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  1. #1
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Panaracer Ribmo review

    I've been going through one of those stretches lately where I get a lot of flats, so having about 2500 miles on my Gatorskins, I decided to bump them to a beater bike and try something new. Since nobody around here seemed to have much to say about the Panaracer Ribmos, I decided to give them a try.

    I got them about two weeks ago, and as of tonight I've put 191 miles on them.

    Let me start with a link to what Panaracer says about the Protex technology:

    http://www.panaracer.com/technology.php?sub=protex

    All the pictures I'd seen of them either made them look fuzzy like felt or shiny like the plastic Tonka truck tires are made of, so I didn't really know what to expect when I ordered them. It turns out they look and feel like standard rubber. Being folding tires, they came all rolled up. Brand spankin' new, they smell a good bit like new car tires (which is a smell I happen to love).

    The tire isn't quite round. I've heard it described as parabola-shaped, but I don't think that's quite right. It's almost pointed. Here's a view from above:



    As dumb as the "acronym" is, I like the way it looks. Here's a side view:



    I had heard that they're hard to mount, and they definitely lived up to that expectation. Even getting one side over the rim was tough, and then (perhaps this is characteristic of folding tires in general?) it was hard to get the first couple of inches of the second side to stay in the rim. Once I got that going, it went smoothly enough until the last couple of inches, which were a lot of work. My thumbs were sore for two days.

    But here's a good guage of how hard it was: I put the front tire on backward (relative to the tread pattern) and put the back tire on with the logo off center from the valve stem. After reflecting on how hard it was to mount, I decided to fix the problem with the front tire, but not the back.

    To my great surprise, it was easier to mount the tire the second time around. And after two weeks of use, when I finally took the rear tire off (more on that below), it was extremely easy both to mount and dismount. I can only guess that this has something to do with the rubber becoming accustomed to its new shape after having been rolled up in the warehouse.

    The first day I rode with these tires on, I was convinced that they had considerably more rolling resistance than the Gatorskins. I considered that maybe I was just tired (it was a Friday), but the following Monday they still seemed slow. It took about 100 miles for me to convince myself that there wasn't really much difference. This also corresponded to the weather going from cold and windy to unseasonably warm. Make of that what you will. I should also say that my Gatorskins were 700x25 (which measures out closer to 23), while the Ribmos I got are 700x28 (and a true 28, at that).

    Now, the flat protection.... I had been planning to write a preliminary review this week, and I was thinking I would make some witty comment about how I'd never had a flat with these tires. Well, I have. They made it exactly 191 miles. I ran over a construction staple that got completely embedded in the rear tire.

    I'm trying to decide if this is just unfortunate timing for a nasty obstacle, or if they won't be as good as I had hoped. You can judge for yourself.

    I started to pull this out before I decided it was worth taking a picture of. The staple was flush with the tire. Here's what it looked like mostly in there.



    (Stupid camera phone focused on the wrong thing.)

    Here's the staple out of the tire.



    I couldn't bend it without cutting myself. It's a tough sucker.

    So, that's my early impression of the Panaracer Ribmos. If I don't decide to return them, I'll post an update when they've got more miles.

  2. #2
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    I've got about 450 miles on a set of 26x2.0 RiBMo's, and I gotta say I love 'em. I ride through some pretty nasty potholes and debris and haven't had any problems (knock on wood) yet.

    At about 240lbs fully loaded, I run 60psi rear and 45psi front. The ride is plush yet fast, due to the interesting tread profile. Under normal riding, I'm only making contact with about a .5" strip down the center ridge, yet over bumps, ruts, and debris the full width comes into play, and the ride stays comfortable and smooth.

    Until now I've been a diehard Armadillo fan, but while very fast, they're also pretty damned stiff. I've never been able to find the sweet spot between fast and smooth/comfortable until now.

    Honestly, I think your construction staple would've flatted any tire, under the right (wrong?) circumstances. I'm sure there's a thousand anecdotal stories we could all share about the amazing things that did or didn't cause a flat, but sometimes ***** happens.

    Making a long post even longer -- I love my RiBMo tires.

  3. #3
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
    The ride is plush yet fast, due to the interesting tread profile. Under normal riding, I'm only making contact with about a .5" strip down the center ridge, yet over bumps, ruts, and debris the full width comes into play, and the ride stays comfortable and smooth.
    So that's why it's shaped that way. It never even occurred to me.
    Last edited by Andy_K; 03-06-10 at 10:47 AM.

  4. #4
    Fred J.G. dwilbur3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    ...I had heard that they're hard to mount, and they definitely lived up to that expectation. Even getting one side over the rim was tough, and then (perhaps this is characteristic of folding tires in general?) it was hard to get the first couple of inches of the second side to stay in the rim. Once I got that going, it went smoothly enough until the last couple of inches, which were a lot of work. My thumbs were sore for two days.

    But here's a good gauge of how hard it was: I put the front tire on backward (relative to the tread pattern) and put the back tire on with the logo off center from the valve stem. After reflecting on how hard it was to mount, I decided to fix the problem with the front tire, but not the back.

    To my great surprise, it was easier to mount the tire the second time around. And after two weeks of use, when I finally took the rear tire off (more on that below), it was extremely easy both to mount and dismount. I can only guess that this has something to do with the rubber becoming accustomed to its new shape after having been rolled up in the warehouse...
    All those "bulletproof" tires are a bugger to mount the first time. I've put on an Armadillo, a Transworld City, and a Marathon Racer. They all beat me up before I was done. In comparison I mounted some cheap Kendas and some (awesome) Kojaks and they were easy as pie.

    Like you, I put my Marathon Racer on backwards (about three weeks ago), but I haven't taken the effort to reverse it just yet. Glad to know it gets easier the second time round. (I exploded a tube mounting it the first time - doh! I had no interest in mounting it a third time in one night).

  5. #5
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Well, my Gatorskins were hard to mount every time I did it. I can't promise it gets easier for anything but the Ribmo.

  6. #6
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Any long term follow up on these tyres?

  7. #7
    Senior Member looie's Avatar
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    Nearly 485 miles on mine with no problem at all. I'm pretty sure that's not yet anything like the long-term review you might like. Some folks sound a little like the Princess with her pea, what with their ability to detect some of what sounds to me like pretty subtle stuff. As for me, the LBS had a fairly limited selection of 28c tires, so I took what they had. They weren't super expensive, but not cheap, either. I haven't had a problem and couldn't tell you a thing about whether they're faster or slower. I'll wait to hear from others on that. Knock on wood: no flats so far. It's raining today. It should be raining and 40 degrees on the ride home tonight. Because of this post, I'll expect at least one, and possibly two flats.
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  8. #8
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    I also ride these tires. I'll just say that I've ridden over a lot of glass ( I was inattentive and rolled over glass shards for like 10 feet) and I have had no flats since the incident, which was months ago. I can't say they get easier to mount though, these tires have been extremely tough to take off the wheel and put back on.
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  9. #9
    jpdesjar
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    I have been riding a Ribmo on the rear for a couple of months now, it's a great tire.
    I skid a little and I hop up on things and off of things a lot, the tire holds up great.

    I hate fixing flats so I run a Randonneur on the front, it's a bombproof setup. I ride trails too, I like to be able to do a little of everything on my steamroller.

  10. #10
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I've been meaning to post an update. I've got just under 1500 miles on these tires with no flats since the staple. I'm still very happy with them. I'll try to take a picture to show the wear, or lack thereof. There's a slight bit of squaring at the center of the rear tire, but it's very minor. I wouldn't be surprised if they last another 2000 miles, barring major incident.

  11. #11
    jpdesjar
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    The tire wasn't hard to put on the rim, but I got the folding type.

  12. #12
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I just re-read my original review and I see that I promised to say more. In fact, it occurred to me this morning that anyone reading both this and my recent Marathon Supreme review might dismiss me as the Paula Abdul of bike tire reviewers.

    The fact is, they are both very good tires. I use them on different bikes and for different purposes, and I am quite happy with both. However, I see that I was a bit less glowing in my praise of the RiBMo. I think that's appropriate.

    I commented above on this tire feeling slower than the Conti Gatorskins. After 1500 miles, I stand by that. It definitely feels slower in a purely subjective way. It may be more precise to say that it feels like it takes more effort to move the bike with these tires. Now that I also have the Marathon Supremes as a point of comparison I can say something more useful about that. Using the same subjective standard, the Marathon Supreme feels "faster" than the RiBMo.

    The thing is, the RiBMo is on a 22-pound cyclocross bike and the Marathon Supreme is on a 35-pound "urban 29er" (Marin's description). So, objectively, I'm typically riding faster on the RiBMo, but it doesn't feel as fast ("quick might be better) to me.

    Rationally, then, I must conclude that I'm really shouldn't be talking about speed here at all. It may or may not have anything to do with rolling resistance. It almost certainly isn't a major factor in the actual velocity of the bike at any given time.

    So, I must be talking about that mysterious, ethereal quality known as "road feel" that you find in many reviews. I've never been quite sure what they meant by it before, but now thinking about the ride I get with the various tires I've used over the last couple of years, I think I've got a grasp on it. Some of the tires feel spongy. Some feel hard. Some feel just right. I'm sure this is very subjective. Perhaps the words "to me" should be taken as implied at the end of those statements. I should also add that I don't think "just right" is actually between "spongy" and "hard" -- it's something else. Obviously, I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of this, so take it with a grain of salt.

    In the last two years, I've use the following tires on my commute: Continental Gatorskin, Continental Town Ride, Maxxis Locust CX, Panaracer RiBMo, Schwalbe Marathon Supreme, Maxxis Re-Fuse. Here's how I would rate them, in order of my preference with regard to road feel:

    1. Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 29x2.0 (just right)
    2. Maxxis Re-Fuse 700x25 (just right)
    3. Continental Gatorskin 700x25 (slightly hard)
    4. Panaracer RiBMo 700x28 (spongy)
    5. Continental Town Ride 29x16 (hard)
    6. Maxxis Locust CX (very spongy)

    This list only relates to road feel. I'd rank them differently for other factors like durability, flat protection, grip, racing in mud, etc.

    Overall, I would say I think the RiBMo is a significantly better choice for commuting than the Gatorskins, though I would probably prefer the Gatorskins for recreational use.

  13. #13
    Senior Member kato7997's Avatar
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    How do the Ribmo sidewalls compare to the Conti Gatorskin's? I'm more concerned about pinch flats myself...

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato7997 View Post
    How do the Ribmo sidewalls compare to the Conti Gatorskin's? I'm more concerned about pinch flats myself...
    Pinch flats are caused by low tire pressure; keep your tires properly inflated and you won't have pinch flats.

  15. #15
    Senior Member kato7997's Avatar
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    Yeah but weak sidewalls don't help

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato7997 View Post
    Yeah but weak sidewalls don't help
    Sidewalls have nothing to do with pinch flats. FWIW I did have both sidewalls crack on a new pair of Panaracer T-Servs. No pinch flats though.

  17. #17
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Thanks Andy,

    I am looking at tyres for my yet to come Bianchi Volpe, and living in India, I dont get ANY tyres here. I found however some Panaracer Ribmo, Vittoria Randonneur Hyper and Continental Contacts at an online store which does not charge an arm and a leg to ship to India.

    Was looking at 700*32 and trying to decide between these three.

  18. #18
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Pinch flats on tires of a decent size (28 and up) are pretty rare. I have ridden 27c quite soft at times and never had one. I'm a Clyde.
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  19. #19
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
    Thanks Andy,

    I am looking at tyres for my yet to come Bianchi Volpe, and living in India, I dont get ANY tyres here. I found however some Panaracer Ribmo, Vittoria Randonneur Hyper and Continental Contacts at an online store which does not charge an arm and a leg to ship to India.

    Was looking at 700*32 and trying to decide between these three.
    I just got Randonneur Hypers in 700x32 and they're pretty excellent. I've only got maybe 100 miles on them though, so I don't know that I can say much with any certainty. BUT, they're light, feel quick, roll well, and are comfortable. Oh yeah and the reflective sidewall is nice. Zero complaints from me.

  20. #20
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Lambo,


    Would these be the same tyres? Are they folding?

    http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/ps-...ers-tires.aspx

  21. #21
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update Andy_K. I just got a pair of Panaracer Ribmo's (26*1.5) and really can't compare them to anything yet. They replaced a pair of WTB Slickasauraus' (26*1.5) that came on my LHT.

    So far the Ribmo's feel a bit slower than the WTB's but it is subjective since I don't have a computer or anything. The LBS was surprised they were made in Japan and said something about a mileage cruncher compound or something to that effect.

    The first thing that jumps out at you is the shape. The pictures Andy_K submitted don't do it justice though he does describe it well. I bought mine because they were cheaper than the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes I was thinking about getting and those WTB's would get flats at the most inopportune time (aren't all flats like that). I was also looking at the Specialized Nimbus Armadillos but those red sidewalls and the reviews about the ride quality threm me off.

    No complaints so far but it is only my second week having them. And no I haven't RIden my BIke MOre because of them .
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  22. #22
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
    Lambo,


    Would these be the same tyres? Are they folding?

    http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/ps-...ers-tires.aspx
    Yep, 700x32 Randonneur Hyper Reflective, and they are a folding bead. That's a good price too.

  23. #23
    Scan Me DallasSoxFan's Avatar
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    I have Ribmo's. Love them. I feel more confident in the rain and corner much quicker. They feel soft and they instantly smoothed my ride. Haven't had a flat in the 200 miles since putting them on.

    Take this all with a grain of salt, however. I replaced a $5 set of Cheng Shin tires that came with the cheap BD bike.

  24. #24
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
    Yep, 700x32 Randonneur Hyper Reflective, and they are a folding bead. That's a good price too.
    Yeah - 33 dollars for shipping to India for 3 tyres

  25. #25
    Senior Member Chuckie J.'s Avatar
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    I've got a Ribmo on the front of my commuter and the odd shape seems to work. There was some kind of white sandy powder on campus and after I rolled over it the tire had a very thin white stripe on it. The contact point is small. No flats; maybe 250 miles.

    My only "complaint" is that when I corner at speed, the tire squeals. Really. Its a bit unsettling but I haven't actually slipped. I think I'm losing traction (is that what squealing means?) but I have no evidence. Does this happen to anyone?

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