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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 04-26-04, 10:07 PM   #1
Gtscottie
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Help with tire size

My wife and I are planning a loaded tour this July we are planning to carry rear panniers and pull a BOB trailer. Combined team weight is 330lbs. We have 700x26c Specialized turbo sport tires on our Santana Arriva. I am wondering if these are adequate or if we should go to wider tires?

Thanks for the help
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Old 04-26-04, 11:02 PM   #2
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If i was touring with just rear panniers on my single, I would be using 700x25 or larger if they would fit. You could get away with the 26 on the front, and beef up to maybe a 32 on the rear? I am not sure what would be suitable, but I am sure someone will know. Just a suggestion!

Brendon
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Old 04-27-04, 07:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gtscottie
My wife and I are planning a loaded tour this July we are planning to carry rear panniers and pull a BOB trailer. Combined team weight is 330lbs. We have 700x26c Specialized turbo sport tires on our Santana Arriva. I am wondering if these are adequate or if we should go to wider tires?
Strongly consider at least a true 32mm rear tire if your rim is wide enough (which I suspect it is - See: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html#width). For Avocet tires, run one size larger as their tires all run small, e.g., a 28mm is about 26mm; 32mm is about 29mm. Front could either be the same as rear or 28mm; all depends on how many spares you want to carry as you'll want to have at least one larger size available for the rear. LBS shops always have skinny tires on hand that can be used for the front.

Rationale: While more narrow tires are sometimes preferred for sport riding, a wider tire is the logical choice for all other types of riding and, in particular, touring. While a properly inflated, wide diameter tire will not "feel" as crisp through the corners as a narrow, high-pressure racing tire, it actually has more traction, it really doesn't suffer from an increased rolling resistance, it will out last the more narrow tire by a significant margin, and will be far more comfortable for both riders than a more more narrow tire that would have to be over-inflated to achieve the right "shape" for practical use while touring.

Some additional reading on tires:

Generally useful, tandem-specific advise from Mark Johnson:
http://www.precisiontandems.com/arttiresbymark.htm

General info on tires:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html
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Old 05-06-04, 07:05 AM   #4
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After reading this thread, I decided to see what would happed if I swapped out the 25mm tires that were on my tandem with 28mm tires. I really was surprised at the effect. The small increase in the tire size smoothed out the ride some and made the bike a little more stable. I think I will stick with these on the tandem and put the 25mm one on my road bike. I honestly didn't think it would make much difference.

John
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Old 05-09-04, 11:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by livngood
Strongly consider at least a true 32mm rear tire if your rim is wide enough (which I suspect it is - See: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html#width). For Avocet tires, run one size larger as their tires all run small, e.g., a 28mm is about 26mm; 32mm is about 29mm. Front could either be the same as rear or 28mm; all depends on how many spares you want to carry as you'll want to have at least one larger size available for the rear. LBS shops always have skinny tires on hand that can be used for the front.

Rationale: While more narrow tires are sometimes preferred for sport riding, a wider tire is the logical choice for all other types of riding and, in particular, touring. While a properly inflated, wide diameter tire will not "feel" as crisp through the corners as a narrow, high-pressure racing tire, it actually has more traction, it really doesn't suffer from an increased rolling resistance, it will out last the more narrow tire by a significant margin, and will be far more comfortable for both riders than a more more narrow tire that would have to be over-inflated to achieve the right "shape" for practical use while touring.

Some additional reading on tires:

Generally useful, tandem-specific advise from Mark Johnson:
http://www.precisiontandems.com/arttiresbymark.htm

General info on tires:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html
Thanks Mark and Brendon. I have found some conti top tour 2000s 700X32 I think I'll try those unless you guys have heard some bad stories about them.

Thanks again
Bob
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Old 05-09-04, 02:13 PM   #6
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A note of caution on handling with regard to tire size and loading: with equal-size tires, when turning on a consistent smooth surface the most heavily loaded tire will slide first. On a tandem where often the captain weighs more than the stoker, it's entirely possible that the front tire will slide first when turning. About all you can do then is apply the rear brake to choke off your stoker's full-power enthusiasm, and hope that either that balances the handling (which by itself will not necessarily keep you on the pavement) or slows you enough so that the front tire recovers traction.

It would be better not to have gotten in that situation in the first place (don't enter turns going too fast!), and that is precisely the point. Given a pretty low tongue-weight for a BOB, a fat tire in back, a skinny tire on the front, and a captain 80 lbs heavier than his stoker, it would be important to consider wheel loadings before unexpectedly challenging turns. If you get caught out in a rainstorm with a crosswind on oily smooth asphalt, deficiencies in wheel loading balance that were not apparent on dry pavement may make themselves all too evident.

My experience is that tandems on skinny tires take much longer to recover traction after losing it than singles. It's a good idea not to get into that situation in the first place.
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Old 05-10-04, 07:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gtscottie
I have found some conti top tour 2000s 700X32 I think I'll try those unless you guys have heard some bad stories about them.
It has been a mixed-bag with the Conti Top Touring. There have been numerous reports of sidewall problems over the years by some teams where others have never had any problems whatsoever. However, Continental's sidewall weakness issue was not unique to the Top Touring tire which is what gave rise to the creation of the Gatorskin tires. These continue to be quite popular with the tandem community as a few years back Santana encouraged Conti to offer a 700x28mm version of the tire by making it their OEM tire. Again, the constraint here is size in that the 28mm is the widest version of the Gatorskin offered.

So, I'm not sure what to tell you about the Top Touring. If you know you're hard on your sidewalls, i.e., clipping stones, debris or having to deal with lots of pot holes or large expansion joints or cracked pavement, this may not be the best tire selection. Then again, perhaps you'll never have a problem -- in which case, the Top Touring is reported a very nice tire.

The folks who seem to be very hard on tires continue to recommend the Panaracer Pasela. It's not necessarily a sporty tire, but its very durable and gives a long life. Not sure what Mark Johnson's web site may have to offer in this regard but I believe there may be a few other 32mm tire options.
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