Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Bikes: '08 Surly Cross-Check, 2011 Redline Conquest Pro, 2012 Spesh FSR Comp EVO, 2015 Trek Domane 6.2 disc
There are benefits and drawbacks to high TPI tires, depending on construction.
High TPI means a more flexible casing. To get a higher TPI count, they use thinner and thinner cotton thread. For very expensive tubular racing tires, they even use silk casing for maximum strength and highest thread count while maintaining a very flexible casing at light weight.
However... Thinner thread is easier to cut. A light racing tire with a thin outer tread composition will more easily flat out than a lower TPI tire with a similar outer construction because the casing is more durable. While more durable, it is also less flexible. This means that the tire cannot as easily mold to every nook and cranny in the road surface and the ride will feel harsher.
I prefer a compromise of weight, TPI and tread compound/design for maximizing comfort on my rides without sacrificing durability (both flat protection and overall duration of the tread before wearing out.) I found the Conti Gatorskin to be a reasonable mix of these 3 for a while, at least with a 28mm version, offering decent cushion, excellent flat protection and reasonable wear time. Last year I had some disappointment in the rainy season with the flat protection of the Gatorskin and switched to a slightly heavier tire which I think has a better feel on the road even though it uses a thicker, patterned tread compound: The Panaracer Pasela TG. The sidewall flexibility is greater than the Conti, but the tread is heavier and sheds more road grit than the slick Gatorskins. They're a lower pressure tire for the same size (28mm in each are 115psi max and 105psi max) but don't feel like they're sacrificing ride speed for comfort.
This is just one comparison; the only one I can make from experience. Keep asking around, try out different tires for yourself at different inflation pressures, and see what ends up being your favourite. Tires are a little bit like saddles... I'm sure there's people out there who have vastly different opinions from mine on the same two tires.
"I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
- Mandi M.