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Thread: Touring tires

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    Senior Member undisputed83's Avatar
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    Touring tires

    I created a thread about the possibility of touring on a racing bike, because it'll probably be the only big tour I plan to do. Which will be a trans am. Other said they planned to tour on their racing bikes, which to me was encouraging... but after looking at the pics of everyone's touring bikes... they all have big thick tires...

    So I'm wondering... what type of tires should I switch to? I doubt I'm going to want the stock tires, which are really light and thin. BUT... I don't want to compromise my speed, which will also reduce the miles I'll cover in a day. What should I do?

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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Not trying to be an arse, but if you would use the search function above and put in "tires" in the "touring" specific section , you would have enough reading to keep you busy for the next couple of days.

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    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    Alot of people liek the Schwalbe Marathons but I am fascinated with all of my Specialized tires. The Infinities with Armadillo skin or Flapjacks tech is great. Also the Nimbus Elites armadillo skins are superb tires. Thousands of miles and not even a slow leak. They handle the crossover between road and towpath flawlessly.
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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by undisputed83 View Post
    I created a thread about the possibility of touring on a racing bike, because it'll probably be the only big tour I plan to do. Which will be a trans am. Other said they planned to tour on their racing bikes, which to me was encouraging... but after looking at the pics of everyone's touring bikes... they all have big thick tires...

    So I'm wondering... what type of tires should I switch to? I doubt I'm going to want the stock tires, which are really light and thin. BUT... I don't want to compromise my speed, which will also reduce the miles I'll cover in a day. What should I do?
    What bike are you riding?
    What is the largest size tire it can handle?
    Are you planning on using fenders?

    Without knowing the answers to those questions, I'll make the assumption that you are not using fenders and the largest tire you have clearance for is a 700x28. I'd recommend the Continental Top Contact in 700x28, folding. They are tough, but still fairly light and roll well. Pricey too...but worth every penny IMO (I commute on the daily and will be using them the next time I tour...as the replacement for the trusty Top Touring tires they replaced).

    FYI, when touring, worry more about getting there than how fast you get there.
    Last edited by chipcom; 10-28-09 at 05:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by undisputed83 View Post
    I created a thread about the possibility of touring on a racing bike, because it'll probably be the only big tour I plan to do. Which will be a trans am. Other said they planned to tour on their racing bikes, which to me was encouraging... but after looking at the pics of everyone's touring bikes... they all have big thick tires...

    So I'm wondering... what type of tires should I switch to? I doubt I'm going to want the stock tires, which are really light and thin. BUT... I don't want to compromise my speed, which will also reduce the miles I'll cover in a day. What should I do?
    I haven't kept up on your parameters but how far and how fast do you ride already on an unladen road bike?

    People have big thick tires because they are appropriate for carrying a heavy load, you don't see big trucks with 14" wheels either.

    If you don't average more than 15mph it's academic. If you want to approximate that average then you should keep your load as light as possible and as aerodynamic as possible, no panniers, everything within the airflow of your body and you're in an aerodynamic posture.

    If you can't keep up a fast average pace on an unladen bike for a full days riding you sure won't when loaded down with 15-40lbs.

    When I was light, 145lbs, and fit I rode on light 700x28 tires and never carried more than 20lbs. Now I'm fat and ride an average just a couple mph faster than when I was 15 riding a 38lb 5spd Schwinn Collegiate. I'm capable of riding a lot faster for short distances but my average for all day riding isn't much faster.

    So the short answer is get the tires appropriate to the load. How much do you, the bike and gear weigh?
    Last edited by LeeG; 10-27-09 at 10:18 AM.

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    Senior Member undisputed83's Avatar
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    I plan on purchasing the Scott CR1 Elite. Which has extremely light tires (For stock tires). And I usually average in the 15-17mph range. And my goal is a century a day. Though I'd settle for the 70-80 mile range if I had to. I know as I approach the rockies... I won't be doing a century per day...

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    Do you average 15-17mph for 20miles, 80 miles or 100miles?

    If you have not averaged 15mph for 75-100 miles for sequential days you won't while touring let alone while carrying gear. Most folks figured out pretty quick that trying to make the most distance for a given motor is best achieved by sitting on the bike longer than riding faster. Pushing aerobic limits for non-racers leads to injury and forced rest days.

    This is a round about way of saying it doesn't matter what kind of tires you have regarding the most efficient speed as it'll be your motor and willingness to sit on your butt that will determine distance covered. Get the largest durable tire that can fit on there. Continental Gatorskins would work.

    I just looked, the Scott CR1 Elite is a 17lb all carbon road bike. Are you serious for an unsupported tour? Hopefully the frame can take a 28mm tire or you weigh under 150lbs.

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    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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    Gatorskins, Vittoria Rands, Armadillos. I'd suggest 700x28's if you want a more comfortable ride. It all depends on how much you're carrying and how much credit carding you are doing. 100 per day is completely doable. There's many naysayers on the distance department online. I don't know that I'd personally go with carbon, but that's me. There's plenty of steel frame / carbon fork combos that could better suit, especially if you want to carry any gear (my Bianchi Imola has rear eyelets for a rack. Most days I averaged 20/mph over ~80 miles per day carrying a very minimal load [i.e. what you'd carry for CC touring]). I'm not trying to persuade you out of carbon though. Generally that's a hard sell for someone sold for carbon for whatever their reasons are. Almost fanatic-like .
    http://bygonebicyclist.com
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    I have always used marathons plus, but to be honest they are heavy going but as far as I am concerned puncture proof, as I have never had one with these....but am now considering the supremes but have my weather eye on armadillos as well.............I will see. My next tour will be the baltic states and I might just change to another type,

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    The Trans Am is over 4000 miles. Durability should be your first concern and you might not be able to fit a 28mm tire.

    I did the Southern Tier on a road bike with 25mm Armadillos. The rear tire fell apart just as I entered Florida. If were to do it again knowing what I know now I would run Schwalbe Durano or Durano Pluses. http://schwalbetires.com/durano

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    Senior Member undisputed83's Avatar
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    I hope to find a medium. I want to cover as much ground as I can in two or three months. So I'll want slick enough tires. I'm also going to tow a bob trailer... so I think that will put less stress on the weight of the bike anyway...

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    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Should you go sag, its not a problem . You'll then just be looking for endurance. Should you put panniers on a race bike, that changes things.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living









    ^ Since June 16, 2011

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    Sag?

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    Bike touring webrarian
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    Tires are a perennial topic on bike touring boards (right behind what kind of bike should I buy). This page has 18 links to information about touring tires and tubes. While not all of these links will be of interest to you, there are several that point to detailed bike touring tire discussions and other pages.

    I started using Continential Touring tires but then I read several stories about quality problems. I switched to Schwalbe tires after reading about them here and on other boards. I found the Schwalbe tires to be puncture proof and long wearing but very heavy, not good with wet surfaces, and sluggish.

    I have now switched to Ultra Gatorskins with tire liners on both wheels. I haven't toured with one on the back wheel but haven't had a puncture on the front wheel yet.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Continental GP 4 Seasons might be worth considering. They are available in 700 x 28, yet are very light (250g). The have kevlar/aramid belts are supposed to be about as durable as Gatorskins but higher performance. Gatorskins are very hard to find in folding version (kevlar beads) in larger sizes, so you would save a lot of weight with the 4 Seasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by undisputed83 View Post
    I hope to find a medium. I want to cover as much ground as I can in two or three months. So I'll want slick enough tires. I'm also going to tow a bob trailer... so I think that will put less stress on the weight of the bike anyway...
    the tires won't matter compared to your ability to maintain X power output over Y time on the bike. Sure thick tread tires like the Marathon Plus are slow and super fast rolling racing tires will have more frequent flats but if you aren't riding fast it's all academic anyway. In other words what happens if you travel 80.01 miles instead of 80miles because you used fast rolling tires. Or you traveled 80.01 miles riding "slow" tires by sitting on the bike another minute?

    If you wanted to cover as much ground as possible travel with the bare minimum of gear, no panniers and no trailer. You'll go up hills a lot quicker carrying 15lbs on the bike than towing a 17lb trailer with 15lbs of gear.

    But if you're going to use a trailer and are concerned about 1% differences make sure to put a low rolling resistance tire on the trailer and keep everything inflated correctly.

    Just out of curiosity why do you want to cover as much ground as possible?

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    >Sag?

    Supported. That is, with a support car (aka "sag wagon") following you. This is a good option for kids, the cowardly, the mentally weak, and those with obsessive overbearing partners.

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    Senior Member yeamac's Avatar
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    For my touring bike I chose Vittoria Randonneur Hyper Tires. Good compromise between weight (350g) and durability, but smallest size they come in is 32c, which will certainly not fit on a racing bike.

    My riding partner has a Trek 520 and is sold on the Bontrager Hard Case tires in size 28c. He used to get a lot of flats but now has virtually eliminated them with this tire. Might serve you well.

    I understand your only having one bike and wanting to use a trailer, but I think it is a myth if you think pulling a trailer on a racing bike is going to be faster than riding a bike more suited for touring and not having a trailer. I sold my road bike and bought a Cannondale Touring 2 as my primary road bike, going from 25c to 32c tires, and a 24 pound to 32 pound bike, and found on my century rides I am no slower on the touring bike. Not to mention a touring bike with wider tires is going to be more comfortable day after day, meaning you'll be able to cover more miles. Just some food for thought.
    Last edited by yeamac; 10-28-09 at 07:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    >Sag?

    Supported. That is, with a support car (aka "sag wagon") following you. This is a good option for kids, the cowardly, the mentally weak, and those with obsessive overbearing partners.
    Support And Gear

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    Just out of curiosity why do you want to cover as much ground as possible?
    Incase I want to go back to school in the fall semester. I think I'm going to take my own route across the country to the pacific. And then I'll go all the way up the pacific coast to Alaska. Back down across Canada to Nova Scotia. Then take the "Cat" across the Gulf of Maine. And bike the last 20 miles to my house from the Marine Terminal in Portland Harbor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by undisputed83 View Post
    I plan on purchasing the Scott CR1 Elite. Which has extremely light tires (For stock tires). And I usually average in the 15-17mph range. And my goal is a century a day. Though I'd settle for the 70-80 mile range if I had to. I know as I approach the rockies... I won't be doing a century per day...
    That's great you want to crank the miles, more power to you. I did that when I first toured but now learned to really enjoy it by taking time to explore each town and people. Don't forget to look around. Have a great trip!

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    Quote Originally Posted by undisputed83 View Post
    Incase I want to go back to school in the fall semester. I think I'm going to take my own route across the country to the pacific. And then I'll go all the way up the pacific coast to Alaska. Back down across Canada to Nova Scotia. Then take the "Cat" across the Gulf of Maine. And bike the last 20 miles to my house from the Marine Terminal in Portland Harbor.
    You plan on doing that entire ride in 2-3 months?

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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by undisputed83 Incase I want to go back to school in the fall semester. I think I'm going to take my own route across the country to the pacific. And then I'll go all the way up the pacific coast to Alaska. Back down across Canada to Nova Scotia. Then take the "Cat" across the Gulf of Maine. And bike the last 20 miles to my house from the Marine Terminal in Portland Harbor.

    You plan on doing that entire ride in 2-3 months?


    It'll be a piece of cake, contact Flyin Ryan if you need a partner
    .

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    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    I still stay with my 2 suggestions from my personal experience. I ride on 700x32s.
    Bontrager Race Lite (Triple Hardcase - 100~100psi)


    Specialized Infinity with Flapjack or Armadillo Protection

    I also have one of these tires with reflective stripe. Which Helps a TON for touring visibility. Like I said about 1500 miles on both sets and absolutely not 1 slow leak, flat, or problems with Wear.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by undisputed83 View Post
    And I usually average in the 15-17mph range. And my goal is a century a day. Though I'd settle for the 70-80 mile range if I had to. I know as I approach the rockies... I won't be doing a century per day...
    Being very generous with my numbers, that's bare minimum 9000 miles in no more than 90 days, and unless my 3rd grade math fails me, I don't think you get the luxury of 80 mile days.

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