Fully loaded touring in Europe - What tyre width please?
We are on the verge of deciding on a new tandem and would appreciate advice on the most appropriate tyre width for fully loaded (tenting all the way) touring in Europe. Surfaces wil be unsealed about 10% of the time and paths/tracks could involve sand, mud, large grade gravel and stones for virtually unavoidable stretches of 5 to 15 kms and more. We will be pulling a Bob Yak trailer.
While essentially about tyre width (front and back separately if needs be) would be interested in wheel size comments if linked to tyre width.
2011 Co-Motion Nor'Wester, 2007 Co-Mo Speedster copilot tandem
We have limited experience touring, but we did slog through some mud on our last trip.
For rough paved roads, dirt, and light gravel, the Schwalbe Marathons were fine for us. We used 700x35 size. We did slip and slide in the mud however.
If you really do plan to ride on large diameter gravel and significant mud, then I would suggest a tire with more tread. But probably more importantly, get as large of size tire as your frame can handle. Perhaps the Schwalbe Marathon Extreme or XR in 700x40 or larger.
Our tandem (co-motion speedster) wouldn't take larger tires and still have room fenders. Our only real complaint with the bike. If you are purchasing a tandem with plans to do a lot of rough routes, then I'd consider one with 26" wheels that will give you lots of clearance for mud and fenders.
We use Schwalbe 700 x 35 as our general purpose training tyre. They seem to be very puncture resistant and are ok on hard packed gravel. However if the gravel gets a bit bigger or loose and marbly they are not up to it. Loss of traction at the rear and lack of control on the front, with digging in, falling off etc. We now also have a MTB tandem with 2.2" Knobbies. This is far superior to the other bike/tyre when the surface gets tricky.