Bicycle Mechanics - Folding tires vs non folding: any practical difference?
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01-12-06, 09:19 PM
Noob here needing some new tires. I'm seeing ads for folding and non-folding versions of the same tire. Is there any real difference between the two once they're on the rim?
01-12-06, 09:22 PM
Folding tires generally have kevlar beads (bead is the part on the inside of the tire, that keeps tire from stretching and keeps it seated against the rim without popping off). These can be folded, if you want to keep an extra tire in your seatpack or something.
Practically, on the bike, I think kevlar bead can be slightly lighter, and can also be more difficult to get the tire onto the rim (wire beads stretch a touch more than Kevlar), but on the whole there aren't big meaningful practical differences.
Note that this is different than Kevlar-belted tires, where kevlar is woven into the caseing under the tread, to improve puncture resistance.
01-12-06, 09:33 PM
The folding tires I have seen also seem to have lighter treads to achieve the foldability. The significantly reduced weight makes for much lighter steering.
01-12-06, 09:34 PM
Folding beads give no benefits except a lower weight and a lighter wallet.
Wire beads work fine for me, cuz I don't race. Some say folding bead tires are easier to mount, some say wire are easier to mount. I don't really think one is drastically different than the other.
Look for kevlar or other material belted tires, which will reduce flats.
I honestly prefer wire bead myself.Im not concerned about weight.Wire beads are easier to mount and take off as stated earlier,plus they are cheeper and yes I agree I think the overall construction is heavier.For me that's also a plus
Lower weight and easier to carry a spare, if needed.
01-12-06, 10:07 PM
I ride with wire-beaded tires (usually kevlar-belted) but carry a spare foldable kevlar-beaded tire on long rides.
01-13-06, 05:28 AM
Is there any real difference between the two once they're on the rim?
None that I've ever noticed. As everyone has said, there are differences before they are on the rim--cost, weight. But, fwiw, regardless of the brand name, I've never found much difference in mounting tires: some combinations of rim and tire are tight, others are easy, whether the bead was wire or kevlar.
I like timcupery's approach of riding wire-beaded tires and carrying a spare foldable tire on long rides. I don't carry a spare, but if you like to ride tires, wire or kevlar, until they are worn to the cords, carrying a spare, especially when you know a tire is getting close to retirement, strikes me as a good idea.
01-13-06, 05:32 AM
Folding bead much easier to mount IMHO. Yes, they are a tad lighter, but that doesn't matter to most, even amateur racers. Most top end rubber is folding so if you are stuck on wire beaded tires your selection may be narrowed down some.it
01-13-06, 08:57 AM
Wire beads are easier to mount and take off
Not in my experiences.
There is an intersting article in the new mountain bike mag about tire weight and size vs. performance.
01-13-06, 09:51 AM
I don't think there is an ansewer for the which one is easier to mount question. I have had both folding and wires that were nearly impossible to get off and on. It totaly depends on the tire.
01-13-06, 10:12 AM
Not all companies are the same, some will make the same tire in both wire and foldable but they wont have the same TPI(threads per inch) count... I saw that on a TV show where they were showing how they built Hutchinson tires and they explained that... the counts were significantly less for the wire version of the same tire.. not all do this tho, it varies from maker to maker so compare the TPI counts before assuming the same..
01-13-06, 11:01 AM
Wire bead tires are a pain to store. For my folding [i]bike[/b] (heh) I have some hot folding Stelvio tires and some wire bead Marathons. The folding tires are easy to put away when not on the wheels, the wire bead tires are a bit of a nuisance. Other than that, IME, there's not practical difference for most us.
01-14-06, 12:01 AM
Well I picked up some folding Mondo Pro's so I guess I'm gonna find out for myself. Thanks for the input guys!
Something worth noting - you can make a cheap wire bead tire, but I have you to see a cheap Kevlar bead tire.
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