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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 08-23-07, 05:51 PM   #1
Smooooth
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Tire Preference

Of course this has a lot to do with the application. So for this question, what tire do you use for road riding: centuries, training, touring (pulling a bob trailer)? Is there one tire that works best for most road tandeming?

I am currently running conti 4 season in a 700 x 23. I have the feeling that I should go up to a 700 x 25 or 28 for a little more meat or do I need to? Our team weight is 310

I would like a tire that can handle the load of a tandem, give us a fairly comfortable ride and is not going to flat out to easily.

What are you racers running on race day?

Thanks
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Old 08-23-07, 06:06 PM   #2
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I'm riding on 26" wheels. I've got Tioga City Slicker tires on them. I didn't want to go too narrow as they're mountain rims. I put 1.25" on the front and a 1.5" on the back so I can run slightly lower pressure for my stoker's comfort.

If I had 700c wheels I would probably grab some 28mm Ultra Gatorskins.
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Old 08-23-07, 06:13 PM   #3
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Can 28 mm tires be used with caliper brakes - Dura ace? Or are they too wide?
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Old 08-23-07, 06:36 PM   #4
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Can 28 mm tires be used with caliper brakes - Dura ace? Or are they too wide?
Shimano's Dura Ace, Ultregra and 105 calipers will accommodate up to a 28mm tire, but getting a fully inflated tire past the brake pads -- even with the release in the open position -- can be pretty tight if you run your pads in tight on a narrow rim. Fiddling with the cable length or letting air out of the tire is the normal work around.
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Old 08-23-07, 06:48 PM   #5
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I ride Panaracer Pasella's. They wear well and are somewhat affordable. Rivendell has a new tire based on their Ruffy Tuffy/Rolly Polly design. I believe it is a 700x33. Price is around $40 each.
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Old 08-23-07, 07:12 PM   #6
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Shimano's Dura Ace, Ultregra and 105 calipers will accommodate up to a 28mm tire, but getting a fully inflated tire past the brake pads -- even with the release in the open position -- can be pretty tight if you run your pads in tight on a narrow rim. Fiddling with the cable length or letting air out of the tire is the normal work around.
TandemGeek:
Which tires are you running?
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Old 08-23-07, 09:20 PM   #7
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I ride Panaracer Pasella's. They wear well and are somewhat affordable. Rivendell has a new tire based on their Ruffy Tuffy/Rolly Polly design. I believe it is a 700x33. Price is around $40 each.
Me too.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:46 PM   #8
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We run conti gatorskin 700, 23 front 25 back. For the triple we run 700x28 front and back.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:56 PM   #9
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What do you mean for the triple you run 28 front and rear?
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Old 08-23-07, 10:59 PM   #10
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cornucopia72

What is your team weight? Can you explain when you would use 28 front and back.
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Old 08-24-07, 05:15 AM   #11
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TandemGeek:
Which tires are you running?
Vredestein's Fortezza in 700x23 and 700x25 since the mid-90's. Initially the Tri-Comps because that's what I used on my single bikes and had laying around when I brought home our first road tandem. I later switched over to the basic Fortezza in Dec '98 and have used them exclusively ever since. This would be the 'Fortezza' and not the Fortezza SE (Smurf Edition with blue sidewalls and lower TPI). In addition to the exceptional 'feel' and grip they provide, they also remain a favorite because they remain relatively affordable via www.biketiresdirect.com who keeps them on sale for $29.95/ea. They do wear out rather quickly, but that's true of any performance tire with a grippy compound. Longer wearing tires have harder compounds which, at least to me, lack the road feel and grip that I prefer. We are a 285lb team with very good roads and these are our everyday tires. We don't participate in competitive events.


The following is just some food for thought brought forward from something I wrote back in Sept. '05 on this somewhat frequent topic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek
Questions about bicycle tire selection and air pressure adjustments are like questions about macro economics; the answer will always be, "It Depends".

If you have very smooth asphalt roads that are relatively free of potholes, filled-in potholes, or other surface problems, then a narrow high-pressure tire will provide less rolling resistance. Moreover, by virtue of the excellent road surface, the harshness of the ride is also mitigated. However, as the quality and condition of the road degrades, so do the advantages of a narrow high-pressure tire. In that the other downside of really nice handling tires is higher cost & shorter tread life, you sometimes need to find a mid-level tire that will delivery a nice balance of performance and durability for a moderate price.

Thus, if you ride on chip-seal, concrete, or weather-damaged roads that have expansion joints, lots of cracks, or are otherwise imperfect you will obtain lower rolling resistance by using lower tire pressures and a wider tire. This is because the more compliant tire will conform to the road surface and provide a bit more suspension instead of impacting and rolling over each imperfection. The lower pressure and tire compliance will also reduce rider fatigue and improve handling on poor (or perhaps what may in fact be average) road conditions in the places that you ride.

Team weight, handling, tire quality, wheel contruction, and a bunch of other things -- none the least of which is your and your stoker's expectations for comfort -- will also factor into tire selection. As noted in other threads on this topic, we are blessed with extremely smooth asphalt roads in fairly good condition here in North Georgia, owing to our moderate climate and the absence of freeze damage. Thus, as an under 280lb team we can get away with using the more narrow tires at higher pressures. However, when we venture off to other locations up North or out West we leave the 23's at home and mount up the 25's and adjust tire pressure as needed to compensate for road conditions. In Texas and around Williamsburg, VA, for example, the chip-seal roads had us running at something close to 105 - 110 psi vs. the 135psi - 145psi we run at home. I would also note that our Vredestein tires saw some accelerated wear on those roads and if those were our local roads I would likely search out a different brand and model of tire, similar to what the locals might recommend.

Bottom Line: See what types of tires other teams who have similar riding habits are using in your local area on their tandems and find out why they chose them. You may find that a 28mm Conti, Avocet Carbon K20, or some other tire will deliver what you're looking for in a more narrow tire.

How to Evaluate Tires: Do some homework and pick up one of the tires you are considering, and then mount it on your front wheel to evaluate how it effects the handling and comfort of your ride as the captain. Then, after you have a feel for it, put your old tire back on the front and mount the new one to your rear wheel to see how your stoker likes it relative to comfort as well as to find out how fast it wears down the tread. Play around with different tire pressures as well to see how it performs at the recommended psi, about 10lbs below and about 10lbs above. If you find that the tire was truly "better" than what you were using, buy a second one and put it on the front and you'll be good to go until you wear out the rear. Once it's used up, move the front tire to the back, and then put a new one on the front.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-24-07 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 08-24-07, 07:29 AM   #12
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What do you mean for the triple you run 28 front and rear?
I am sorry, I call our Cabrio Triplet a "la triple"... my mexican roots...

Our team weight is 300 for the tandem and 420 to 460 for the Triplet
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Old 08-24-07, 09:07 AM   #13
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We run continental gatorskin 25's exclusively on the tandem. If you scan this forum and the T @ H list, you'll see a lot of discussion about continentals being prone to sidewall failure, so I watch them pretty closely. In fact, I've changed out every one due to beginning to see degradation of the sidewalls, but we're getting about 1,500 miles from a rear tire and around 2000 from the front.

Those tires can be buggers to get on the rim. In fact, they're almost impossible to get on the rims on my single, so I've stopped using them there. It's still work on on the tandem wheels, but at least I can get them on without having to resort to a tire tool.

Our team weight is 285.
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Old 08-24-07, 09:31 AM   #14
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Hi,

We have only used 700x28 and 700x25's
We ride a lot of chip sealed roads and have never pulled a trailer. Tandem team weight 300 ish

We used Continental Gator Skin 700x28's for a long time inflated to 115-120.
They were comfortable and reliable, the rear seem to wear out fast but with the tandem weight I thought that was normal.


While riding Cycle Oregon a new Gator Skin developed a side wall lump which concerned me. I purchased two new Bontrager tires because they were 700x28 and available from the support shop on the ride.
We rode these at 120 psi and they worked well but not quite as smooth riding.

The new bike came with Continental 4 season grand prix 700x25, again about the same performance, nice tire but wears a little fast and we use about 115 psi.

A couple months ago I tried two new Michelin pro race 700x25's (which appear wider then other 25's, but I did not measure them) and felt like they rolled faster, especially on smooth roads. I have no speed, wattage, rolling resistance data to back this "feeling" but use the 23's on my single bike for racing and like the performance. I think the rear wears slightly faster but they can be bought on the web for about$37.00. We don't race the tandem but if you do, give these a try.

I am not sure about flats, except they suck. Here in SW Idaho the goat head thorns come out in the Fall and will flat any road tire, just like a chunk of glass or large staple.
I would guess any tire that flats less will be less comfortable for the stoker.

Rob
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Old 08-24-07, 10:18 AM   #15
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[QUOTE=twilkins9076;5136191]We run continental gatorskin 25's exclusively on the tandem. If you scan this forum and the T @ H list, you'll see a lot of discussion about continentals being prone to sidewall failure, so I watch them pretty closely. In fact, I've changed out every one due to beginning to see degradation of the sidewalls, but we're getting about 1,500 miles from a rear tire and around 2000 from the front.QUOTE]

I've got contis' front and back. About 1000miles. No flats yet, though +1 on the difficulty to mount comment, they are real SOBs. What does the degradation look like? I found what looks like scuff marks in a couple areas, but no bulges. What should I look for?
Thanks
CG
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Old 08-24-07, 10:22 AM   #16
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I ordered conti gatorskin 25 and 28. I will test them out and see what I think.

Here in Northern CA the roads are in fairly good condition with the occasional pothole or uneven surface. Of course on any given ride you can end up on poorly maintained roads.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-24-07, 11:04 AM   #17
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We use a pair of Michelin Pro Race 2 700x25 on our Co-Mo Supremo. They work quite well. Yes, we do have to let the air out of them to get them through the Dura-Ace brakes though. It's not a big deal for us.

Joe
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Old 08-24-07, 11:14 AM   #18
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Has anyone tried or considered:

http://www.serfas.com/tires/STK-23.shtml -- Serfas Seca Road, wire bead, 700 x 23, 25 or 28, $18 at REI?

or

Panaracer T-serv http://www.panaracer.com/eng/products/index_sp.html (listed in the "urban" section) -- maybe a bit "rough" for a road tire.

Looking to replace a Specialized tire on the front, labeled as 700x35 but measures 25 (!!), and a Vittoria Courier on the rear ...

Son and I weigh about 305 lbs total; road surfaces range from smooth asphalt to chip-seal; and, it has been known to rain in western Washington.

Joel
Snohomish, Washington
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Old 08-24-07, 01:24 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=TandemGeek;5134980]Vredestein's Fortezza in 700x23 and 700x25 since the mid-90's. Initially the Tri-Comps because that's what I used on my single bikes and had laying around when I brought home our first road tandem. I later switched over to the basic Fortezza in Dec '98 and have used them exclusively ever since. This would be the 'Fortezza' and not the Fortezza SE (Smurf Edition with blue sidewalls and lower TPI). In addition to the exceptional 'feel' and grip they provide, they also remain a favorite because they remain relatively affordable via www.biketiresdirect.com who keeps them on sale for $29.95/ea...QUOTE]

The Fortezza's they sell ar folding tires. We have always used wire beaded tires. We will appreciate your comments.
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Old 08-24-07, 02:26 PM   #20
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The Fortezza's they sell are folding tires. We have always used wire beaded tires. We will appreciate your comments.
Yes, they are all Kevlar beaded, folding tires.

I have never used a wire-beaded tire on any bike or tandem and have no current plans to do so in the future. Many of the teams whom we ride with also ride on folding tires, e.g., Avocet, Michelin, Continentals, etc... and have done so for many years.

I run our Fortezzas at 130 - 145 psi depending on size and road condition, noting that 145psi is recommended by Vredestein for the 700x23 models and 135psi for the 700x25 models. The 700x25 models have always seemed to be more prone to casing deformity as they get closed to being used-up: I noticed I have one like that on our '98 Erickson today that I need to replace. I should note that all of our bikes & tandems are suspended from the ceiling in the garage over my bicycle work bench and I noticed it today whilst looking up at it.

When flatted, front or rear, the tires will tend to de-mount if you try to ride on them too long... just as happens with wire beaded tires.

I've never had a clincher blow-off or roll-off the rim while underway. I say while underway only because I have on a couple occasions not verified that the tube was not pinched between the rim and tire beads and enjoyed that wonderful ear ringing "rapport" of an exploding tire while at close range in the garage.

As previously stated, we are a 285lb team with very good roads that have ridden our road tandems throughout the US. We don't do loaded touring, I don't use a drag brake, and tend to be an aggressive descender.

What else would you like to know?

Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-24-07 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 08-24-07, 03:21 PM   #21
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[I've got contis' front and back. About 1000miles. No flats yet, though +1 on the difficulty to mount comment, they are real SOBs. What does the degradation look like? I found what looks like scuff marks in a couple areas, but no bulges. What should I look for?
Thanks
CG
What we usually see is the orangish fibers on the sidewalls beginning to split and break, oftentimes in a line. If left for too long, it has developed into a bulge, which warrents replacement immediately. I'm also starting to see some threads unraveling from around the bead. I pulled off about 10 inches of a single thread yesterday from around the bead. I think what happens is that the sidewall threads get brittle with age and mileage.

In the past, I've replaced both tires at the same time. About the time the rear is worn square, we've usually had a cut or some sort of sidewall damage that's bad enough to require replacement. Usually, you can tell that the old sidewall feels much thinner and pliant than a new one, and I think they are more prone to cuts and damage than some of the other tires I've used on various bikes.

The last time around, our front tire looked fairly good when the rear was shot, so, I only replaced the bad one and left the used tire on the front. I'm watching it closely to see how much more mileage I get out of it. I've got a couple of other fairly good tires hanging in the garage, so if it makes me too nervous, I'll move the rear tire to the front and put one of those older tires on the back.

I like the tires, and we've never actually had a sidewall blowout, but over the last 4 or 5 years, I think every gatorskin I've replaced has been due to damage of some sort on the sidewall.
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Old 08-24-07, 04:39 PM   #22
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What else would you like to know?
I guess it is like folklore... we always knew that wire beaded tires were safer and hence desirable for tandem use...I do not know really why or what makes them safer. It may only be a myth.
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Old 08-24-07, 05:13 PM   #23
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I guess it is like folklore... we always knew that wire beaded tires were safer and hence desirable for tandem use...I do not know really why or what makes them safer. It may only be a myth.
I was somewhat ignorant with regard to tandems and tires when I brought our Santana home. However, while the OEM 700x28 Specialized Armadillos "seemed" OK on our test rides around our dealer's subdivision once we were on home turf the tandem just feeled sluggish compared to my single bikes... in all aspects: cornering, acceleration, climbing, etc...

When we returned home I pulled the Specialized tires off and put a set of the 700x23 Vredestein Fortrezza Tri-Comps on our Arriva. Wow! It made an immediate, positive improvement in the character of the tandem. I never looked back and never thought much about it.

I too began to hear others talk about the 'need' to use wire bead tires on tandems but I also noticed that the folks who had blow-offs were using wire beaded "tandem tires" instead of the foldable racing models. Hmmm. That's interesting. Perhaps the data was skewed because it was only the heavier teams who tend to ride their tandems "as delivered" with the OEM tires (even as replacements) that historically had these dramatic, but somewhat rare tire events.

Therefore, given my first impressions of wire-beaded tires and the lack of any personal experience that suggested my foldable tires were about to fall off of the rims -- despite being very easy to remove them once they'd been installed for a while -- I elected to stick with my Vredestein Fortezza tires. A decade and 50,000 miles or so later... I'm still not compelled to buy into the wire-bead good, kevlar / foldable tire bad mantra, on road or off.

Now, this is simply my experience. I would not suggest that my experiences can be extrapolated on their own merits to teams that weigh more, do loaded touring, or who put a sustained brake load on their rims when descending. Therefore, as always, your results may vary.
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Old 08-24-07, 07:10 PM   #24
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Has anyone tried or considered:

http://www.serfas.com/tires/STK-23.shtml -- Serfas Seca Road, wire bead, 700 x 23, 25 or 28, $18 at REI?

or

Panaracer T-serv http://www.panaracer.com/eng/products/index_sp.html (listed in the "urban" section) -- maybe a bit "rough" for a road tire.
Snohomish, Washington
I use Panaracer T-servs exclusively on my Santana Sovereign tandem. Team weight is 240lbs.
The Panaracer T-serv is basically the same as the Panaracer Pasela Tourguard tire, but with added sidewall protection and with a slightly grippier compound. They're wonderful tires, but, in my experience, are a little more flat-prone than Continental Gatorskins, and they wear slightly faster. They do seem to roll faster and corner better than the Gatorskins, and wet weather performance is far better.
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Old 08-25-07, 10:17 AM   #25
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On our old tandem 1983 Motobecane, we originally ran 27" 1 1/4 tires, but I built 700Cwheels and mounted Conti 25mm's. This mad a hell of a difference obviously and the tandem, such as it was , handled and rode much better. With the new tandem (CoMotion Speedster) I am still running the Gatorskin 28 mm tires that came with it. So far, I don't see a need to go down to the 25's, but perhaps we just don't have the sensitivity or speed of others here. I have to say I was surprised at how well the bike handled with the 28's. I don't think I would go to 23's, even though we are a very light team, although I will probably mount the 25 mm conti's at some point just to see.
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