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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Tire Size and Tread

My wife and I just recently bought 2 mountain bikes and plan on riding the trail from Clinton to Windsor to start off with. The 2 bikes came with 26 X 1.95 knobby tires and I was wondering if any of you veterans of the trail out there could tell me if these are good tires for the trail or should I look at getting another kind of tire? And if so is there a bike shop in Clinton that would have those tires? Thank you all for your help.
posted May 4 2006 1:41PM - Ready To Go, Collins

Ready - what you have now will do in these initial stages of bicycle riding. As you both increase your distances and experience you may well then consider different tires, but for now those tires will serve you well. Enjoy the voyage......Mark of the Dalton Boys
posted May 5 2006 8:59AM - Mark of the Dalton Boys, Austin, TX/Columbia, MO.

Agree with above. Just get out there and enjoy. Regardless of tire choice, be certain someone in your group carries an extra tube or 2, the proper tools and pump and knows how to change a tube in the field. If you desire to get more information on specific tires for rail-trail use, I can email you an article I wrote that is too large to post in this forum. Mind you, I am just an amateur and am not in the bicycle business.
posted May 5 2006 11:44AM - MLH, Overland Park

ready, what both the above said. have fun and happy bikin.
posted May 5 2006 8:14PM - frank, festus, mo

We can (and have) argued all day whether to ride roadie, baldy, or knobby tires. That is all a matter of personal choice based upon riding style and experience. There are two things we all agree on:
1) You must carry a patch kit, spare tubes, and tire tools.
2) You must know how to use the items listed in number 1.
I'd like an Amen from everyone on what I consider a third thing we should all agree on.
3) Your tires should have a Kevlar belt. The weight penalty is neglibile for riding on the KATY trail. It won't save you from all flats, but if only saves you from a fraction of the flats, it's work it.
Do I hear an "Amen"?
posted May 6 2006 9:22AM - Nails

nails, thats an AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted May 6 2006 1:25PM - frank, festus, mo

I neglected to suggest those things, and...."AMEN"!
posted May 8 2006 1:25PM - Mark of the Dalton Boys, Austin, TX/Columbia, MO.

I have used a lot of tires on the KATY.
Perhaps the best were the Continetal Touring 2000's and the Maxxis hookworms.
posted May 8 2006 2:08PM - ranj niere, kansas city

Thanks for all the advice all. The reason I was curious is the fact the trail being mostly crushed stone and I was figuring the knobby tires would cause drag and slow one down somewhat. I thought maybe a smoother tire would create less drag on the stones. The Kevlar belt is good advice and surely will be on my next tire purchases. I also have seen inner tubes available now with a gel insert, anyone have a comment on these good or bad? Thanks all.
posted May 8 2006 4:14PM - Ready To Go, Collins

i have not heard any good luck fron any gel filled tubes i thinh the best thing is to have 1 or two extra tubes and also a patch kit and for the comment on the kevlar tire it does not really help save any flats and actually weighs more than a steel belt tire the real advantage of the kevlar side wall is it is a foldable tire so you can take it with you on long rides for a spare good luck with the ride
posted May 8 2006 7:29PM - ken, missouri

Thank you for that very humorous post Ken.

AMEN Nails!!!!
posted May 8 2006 8:55PM - MLH, Overland Park KS

Thanks Ken for a factual straight forward answer. MLH I did not post for humor but some factual help and answers wanting to be as best prepared beforehand on the trail.
posted May 8 2006 9:07PM - Ready To Go, Collins


MLH indicated that Ken's post was the humorous one, not yours. I believe that the "steel belt" was what he found humorous as there is no bicyle tire I know of that has one.

I have real world evidence based upon hundreds of miles of riding on the KATY trail that Kevlar belts significantly reduces (not eliminate) flats. I grant you that nothing, not even Kevlar, will stop Nails.

posted May 8 2006 10:37PM - Anonymous

I just can't figure out where you all ride that you need to "Amen!!!" flat resistant tires.....I've yet to have a flat on the Katy....I've yet to see glass, thorns, whatever, on the trail that made me think I needed special tires or tube gunk to prevent a puncture. Yes...I always carry a spare tube, patch kit, pump, etc....and I know how to use those items....I also watch where I'm going. I'll spend my tire money on gas getting to the trail. If I were the original poster, I'd be thinkin that I needed to go buy new tires, when what they have will work fine!

Enjoy the ride....you are in fact......"Ready To Go!"
posted May 8 2006 10:52PM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

Clarifications: Nails was referring to a kevlar belt, that is, a belt under the tread just like a steel belt found therein on auto and motorcycle tires. Even if there was such thing as a steel-belted bicycle tire (meaning commonly available), it would be MUCH heavier that a kevlar-belted one and the rolling resistance would be atrocious.

Also, I think Ken was trying to refer to a kevlar-BEADED folding tire (as opposed to steel-beaded, you know, the latter are the ones that hold their shape when you hang it on the wall), not a kevlar sidewall or belt. When a tire is made in both steel and kevlar-beaded versions, the latter is foldable and always lighter.

A kevlar or kevlar-like sidewall overlay is used on some MTB and Trekking tires to diminish pinch flats and sidewall blowouts. The amount of weight added is very little and it does not influence foldability. It's the bead that determines the latter.

Choosing a kevlar vs steel bead boils down to availabilty, price (kevlar costs a little more), weight (kevlar less) and packability (serious tourers like to pack extra tires, hence folding kevlar, not just tubes).

So full circle: A kevlar-BELTED tire is highly recommended for serious/consistent rail trail riders, especially for longer rides.

Just my 0.02, no disrespect intended and I just successfully cured my own insomnia.
posted May 8 2006 10:56PM - MLH, Overland Park KS

Earlier in this discussion, MLH offered an article he had written on the subject of tire selection for the Katy Trail. He has graciously given permission to publish his informative article here on the website: Katy Trail Tire Selection
posted May 9 2006 6:38AM - Ray (Webmaster)

I agree that non-Kevlar belted tires will work just fine. However, just like a seat belt, Kevlar belts provide additional protection. I don't know how many miles you've ridden on the KATY, I've probably got 1000. The three flats that I recall were all on non-Kevlar belted tires. One in particular was from a pyrimidal shaped rock that was about 1/8" on a side. A Kevlar belt would have saved me from that flat.
posted May 9 2006 7:38AM - Nails

Some of the links in the article that Ray referenced above have been changed. I will try to update this ASAP.
posted May 9 2006 10:17AM - MLH, Overland Park

Just rode KC Airport to Boonville on roads, then Boonville to St. Charles on the trail, on a Bike Friday with 20" 115# Schwalbe City Marathons on the bike and 12" 35# tires on the little suitcase trailer. (I'm not sure what benefit I get from high-pressure bike tires while shlepping along the trailer on low-pressure ones, but I seem to have made the same 8-12 mph as everyone else...) NO flats, didn't even need to add air to any of the tires. When it was wet on the trail, I dropped to 7 sticky mph now & then and was sorely tempted to ride a few road miles alongside the trail, just for a break from the unrelenting friction.
posted May 14 2006 10:46AM - sharron sussman, Julian California

As every one else has said, go with what works for you. Personally, I like the big knobby tires. At low speeds on pavement or concrete they cause a little vibration, but they smooth out at speed. When I'm on or off road, I like the traction they give me. Back when I had a road bike with those little skinny tires, I had it slide out from under me in a high speed corner once. The pavement was a little wet, I was going a little too fast, and I got to feel, see and taste the local plant life as I slid off the road and down through the ditch. I've never had that happen on my mt. bike. And now that I'm almost 50 years old, I don't really know whats happened but the dirt and rocks and such seem to be much, much harder than they were when I was 20. Hurts a heck of a lot worse when I hit them than it used to. Since I'm in exactly as good a shape now as I was then (HAR!!) it must be that the rocks have changed! As for the supposed drag the knobbies cause, well, I ain't tryin' to set no speed records anyway. Gives me time to smell the wild roses.

Get out and ride, have a good time, take some good pictures. Make this something that's so much fun you and your wife just can't wait to get out there and go again.
posted May 18 2006 11:11PM - bryan, Springdale, AR

Talk to your bike guru -- he or she will have the best advice for you and your riding style. By the way, our small group (4) just finished the trail (Clinton to St. Charles)and we had 2 flats -- one was a VERY small thorn, the other was a small piece of glass.....we will all change to tougher tires before or next trail trip.......
posted May 23 2006 8:22PM - Chuck, Grain Valley

Tags: Windsor, Clinton, St Charles, Boonville, Kansas City, Animals and Plants, Bikes and gear, Tires Modify Tags

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