Day’s Verse:
These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women…
Acts 1:14

Rumors have reached my mountain-biking-riding ears that tires known as “slicks” will shave minutes off of a ride. This strikes me as distinctly weird, coming from my running background; it’s like saying that you could drop to a 6 minute mile from a 7 minute mile by changing your shoes. But people swear up and down that slicks do make for a totally different ride, and that they’re well worth investing in for a road-only rider such as myself. I’ve heard mountain bike tires described as Hummers of the biking world (following the analogy suggests that treadless road bike tires would thus be a Porche).

I bought some. They cost $24.50 each and I barely recognized my bike with these narrower, smooth strangers rolling along. Then I rode to the train station this morning and it was a whole new biking experience. The tires passed road bumps along more strongly than my previous tires, but my word, what a difference in riding! I found myself skimming down hills with no particular work, and if toiling up hills didn’t feel much different, the flatter stretches treated me like a queen with these tires. I found myself maintaining a 16 or 17 mph pace on flats and easily topping 20 mph on downhills, where before such speeds involved extreme pedalling.

I’m a believer. And I didn’t even have to get a new bike. So if you ride a lot on roads using mountain bike tires, consider investing in some slicks. It’s a world of difference.

7 thoughts on “A Whole New Wheel

  1. Hmm. This isn’t the first I’ve heard of this, but…I’m afraid my traction will seriously suffer. And my bike riding is all in the thick of Boston, where my very survival is contingent on fast turns. Can you recommend slicks to me?

  2. did you know that on monday i went to visit a friend and we spent over an hour watching “a whole new world” from aladdin in different languages? i love youtube. the thai version is kind of crappy but “uno mundo ideal” is superb.

  3. Eric: Interesting info: Your traction will NOT suffer and your cornering will improve with slicks. It’s a common misconception that you need to “channel” water away from your tires or that you need to have bumps on your tires to stick to the ground well. In fact slicks tend to mold to the road better, and rarely get water under them. Here are some interesting facts about slicks:

    1. You will not hydroplane or slip with slicks any more than with mountain bike tires. (Link)
    2. You don’t need to worry about water under your tires for various reasons, so slicks that reduce rolling resistance will let you do less work for the same speed. (Link)

    I can’t recommend any particular tires, although the ones I have (I linked to them via the picture in this blog) are fairly cheap as they go and with 18 miles on them they seem to be darn good. One handy thing is that you can keep the same rim and everything, just buy new narrower tubes (cheap; like $4 each) and new rubber. Also I do plan on switching back to my mountain bike tires when it starts getting snowy, since I think riding in snow is like riding on mud in terms of what tires would work best for you.

  4. Yeah I got some if you know what I mean!! No tires yet. My bike was stolen (as planned) last night, so I’ll be shopping for a new bike with slicks this weekend.

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