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  1. #1
    jvw
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    Touring Tires Dirt/Paved Roads

    I'm looking for a 26 inch tire to tour on dirt roads and paved roads on the same trip. I've seen the Continental Travel Contact Tire (26x1.75). Any experience with these tires? Or any other suggestions. In the distant past I've use Continental Goliaths. Thanks JVW.

  2. #2
    Senior Member eric von zipper's Avatar
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    Have you looked at Schwalbe's line of Marathon tires?
    Surly Cross Check, Thorn Sherpa

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    The Nimbus 1.5 tires are good for dirt roads IMO. They have a kevlar belt in them and can go up to 80PSI. Previously I had been using the Armadillo Hemisphere 1.95. Awesome tire. I had nails go in them and the nail heads just bent, no flat. They also have the kevlar and their sidewall protection seems better than that of the Nimbus. I prefer the Nimbus cause you can get going faster in them. Unless the dirt road has lots of gravel on it I would use the Nimbus, for a gravel road with lots of pointy rocks I would switch to the Armadillo at around 65PSI.

    happy touring!

  4. #4
    Senior Member hockey's Avatar
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    Continental Town and Country, 1.9. Pretty good all rounder.
    Hockey

  5. #5
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Conti Travel contacts are THE BOMB for mixed road touring, IMO. I've used them extensively on tours that combine paved with significant gravel & dirt roads and find them mos' excellent.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  6. #6
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    My two cents on the Specialized tires. The Nimbus is an excellent road tire that will do fine off-road as long as it's used over hardpack, but hit a steep climb over loose ground and your back wheel will spin like on a turbo trainer with zero forward motion. The Hemi is not as smooth on the road and traction is only marginally better (IMO, the only improvement over the Nimbus is the wider size).
    Roberto

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  7. #7
    Senior Member velo2000's Avatar
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    I have a TravelContact on the front wheel of my commuter. Used it all winter on snow, ice and pavement and it handled pretty well. I did get a couple flats this winter though, caused by slivers of glass being pushed through the tire. That was disappointing. I plan on buying some Schwalbe Marathon Pluses for my touring bike to hopefully avoid all flats for my 3.5 month tour this summer.

    Edit: after reading post below, let me say I've been very happy with Conti tires on my road bike. The sidewalls do seem to dry out a bit, especially if subjected to temperature extremes. But for flat-proof touring tires, I'll try the Schwalbes based on glowing reviews on this forum. On my road bike, I'll stick with Contis.
    Last edited by velo2000; 03-12-07 at 06:57 PM.

  8. #8
    Hooked on Touring
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    I had sidewall splitting problems with a pair of Contis I bought. Granted I bought them in Fairbanks and they might have been damaged by storage at minus 60.
    Or maybe it was just one bad batch.
    But I'll avoid Contis from now on.
    I've had great luck with Armadillos.
    Found some Vredesteins on sale last year and love them. (Holland)
    Never heard of them before and probably won't be able to afford them in the future.

  9. #9
    One Hep Cat Joe Dog's Avatar
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    I have had really good luck with Ritchey Tom Slicks (26 x 1). I used that a lot for commuter and Anchorage Trail Watch duties for two years, and they did just fine on dirt and pavement. I never took it on more extreme or techincal trails with them, but for bombing along on dirt and gravel they did great. Also, I never had a flat despite running over several beer bottles in the dark.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sebach's Avatar
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    I used the Conti Travel Contacts 26x1.75" for my longest tour (3 months) and loved them in the dirt. I found the tread to be grippy on pretty much any surface. With some pressure adjustments, I was pretty much at home in everything from RV/Jeep trails, rail-to-trail and of course, pavement. However, I found them to be slightly fast-wearing and had to change them around the 4000km mark. I didn't get a single flat in over 8000km so they were perfect for what I wanted from them: multi-surface touring with minimal flats. I will use them again.

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    Conti Travel Contacts have weak sidewalls for a touring tyre.

    The gold standard offroad touring tyre is the Schwalbe Marathon XR, available in 1.6", 2.0" and 2.25". They cope well enough on road if you pump them up to the max. pressure.

    I've got a set of 2.25" that have already covered 9000km and I think I'll easily get the same distance again. The front still looks almost new.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gqsmoothie
    Unless the dirt road has lots of gravel on it I would use the Nimbus, for a gravel road with lots of pointy rocks I would switch to the Armadillo at around 65PSI.
    Haven't used the Nimbus but have VERY good experience with the Armadillos. In fact run them as knobbies on MTB, street slicks on converted MTB and as 700 x 32's on my Surly LHT! The 700 x 32's will pump up to 100 psi and ride over just about anything.
    centexwoody
    They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.

  13. #13
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    Lots of good tires out there.... but I see nothing wrong with Conti travel contact tires. Lots of people tour with these all over the world (very popular tire in Germany)

    I like to buy tires locally. If the sidewall blows out in 500 miles, take them back and politely ask the bike shop for a good deal on a repalcement tire.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    I like to buy tires locally. If the sidewall blows out in 500 miles, take them back and politely ask the bike shop for a good deal on a repalcement tire.
    + 1 - that's why I ride the Armadillos because my LBS sells a lot of them...
    centexwoody
    They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.

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    I've got Travel Contacts on two different bikes and I've found them fantastic. One bike has had them on for 4 years (about 5000km), with minimal wear, great durability and few flats. I love the tire.

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    depending upon which way i go it is 6-8 km to a paved road, in between are various forms
    of dirt, gravel and sandy roads. right now most of them are covered with a messy mix of
    ice, mud and ooze, this eve many spots were so soft my bike sank in deeper than the
    tire/rim. each year i travel over 2000 km on this mix of road riding on regular Schwalbe marathon tires.
    they are suprisingly effective on sandy/dirt roads with good resistance to stone bruises. these
    tires just plain get the job done, please be forewarned- i'm biased about these tires as i've had
    great luck with them for more than a decade. use the 47 or 50 mm width, wish they made a 54.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by badsac
    I've got Travel Contacts on two different bikes and I've found them fantastic. One bike has had them on for 4 years (about 5000km), with minimal wear, great durability and few flats. I love the tire.
    Did you notice they are a lot narrower than advertised? I bought a set of 37s and they measured 33 mm.

  18. #18
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    I think Contis run narrow as a rule.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac
    Did you notice they are a lot narrower than advertised? I bought a set of 37s and they measured 33 mm.
    Tell you the truth I never really thought about it. Their traction, ride, and durability were good so that's all I thought about.

  20. #20
    Cyclist acidinmylegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    I think Contis run narrow as a rule.
    That's been my experience.

  21. #21
    One Hep Cat Joe Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    I think Contis run narrow as a rule.
    That's funny. I thought that usually tires ran wider than advertised because narrower is cooler. I'll measure my Conti's and see...

  22. #22
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dog
    That's funny. I thought that usually tires ran wider than advertised because narrower is cooler. I'll measure my Conti's and see...
    Nope. They almost always run narrower because you can market your brand X tire as being lighter than a brand Y tire of the same nominal width - your tire being lighter not because it uses space-age technology but simply because it is 2mm or more narrower, and is just plain smaller! It's a slimy marketing game that I hear is far less common than it used to be (I've only been in the cycling world a few short years), but I dunno. Panaracer is another offender in this regard, at least in my experience.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidinmylegs
    That's been my experience.
    I always thought so too. But, 4 mm seems a lot. I'm not sure how to buy Continentals now. I have some Grand Prix 4 Season tires by Continental. They say 28 on them but they measure as 30. I emailed Continental and didn't get a reply. Other brands I have seem to measure exactly what they are listed as.
    Last edited by rmac; 03-22-07 at 06:12 PM.

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