Best Tires for Bike

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Best Tires for Bike

Postby swamp monster » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:32 am

Hey all. Last time I came to Burning Man I made a poor bike choice--the cool banana seat kids bike that rules for tooling around town wasn't so great on the playa. In the past i have used a big fat tire cruiser, but don't have one at the moment and will likely bring my beloved 20 year old mountain bike. It's got slicks on it for riding around town, the skinniest ones I could get away with. If I switch tires do i want knobbies or just the widest slicks I can get? My experience in sand riding is limited.

Definitely getting a kickstand and some way to hoist a light-mobile over my head. And a sound system. Anyway, any suggestions on optimized bike tires?

All of this assumes I am getting tix, of course.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby trilobyte » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:41 am

In my experience the knobby tires work best. Gives you good performance on hard pack and work fairly well when you hit the odd dune.

Silly as it seems, grab yourself a tennis ball or rubber ball for your kickstand as well. Jam that onto the bottom of the kick and it'll be able to stand up in most spots on the playa (otherwise the playa beneath the tip of the kickstand will crumble away and your bike will fall down shortly after you turn your back on it).
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby swamp monster » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:50 am

Thanks and thanks for the heads up on the kickstand ball. I woulda really felt dumb if I had not done that and my bike sank in slo-me before me.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Bounce530 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:12 am

note for the tennis ball-
Shoot some expanding foam, or glue, or caulking into the tennis ball before you jam it onto your kickstand, that way it won't shake off while you're riding and become MOOP.
I just have the basic knobby mt. bike tires on my bike and get along just fine.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby swamp monster » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:32 am

Good ideas all the way around. Thanks.

Because I refuse to paint this old friend and trusty steed i have moved on to deciding the best lighting effects which will least interfere with function. Getting a kickstand definitely opens up options for things that stick up high off your bike.

Oh, it's fun to think about these things when I should be doing other stuff. :)
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Elliot » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:34 am

I'm inclined to use smooth-tread cruiser tires rather than knobbies, for less rolling resistance and less dust kicked up. But the difference probably is not great.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Bob » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:58 pm

Elliot wrote:...smooth-tread cruiser tires...


Ditto. Knobbies seem to kick up more crud on dry ground and grab more mud on wet ground.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby motskyroonmatick » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:13 pm

I have tires that are virtually slicks in the center and have knobs on the edges. I run them at full inflation and like them a lot. Sadly I have never seen them available anywhere since when I bought them in 04 or 05. :( I think knobby tires do a great job tearing up the playa and take more energy to pedal. When the tires I have go bad it will be slicks for me again.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Elliot » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:12 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:I have tires that are virtually slicks in the center and have knobs on the edges.

I also have some of those. Don't know where they originated, but they are definitely around.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby oneeyeddick » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:01 am

Yes to slicks, NO to knobbies.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby teardropper » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:15 am

Agree with no nobbies. Have used a beach cruiser with 2.125" regular tread and they work fine.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Super Evil Brian » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:44 am

I used a fixed-gear track bike with my normal road gear, complete with 25mm (narrow) high pressure tires. It was a little jittery, to say the least, but worked fine. Well, the odd dust piles and mystery dunes were a problem, but otherwise it was fine.

I think the biggest, fattest tires you can find will be perfect. Something like Maxxis Ringworm or anything they use on bike taxis.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby gyre » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:58 am

Knobbies are the worst possible choice.

Wide, soft and smooth as possible.

Reverse pattern all season snow tires, like the Contis, would be a second choice, if you have to have a pattern.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:34 pm

Now, this is a good time to mention the feed and care of tires.
Tires tend to die of old age, rather than from wearing out. It is often the sidewall that goes first, from all the flexing. Also, all tires lose air over time, slowly going flat as the bike sits unused during winter. This is very harmful. A flat tire sitting on the floor with the weight of the bike on top of it will rapidly develop a crack where the tire is so sharply folded. So do yourself a favor and hang the bike from hooks on the garage wall or some such. You could simply flip the bike up-side-down, but then you will inflict similar damage on the saddle. Hardware stores sell big hooks specifically for hanging up bikes.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby teardropper » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:50 pm

Oh, Elliot, you're so organized... I bet your garage is a joy to behold. How about if I don't let 'em go flat...?
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Nipple » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:51 pm

I made the mistake of unicycling after the water truck with my Larry tire.

It's 4" wide.

Image

It doesn't have MUCH tred, but it sure packed on the mud!

If you want no tred, maybe you want to go for a Black Floyd.

Image

Or maybe even a Big Fat Larry, which is just like the Larry but almost 5" wide.

Image

Those are going to give you some plush and supple rides. If you lower the air pressure enough, you can run over children and not even notice it.



Though for those tires you'll need new rims laced onto your hubs, and probably new forks and frames to allow for that wide of a tire. If that's the case, you can check into Schwalbe's "Big Apple" tires. No knobs, and wide wide wide balloon tires. I have them on my cargo bike. It's like driving pillows.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby teardropper » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:07 pm

Nipple wrote:I made the mistake of unicycling after the water truck...


I wonder if it was the tread? EVERYTHING sticks to wet playa...

There was a little 'pony' out in the street after the Monday rain a couple years ago. She was trying to get somewhere, obviously, but too soon and trying to push/ride her bike... She was quietly yelling 'Help'. So, I went out and told her it was too soon to try to ride, her tires were just gonna' cake up again. Maybe she should just come to the bar and have a cocktail, or cold drink? She looked at me like I was stupid, so I picked up her bike and knocked off the caked on playa. I told her to wait for the all-clear... again, the 'you're so stupid' look, and she jumped on her bike and started off. She got about 6 feet, her tires caked up, she got off and the last I saw of her was her quietly yelling 'Help' again...
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:47 pm

teardropper wrote:I wonder if it was the tread? EVERYTHING sticks to wet playa...

That's a fact:

Image

And this is nothing compared to what accumulated at other times, until I learned not to go near freshly watered streets.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:10 pm

teardropper wrote:
Nipple wrote:I made the mistake of unicycling after the water truck...


I wonder if it was the tread? EVERYTHING sticks to wet playa...

There was a little 'pony' out in the street after the Monday rain a couple years ago. She was trying to get somewhere, obviously, but too soon and trying to push/ride her bike... She was quietly yelling 'Help'. So, I went out and told her it was too soon to try to ride, her tires were just gonna' cake up again. Maybe she should just come to the bar and have a cocktail, or cold drink? She looked at me like I was stupid, so I picked up her bike and knocked off the caked on playa. I told her to wait for the all-clear... again, the 'you're so stupid' look, and she jumped on her bike and started off. She got about 6 feet, her tires caked up, she got off and the last I saw of her was her quietly yelling 'Help' again...

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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby tattoogoddess » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:40 pm

This is the bike I have- Will I be good to go? The tires are Duro EasyRide 26 x 2.125. I know nothing about this. Help?

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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby teardropper » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:53 pm

Looks perfect TG. Get a blinky tail light, your head lamp and some LED or EL wire for visibility. I carry a spare tube, a tube repair kit and a spare tire. At least have the repair kit. Remember, oil is your foe. Playa sticks to, well, everything, but especially oil. Clean and lube your chain. I use WD-40 to clean -- NOT to lubricate -- then wipe it all off and use a dry lube. Go to your bike shop.

Glue a tennis ball to your kickstand. With that rack, which you will want/need, it is a little top heavy. It'll give you extra support.

Yeah, nice bike. And remember to clean and lube it when you get home and you'll get many years out of it...

Edit: Just saw you're from Iowa. I was born and raised there. Nice place... Probably wouldn't want to RAGBRAI with it, but the playa? Great.


Re-edit: 'Course I completely forgot to mention the tassels, bell, or maybe a horn and...
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby tattoogoddess » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:08 pm

OMG RAGBRAI would be a nightmare on that. It only has one gear. I bought it when I lived in Virginia Beach to cruise the board walk. Hill... EVIL on this bike!

I plan on furing it out and I got some solar christmas lights that I am going to put on it. I would love some EL, but not in my budget this year. I had a tail and front light but some one stole them, bastard. So I need to get some more so I dont do a front flip over the bike at night from a crack or something else.

I get my bike fixed up at the bike store when I break it out for the summer then when I put it away for the winter. I knew about the tennis ball and plan on doing it for sure as you are right it is top heavy and likes to fall over easy.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby mullenc525 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:20 pm

I bought el wire on ebay from hong kong last year. $5 shipped for 3m with a 2xAA battery pack and controller. Worked well.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby FeetOfClay » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:32 pm

Is it really all that bad to have a bike with "skinny tires" on the Playa?

In an effort to keep costs down (somewhat), I am hoping to get away with bringing the bike I already have: a woman's road bike with relatively-thin, relatively smooth tires. I understand that there is all sort of ways to make my bike more ideal for the Playa...but will I be alright if I just use what I've got?

My bike has a soft seat with a groove cut out the center for comfort. Gonna decorate and light it, try to add a basket. But these thin road tires are basically brand new, and i would hate to drop any more money :)
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby gyre » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:37 pm

How skinny?

Smooth is ideal.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:39 pm

FeetOfClay wrote:Is it really all that bad to have a bike with "skinny tires" on the Playa?

In an effort to keep costs down (somewhat), I am hoping to get away with bringing the bike I already have: a woman's road bike with relatively-thin, relatively smooth tires. I understand that there is all sort of ways to make my bike more ideal for the Playa...but will I be alright if I just use what I've got?

My bike has a soft seat with a groove cut out the center for comfort. Gonna decorate and light it, try to add a basket. But these thin road tires are basically brand new, and i would hate to drop any more money :)


It's not a good idea. Will work ok out on the playa, provided it's still hard packed...but when you're riding on the roads, you'll encounter ruts, mud and mini-dunes. I quick turn of the wheel, and you will be dismounted. The only pseudo option...and you'll still have difficulties, is to lower the air pressure in your tires. But then you increase the risk of fucking up the rims. You might be better off borrowing a bike with fatter tires and having it professionally gone over, when you return. Or..renting a bike in Gerlach...or using a Green Bike

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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:48 pm

Or....Use the bike only to traverse the open playa, and walk it once your on the city roads.




Or.....just be REALLY REALLY careful!
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby FeetOfClay » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:48 pm

hmmmm...maybe it would be better to source a bike locally :)
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:52 pm

Since you're with a village, see if you can work out some sort of deal with your camp mates, pre-playa. Guy I'm driving up with is with Anonymous Village.
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Re: Best Tires for Bike

Postby FeetOfClay » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:01 pm

that's a great idea...and i never would have thought of that! i can ask around if anyone local or driving in has an extra bike :)
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