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Old 01-06-06, 10:31 AM   #1
wintermute
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Good All-Around Tires

First off, yes I did several searches, and it didn't help. So, getting that out of the way...

What's a good tire for general road touring, that I can also use to hop onto grass or ride on dirt trails (nothing technical, comrpised mostly of good ol' Long Island well-packed sand and gravel). I'm looking to get a Volpe w/ fenders, so probably 35-37 mm width would be max. I would probably switch out these tires for something like 32 mm Schwalbe Marathons for (somewhat) faster centuries and such. Is something like a Panaracer Pasella/ Conti Contact/ Schwalbe Marathon ok for this type of riding? or should I go w/ something w/ more bite like Marathon XRs or Conti TravelContacts?
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Old 01-06-06, 12:52 PM   #2
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Conti Top Touring 2000s are on closeout at a number of places, I would suggest those. There's plenty of tread for dirt and gravel and they're fairly smooth on the road. You may want a more off-road specific tyre for sand, depending on how much there is. The handling of my TT2000 is poor in anything more than very light sand.
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Old 01-06-06, 01:32 PM   #3
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My take and what I use. These tires are great on or off road.

http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking/p/COMPTRCR/TR3060
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Old 01-06-06, 08:07 PM   #4
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I would look for something with an inverted tread design, ie. the cutouts go in, not outward, so on hard surfaces it is like being on a slick or semi-slick, for efficiency, but when you get onto a softer surface, the inverted tread offers more grip than a slick. I use the Conti Town and Country for that purpose in a 26", and the Avocet Cross K in 700. I love both of these tires and the reviews are also great on them. I also ran some Specialized Nimbus Armadillos on my 520 last year and they roll real good on pavement, are invincible to glass and thorns, but not quite as good on the soft stuff.
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Old 01-06-06, 10:49 PM   #5
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I'm biased for continental tires, so I'd vote for the travel contacts...the euro website gives Max PSI on the 37c Travel Contacts at about 100 PSI if i'm remembering it right. They roll fast on my LHT, and gave good grip on a 150 mile overnight wintery blitzkreig last month. www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=160430
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Old 01-07-06, 04:58 AM   #6
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I use Marathon 28mm as my general purpose commuting/utility tyre and ride in all weathers and on rough pot-holed roads. It is quite generously sized and the 32 should be sufficiently wide for touring.
I would not class the Marathon as a fast centrury tyre, even the 28 is heavier than neccessary but I wouldnt swap it out for such a ride.
The Plus version is a whole lot tougher and more puncture resistant and much heavier.
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Old 01-07-06, 11:20 AM   #7
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I'm riding a different wheel diameter than you but use Marathons. (standard, not "Slick, XR, Plus" etc)

I've hopped off the road and gone across parks, packed clay and gravel tracks, bit of forest trail. If your riding is biased toward road, I'd recommend the Marathons and just lower the pressure a bit when you go off-road.

I wouldn't recommend this but I've ridden over broken glass, sharp rocks and scrap metal with regular Marathons too and they just kept on going. (I'm 230lbs so they weren't being given an easy ride)

The Marathon Plus has a built in liner - it's pegged as an urban tire as it'll absorb a thumbtack without puncture. It's not billed as a touring tire as that liner increases RR a lot. (I'm told)

The XR has a kevlar liner that's supposed to repel thorns - a true expedition tire for ROUGH areas. I might ride one IF I were going into an area with a lot of thorns. (Texas? Australia? I don't know...)

Conversely, I've heard the Stelvios and Contis are fast but more prone to damage than Marathons making them better suited to racing, not touring or general use. If I save five minutes on a century because of a fast tire but spend 5 minutes changing a flat, I'd rather have just had the durable tire to begin with.

EDIT: in fairness to Conti users, I went back and looked at the notes I'd kept. It was "Grand Prix" Contis I'd heard of the problems with, not the Top Touring model. (also, the ones I'd been tracking were 406mm eg: 'bent and folder tires...) Sidewalls wearing out seemed to be the recurring theme.
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Old 01-07-06, 05:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
Conversely, I've heard the Stelvios and Contis are fast but VERY prone to damage making them better suited to racing, not touring or general use. If I save five minutes on a century because of a fast tire but spend 5 minutes changing a flat, I'd rather have just had the durable tire to begin with.
I can't recall having a flat with Conti Top Touring tires for at least 6 years.
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Old 01-07-06, 07:15 PM   #9
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Unfortunately I've had three flats in the last month with my Conti TT's I still recommend them. I've had my tires for a year and a half and the flats are from construction grade staples.
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Old 01-07-06, 07:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by hotwheels
Unfortunately I've had three flats in the last month with my Conti TT's I still recommend them. I've had my tires for a year and a half and the flats are from construction grade staples.
Sounds like you need some Marathon Plus tires.
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Old 01-07-06, 08:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
The Marathon Plus has a built in liner - it's pegged as an urban tire as it'll absorb a thumbtack without puncture. It's not billed as a touring tire as that liner increases RR a lot. (I'm told)
The Marathon Plus 700x28s I run (they actually measure 30mm wide on my rims) have a lot of inertia (ie: takes extra effort to get them rolling, but takes less effort to KEEP them rolling), but they feel like a very low rolling resistance tire to me. My previous recent experience is limited to Panaracer Pasela TG, Schwalbe Marathon Slick and Specialized Armadillo Nimbus EX. The Plus seems to roll as easily as the Panaracers and Marathon Slicks and FAR easier than the Armadillos.

I like 'em and would be totally satisfied with them for my commuting needs if they weren't so incredibly hard to mount. I've had one flat with them, but that was caused by a 2" nail that would have flatted anything with air in it.
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Old 01-08-06, 02:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
I would not class the Marathon as a fast centrury tyre, even the 28 is heavier than neccessary but I wouldnt swap it out for such a ride.
I guess i should've put faster in quotes. I meant centruries or brevets that I might push a little harder and faster on, but not try to keep up w/ anyone on their 19 pound road rockets.

Thanks for everyone's help. Still not sure what I want, but I think I might stay away from the Contis because they seem to have some quality control issues - some people get awesome tires that last forever, some tires crap out pretty quickly. The Ritchey Alphabite that was suggest looks like just what the doctor ordered, except for no puncture protection (I was cruising around town today on my old beater mountain bike w/ armadillo hemisphere and had to run over plenty of glass).
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Old 01-10-06, 04:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wintermute
I think I might stay away from the Contis because they seem to have some quality control issues
Of all the tyres I've tried (10+ different models/brands) the only one I keep retuning to is Conti. I've had bad experiences with many companies, like Vittoria and Bontrager. The only, and I mean only, issue I have with Conti is that the sidewalls wear out before the tread (okay, they can be hard to mount sometimes too). I find that they have the very best QC in the industry and is the only company I trust enough for use during serious touring.
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Old 01-10-06, 05:16 PM   #14
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The Panaracer Pasela TG is pretty good - inexpensive, pretty sticky, seem to roll pretty easily. The tread has a Kevlar belt that does a good job of preventing punctures. The sidewalls are unprotected - not usually a problem, but I got a nasty tear in one of them on tour. I've found that they're vulnerable to pinch flats when carrying a touring load, though, so you need to keep the pressure up. All in all, you can probably do better, but they're decent tires for a good price ($20-$25 apiece).
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Old 01-10-06, 10:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotwheels
Unfortunately I've had three flats in the last month with my Conti TT's I still recommend them. I've had my tires for a year and a half and the flats are from construction grade staples.
Sounds like you need some Marathon Plus tires. (chipcom)

Or a magnet out front!

Conti was my brand 'till I got ahold of the Marathons. Very stable tire on or off road.
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Old 01-10-06, 10:45 PM   #16
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I just ordered two Schwalbe Marathons. After reading these posts and others around the net, I decided against the contis. Besides the stories of sidewall damage, the fact that they are now a close out item doesn't sit too well with me.
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Old 01-10-06, 11:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
I can't recall having a flat with Conti Top Touring tires for at least 6 years.
Chipcom,
In fairness to Conti users, I went back and looked at the notes I'd kept when I was tire shopping.
It was "Grand Prix" Contis in 28-406 I'd heard of the problems with, not the "Top Touring" line.
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Old 01-11-06, 08:39 AM   #18
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I've read about a few instances of the TT 2k's sidewalls failing. Haven't heard much on it's replacement, the Contact, but it seems more road-biased than the TTs. I spoke to the LBS about taking Marathons on the local trails while holding one in my hands and she said they didn't have enough tread. So I think I'm down to either the Marathon XRs or the Conti TravelContacts. Looks like I can get the older model XRs for a reasonable price @ PerformanceBike, but I can't find anywhere in the U.S. that sells the TravelContacts in 700c.
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