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  • Schwalbe Racing Ralph mountain bike tyre (shaven) as a road tyre…

    I have used Schwalbe Kojaks on my 26″ “road” bikes for quite a while now and they are great all-round tyres but their rather basic stiff casing limits their performance both in terms of speed and comfort.

    It’s the same story with almost all high volume 26″ slicks.

    So I decided to get some top end MTB tyres and shave them!

    Racing Ralphs 2.10 seemed to be the best candidates with their very low rolling resistance but better durability and puncture protection than Furious Freds and Rocket Rons.

    Most of people automatically assume that mountain bike tyres are “slow and heavy” but it’s as wrong as assuming that all road tyres are lightweight and fast. It’s the design of the casing not the label that makes a tyre (potentially) fast or slow.

    In case of Racing Ralphs once you remove the tread you end up with a thin and flexible 120TPI slick tyre with no puncture protection (even lower rolling resistance) that weighs just 400g for a 2.10″ (54mm) version. No other slick on the market offers that.

    My Shaven Ralphs are run tubeless on Stans Flow rims (54mm actual width) at around 20PSI front and 30PSI rear (using the 15% tyre drop method as a starting point http://www.biketinker.com/tire-pressure-calculator, http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/TireDrop.pdf)

    It may seem low but any more than that only reduces comfort and doesn’t make the bike any faster.

    So how fast can you go on these?

    On 1.00-2.30h long routes I consistently clock 18-19mph on some broken country roads.

    That’s riding mostly on drops, tempo to sweet-spot but not full-on TT efforts, mostly flat, often with a commuting backpack, baggies and just 1.5″ handlebar drop.

    I realise that average speeds usually don’t mean a lot but I believe that in this case can demonstrate the potential of the tyres and change some misconceptions.

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  • Mountain bike tyre vs road tyre speed test. Schwalbe Racing Ralph vs Continental Grand Prix MTB

    Which of them is faster? A 54mm mountain bike with shaven tread run tubeless at 20,30PSI or a 28mm (31-32mm) racing tyre at 60,80PSI?

    How much difference will the aerodynamic advantage of narrow tyres at high speeds make? With so many people on forums worrying about increased air resistance of tyres just 2-5mm wider from the 23mm norm surely moving from 2.1" to 1.2" wide tyres should make me 1-2mph faster, right? :-) Maybe it will. We'll see...

    The tyres (Grand Prix) have been fitted to the same Stans Flow 28mm rims and they measure 31mm front and 32mm rear. They were pumped up to 60PSI front and 80PSI rear (15% tyre drop method).

    I'll be riding them for the next few weeks and time my rides.

    Watch this space...

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  • 26" road bike / commuter

    These are couple of bikes that I've built from scratch as all-year/all-weather/all-sh*t UK roads training/commuting bikes.

    One bike is based on a On-One Inbred and the other one on a retro Corratec Tange Cr-Mo frame.

    Typically an MTB frame needs to be one or two sizes smaller for the right reach (hoods/drops).

    They both ride brilliantly and float over everything and the level of comfort, grip and confidence is in a completely different league.

    IMO they make far more sense than most of "proper" road bikes especially with my new shaven Racing Ralphs (see the other post) that allow me to clock 18-19mph on my commute.

    For anyone interested, there are plenty of retro frames/bikes on Ebay that would make great candidates, e.g. Marin, Kona...

    700C is really not the only way to go :-)

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  • Paul Thumbies homemade copy...

    coming soon...

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  • Maverick Durance 29er conversion dropouts

    coming soon....

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  • Front derailleur bottom to top pull conversion

    coming soon...

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