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Thread: Tire selection

  1. #1
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    Tire selection

    On my last tour, I used a set of Schwalbe Marathons (26x1.5), kept them at around 80-85psi, and got what I would consider far too many flats for what should be a "puncture resistant" tire. I also wasn't too happy with the rolling resistance and the weight of the tire (I'd've been fine with it if I didn't end the tour with 15 or so flats). I'm planning for another tour, and some new tires are in order, I think. I'm ok with giving Schwalbe another try (they certainly have a fair number of rave reviews here), but should I try the Supremes? Wallingford has the 26x1.6 size in stock, which would be the one I'd go for, but they're a bit pricey at $65 a pop (pun, of course, intended).

    So, Bike Forums, are the Supremes worth it after a bad experience with the vanilla Marathons? Was my bad experience a fluke? Any other good 26x~1.5 tires to try out? Thanks!

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Same experience as you. I had 10 flats in 2600 miles on a tour.
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    Assuming your touring pretty much on asphalt and you'll accept the occassional flat IMHO the Supreme is the best currently produced tire out there. If you want "zero" flats and better durability and are willing to suffer tires that are twice as heavy as the Supremes you'll want the Marathon Plus - which I would say is the best commuting tire available.

    However, if you can find Marathon XR's, they will be more durable, puncture resistant, and cheaper than the Supremes, but they'll be heavier and have less grip on wet surfaces. And I say this with 20k actual touring miles using combinations of the XR and Supremes.

    As to your "is it worth it" query, it depends on you. If you expect to see lots of bike shops in the course of your tour and you're not picky about what you use, then it could be argued that a succession of cheaper ($30 retail in a bike shop?) tires is better than one best quality tire that may or may not outlast them. Personally, I'd invest in the best tires to minimize potential downtime (such as searching for or hitching a ride to find bike shops) while on tour.

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    I've hear bad things about the marathons from other BF people. I use Vittoria's and haven't had an issue.

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    Are you using quality rim tape? I can't for the life of me imagine those numbers even running a cheap tire. I've run Vittoria and Conti's and schwalbe and never had anything close to those kinds of flats. Even running road race tires on my roadie I don't have anything close to those numbers.

    I'm not trying to argue here. I'm trying to figure out what you are doing different than me. At some point it's not about luck.

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    I've used the Marathon Pluses and find them way too heavy and not good on wet roads, though they didn't get any punctures on 1000+ mile tours. But, instead of puncture resistant boat anchors, I've switched to Ultra Gatorskins with tire liners. They are much lighter, grip better on wet roads (I live in SF and ride on many wet roads), and I still haven't had a flat, lately.

    In 2009, I rode over 1500 miles with a UG on my front tire. I now have UGs on both tires but haven't toured with one on the back yet.

    YMMV,

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    15 or so flats in how many miles? That seems over the top for a 600gram tire. Were all the flats identified as punctures through the tread?
    If you're riding over the same territory I wonder if a Supreme would make a huge difference other than lower rolling resistance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
    I've hear bad things about the marathons from other BF people. I use Vittoria's and haven't had an issue.
    Thanks for the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    As to your "is it worth it" query, it depends on you. If you expect to see lots of bike shops in the course of your tour and you're not picky about what you use, then it could be argued that a succession of cheaper ($30 retail in a bike shop?) tires is better than one best quality tire that may or may not outlast them. Personally, I'd invest in the best tires to minimize potential downtime (such as searching for or hitching a ride to find bike shops) while on tour.
    Yea, I'd hate to have to switch tires mid-tour. I'd like to stick with one good quality tire.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    Are you using quality rim tape? I can't for the life of me imagine those numbers even running a cheap tire. I've run Vittoria and Conti's and schwalbe and never had anything close to those kinds of flats. Even running road race tires on my roadie I don't have anything close to those numbers.

    I'm not trying to argue here. I'm trying to figure out what you are doing different than me. At some point it's not about luck.
    No worries, I'm trying to figure it out, too! It was the worst luck I had with flats ever. They were all puncture flats on the tread of the tire, so I don't think it was the rim (it was a new rim, anyway. Velox rim tape)

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    15 or so flats in how many miles? That seems over the top for a 600gram tire. Were all the flats identified as punctures through the tread?
    If you're riding over the same territory I wonder if a Supreme would make a huge difference other than lower rolling resistance.
    2560 miles. Flats were all punctures, and i made sure to check the tire for debris every time.

    Thanks for all the info. Anything else I could be doing? I did pick up more than half of these flats in the southwest. Maybe they just have terrible roads out there?

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    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketshipready View Post
    Thanks for the tip



    Yea, I'd hate to have to switch tires mid-tour. I'd like to stick with one good quality tire.



    No worries, I'm trying to figure it out, too! It was the worst luck I had with flats ever. They were all puncture flats on the tread of the tire, so I don't think it was the rim (it was a new rim, anyway. Velox rim tape)



    2560 miles. Flats were all punctures, and i made sure to check the tire for debris every time.

    Thanks for all the info. Anything else I could be doing? I did pick up more than half of these flats in the southwest. Maybe they just have terrible roads out there?
    Well I would have to say we can rule out rim tape... Can't think of anything better than Velox. Is it just possible that your under inflating and getting pinch flats? I would suggest adding 10-15 lbs of air if possible and see if that helps. Just on the rear when loaded. I'm guessing almost all your flats are on the rear?
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    My guess is that flats are more a function of the rider and where you ride than the tire. Some places just have more glass, more thorns, more rocks, and more assorted roadside debris than others. And some riders are better than others at missing this stuff.

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    Anyone use the Panaracer Tourguard tires? Thoughts?

    I like vittorias, but they are a PIA to mount, and I don't like sitting on the side of the road for 20 min just trying to get the tires on the rim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketshipready View Post
    2560 miles. Flats were all punctures, and i made sure to check the tire for debris every time.

    Thanks for all the info. Anything else I could be doing? I did pick up more than half of these flats in the southwest. Maybe they just have terrible roads out there?
    Sounds like location was the difference, any consistency in the puncture, glass or thorns? I wonder if the deep tread of the regular Marathon traps things.

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    Tires don't last for ever, even good ones. I think it depends more on where you ride than anything else.

    I've just replaced the rear tire on my bike again. This was a Marathon that was new in September, and it lasted 1100 miles. I've had about five flats in that time. Riding home on Friday it developed a bulge that proved to be an inch long gash along the edge of the tread. I rode it for a while, but around a mile from home it was pushing out a big bubble of my slime liner, and I thought it might blow any minute, so I let out the air and walked the rest of the way. There were three other gashes in the tread of the tire, but these didn't go through the casing. It's predecessor, also a Marathon, had lasted only since July. Before that, I had gone through two Primo Comets. That's four tires in 15 months, averaging less than 1000 miles per tire.

    My new tire is a Maxxis Hookworm. Wish it luck!

    Edit, forgot to mention, this was on my commuter bike. I have better luck touring!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    Anyone use the Panaracer Tourguard tires? Thoughts?

    I like vittorias, but they are a PIA to mount, and I don't like sitting on the side of the road for 20 min just trying to get the tires on the rim.
    I've been riding the Tourguards for the past 3 years and have been extremely happy. I don't seem prone to flats, but I've only flatted twice with these in about 7k miles of mixed surface riding. I even carried a spare last year when one tire was aging, but it survived 3 days of rough, fast, loaded, trail bouncing and is still on the bike on the trainer this winter. I ride the 700x32, wet handling seems sure and they roll smoother then the comparable Continental they replaced.

    I've heard complaints of weak sidewalls on the Panas, but not in my experience.

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