Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I recently switched from a mountain bike to a road bike with 22mm tires for commuting.

I noticed right away that I could not do the things like hop over curbs with this new bike. I also got flats. Lots of flats. I would get 1 flat per week, and I got good at patching tires. After a few weeks of this i got Tuffy tire liners and haven't gotten a flat since. I patched up all holes in my tires from inside before putting them in (and they were a pain to put in).

I still have the following fears:

  • If I am going fast and I hit a small (less then 3" bump), I might get a pinch flat.
  • I cannot ride off a curb onto the payment without wrecking my bike.
  • I cannot hop curbs.
  • I must check my tires after every ride for glass lodged in them and take it out with tweezers.
  • If there is a sizeable hole (from glass) in my tire, I must use a patch kit to patch it up.
  • I must always ride at 120psi per tire (I weigh ~200lbs).
  • My stopping power compared to the mountain bike is really really bad (especially in the rain).
  • I must pay extreme attention to the road and go around bumps.

Should I be worried about these concerns? Are 22mm tires too thin for commuting?

Followup:

Well, after about 2 months of daily commuting on the road bike I have this to say in the defense of my earlier self:

My biggest issues turned out to be:

  1. My bike lock which I used to attach to my bike created a lot of vibration which in turn made it impossible for me to hear any noise my bike was making. One time I rode on a flat for a few minutes because I couldn't hear/tell it was there because of the vibration/noise. This incident made me think that flats on a road bike were undetectable.
  2. I rode clipless which scared me in traffic.

I've since started to carry my bike lock in my backpack so now I can hear my bike. I've also replaced my awesome clipless pedals with regular ones which made me feel much more comfortable in high traffic. Not fearing death actually made me faster with regular pedals in the city.

Commuting on the road bike is a blast. I love passing everyone, and now that I figured out how to properly use both brakes, I can actually stop almost as quickly as I could on my fat tired mountain bike.

share|improve this question
    
Stephen has an excellent answer. –  user313 Jun 11 '12 at 21:14
1  
Spam- advertising tuffy. –  user313 Jun 11 '12 at 23:47
1  
@wdypdx22 More concisely, StackExchange tags outbound links with rel='nofollow', which tells search engines that the link should not influence the ranking of the site it points to. It came into existence specifically to prevent sites with user-generated content from being the targets of linkspammers trying to boost their sites' search rankings. –  Stephen Touset Jun 12 '12 at 15:56
1  
"My stopping power compared to the mountain bike is really really bad (esp in the rain)" - Isn't poor stopping power more likely the brakes (or rims) than the tires? I thought (I am inexperienced) that on any bike with effective brakes (no matter what the tires), you can easily skid the back wheel using the back brake, and/or throw yourself over the handlebars using the front brake. –  ChrisW Jun 12 '12 at 17:50
1  
IMO, 22mm is narrower than ideal for commuting -- 27 or so would be a better width. But it depends on your riding style and the course you follow. Also, for commuting you don't want super-thin racing tires, if for no other reason than they will wear through too fast. You do need to run a pressure commensurate with tire width, and again, the narrower tires self-deflate more rapidly than wider ones (though a lot depends on the brand of tube). It's not that 22mm is wrong, it's just not ideal for commuting. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 28 '12 at 11:16
show 6 more comments

4 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Most of your fears are unfounded or way overblown.

  • If i am going fast and i hit a small (less then 3" bump) i might get a pinch flat

Pinch flats do not occur on tires that are properly inflated.

  • I cannot not ride off a curb on to the payment and not wreck my bike

I do this on both my commuter and my racing bike. Just do it gently and not violently.

  • I cannot hop curbs

I do this at slow speeds with no problem.

  • I must check my tires after every ride for glass lodged in them and take it out with tweezers

Easier is to just not ride through glass. I've never had to pick glass out of my tires after three years of commuting by bike.

  • If these if a sizeable hole (from glass) in my tire i must use a patch kit to patch it up

Yeah. But again, you shouldn't be flatting this often. I made it 6,500mi on my last pair of tires.

  • i must always ride at 120psi per tire (i weight ~200lbs)

Ride at whatever the printed range is on the tire itself. Some road tires are fine at 85PSI. Usually this involves topping up air once every week (for 120PSI+ tires) or two to three weeks (for 85PSI tires).

  • My stopping power compared to the mountain bike is really really bad (esp in the rain)

Your front brake should be more than capable of hurtling you over the handlebars if slammed shut at speed. Braking power will be significantly impacted in the rain, however.

  • I must pay extreme attention to the road and go around bumps

Way overblown. Don't go plowing into 5-inch potholes, sure.

If you're having this many problems, you're probably treating your road bike like a mountain bike (why are you having to hop curbs so often — it's a road bike, not a sidewalk bike) and you probably have worn out and/or bargain bin tires. Get some decent tires with puncture protection and chill out a bit.

share|improve this answer
2  
yeah, chilling out a bit is what i need to do. its not easy for me to adjust to a super fast road bike after commuting on a big ass mountain bike for 2+ years - the riding styles are very different. –  mkoryak Jun 11 '12 at 17:35
    
+1 - "Most of your fears are unfounded or way overblown." –  user313 Jun 11 '12 at 21:06
    
I agree both with the question and with this answer. I've always ridden mtb and started fixie (700x23c) for less than one year. My best advice: ride, ride, ride, and you'll very quickly get used to it. The bike (surprisingly!) doesn't break, and you'll be able to gently roll over quite rough parts of the road and even the sidewalk. It's necessary to "take" the bike over them, though, with a lot of weight relieveing and balancing, everything at moderately high speed. It's a way of life! –  heltonbiker Jun 12 '12 at 12:56
add comment

For commuting I bought a bike with 700x32 wheels (following advice from Q+As on this site) and put 'Marathon Plus' tires on them. Those tires seem bullet-proof to me, and would surely take your weight well.

share|improve this answer
    
Durano Plus (700x23), from the same manufacturer, are also a very good choice. –  heltonbiker Jun 12 '12 at 13:00
    
While the OP's bicycle may not accept 700x32c tires, this is the right suggestion. There's no good reason for commuting to choose a narrow tire. I weight slightly less than you (OP), and I would not choose a 22 even for road riding. –  mpw Jul 28 '12 at 4:25
add comment

I used to ride my racing bike every day to and from work. This bike had an 11mm wide front tire and a 15mm wide back tire, and over the course of ten years I had had only one puncture.

I rode it as fast as I could, everywhere, up and down hills - but got very used to just avoiding debris in the road. Your eyes will get used to looking far ahead and your brain will learn to plan the route around bumps and potholes.

I also popped it up kerbs when I had to, but would take that a bit slower, and aim to pop the wheels up exactly the height of the kerb, so they wouldn't either hit the corner or come down from a height. Dropping down kerbs I would use my legs as shock absorbers, letting it come down gently.

The only problem I did have was the one time I missed a new pothole on my usual high speed run - my front wheel got far enough down into it that I shattered the magnesium rim and went forks first into a busy roundabout! Since then I've always had at least a 13mm front tire.

tl;dr - you'll be fine. just get used to planning where your wheels will go by looking further ahead.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for BOFHatar (and it's a good answer) –  Ward Jun 14 '12 at 1:37
add comment

Road bike tires are indeed different than what you are used to.

IF your tires are aired up right (yes likely 100+ PSI per the sidewall recommendations) you should NOT be getting pinch flats. Avoid potholes and curbs.

Yes you can hop a curb on a road bike, but but takes grace and a soft touch, and you have to pop up the back wheel a bit. you can not just pop the front and bash the back. Even with the right tire pressure you can break the rim.

Glass is a road bike tire's worst enemy. It will slice or gash a tire. Also watch out for chunks of metal and bolts. I slit open a tire 3" on a piece of metal i failed to see.

Braking power is a different thread. But good brakes will go a long way. I went years on cheap textro or low level shimanos and simply thought road bikes never stopped fast. Then i picked up some Ultegra's and wow what a difference. I now stop on a dime, just as fast if not faster than with dic brakes on my mountain bike. I have since added some shimano 105's to my commuter, and while not as good as my ultegras, they are 2x better than the stock junk. I picked up the 105 calipers used on ebay for $40. Worth a look.

share|improve this answer
    
Nice answer. I had excellent brake improvements by just replacing the pads (now using a dual-pivot road brake with all-weather mountain-bike pads, and I only have brake in front. Works great). –  heltonbiker Jun 12 '12 at 12:59
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.