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Old 12-13-11, 08:11 PM   #1
zeppinger
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Best Tires for SE Asia?

Hi again,

Still getting ready for SE Asia. Thanks for all the advice about tents and now that I know I wont be carrying one I am reconsidering other things. If no camping gear is coming then I dont need to have my panniers shipped to me here in South Korea from the US which will save me some money. I am just going to use my saddle bag and handlebar bag for the trip.

This got me thinking. Since my load is going to be so light, just some clothes, a sleeping bag liner, and a small stove, maybe I could go lighter on the tires?

Right now I am using the stock tires that came with the LHT. These are continental city contacts 26x1.5 I am getting my wheels drilled out for shrader valve adaptability later this week and was going to purchase a set of 26x2.0 Schwlabe Duremes for the ride. Do I need to?

I think the City Contacts would be OK but worry about puncture resistence, long term wear (the trip could be as long as 6 months) and the possibility of muddy, sandy roads in places like Laos and Cambodia. However, since my load is so light maybe a narrower tire would be fine?

Here is what I have now: http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...t-tire-26-inch

Here is what I am thinking of buying: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=48779

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-14-11, 07:58 AM   #2
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I think the City Contacts would be fine. I've used them in a fairly challenging urban environment 10,000+ Miles per Year for a number of Years with no issues.

The best quote I've seen concerning the City Contacts capabilities is from Bike Radar:

"There are tougher tyres, such as Schwalbe's Marathon Plus or Conti's Contact Security, but it's a good compromise for street use: it's tougher than most tyres that are faster than it and faster than most than are tougher than it."

And that pretty much jibes with my experience.

They aren't going to handle serious mud or sand, but then what road tire is?
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Old 12-14-11, 11:10 AM   #3
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Bring an extra tire, all else a mail drop will get another set,

but given SE Asia manufactures bike tires for export,
it's likely not to tough to find something local.

Conti Travel Contact is a beefed sidewall road tire with knobs on the edges
they designed it for adventure tours.
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Old 12-14-11, 07:06 PM   #4
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Go with what will most likely free your mind of worrying about tires, and will perform well on non-paved roads. Carry boot material just in case. I was riding beside a fellow when his Marathon blew. That being said, I'd probably go with the Dureme based on reputation and thread pattern. For piece of mind if nothing else. Or the Travel Contact.
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Old 12-14-11, 07:30 PM   #5
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Cyclbums advice sounds pretty good to me. I am sure that the City Contacts would PROBABLY be fine but for some reason the are causing me axiety by not being good for bad road conditions and potentially might not last the whole tour. I had a great experience with my Marathon XRs on my last tour through China, Nepal, and Tibet but the tread pattern was ultimately too agressive for the 99% of the time I was on paved roads. Im not ready to give up any though of taking dirt paths and the road less pedaled so I think that Duremes would be a better compromise. If I take the City Contacts I would also likely want to bring a spare. I would feel comfortable, however, not taking a spare with the Duremes. Cheers!
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Old 12-15-11, 12:20 AM   #6
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how much weight do you think you'll be carry zepp? Maybe 25 lbs 30? I ride my mtn bike with this amount sometimes (with the regular Marathons, 1.5) and it rides really nicely. I do wonder though about your concerns of how much soft stuff you'll be riding in, and if 1.75s or 2s would be easier in that. Again, with that weight (ish) and 1.5 on hardish packed dirt roads its been perfefctly fine for me, but I could see wider being a bit easier on you with rough roads and sand.

as someone said in the other thread, how much differences are hard to quantify. Also too, the big diff will be having so much less weight than the last trip.

Do you think on this trip, road debris like glass and crap, will be more than the other trip? I could see getting the Duremes for (hopefully) being more maintenance free over all those months (they are the pricey ones right?)
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Old 12-15-11, 12:31 AM   #7
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Pricey but not as expensive as the Extremes or XRs. I can get them for about $50 a tire in Korea which, in the long run, is not a lot of money. If they last half as long as my XRs did then its a good investment.

Yes, I think a Dureme in 1.75 would be ideal but they dont make it in that size. A 2.0 is a little big but thats better than being a little small. I am worried about Cambodia once I get off the beaten track. Lots of sandy roads there. Even though the main roads are all paved there it would be nice to at least have the options of going somewhere more remote if I desired.
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Old 12-15-11, 01:12 AM   #8
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oh heck, if 50 thats no biggie. My regular Marathons cost 40 here in Mntreal, and as you say, in long run its not a biggie. They seem to be lighter than the XRs and other ones, plus with the tread design, they look like they will be pretty good on pavement. Let us know how your planning goes for gear. I hadnt realized you left your panniers in the states (or was it just the front ones?)

darn insomnia, am awake still....
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Old 12-15-11, 01:35 AM   #9
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Thanks DJB. I left most of my gear in the US because I was not planning to quit my job and go for a bike ride! Luckily SE Asia doesnt require much. I have a 30 liter saddle bag which I honestly think would be plenty of space, plus the handle bar bag, but its not as easy to get on/off or carry around as a pannier. I cant decide. If the panniers were here I would likey use them, even though they are way too big at 50liters. I guess I could have my front panniers shipped over which are just 25 liters in total?

My packing list is tiny. Two sets of clothes, my little Trangia Mini stove. Some simple tools, a sleeping bag liner, and thats about all I can think of... Total wight would, I guess, be like 15 pounds max.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:51 AM   #10
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i've been riding thailand, cambodia, vietnam, laos, southwest china on and off for the past five years.
h'bar bag at 5 pounds, 30L panniers with about 20-25 pounds, and my 185 pounds. usually running
26*1.75, kenda or cheng shin or local no-name. if shoulder profile and raised center bead, then no
problems. paved, dirt, cobbles, floods, landslides, jungle. i wouldn't be comfortable on 1.5's
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Old 12-31-11, 06:50 PM   #11
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I always read threads like this and like this one its mostly about Schwalbe's. I did a SEA asia trip that was for 6 months and ended up getting Schwalbe Marathon Supreme. Fifty bucks each, the most I have ever paid for a tire. The first one lasted a bit over 1000km before the insides started to separate. The second one lasted to around 2500 km before the sidewall failed. I went with Kenda's for a while then in Chumpon Thailand got a set of Continental Tour Guards, one of their crappier tires, but they did last for 4000km when the trip ended and could probably go another 4000. I guess my point is, Schwalbe are not the end all and be all of tires. With a light load you can get away with about any tires and its easy to find replacements in SEA, maybe not the perfect replacement but one that will last you for 1000s of kms.
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Old 01-07-12, 04:40 AM   #12
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someone has to say it ... the ones that are not flat is the best choice for any ride.
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