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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-05-06, 04:04 PM   #1
tsl
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Specialized Armadillo or Bontrager Hardcase?

After 3 months and just under 1,000 miles, the factory tires (Kenda 700x38) on my Giant Cypress DX developed bulges--in both the sidewall and the tread. You can see the tread shift side-to-side in those areas, and they started vibrating something fierce today. Definately something messed up with them.

The LBS where I bought the bike offered to replace the tires under warranty with another model from the same brand. That's cool, but I don't trust the brand, and the only ones they have in stock are even uglier than the already ones on it. So, I'll buy new tires.

Where I bought it, the guy recommends Specialized Armadillo for its puncture resistance and durability, which are both important to me. At another LBS, they carry Bontrager and recommend the Hardcase for the same reason. Same size (700x32) and price at both places. I'm going for somewhat narrower in hope of reduced rolling resistance. There is a difference in max PSI rating, 100 for the Armadillos and 80 for the Hardcase. I run the current tires at their max of 85.

I ride nearly 100% on the street (many potholes and more glass than Corning). I'm concerned with grip in the wet, since I don't have a choice whether or not to ride in the rain--I have to. I know that on car tires, high-mileage rating usually means no grip in the wet. Winter isn't an issue because I'll run proper winter tires then.

Can anyone with experience with either (or preferably both) of these recommend one or the other? Or is the difference not worth worrrying about? Or should I be considering something else? (All I can afford right now is about $25-$30 per tire.)
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Old 07-05-06, 04:11 PM   #2
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i didn't like hardcase (seemed squirelly in the rain). have liked these better. conti 4-seasons.
http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...2640&c=1735844
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Old 07-05-06, 05:19 PM   #3
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Sheldon makes me laugh everytime I visit his site. This should answer most of the questions http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html
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Old 07-05-06, 06:19 PM   #4
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My personal preference is the Armadillo, never tried the hardcase but I have never needed to change a flat since I got my Armadillo's.......
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Old 07-05-06, 07:40 PM   #5
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My personal preference is the Hardcase, never tried the Armadillos, but I've only had 1 flat with the Hardcases (and that was when an industrial strength staple went perpendicularly through the tire -- rear of course -- causing 2 holes).
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Old 07-05-06, 08:24 PM   #6
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Almost 600 miles on my Hardcase w/o a problem. Still have miles left (I'm a rather large man) but am starting to look at replacements as I want to have them "in house" when the time comes.
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Old 07-05-06, 08:32 PM   #7
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armadillos... by far the best tire ever. i am a HEAVY rider at 260, and i have over 2,000 miles on mine with only one SLOW (overnight) flat.

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Old 07-05-06, 09:56 PM   #8
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I work at a shop that sells Trek/Bontrager and Specialized. I'd go with the Armadillo between the two tires you mention.
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Old 07-05-06, 10:52 PM   #9
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there is also the conti gator skins...
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Old 07-06-06, 12:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgchambers
My personal preference is the Armadillo, never tried the hardcase but I have never needed to change a flat since I got my Armadillo's.......
And a good thing too, cause they were a B!TCH to get on the rim.

But so far I have been happy with them. VERY tough. I rode in though some downpours today and the tires felt grippy enough for me to feel safe.

-D
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Old 07-10-06, 07:37 PM   #11
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Of course, I would shoot off on the forums about the Hardcases, then...of course....flat today. Unlike most flats for me that were from tacks, staples, and the like, I didn't find what caused it. They were easy to get off and on (but I'd rather do without the flat in the first place). Hope everyones' tubes stay up.
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Old 07-10-06, 08:00 PM   #12
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9,000 km on my last set of armadillos. 1 flat and that was a nail that would of flattened anything.
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Old 07-10-06, 08:32 PM   #13
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I'm riding on 700x28c Armadillo All Conditions. I ride through stupid amounts of glass every day with my bike (the joy of living in a college apartment complex, beer bottles everywhere) and haven't had a flat in the 150 or so miles I have on them so far.

I did take a fall when riding in the rain but I do not think it was the tires, so much as the fact that my pavement in that area is so slick that I did not even get any road rash from the fall (just slid across it, no scrapes, it was freaky). Under certain conditions there is just nothing to do but ride slower and corner more carefully.

No experience with the hardcases, can't help you there.
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Old 07-11-06, 07:55 AM   #14
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I can understand why this would turn you off of Kenda tires, but you shouldn't let it. I'm running Kenda Kross Plus tires on my winter/rain bike and Kenda Kwest tires on my every day commuter and have been for years. I guess you got a bad batch. But I'll agree with you on one thing, some of them are pretty ugly.
If I were to get a new set of tires I'd opt for the Armidillos though, they seem pretty nice.
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Old 07-11-06, 09:02 AM   #15
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Thanks all!

I went with the Armadillos at the LBS where I bought the bike.

I was shocked when I paid the bill. $10 plus tax--for the installation only! They warranteed the old tires even though the 90-day warranty had expired the week before, I went with a much more expensive tire, from another brand, and changed from 700x38 to 700x32. I even asked them, "Are you sure? That goes beyond even 'above and beyond'." The owner told me, "Yeah, no problem. I'll take it up with the Giant rep."

Holy cats! Mad props for Towner's Bike Shop in Rochester, NY!

BTW, except for a little buzz through the bars from the tread pattern--and then, only on very smooth surfaces--I've noticed no change in ride, and handling seems much improved. Haven't been out in the wet yet. Maybe today or tomorrow.
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Old 07-11-06, 09:24 AM   #16
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Hardcase tires suggest on that the psi should be 110. I have hardcase on my commuter no flats yet. They ride really good. I have armadillos on a Nishiki race bike. Never a flat on the dillos. Seem to be a more rain-worthy tread on the dillos but higher rolling resistance. If your commuter has drops i recommend dillos in the standard 10 speed narrower profile, if you have a flat bar commuter I recommend hardcase in 700x32. You cant go wrong with either though.
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