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I have been riding my hard tail on the road for the last 3 years on some knobbly 26 x 2.1 tyres. After just starting a new job and with the need to commute further I am considering purchasing some slicks, however I do not know how best to decide on which tyre to choose. What width should I be going down to and what kind of tread?

I like the look of these but they also come in two widths, is it the thinner the better?

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First off, you need to figure out what the narrowest tire is that will fit your rims. There should be a chart on web somewhere, eg, from Sheldon Brown. Generally you'll want a narrower tire, without stretching the limits of your rims, and a tire that is slick or with a relatively shallow, smooth tread. You'll also want to run a higher pressure, probably around 80psi (though observe the pressure limits printed on the sidewall). (Of those two tires you'd probably want the 1.6, since your rims are probably pretty wide, but check the charts.) – Daniel R Hicks Apr 14 '12 at 22:31
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Usually, for a MTB hard tail, a 26 x 1.25 tire is the narrowest comfortable tire to ride.

It is narrow enough to provide significant benefit to speed and rolling resistance, but not so narrow as to increase the probability of flats and rim damage.

The continental tires you linked are a good choice. I would probably do the 26 x 1.3 version of that tire.

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Agreed. Between 1.25 and 1.5 is very nice for commuting, since you can take some weight with you. Wider than that is not necessary for speed, and narrower than that is not needed for speed. Also, consider seriously buying a model with built-in puncture protection. They are awesome! – heltonbiker Apr 15 '12 at 20:31

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