Everyone I spoke to about it told me that changing my tyres would make a huge difference to the efficiency of my bike. It made sense, but how could I be sure until I tried it for myself?

And so when I rode to work this morning on my transformed bike I was interested to see just how it felt. Okay, so it’s not exactly a representative training ride, as I was only on the road for seven and a half minutes, but boy what a difference. It just feels so much better:  smoother, swifter, swooshier. (Swooshier? Is that a word?) I notched up an average speed of 14.2 mph without really putting any effort at all. Now that may not be my best average, but the difference in feel is well worth it even if I find that it doesn’t translate to an increased speed.  Seriously, if you have a mountain bike but only ever ride it on the road, you’ll do yourself a huge favour by ditching the knobbly tyres.

I’m also feeling pretty chuffed that I did all the work myself. I fitted a pair of Continental City Contact tyres:

And a set of mudguards. Not just silly clip-on mountain bike jobs, either, but a proper set of full mudguards. These ones, to be precise:


And managed to adjust my gears so they’re not slipping like they were before, which feels like a real achievement for me. I’m not expecially mechanically minded, and I don’t like getting my hands greasy, but the thought of paying someone else to do this work was just a bit too much and so I pulled my sleeves up, got my hands greasy, and jolly well did it myself.

And I must mention Chain Reaction Cycles, the site where I bought the tryes and mudguards, whose service was second to none, prices excellent, and free delivery. Top marks.


7 thoughts on “Whoooooooooooosh…!

  1. Filippo Negroni

    I did the same thing last year and I agree, the difference is there. None the less, I think to explore the difference even more I would need to change my MTB-oriented cassette to a more road-oriented one, with closer ratios.
    I fitted the exact same tyres and mudguards as you have.
    Another great improvement has recently been replacing some Specilized lock-on XC grips (light, thin and round) with some beefier Ergon GC2 grips, which come with stubby bar-ends.
    The idea of fitting bar ends came after a couple of days when, by grabbing the end of the bar (palms facing inwards, not downwards), and tucking my elbows in, I was able to hold a much more aerodynamic posture for a couple of hours, and increase my best average commuting speed from 19.0 to 20.5 mph. Consistently.
    The Ergon’s stubby bar-ends are great because they are small enough not to be in the way, but just enough to grab onto with thumb and middle finger.
    The grips themselves are also excellent: a wider platforms relieves the pressure a great deal when holding the bar palms facing down, and don’t let the wrist rotate downward on long rides.
    Thoroughly recommended.

  2. Trevor Post author

    Not seen those grips with knobbly ends. Look interesting. But I do have bar-ends:

    Nearly home.

    And would certainly put them on any new bike that I get.

    1. Trevor Post author

      Thanks. They’ve certainly worked so far, but I didn’t choose them on a specific recommendation. It’s just that Chain Reaction had them half price when I was searching. ;o)

      1. Calanish

        Infortunatly they are no longer manufactured.

        Does any one have a suggestion for an alternate tyre?



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