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  1. #1
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    High Thread Count (TPI) Tires, Marketing or a Real Difference?

    What is the real difference between a high TPI count road tire and a low count one, other than price? The marketing department will of course tell you that it makes a huge difference in suppleness, ride quality and strength. But I'm skeptical. As far as I can tell one deflated, kevlar beaded road tire is just as flaccid as the next and I have a hard time believing that the minute differences between them deflated suddenly becomes significant when 100 psi of air is added to them. The air still generates 99% of the rigidity of the tire, as far as I can tell. Furthermore I have a hard time believing that the cotton/silk/nylon/whatever cloth in the sidewall influences the rigidity under compression much at all anyway. I can see a thinker coating of rubber making a structural difference in the sidewall but a simple TPI count just doesn't mean anything as far as I can see.

    So is this just plain old "more is better" marketing, or is there a science to it that I haven't seen yet?

  2. #2
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    This is proven in labs though. There is a difference in rolling resistance.

    Of course whenever you make the sidewall/tread thinner (to reduce "friction") the tire wears out quicker.
    "The Iron never lies to you. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but 200 pounds is always 200 pounds." -Henry Rollins

  3. #3
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    Less rolling resistance generally, and better puncture resistance, in my experience. In this case, more is more.

  4. #4
    Allez!!! Allez!!! martin_j001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkmother
    Less rolling resistance generally, and better puncture resistance, in my experience. In this case, more is more.
    This has been my experience in most cases too. I also find that the higher the thread count in the tires I've tried (limited to Hutchison, Michelin and Vittoria), the higher thread count tires seem to ride a bit nicer as well--I currently use Vittoria Rubino Pro's, but used to ride the Open Corsa for a few years--very nice tire, but pricey to replace (in my opinion). The downside is that the tires tread may not last as long, but your mileage may vary

  5. #5
    Cornucopia of Awesomeness baxtefer's Avatar
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    in general higher TPI=more supple. in general.....
    HOWEVER. There is no accepted standard as to how TPI is measured. some manufacturers use, say 60 TPI casings and call it that, 60TPI. some compaines use 4 layers of 60TPI casing and call it....240TPI.

  6. #6
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baxtefer
    in general higher TPI=more supple. in general.....
    HOWEVER. There is no accepted standard as to how TPI is measured. some manufacturers use, say 60 TPI casings and call it that, 60TPI. some compaines use 4 layers of 60TPI casing and call it....240TPI.
    I never heard of that, but I wouldn't doubt it.

    They have been lying about sizes too (listing 23mm tires as 25mm so they can look lighter on paper when compared to other 25mm tires)
    "The Iron never lies to you. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but 200 pounds is always 200 pounds." -Henry Rollins

  7. #7
    cab horn
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    All of this is a non issue when you run 10 dollar tires that last forever.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53-11_alltheway
    This is proven in labs though.
    Could you cite your references? I read the recent thread on latex inner tubes and as near as I could tell by reading the table and guessing at what the German language headings meant, they actually measured rolling resistance on some tubulars and found what might be significant differences or might not be. I want to see double blind research studies on ride quality and "suppleness" and/or measured rolling resistance values for two slick tires with nothing to distinguish them but sidewall thread count.

  9. #9
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_wmn
    Could you cite your references?
    I'll try to find you some.

    Quote Originally Posted by steve_wmn
    I want to see double blind research studies on ride quality and "suppleness" and/or measured rolling resistance values for two slick tires with nothing to distinguish them but sidewall thread count.
    They can measure rolling resistance in a lab, but the "subjective" studies (ride quality,etc) that I think you want don't exist as far as I know.
    Last edited by 53-11_alltheway; 06-09-05 at 02:43 PM.
    "The Iron never lies to you. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but 200 pounds is always 200 pounds." -Henry Rollins

  10. #10
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    The way I look at it is this: The tire plies are structural, they provide the tensile strength that supports the air pressure in the tire. It seems to me that cheaper tires come with a more sparse open weave, then make up for some of the reduced strength with thicker rubber. The rolling deformation thicker rubber is largely what contributes to rolling resistance, because the rubber heats up when deformed by the contact patch.

    If you want to make a really fast tire, it has to have a thin rubber tread, and a supple, strong casing to support the high pressures that limit tire deformation. Higher thread counts help achieve these goals. Think of a thick, solid core wire, compared to a standed wire of the same guage. The finely stranded wire is way more flexible, even though the X sectional area, and material is the same.

  11. #11
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    http://www.schwalbetires.com/new_high_end.html

    "The flexible carcass reduces rolling resistance by approximately ten per cent"

    This is pretty much what I keep on reading about. Those tests in german magazines like tour for example also
    tend to have higher TPI tires come out with lower rolling resistance.

    Obviously the design of the tire as whole matters the most, but the flexibilty of the tire carcass is one factor that plays into the whole picture.

    Here is an answer form Leonard Zinn (scroll down) http://www.velonews.com/tech/report/...es/7508.0.html
    Last edited by 53-11_alltheway; 06-09-05 at 02:57 PM.
    "The Iron never lies to you. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but 200 pounds is always 200 pounds." -Henry Rollins

  12. #12
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Great link, but say for example the touring marathon plus have a load limit of 95 for 700x28. Sounds like need to go wider for bike+rider+load greater than 190lbs.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  13. #13
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Great link, but say for example the touring marathon plus have a load limit of 95 for 700x28. Sounds like need to go wider for bike+rider+load greater than 190lbs.
    I think as long as you aren't "bouncing around" higher pressures are better. My own subjective opinion is that
    the high end tires (which happen to be higher TPI as well) let me go to higher pressurres without losing smoothness.
    "The Iron never lies to you. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but 200 pounds is always 200 pounds." -Henry Rollins

  14. #14
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    psi is 55-100, I think Max load is weight not pressure.
    Hi 'o Silver away

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