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Urban Hill Slayer

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1/20/2020 9:35 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/21/2020 6:31 PM

Hello from Siam!

Being a hybrid, in this case a peculiar cross between an Urban Street MTB, FGFS, and BMX Cruiser, I hope that my Fully Rigid Single-Speed Urban Assault Bike proves welcome here.

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This bike is used daily on paved streets that are rough and dirty with short hill climbs (up to a maximum of 85 meters in elevation) and occasionally across a short light dirt path. As I particularly do so enjoy the burning sensation of single-speed hill climbs they are my usual haunt.

Currently, I am in deep contemplation regarding which tires I will upgrade to. I am looking to size up to a 2.3" to 2.5" in the front and 2.3" in the rear (that is about as wide as I can go back there). Priorities are bomb-proof durability against curbs and potholes; grip especially on dusty shoulders and slightly sandy corners; and comfort battling rough pavement, speed bumps, and large cracks before speed and/or weight which I could care less about.

A few of the contenders, the typical norm, are:

Kenda K-RAD
Maxxis DTH
Maxxis Hookworm
Maxxis Holy Roller
Schwalbe Thunder Burt

Either running them as a same pair or possibly in one of the following combinations:

Rear: Maxxis DTH or Maxxis Holy Roller
Front: Kenda K-RAD, Kenda Hookworm, or Schwalbe Thunder Burt


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1/21/2020 4:13 PM

As you go up on tire size make sure your match your tires to your rims, if that was mine I’d probably be buying a pair of Maxxis DTH tires

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1/21/2020 4:40 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/21/2020 4:41 PM

Sweet bike! I commute all the time on my singlespeed dirt jump bike with Maxxis DTH tires, and I've gotten a lot of flats. It's a really thin tire with no flat protection. I'd consider running a more robust, thicker, heavier tire, like a K-Rad or even a Hookworm. If you do go with the DTH maybe something like a Mr. Tuffy tire liner.

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1/21/2020 6:18 PM

As a forum mod I expected a worse reaction to this post. Thank you folks for not being dicks. The world is looking up.

Back in the day living in Santa Cruz, I had a similar yet very different bike. I got a Santa Cruz made Bontrager 24" BMX frame and built it up with a single crown DHO with a disk brake, 5" cruiser bars, profile cranks and two grind pegs. It was my short commute and dirt jumper slash skate park ride for a while.

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1/21/2020 9:02 PM

TEAMROBOT wrote:

Sweet bike! I commute all the time on my singlespeed dirt jump bike with Maxxis DTH tires, and I've gotten a lot of flats. It's a really thin tire with no flat protection. I'd consider running a more robust, thicker, heavier tire, like a K-Rad or even a Hookworm. If you do go with the DTH maybe something like a Mr. Tuffy tire liner.

Great recommendation; I'll surely look into those Tuffy liners. Many thanks!

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1/21/2020 9:04 PM

Big Bird wrote:

As a forum mod I expected a worse reaction to this post. Thank you folks for not being dicks. The world is looking up.

Back in the day living in Santa Cruz, I had a similar yet very different bike. I got a Santa Cruz made Bontrager 24" BMX frame and built it up with a single crown DHO with a disk brake, 5" cruiser bars, profile cranks and two grind pegs. It was my short commute and dirt jumper slash skate park ride for a while.

What tires did you run on that dirt jump commuter of yours?

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1/21/2020 9:23 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/21/2020 9:24 PM

Ricochet wrote:

What tires did you run on that dirt jump commuter of yours?

That was back in the 90's when the only 24" options were either BMX tires like the Comp 3, or huge Gazzilodi tires.

That frame sat on the wall for a decade or so until one day I got the idea to turn it into a gravity bike, Now it has knee pads where the BB is, foot pegs at the rear axle, and upside down BMX bars mounted atop a set of DHO's with a disk brake leading the way.. And the same old Comp 3's.

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1/21/2020 9:39 PM

Big Bird wrote:

That was back in the 90's when the only 24" options were either BMX tires like the Comp 3, or huge Gazzilodi tires.

That frame sat on the wall for a decade or so until one day I got the idea to turn it into a gravity bike, Now it has knee pads where the BB is, foot pegs at the rear axle, and upside down BMX bars mounted atop a set of DHO's with a disk brake leading the way.. And the same old Comp 3's.

A real blast from the past there! I remember my cousin having either Mitsuboshi or Tioga Competitions (I can't recall which model but I think they were Comp IIIs... sorry the ole gray matter is failing me) on his Hutch Star Pro racing BMX back in '83-'85. Great tire!

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1/22/2020 9:10 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/22/2020 9:13 AM

I commuted on a dirt jumper for like 3 years in college. Started on K-rads. They are okay, but that's the best I can describe them. Okay. The most durable tire I'm aware of that you mentioned is the hookworm, but they'll add some weight. They are like 2lbs each or something close to that. I hear they are great though. Just super heavy, but in turn very thick. Most of my friends who ride a good amount of street on their dirt jumpers run DTH and swear by them, but they're thin so extra protection would be nice (if you get a lot of punctures, throw some tubeless sealant in the tube. Been on one set of tubes on my hard tail for the last 3 years. Added Stan's 3 times now. Still holding strong with at least 15 known thorn punctures).

Vee tire co does a tire called the speedster. It only comes in 2.1 (maybe 2.3 but they only had 2.1 when I ordered?) But regardless of size it would work very well for you. I used to not run anything below 2.3 because I thought I needed muh big tires, but on my street bike I'm down to 2.2 up front with a 2.1 speedster in the back and it's the best tire setup I've run.

If only the micro knobby still existed in 26x2.3. Ran mine for 3 years on the back of my dj. Fav tire of all time.

Your bike looks hella fun, enjoy that thing man! Just picked up my first bmx ever (hello again micro knobby!) And I'm sold. I've been wondering about a Mtb/bmx hybrid like yours. Looks killer.

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1/22/2020 10:59 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/23/2020 1:27 AM

Moosey wrote:

I commuted on a dirt jumper for like 3 years in college. Started on K-rads. They are okay, but that's the best I can describe them. Okay. The most durable tire I'm aware of that you mentioned is the hookworm, but they'll add some weight. They are like 2lbs each or something close to that. I hear they are great though. Just super heavy, but in turn very thick. Most of my friends who ride a good amount of street on their dirt jumpers run DTH and swear by them, but they're thin so extra protection would be nice (if you get a lot of punctures, throw some tubeless sealant in the tube. Been on one set of tubes on my hard tail for the last 3 years. Added Stan's 3 times now. Still holding strong with at least 15 known thorn punctures).

Vee tire co does a tire called the speedster. It only comes in 2.1 (maybe 2.3 but they only had 2.1 when I ordered?) But regardless of size it would work very well for you. I used to not run anything below 2.3 because I thought I needed muh big tires, but on my street bike I'm down to 2.2 up front with a 2.1 speedster in the back and it's the best tire setup I've run.

If only the micro knobby still existed in 26x2.3. Ran mine for 3 years on the back of my dj. Fav tire of all time.

Your bike looks hella fun, enjoy that thing man! Just picked up my first bmx ever (hello again micro knobby!) And I'm sold. I've been wondering about a Mtb/bmx hybrid like yours. Looks killer.

Glad you mentioned the Speedster... I was mulling that one over as well but just wasn't seeing a lot of reviews on them. Definitely looks similar to the old Intense Micro-Knobby MK2? as you have mentioned. The Vee Rubber Tire Company factory is local here in Thailand so they should be readily available. I will definitely seriously consider that now for my rear if I can find a 2.0" or wider which at least would be a one inch or more increase from the current Bombtrack Helix tire on the rear which is made by Innova (~USD$10 Model No. IA-2128-02) which is a 26" x 2.0" but they run very narrow... actual width measuring only ~1.9"). The front Helix, the very same Innova model, is a 26" x 2.2" and it too runs narrow at an actual width of only ~2.15".

What 2.2" do you run on the front of your street bike?





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1/24/2020 12:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/24/2020 7:07 AM

My wife and I were in BKK last night and while waiting for friends by Siam World a pack of freestyle cyclists (older teenagers to twenty-somethings) came riding along and were putting on a grand show for everyone outside the mall. I was thoroughly impressed with their skills and noted the simplicity of most of their bikes/set-ups which ranged from the ultra-minimalist fixed, to single speeds, to geared (a few Collective C100 MTB bikes which I have never seen before). Nearly all of them were running either WTB Thick Slick or Panaracer RibMo two-inch tires and they all swore by these tires for heavy urban use in all weather and situations. One bike was using Schwalbe Kojaks but the rider said he was going back to Panaracer's shortly.

Being a very nice group of young men, including one young Thai girl who was riding (more like dancing) on an ultralight thin-tubed neon pink colored fixie, they were more than happy to oblige an old man and allowed my wife and I a number of test rides to feel the difference between the tires and bike types the group had. They were also kind enough to thoroughly demonstrate why they preferred and recommended slick tires for urban use and dirt covered city pathways and alleys.

There is a mini waterfall area built flush into the walkway so there was a lot of wet and dry surface to ride on and I was most definitely surprised how well both of these tires performed on wet granite, concrete, and brick... the transition from dry to wet and back to dry was smooth. I was actually dumbfounded. I had heard/read so many horror stories about Thick Slicks but they felt very nice... grippy and super smooth, and the fact that so many of these urban riders were riding on them either as a pair (front and rear) or mixed (with a RibMo on the front) really has given me some food for thought.

I believe I liked the feel of the 2" RibMo best so I am now seriously considering it for my rear and possibly the front (but I am leaning towards a Hookworm as they are suppose to dominate curbs and potholes like nothing else).

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2/2/2020 1:21 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/2/2020 11:04 AM

Here are my current considerations (largely based on availability):

REAR:
Panaracer RiBMo 2.0"
Maxxis Pace 2.1"
Vee Speedster TwoSix DJ 2.125"

FRONT:
Maxxis Crossmark 2.1"
Conti Race King 2.0"
Vee Speedster TwoSix DJ 2.125"


Besides running either the Maxxis Paces or Conti Race Kings straight, front and back, here are some combinations that I am mulling over:

Rear: Maxxis Pace 2.1" // Front: Maxxis Crossmark 2.1"
Rear: Vee Speedster TwoSix DJ 2.125" // Front: Conti Race King 2.0"
Rear: Panaracer RiBMo 2.0" // Front: Vee Speedster TwoSix DJ 2.125"





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2/5/2020 10:27 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/10/2020 4:49 AM

UPDATE:
Time to rethink where I am going with this build... both tire and gearing wise as I found me some even steeper slopes and DIRT!

Within 2 kilometers of my home I have discovered: a flat loose dirt and sandy trail; a small gravel path; a few steeper dirt hills (light and hard packed) with max slopes/pitches of 60-70%; and a semi-hard packed dirt track that makes a complete circle offering a pseudo-pump track experience with max slopes ranging from 15-25%.

Besides my current haunt of urban tarmac/concrete hills reaching max slopes/pitches of 25-30% I have also found a couple more steeper paved hills with short sections (5-10 meters) of slopes reaching 30-35%!


GEARING:
I am seriously considering dropping my gearing down some (nearing trial bike ratios/inches) so that I can conquer these steeper hills and mess about in the dirt. Current gearing is at: ~1.84 / ~47.8"

TIRES:
Also, after a few LBS visits I have learned that Speedsters are horribly prone to punctures here in Thailand due to the combination of road debris (glass & metal) and albeit, very small, but rather sharp pieces of limestone. So Maxxis DTH and Vee Rubber Speedsters are definitely off the list now... :-(





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2/6/2020 3:51 PM

The hookworm has always interested me but it’s too freak’n wide if there was a 2.0 or a 2.1” Hookworm I’d already have them mounted it is my opinion that the Hookworm would be the ultimate urban/park tire period if we could just have a couple more sizes

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2/6/2020 4:05 PM

And if Maxxis isn’t going to listen because of course to them 26” is dead but not for us I’ll be buying a pair of Schwalbe Kojak’s in a 26x2.0 size

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2/6/2020 6:51 PM

Pedal4life wrote:

The hookworm has always interested me but it’s too freak’n wide if there was a 2.0 or a 2.1” Hookworm I’d already have them mounted it is my opinion that the Hookworm would be the ultimate urban/park tire period if we could just have a couple more sizes

I hear ya! The Hookworm and Schwalbe's Super Moto-X, Crazy Bob, and Fat Frank are definitely at the top of my list but all of them are so wide that I only would be able to run them on the front... no idea what I would pair them with in the rear.

Maxxis Hookworm (2.5" so Front Only)
Schwalbe Super Moto-X (2.4" so Front Only)
Schwalbe Crazy Bob / Fat Frank (2.35" so Front Only)

Schwalbe Big Apple (Front & Rear)
Schwalbe Big Ben (Front & Rear)
Panaracer RiBMo (Front & Rear)

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2/6/2020 6:57 PM

Pedal4life wrote:

And if Maxxis isn’t going to listen because of course to them 26” is dead but not for us I’ll be buying a pair of Schwalbe Kojak’s in a 26x2.0 size

Kojak a very nice tire but the 26 x 2.0 is more like 1.9" in actual width and it is a very thin tire (especially on the side) and thus prone to punctures and rips here in Thailandsad The thicker and stronger WTB Thick Slick are preferred here instead but since I now have some dirt to play on I am moving away from full slicks and leaning towards a slightly wider looking balloon type tire.

I will be in Japan for a few days so planning to check out a few bicycle shops to see what is available.

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2/6/2020 7:29 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/6/2020 7:34 PM

Measure your rims inside width, ideal rim to tire sizing is the tire should be 1.5 to 2.0 the size of the rim, so the easiest way to show this is a 25mm inner rim width you’d want a tire size like this 37.5mm - 50mm(1.47"-1.96") new rims for my bike are my main focus as far as upgrade or wish list items so many great tires are choked off on 19-21mm inner width rims the 1.5-2.0 sizing came from a Maxxis engineer in a magazine article.

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2/6/2020 9:55 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/6/2020 10:05 PM

Pedal4life wrote:

Measure your rims inside width, ideal rim to tire sizing is the tire should be 1.5 to 2.0 the size of the rim, so the easiest way to show this is a 25mm inner rim width you’d want a tire size like this 37.5mm - 50mm(1.47"-1.96") new rims for my bike are my main focus as far as upgrade or wish list items so many great tires are choked off on 19-21mm inner width rims the 1.5-2.0 sizing came from a Maxxis engineer in a magazine article.

I really appreciate the feedback and conversation. I certainly do hear you on the importance of rim-tire sizing.

As I was concerned about the Hookworm even fitting my front rim, a Bombtrack FR32 Double-Walled 26" x 25mm (559 x 25c), I contacted Bombtrack in Germany directly. They said that a Hookworm would indeed fit my double-walled rim and that this tire/rim combination was actually quite popular with Freestylers there in Europe. The recommended rating for my rim model is ~33mm to ~65mm (1.3"-2.55") which means a 1.3-2.6 sizing multiplier.

Makes sense as my particular model year the rims were fitted by Bombtrack with a 2.25" wide tire on the front and 2.0" on the rear and subsequent model years the very same rims were fitted with 2.3" tires both front and back... which means a 2.286x or 2.33x sizing multiplier.

So it seems that there may be a little bit more leeway there in sizing as given by that Maxxis engineer (maybe it was a 'preferred' rating rather than 'recommended') and that it probably does vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, model to model, usage to usage, etc.

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2/24/2020 5:14 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/24/2020 5:20 AM

Well I was introduced to the Kenda SB8 while in Japan and based on the Rough Urban and Dirt Tracks I'll be riding on they seemed to be the perfect fit for me... will see, time will tell but thus far I am very pleased with them. Boy do they grip!
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On the front is a newer model 2.35" and on the rear is an older Dual Compound 2.10" which barely fit. Thank goodness I didn't order a 2.25" which I was tempted to do!

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Now onto my next upgrade... a new rear hub. Nearly decided upon a 120mm Profile Track Fixed/Free Hub with an upgraded 14mm chromoly axle and Elite 16T Freewheel.

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3/10/2020 8:03 AM

Lookie here at what came in the mail from the good ole'USA.

Profile Mini Cassette Hub with 15t Chromo Splined Driver with 120mm Track Cone Spacers.
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3/10/2020 8:16 AM

Excellent choice Sir!

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3/22/2020 2:10 AM

New Profile Mini Cassette Hub all laced up now on a Sun-Ringle MTX 33 rim.

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3/30/2020 7:54 AM

Inspected both my bottom bracket and headset today which have been in since 2013.

The headset & head/steerer tube were all in nearly pristine condition so just cleaned, re-lubed (greased), and dropped 'em right back in.

The bottom bracket was also very clean though the bearings were suspect so we took 'em out; cleaned up the bottom bracket shell; and pressed in some new bearings from Primo. We messed around with spacers/washers until we lined up the chain-line nicely as it had been off by a few mm before causing some minor occasional chain-rub noise that was driving me nuts.

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