greenamex2 wrote:...Any opinions on tyre choice for the following commute -
4 miles of tow path (so compacted gravel with a bit of mud)
4 miles of national cycle route (reclaimed disused train line so more compacted gravel and even more mud)
4 miles of tarmacked road
I will be commuting all year round/all weathers but looking to cover the next 6 months or so.
Priorities are -
[size is..]...700 diameter
Then bike is a Cyclocross so can go pretty wide...comes with 32 as standard....
....Gotta say I was quite shocked how heavy they were when I fitted them.... I replaced normal tubes and dual purpose MTB tyres with slime tubes AND Marathon PLUSes, and managed to add about 1.5Kg to the MTB's weight...
...With the benefit of hindsight/research that was probably overkill
All tyres are a compromise of some kind but I can't think of a place where I'd choose to ride where slime tubes and
M+ tyres would be my choice tbh. Mostly M+ tyres stop punctures OK but when you do have to fix one on the road it can be a complete nightmare; they are so much more troublesome to fit and remove.
FWIW depending on the surface and your preference you could choose a treaded touring tyre or some other combination. Under similar conditions (but with an MTB) I have used a full knobbly on the front and a semi-slick on the rear, for example.
Some things you might like to consider are
- what kind of punctures do you think you might get? Are you worried about thorns, pinch flats, flints, broken glass....?
- how worried about comfort are you? IME some puncture proof tyres are only acceptably comfortable when run at lower pressures than normal, which can mean that they are slow twice over; slow at normal pressures, and slower again once they are run a bit softer for comfort.
- are you going to use mudguards? [I'd guess 'yes definitely' unless you want to arrive at your destination filthy...] If so you will need to allow a clearance for them when choosing your tyre width. The minimum clearance may vary with the local soil type; clay tends to stick in a layer on the tyre and you need a lot more clearance for that. Same goes for soil that has small stones in it; you need to allow clearance for any small stones that might get carried round with the tyre.
- how soft is the ground on the offroad sections? The physics here is simple; if the tyre pressure is higher than the pressure at which an object will indent into the (soft) soil, the tyre will sink into the ground and it will be like riding uphill all the time; however a lower pressure (which may only be viable with a fatter tyre) may allow the tyre to roll over the surface without indenting it, which can mean a much easier ride.
- Note that in some types of sticky mud over a firm base, a narrow tyre can work well because it doesn't pick up as much mud as a wider one. Other specific ground conditions may cause you to make a particular choice.
The reality is that whatever tyres you choose to use you will occasionally get a puncture, [it might be only once a year or something but no tyre is completely puncture proof]; when you do get a flat, it'll usually take about five minutes to fit another tube (if the tyre comes off easy). It can be no fun wrestling with a muddy tyre and tube though...
I used to do a similar commute and I mostly used an MTB for this purpose, simply because much of the time the ground was soft enough that a ~2" tyre was required not to sink in; this worked OK because the mud mostly wasn't too sticky (there were about four different soil types en route). I never felt that it was so muddy that I needed a full knobbly on the rear, but I did come off when running slicker front tyres when it was wet.
The run could take ~50-55 mins via MTB in winter, and most of the punctures I ever had were caused by thorns during hedge-cutting season. I could take the road bike (via a different route, on tarmac) and it would take about 35 minutes. In the summer, with firm ground, a touring bike (or similar) with ~35mm lightly treaded tyres would work OK and that would take about 45minutes offroad, (but in the winter mud those same tyres would have been nigh-on useless). So the reality is that the fatter tyres etc cost about five or ten minutes vs the fastest I could possibly ever manage offroad, and the choice to ride offroad rather than on-road cost about ten minutes too, (but very greatly reduced my chances of being involved in a very nasty accident with some dozy idiot).