You know what makes tires fast? Smaller knobs and a tighter tread pattern. My intuition tells me so. That is why when I raced the Tour Divide, and almost every other mountain bike race, I used Kenda Small Block 8s. There are mountain bike style knobs on them, they are close together, they really don’t make much noise on the road, so they have to be the best.
I was wrong. (If you tell anyone this, I will be ruined). I was doing research for the new tires that I will be running on this years inaugural American Trail Race and I come across http://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/. This website rates all types of tires from road to touring to mountain bike to fat bikes. If you want to read about how they test tires check out this link http://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/the-test.
The Small Blocks have a rolling resistance of 35.6 watts per tire at 25 PSI. With an average cyclist being able to put out around 200 watts for an all day effort, you are chewing up 35% of your power just in tire drag.
In come the Continental Race King RaceSports. At 25 PSI they have a rolling resistance of 22.4. That drops power loss in tire drag down to 22.5%, a huge energy saving just in tires.
So there is some food for thought the next time you are considering new tires.
Spend some dollars today, save some time tomorrow, and get some free speed out of the deal while you’re at it.