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  1. #1
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    Narrow touring tires

    I've got about a week of touring on unpaved roads. I will be riding my Specialized Seqouia Elite. Currently I've got Specialized Pros on board. I am looking for a 25c tire that's got some tread. Does this critter exist?

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    Schwalbe makes a Marathon in 25mm, but it is not widely available, best i can tell. I got a couple of them from Wiggle, but can't find them now.

    Harris lists Panaracer Pasela TG tires in 25mm.

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    tread won't do anything on unpaved roads (or on any other surface)

    if you can't fit knobbies you'll just have to get the widest slick tyre that you can fit and use the lowest pressure that keeps the tyres on

  4. #4
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Narrow touring tires



    You mean, like, racing tires?

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I've done almost all my tours with 700x25 Conti Ultrasport tires. Almost. The bits of my touring where I haven't used the 700x25 Conti Ultrasports, I've used a 700x23 Hutchison folding tire.

    Neither was particularly thick with tread, but they worked.

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    +1 for the 25 mm regular Schwalbe marathon,
    provides a little tread pattern for stability when you hit those soft mushy spots among the gravel.
    ride long & prosper

  7. #7
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    I used to tour on 23 mm or 25 mm slicks, even on gravel roads. So I know it is possible. But in retrospect, I would not characterize the ride as particularly pleasant! Over the years, I have gradually increased the tire width to 32 mm, and find that I feel more stable on rough roads.

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    Thanks for the quick responses. I placed an order for a pair of 25c Schwalbe marathons from Chainreaction. They carry their whole line in stock. I did have a tough time finding the 25's. They look ideal for my conditions.

  9. #9
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    I have the Schwabe's on my Waterford - you'll love them. I use to use Conti's 2000 still a good tire not available anymore though

  10. #10
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    I'm really in awe of the people here claiming to have toured on 25mm tires, and I'm even more surprised that nobody here is raising a red flag when someone is talking about TOURING for A WEEK, on UNPAVED ROADS with 25C tires. I see I've arrived too late, and that the original poster has already purchased tires (good choice on the Schwalbe Marathons). I did just check the Specialized website, and the Sequoia Elite seems to have been designed to not accept wide tires, so maybe that is the limiting factor for the original poster...but I'll rant anyway...

    I guess if you're a small guy touring on very smooth roads without a load and a bicycle incapable of fitting anything wider than 25c, then 25c tires would be okay. On the other hand, it sounds like he's going to have a very harsh ride. Depending on the conditions of the "unpaved" road, the weight of the touring load he's carrying, and the speed that this rider will be going, this could be anywhere from terrifically uncomfortable to frighteningly dangerous.

    Am I wrong? Lets argue about this.
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  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I not only claim to have toured on 25mm tires ... I have indeed toured on 25mm tires. All my tours have been on 25mm tires. And why not? Most of my tours have been on paved roads but I have ridden unpaved roads with them too. They were great on the paved roads ... no problems at all. They weren't quite as good on the few unpaved roads I've ridden, but I try to avoid unpaved roads whenever possible.

    I am a smallish woman who carriesa fairly good-sized load on tours.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
    I'm really in awe of the people here claiming to have toured on 25mm tires, and I'm even more surprised that nobody here is raising a red flag when someone is talking about TOURING for A WEEK, on UNPAVED ROADS with 25C tires. I see I've arrived too late, and that the original poster has already purchased tires (good choice on the Schwalbe Marathons). I did just check the Specialized website, and the Sequoia Elite seems to have been designed to not accept wide tires, so maybe that is the limiting factor for the original poster...but I'll rant anyway...

    I guess if you're a small guy touring on very smooth roads without a load and a bicycle incapable of fitting anything wider than 25c, then 25c tires would be okay. On the other hand, it sounds like he's going to have a very harsh ride. Depending on the conditions of the "unpaved" road, the weight of the touring load he's carrying, and the speed that this rider will be going, this could be anywhere from terrifically uncomfortable to frighteningly dangerous.

    Am I wrong? Lets argue about this.
    I, too, can argue from the perspective of having toured on 25C tyres, and they are fine. When I did so, I was 85kg in bodyweight, and carried a moderate amount of gear. And even did it in fixed-gear mode. And rode rough gravel roads, although that is not something I particularly enjoyed.

    Harshness of ride, for me, is more a function of air pressure than anything else.

    I've also toured on 32mm tyres (and my touring bike is currently fitted with Schwalbe Marathons, too), and even 26 x 1.75s. I wouldn't opt now for wider than 32mm on 700C or 26".

    My point is that given the limiting factor of chainstay width at the BB and perhaps the fork crown, touring can be done on 25C comfortably and loaded for self-supported touring. In my experience...
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  13. #13
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    Ok, I can see where ya'll are coming from. I've always toured using 32-35mm tires, and I've never had any frame or fork related restrictions on my wheel size. I've never gotten flats, always been comfortable, always had stellar handling on all surfaces with heavy loads, and I've never felt the slightest hesitation to go on rough gravel roads (I'd go as far as saying I like them more than paved roads!). I guess because of my good experiences with the wider tires I'd never even considered that touring on 25mm tires would make sense.

    Would you say that its a choice you've made due to fork/chainstay/seatstay size restrictions, or one based on performance? How would you compare the feel/ride quality/frequency of flats with a heavy load on 25mm vs., say, 32mm or 35mm tires on the same frame?

    Anyhow, thanks for enlightening me.
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  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
    Would you say that its a choice you've made due to fork/chainstay/seatstay size restrictions, or one based on performance? How would you compare the feel/ride quality/frequency of flats with a heavy load on 25mm vs., say, 32mm or 35mm tires on the same frame?.
    In my case, I purchased a sport-touring bicycle with the intent of doing ultradistance cycling (randonneuring, 24-hour races, etc.) AND touring. And that's exactly what I did.

    In 2003, I cycled in England and then France on the way to the Paris-Brest-Paris, rode the Paris-Brest-Paris, and then did a cycling tour in England and Wales for about 10 days after. In 2004, I spent 3 months cycling around Australia on a tour ... I rode 3800 km on the touring portion of those 3 months. Toward the end of the first month, I rode a 1200 km randonnee - the Great Southern Randonnee. All up, I cycled 5000 km during those 3 months. In 2005, Rowan and I did a cycling tour into the Canadian Rockies, then caught a plane to Iowa where we rode a 24-hour race, then rented a car and drove across to Colorado where we rode the Last Chance 1200 km Randonnee. In 2007 we spent a month cycling around France, Belgium, a little bit of England and a dip into Germany. In addition to the tour we started the Paris-Brest-Paris with the intent of finishing it, of course, but ended up DNFing at about 400 km.

    When I tour, the tour is often surrounding a long distance event. I want the bicycle to be light enough, with efficient enough tires to be able to be reasonably brisk on the long distance event, and strong enough to haul gear for the touring part.

    I found my sport touring bicycle fit the bill nicely. As it happened, I could have put 28 tires on that bicycle, but opted to go with 25s most of the time. I've never ridden with wider tires on a road bicycle, and in fact, on the Australian tour, in the middle of the Great Southern Randonnee, I flatted for a second time and switched to a 23 folding tire ... which I finished the event on, rode for the remaining 2 months of the tour on, and rode on during the winter in Canada, when I returned to Canada after the tour. As spring approached, I removed that tire so I could carry it with me on my long rides as a spare and returned to 25 tires.

    As for the load I carried, all up it (bicycle + gear) usually weighed in between 65 and 70 lbs.

  15. #15
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vosyer View Post
    I have the Schwabe's on my Waterford - you'll love them. I use to use Conti's 2000 still a good tire not available anymore though
    The Top Contact is now Conti's top-of-the-line touring tire...and I like it even better than the old Top Touring or Top Touring 2000 - they are lighter, roll better, have a better tread design and stronger sidewalls that can optionally be reflective. They also have folding bead versions in 28 and 32 that are even lighter and pack easily.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  16. #16
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    I was a bit shocked to see so many folks riding those skinny road tires too. What psi do you run on a set of 25mm tires fully loaded? Don't you have to air them up every day to avoid pinch flats? It sounds like a lot of work when you could just use 32-38mm tires and probably get away with airing them up once a week (which is what I do).....and ride more comfortably on beat-up roads.

    I don't at all doubt you guys though - you obviously know what you're doing.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I run mine somewhere between 90 and 100 psi, and no, I don't air them up every day to avoid pinch flats. I don't actually recall using a pump on the 3-month tour of Australia at all (except for the two debris-related flats on the 1200K). I must have done at some point, I'm sure. I stayed with Rowan about 2 weeks after the 1200K (about halfway through the 3-month tour) and he did some maintenance work for me, so I presume he probably topped up my tires then. But otherwise I can say with assurance that I rarely pumped my tires.

  18. #18
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    BTW - your (Machka) advice for eating smaller bits, spread over a longer period of time was great. It works like a charm.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
    BTW - your (Machka) advice for eating smaller bits, spread over a longer period of time was great. It works like a charm.
    Glad to hear it. I find it easier on the stomach rather than trying to cram a lot of food in all at once.

  20. #20
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    You boys should listen to the Aussies. They've got more unpaved roads than paved. I'm the original poster and I'll be riding on Kangaroo Island South Au next week. I rode all over the States on Spec. Armadillo 25c's. They are fabulous on pavement. No need for wider...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
    I did just check the Specialized website, and the Sequoia Elite seems to have been designed to not accept wide tires,
    You can often fit larger tires IF you inflate them after you install the wheel on the bike. The first problem is getting the inflated larger through the brakes.

    Doing this, a friend managed to get 32mm knobby cyclocross tires on his Sequoia. Larger tires (32mm) rubbed against the chainstay under load.

  22. #22
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You can often fit larger tires IF you inflate them after you install the wheel on the bike. The first problem is getting the inflated larger through the brakes.

    Doing this, a friend managed to get 32mm knobby cyclocross tires on his Sequoia. Larger tires (32mm) rubbed against the chainstay under load.
    I guess I just think its a shame that a bicycle marketed as a "long distance" tool is incapable of mounting slightly larger tires.
    Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H.G. Wells

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    Quote Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
    I guess I just think its a shame that a bicycle marketed as a "long distance" tool is incapable of mounting slightly larger tires.
    Well, you dance with thems that brung ya'!

    Seems more convenient and cheaper for him to use what he's already got.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
    I guess I just think its a shame that a bicycle marketed as a "long distance" tool is incapable of mounting slightly larger tires.
    Keep in mind that "long distance" is different from "touring". On a tour you might ride 50-100 km a day ... a relatively short distance, and likely at a relatively slow pace because you are carrying quite a bit of stuff. But on a long distance ride, you ride 160+ km all in one day, and if you're doing an event, there is likely a time limit so you want to ride relatively fast and travel relatively light.

    As I mentioned, I've done most of my tours surrounding a 1200 km randonnee. There's a time limit on those randonnees and I don't want to be slogging through them on large tires. I need all the help I can get to finish in time. So my bicycle was set up for long distance rides, but also used for tours.

  25. #25
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    I'm a big lad, sometimes I get up to 100kg and I manage 100km rides on 25mm tires comfortably... I haven't tried it with gear, and I don't really plan on it, but if you're smaller than I am I don't see why 25mm tires would be a problem, heck a lot of people probably don't weigh in at 100 kilos with their gear! My touring bike takes 28/32mm tires easily so I'm going to elect to use that size on my tours, but I think the final weight of rider and gear should be taken into consideration with tire sizing.

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