possibilities for my wants but they were not in stock on their USA site or anywhere else in the USA that I could find so I didn't keep looking that close at them.

      I rode the big apple aluminum bike last night and it was fine but the whole ride I wondered if I should be seriously shopping for another steel bike to replace it. I didn't check my tire pressure before I set out and it had been about a week so I would guess I was down in the mid 20's vs the 30 I usually go to on the street bike. Maybe I should try 25 as a goal for a while to get me more of that steel feel? Its not bad or anything its just having something closer to compare it with has got me wondering if it could be better.


        Bike Tires Direct had just 1 Big Ben+ in stock. I put it on the rear with the BA on front and liked it. I ordered another form Spain and haven't looked back. They recently installed a traffic circle on my route. I hit it at traffic speed and go 3/4 around so it's a 90* in 270* around, and another quick 90* turn. The BB+ are very stable at 35f/45r psi.


          If anyone tries the 29x2.5 ET's or likely any 29x2.5 ish tire note that the most commonly available tubes for a 29 are 1.9-2.4. Stretching to 2.5 seems to be more than a typical tube can handle. In my case I think I made it worse by running Surly Rabbit Hole rims which are 50mm wide so that poor tube must be pretty darn thin. Had a flat on the road that was not caused by an external issue. New tube suffered a similar failure in a totally different spot before I even got it back on the bike. It was a Kenda and Bontranger standard grade tube so nothing special. Q makes a 2.4-2.8 I may try otherwise there is the Surly Krampus 3.0 tube that I bet would stuff into a 2.5 tire. Could be annoying though if its a tubeless ready tire with a tight bead, a stuffed tube often wants to get pinched getting the bead on.


            Best street tires I have ever used by far are Tioga City Slickers - 26x1.95 -
            Grip is Great - Fast - Smooth - I have these on all of my bikes -
            most fun part of riding for me is leaning over in turns -
            with these tires I scrape inside peddle at Top of stroke in turns -
            That is Really leaned over and Lots of fun
            try a pair -


            • Retrorockit
              Retrorockit commented
              Editing a comment
              I'd like to see a video of that.
              I run the Schwalbe Kojak pure slick 26x2 on my XC softtail for non powered street riding. But at 67 years old I'm not as adventurous as I used to be.

            Click image for larger version

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            this is one of my bike that I can scrape inside peddle at top of stroke -
            as you can see bottom is even higher than stock bike so Really leaned over
            to scrape peddle -I made plastic sliders for peddles -
            hitting peddle leaned over like that usually ended in crash -( lift rear tire off ground)
            sliders did help a little -
            try a pair of Tioga City Slickers U will like -
            can keep you from sliding out / injury - yup I old now too - 66

            I made this bike for my father to ride -
            put extra chain ring to give him something to talk about with friends -
            he was shy and this was conversation starter for him -

            I built 5 bikes like this one but without 2nd chain ring -
            surprisingly 2nd chain ring made bike a little faster -
            I know it should have not been faster but it is -


            • AZguy
              AZguy commented
              Editing a comment
              After some miles tires will show their "chicken strips" (the part of the tires on the sides that doesn't show any wear 'cus we're too "chicken" to use it)

              I run very aggressive big knobbies (26x4.8") and lean more than 45° - I know this from the chicken strips that are only on the outer most knobs.. laid a level on there and yup, about 45°... have more scrapes on the pedals than I should! That's with knobbies... so for me I'm not sure why I wouldn't just run aggressive tires and go for a "pavement only" tire instead.. it would offer me next to nothing except perhaps some more mileage but with today's dual (and even triple) compound tires that's just not that big a factor

              If we had more power then I could see it since then we might break them loose in the turns with throttle but since we are pretty much not throwing power at the wheel it just seems sort of pointless to me...

            My stunt used to be hitting wet grass at full speed on a baseball field, or golf course and setting up a high speed 2 wheel drift. Lots of fun until you scrubbed off some speed, and the tires grabbed and tossed you over the high side! I also used to drop a pedal onto concrete at low speeds to turn the bike 90*.
            Low CG, rear weight bias, and long wheel base. Not at all like my BBSHD comfort bike. I think I'll leave that to the experts.


            • AZguy
              AZguy commented
              Editing a comment
              Haha... getting both wheels sliding ahead of a turn is how we scrubbed speed ahead of turns on motos... in the dirt it takes less finesse than track...

              I've fully slid the electric bike in soft stuff but not on hard surface... they are too light, don't have enough power and I'm too old!

              Sometimes it's hard to understand but rubber is seldom moving the same exact speed as the ground underneath it.. there's almost always some sliding going on even if tiny and it's more often greater longitudinal vs. lateral... when one gets their head wrapped around that then they can begin to embrace the zen of controlled lateral sliding!

            • Retrorockit
              Retrorockit commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah if you have a moto you can keep the slide going. But when you're too leaned over to pedal loss of momentum is inevitable.
              I haven't tried it on an E bike.

            • AZguy
              AZguy commented
              Editing a comment
              Striking a pedal on a bike is a whole different and a lot more exciting than on a moto - the moto pedals are generally mounted on spring loaded hinges so if you scrape it just flexes and you feel your foot lift.. but on a bike if you hit it with much force it'll lift the wheel - albeit briefly but it's not a good feeling, at least for me =]

            Yup we all have our fun tricks -

            I have video somewhere -
            will look -

            Me I like getting leaned over -
            Its not easy - I practice a lot -
            400 plus turns daily on near
            by track - very short 11 turns - Fun - Fast
            Crashed Many times -
            Crashing when real leaned over is Instant hit ground -

            most turns Ive done in day was 100 laps x 8 turns -
            did this 4 times - its hard- lose concentration -
            would catch myself thinking about food - get Really tired -
            peddle Hard whole time -

            other tires I tried - not even close to this traction -

            my case its -
            70% tires
            20 % ish rider
            10% bike setup -

            Tioga City Slicker 26x195 are not expensive - last ones $27 each -
            its the rubber -

            set of tires could open up whole new world of Life in a Lean -