Tandem Cycling - Tire Science
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02-20-10, 12:00 PM
Fairly new to BF.net, and wow what a resource of information – thank you. :D
Have read most of the info on tires. What tires do you have and why?
Currently on the bike : Panaracer Pasela 700 x 28 (factory equip) Ride is a little harsh and not wanting to deal with flats more than can be expected.
Total weight is in the 340 lb range. Our riding is touring, longer distance, mostly road some trail. Accumulated a few hundred miles last fall when the bike was new, but anxious to put on some more serious mileage this season - racing or speed not priority. (Bike is a Burley Tosa)
What makes sense size and brand – not afraid to spend a little cash for good tires. Or, are these ok?
02-20-10, 01:57 PM
A good big tire will actually roll easier than a narrow tire, especially on a tandem. Bicycle Quarterly tested a bunch of tires and found the 35mm Pasellas were one of the best for rolling resistance and, you don't need a lot of pressure to roll well with a tire that large.
The 35s are a bit hard to find but the Panaracer T-Serve is readily available in 35mm.
The 37mm Pasellas would be my 1st choice for 700s on a tandem if I knew where to find them. Given some of the lovely limestone roads in your area I would definitely go as fat as possible.
Oops, just found some 37s
BTW We run 50mm Schwalbe Big Apples on our 26" tandems, great tire if you have room.
02-21-10, 04:50 PM
We do road riding only.
Have run all sorts of tires/brands in our 35 years of tandeming.
Our current favorites for the last 5 years-or-so are the Maxxis Refuse 700 x 25. They have an Aramid (Kevlar) layer to protect against debris/thorns, 120 psi, are foldable and get good mileage. The best mileage we've gotten on our tandem's Refuse rear tire was an exceptional 2,955 miles.
We are a rather light duo: pilot 135, stoker 112.
Tire selections are great and eventually you'll find some that suit your purpose.
This one works just great for us.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem.
02-21-10, 11:12 PM
What tires do you have and why?
Vredestein Fortezza 700x23 & 700x25 for a 280 lb team riding on very good, smooth asphalt roads in the Southeast US. Exceptional handling and road feel for aggressive cornering at higher speeds and very low rolling resistance at their recommended 135-145psi ratings. It makes for harsh ride vs. larger volume tires, but having grown up on high psi road racing tires that's just what feels best to me/us. We run similar tires on our single bikes.
Panaracer Pasela 700 x 28 (factory equip) Ride is a little harsh and not wanting to deal with flats more than can be expected.
The Pasela is a great touring and high-mileage tire, but that typically means the tire uses a heavier, harder tire compound. What you gain in mileage and durability comes at the loss of cornering grip and road feel. This is typical for most high mileage tires. Schwalbe makes some tires that cover the middle ground by offering good performance and longer life / better durability and Continental's Ultra Gatorskins are also a popular tire. I'm partial to folding tires vs. wire beaded tires so my on-road experience with anything other than folding tires is about 50 miles.... the amount of time it took for me to replace the stock tires on our first tandem back in the 90's.
A good big tire will actually roll easier than a narrow tire, especially on a tandem.
Hmmmm. I'd take all of that with a grain of salt. Jan & Mark's testing was interesting, but there's just too many variables to broadly assume that a larger volume wide tire will uniformly out perform a narrow high pressure tire.
I'll have to go back and re-read the VBQ article to remind myself of which tire they selected to represent the narrow tires in their roll-down tests, but it suffices to say that the variability in rolling resistance across even tires of the same size is HUGE. I posted some rolling resistance numbers and graphs here not too long ago that are worth taking a look at, noting that the data the graphs are based on was compiled by Jobst Brandt.
Moreover, as you alluded to, your local riding & road conditions also factor into tire choice. Clearly, if you have chip-seal or rough roads, larger volume tires are the better choice and will yield lower rolling resistance. However, if you have smooth asphalt roads a narrow high-pressure tire will typically have lower rolling resistance. Where narrow tires become sub-par is when they aren't run at the higher pressures for any one of a number of reasons, at which point you're typically better off going with a larger volume tire. That's why we have both 23mm and 25mm tires on hand for our tandems and will even throw a 28 on the rear if we head somewhere like Texas or certain places in Alabama where chip-seal is the norm.
02-22-10, 10:45 AM
++ on TG. Our experience also.
We bought our tandem used a few years ago. It's previous owners were in Texas. It had about 2000 miles on it, and came with what were probably original tires: Gatorskins. The rear tire was worn to a rectangular profile, probably not too far from the cord. It didn't have a scratch on it. Nary a cut. What does that mean? Hard rubber. What's the tradeoff? Traction. A very experienced buddy of mine had a serious accident on wet Gatorskins this winter. And they rode like bricks, totally unlike the lively (and fairly easily cut) Tricomps we run now. So there are tradeoffs to everything. It's just good to know what they are.
I've heard that Paselas aren't that great in the wet but fine in the dry. Schwalbe Marathon Plus are very common on tandems.
02-22-10, 12:50 PM
I like the 28 mm Gatorskins on the tandem, and have had good luck with Conti tires in general. We run the gators at 120 psi, on a Santana Visa, and they give me a pretty smooth ride. I don't think that they wear as long as some others, however. They will not be any softer riding than the Paselas at the same pressure. If you want soft, the wider tires are the ticket, but before you spend money, make sure that your frame will accomidate them.
02-23-10, 06:17 AM
Decision made, tires on order - and again thanks for the thoughts and input. Ordered Continental Sport Contact 700CX32mm from Precision Tandem. Ready to go. That is, as soon as the 2 feet of show is gone!
03-01-10, 05:38 PM
Our Maxxis tire use update:
Just replaced Maxxis ReFuse 700x25 rear tire on our Zona tandem this week after 2,035 miles.
Put on another ReFuse.
Tire was just about down to the casing. Had 3 cuts that stopped at the Aramid layer. Very pleased with the mileage/performance.
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