Cycling in Sydney Australia
After being a fair weather commuter for years I've decided to harden up & ride everyday regardless of the weather. However my road bike and its skinny tyres are pretty dodgy in the wet. Any recommendations for the best tyre widths and treads on wet Sydney roads (not just for a road bike)?
There are a few threads already on wet weather tyres. eg here.
In the wet you need good grip (tyres at least 35mm wide), puncture resistance (more glass around, so go for a kevlar inclusion), and better visibility (reflective sidewalls). Continental, Schwalbe, Maxxis, and a couple of others all make suitable tyres. And don't forget you'll need mudguards! This is probably a case for N+1 (get yourself a hybid wet weather bike).
Get the fattest slick tyres you can afford. Bikes don't aquaplane, so tread is irrelevant.
I've just worn through a set of Vittoria Hyper Randos, they were awesome for a good few thousand ks of shitty sydney roads. Very few flats, very good wet grip.
I'm now on some 700x35c Schwalbe Kojaks, which as the name implies are as bald as a badger. No tread. Slick. Wet grip is outstanding, no punctures yet in the first couple weeks I've been using them. Also very fast in the dry.
FWIW, I ride from NW Sydney to the CBD via the m4 and all the crappy roads in between.
Bikes don't aquaplane,
I loved that thread, ah there it is, complete with a table of calculations.
Schwalbe Kojaks, which as the name implies are as bald as a badger
Nonsense. The name implies no such thing. What it really implies is that they are as bald as Telly Savalas. ;-)
Anyway, while you may feel safer with wider tyres in the wet, the extra grip is really minuscule.
What is most important in the wet is riding to the conditions -- conditions where you have much less adhesion between your tyres and the road. Slow down, be particularly careful on off-camber bends, lean the bike less and turn the handlebars more instead (easier when you have slowed down), beware of oil patches, keep pulling rim brakes on intermittently to wipe water off the rims, and brake earlier and more gently to avoid lock-ups and skids.
Other good tips in that thread:
Magic, thanks very much for your responses.
I cant say I have had any problems in the wet on 23 tyres except on the notorious Kent St underpass but I have always had a healthy respect for paint and reflectors in the wet so I am good at avoiding them or slowing right down if I am turning over paint. I dont think you need big tyres.
Interesting comments about slicks being better in the wet. I've only really ridden a bicycle on the road for the past year or so, but all my previous 2 wheel tarmac based experience (which is of the powered variety) tells me that tread is definately a good thing in the wet compared to slicks.
I understand the 'bikes don't aquaplane because they don't go fast enough' arguement - but how about cornering? A treadded(?) tyre is definately preferable for cornering when riding a motorbike in the rain - why is that not the case with a bicycle?
IANAS (I am not a scientist) but my feeling is that tread = less rubber in contact with road surface. Bicycles have very small contact patch. Less rubber even than very small amount can't be good.
I've ridden with slicks and knobblies on the same bike, on the same route, in torrential rain, as shown below. The knobblies had much more grip, I can easily spin the rear wheel with slicks and they lose traction on paint and when braking - when I first changed to them I nearly lost the front a few times. But the knobblies are much wider and run at much lower pressures, they are tubeless and designed for off road trails, cornering on them on tarmac at high speed is terrible, and they are also much slower. I currently have 35C Marathon Supremes and they aren't too bad, but they don't grip too well on very slick surfaces. It seems that tyre pressure has a big impact on grip.
Tyre grip is a function of many things including composition, shape and air pressure. A "soft" knobby" with a round profile and at a lower road conforming pressure may indeed have more grip than a "hard" slick with a squarer shape and pumped to a less road conforming high pressure. Until you control all of the variables you are unable to reaonably say that knobbies have better grip than slicks. Having ridden many tyres on bicycles and motor bikes, I may I suggest you are mistaken in this observation.
wozzer, you big galoot, take a big spoonful of concrete and harden up.
Get off the bleedin' Internet and out on your bike...just don't fall off.