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  1. #1
    Senior Member geoduck's Avatar
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    Kevlar bead for MTB tires: pros and cons

    I'm about 100 miles from needing a new rear tire. I'm trying to evaluate the benefits of a tire with a Kevlar bead vs. wire bead. I know they're foldable, but that doesn't matter to me (don't carry spare tires), and I realize they are easier to change. However, they're about 50% more expensive than comparable wire bead tires.

    What I'm wondering is how important the weight savings is. I realize we're talking rotational weight, which is one of the most critical areas to reduce weight, but considering I have middle-of-the-road wheels (Sun Mach IV rims with 15g SS spokes, Deore hubs), I'm wondering if I'll notice a difference.

    BTW, I will be replacing Tioga Terra Firma tires (26 x 1.95). No complaints about this tire, but the tread is wearing fast.

    And while we're here, any recomendations regarding Kevlar beaded tires? My riding is all XC, with dry, dusty conditions. Roots and rocks galore.

    TIA

    _'duck

  2. #2
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Kevlar bead for your needs will be perfect.
    Quote Originally Posted by scrodzilla
    I'm going out on the town tonight and it won't be over until I snort a line of habanero seeds off the hood of a red Fiero.
    Words and Stuff.
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  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I ride the old, old classics......Panaracer Smoke rear, and Dart front. Both have kevlar beads and I can pull these tires off with my bare hands. And they're still available today.
    Nashbar has them on sale for $20 ea right now (Kevlars). I'm thinking of getting another set of these foldables.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I don't really like kevlar beads. I tend to pump my tires up to the limit, or a tad more, and kevlar beads seem to stretch and deform the tire. On my mtb, I can always get wire beads off by hand, no tire tool.

  5. #5
    Part of the furniture math2p14's Avatar
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    Folding tires have much different riding behavior to non folding ones. In other words for the same given tire, the non folding or wire version will buckle with more difficulty when cornering in comparison to a folding one.
    Where the skid marks stop...the tree begins....:D:D:D:D:D

  6. #6
    Banned
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    Kevlar is better (significantly lighter) hence the higher price. They do not stretch or buckle. Consider the weight savings vs. extra cost. For my money kevlar bead is worth the extra $.

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoduck
    What I'm wondering is how important the weight savings is. I realize we're talking rotational weight, which is one of the most critical areas to reduce weight, but considering I have middle-of-the-road wheels (Sun Mach IV rims with 15g SS spokes, Deore hubs), I'm wondering if I'll notice a difference.

    And while we're here, any recomendations regarding Kevlar beaded tires? My riding is all XC, with dry, dusty conditions. Roots and rocks galore.
    Rotational weight is all important, and on a bike wheel, the further away from the hub that weight loss is, the better it is. Weight at the centre of the hub, is not too critical, but heavy rims and tyres will affect acceleration performance. Incidentally, being able to remove the tyres without tools is not a plus point for the tyre, but is definitely a minus point for the rim. A tyre that will locate snugly on a rim is going to give you a better fitting tyre. As most of the quality are tyres are made within very tight production tolerances, I would look to better quality rims if your tyre is loose ,and easily removable from the rim.

    Another point about Kevlar beaded tyres is that they are not always lighter than other steel beaded tyres. Check the weight of IRC Mythos or Panaracer Fire XC's steel beaded tyres and they are pretty light. Mind you a Kevlar beaded version of both these tyres is very light.

    Incidentally, I can recommend both of these tyres, and depending on your weight, choose the width to suit I personally use the 1.8 fire XC's for most of the year, but must admit that hard terrain with these tyres on a hardtail in the summer does get a bit tiring, but they work in all condition from hardpack, to dusty soil, through to mud. But do wear rather quickly.

  8. #8
    Hardtail WorldWind's Avatar
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    The weight difference is marginal in my opinion a few hard draws on your water bottle is all the difference there is.

    I carry a Kevlar bead spare, but I run on regular wire beads. Depending on the profile of the rim a Kevlar bead can be a bugger to mount for the first time.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    what's this about kevlar buckling easier in corners? I didn't ride kevlar until I got some on of those ugly michelin wildgrippers (kevlar) on sale. They'er HORRID in the corners. I really really miss ritchey alpha/omegabites!

  10. #10
    Quadricepius Exquisitus eurotrash666's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=The Fixer]I ride the old, old classics......Panaracer Smoke rear, and Dart front.QUOTE]

    Hell yeah! i read all the hype about improvements in technology, and how much you need high-volume carcasses... but i don't get it. i must have a dozen worn-out smokes hanging on a nail in my shop. this tire was the most widely copied tread design ever. they had this amazing ability to let the rider know before breaking traction in corners. other tires just go over with no distinction.

    i've noticed kevlar lasts longer if you change tubes and patch flats alot. wire will wear thru the carcass when mounted/dismounted alot. wire tires are easier to mount. kevlar is usually tighter on the rim, meaning more elbow grease, and much care must be taken when seating kevlar beads in the clincher. when inflating kevlars, i pump the tire up to about 15 psi, then work the bead by rolling the tire side to side over both edges of the rim. when i have gone all the way around, then i pump it all the way.

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