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  1. #1
    Cat 6 Steve Katzman's Avatar
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    700c road tire recommendations

    Just bought my first tandem after trying a friend's for several months. The Co-Motion Speedster came with Conti Ultra Gatorskins 700x28. I like to keep a couple of spare tires on hand and am wondering if I should stick with these, or if there is something better out there for when these wear out .

    We ride exclusively on the road. Some roads here in central FL are in less than perfect condition. We don't race nor do we plan to. We generally take corners pretty easy, but its nice to have some margin to inspire confidence. Some flat protection would be nice but not a necessity. On my single bikes I have been pleased with Continental GP 3000's or Vredstein Fortezzas.

    I noticed that in Road Bike Review, the Gatorskins did not get very good reviews for ride quality, cornering, flat vulnerability or longevity. However these were likely not tandem riders, so their basis for comparison might be different.

    I would assume that if Co-Motion decided to include these tires with their tandems, that they must be a good choice. Comments? What is your favorite tandem tire? Any experiences to back up your recommendations?

    Thanks, Steve :confused:

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Tires, tires, tires.... where to start?

    Assuming your Fortezza tires are 700x23's -- and if your combined team weight isn't over 330lbs -- put the Fortezza's on the tandem and take it for a test ride to see how they feel. Make sure they are pumped up to the recommended psi rating, e.g., 700x23 = 145psi, 700x25 = 135psi. If you like the way they feel ride them for a while to see how they hold up to your local road conditions. If you find you like the 700x23s but feel they are a bit harsh or you'd just like to have a little more volume in the tire buy one 700x25 and put in on the rear of the tandem to see if still gives you a comfy ride. If so, you've found your tire. NOTE: I'd recommend the Fortezza but not the Fortezza Tri-Comp.

    Of course, you can do the same with the Conti GP3000s, relative to the test ride, i.e., try 'em and if you like 'em stick with 'em. 700x23 or 700x25; your choice.

    You'd have to ask Dwan, Dan or Alan at Co-Motion, but my guess on the Gatorskin is the "mass market acceptability" to the average tandem buyer of the higher mileage tread life, purported flat resistance (don't know about that) and cost. At 320g, the Gatorskins are not racing tires by any stretch; you'll note that 700x25 Michelin Axial Pros come on Co-Motion's go-fast Supremo & Robusta tandems.

    Bottom Line: Stick with what works and/or what you've been happy with on your single bikes to start out, perhaps going one-size larger, particularly if your team weight is 330lbs or more. Recognize that "high performance" tires will wear out rather fast on tandems, e.g., 1,500 - 2,400mi. for a new rear tire from day 1 until it's nearly worn through with a "squared-off" look to the tread. This is one of the reasons why you'll hear me suggesting that you start off with two new tires and then, once the rear tire wears through -- move the front tire to the back and put the new tire on the front. In effect, this will allow you to get 3,000 - 4,800mi out of a single tire (1/2 life on the front & 1/2 life on the rear).

    If either of your current tires don't hold up well see what kind and size tires other tandem teams in your area who ride the way you ride are using. Give those a try -- perhaps even swapping out wheels for a test ride IF you have basically the same type of wheel. If they have different wheels the feedback you get from the 'tires' may have more to do with the other wheels vs your own.

    My experiences? We've been riding on Vredestein Fortezza tires since 1996 -- all tolled about 25,000mi. Our first tandem was a Santana Arriva that came with 700x28 Armadillos and they came off after our first ride. I took the Vredestein Fortezza tires off one of my single bikes just so I could get ride of the "lifeless" Armadillos and low and behold, they made our tandem handle much better. I initially used 700x23 skinwalls and more recently the new all-black 700x23 & 700x25 models. In a perfect world I'd run 25's on the rear and 23's up front but that's just not a practical scenario given the way the tires wear, thus I've gotten used to the 700x25 as a front tire but I over inflate it to 145psi to regain the feel of the 23.

    Other tires to consider would include Avocet's K20 models in 700x25 or 700x28: An excellent tire for all around riding.

    Anyway, more than you wanted to know. Enjoy your tandem -- you picked a great model to start with and you'll find Florida has quite a few tandem teams to share your rides with.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    We've run a 700x28 Gatorskin on our tandem for a couple years now with good luck. We are not a high performance team so a couple grams of weight makes no difference. Had a terrible time with a Armadillo last year and won't try that again on the tandem.
    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. M.L.King

  4. #4
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    Ah, the Speedster. My steed of choice since Aug of last year. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of yours as we do ours. I had the same question you posted, on this very forum when we first got ours. Mark L. gave me some good hints as well as many others but, I ended up going a little diff route.

    First off does your Speedster have the Velocity Dyad rims (mine came stock with them)? If so, they are a bit wide of profile to mount a 23c tire. Velocity makes a very nice product but, the Dyad was made with 28c tires in mind. They tend to swallow a 23c. If you have Dyads and want to stick with them you'll be needing to stick with 28c's or some 25c's.

    After trying several tires in a 25c & 28c and still not finding what I wanted. I had Mark at Velocity build a new set of wheels for me. He used 36h Fusion rims on HuGi hubs w/ DT swiss spokes. The fusion is a combination of the Velocity Aero rim and their Deep V rim. They are an awesome looking set of wheels. Might not be the lightest wheel on the road but, for a tandem wheelset they are pretty lightweight. They are very strong and I trust them to do what they are made to do.

    I then tried a series of tires by Hutchinson, IRC and the Gators you are using. What I ended up with, what felt best to me for ride quality and handling quality are the Hutchinson Gold Elite 700x23c over inflated to 130psi (they recomend 125psi). They have their "4x extrusion" that adds flat protection and adds to the longevity of the tire. We've got 591 miles on the current set as of last weekend.

    After a club ride and cleaning the bike Sunday I scrubbed the tires and gave them the once over to check for wear. Well, they dont even look like they've been on pavement after dang near 600 miles. They've done 4 tours on pretty new chip-n-seal roads too. One tour was 20 miles of chip-n-seal that was less than a week old, very sharp. The same road completly distroyed a set of 25c IRC Tri's.

    Our team tips the scales at 390 including bike and gear. The tires are preforming as well as they do on our single. We here in Texas are not really known for our nice roads so, hear me when I say you have to stay clear of pot holes but, I dont think a 25c or 28c would survive a direct hit. You being the captain have to steer the boat on a good line.

    Bottom line is you need to hear what a bunch of diff. folks tell you, then draw your own conclusion. Welcome to the Co-Motion family! It was pretty cool on the ride we did last weekend as almost 50% of teams were on Co-Mo's.

    See ya,
    Brad
    Last edited by brad; 05-05-03 at 11:55 PM.

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by brad
    First off does your Speedster have the Velocity Dyad rims (mine came stock with them)? If so, they are a bit wide of profile to mount a 23c tire. Velocity makes a very nice product but, the Dyad was made with 28c tires in mind. They tend to swallow a 23c. If you have Dyads and want to stick with them you'll be needing to stick with 28c's or some 25c's.
    DOH!!! I screwed up and forgot that Co-Motion changed to the Dyad as their standard rim. Sorry about that. Actually, even a 25mm wide tire is marginal on the Dyad. Incredibly, the inside width is about 18mm (I just checked one downstairs in the garage) which is really ideal for 28mm though 36mm tires, BUT... and that's a BIG BUT ...you'll see 25mm tires on them all the time. Again, the extra Erickson sitting on the workstand is one that belongs to a friend and it is running Dyads with Avocet K 700x25mm FasGrip Criterium Carbon 12 tires: http://www.avocet.com/tirepages/carbon12.html. It's a nice looking tire that fits the rim nicely with a recommended psi of 105. At 120psi it rides pretty nice, but much more squishy than my Vredesteins.

    Anyway, I really feel like a dolt for not checking on your rims before blurting out a goofy recommendation... My bad -- never assume.

    Bottom Line: Brad is correct. In spite of my over enthusiastic suggestions regarding your tires, the key is getting out and talking with other teams, seeing what they use. I think the real key is to find out what the folks in your area who have similar riding goals to you are using and then give those tires a try. I'm not sure where you bought your tandem but hopefully your dealer can make some recommendations. And, by all means, drop Dwan a note at Co-Motion (email: Dwan@co-motion.com) and ask him for some suggestions. Trust me, he understands that one-size / model doesn't fit all and he'll be able to make some outstanding suggestions.

    Again, sorry about the bad poop on tire suggestions. Dang, those Dyads are wide.

    Note: This is an extract from an off-list note I shared with Steve.
    Last edited by livngood; 05-06-03 at 09:08 PM.

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