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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Tire Size for 26 LHT

    Im a 170-pound rider who tours fully loaded (~75 pound total bike and gear weight). Im usually on pavement, but its not uncommon to spend a day or two on gravel roads or a smooth single track. I often ride very steep roads.

    Im currently using Continental Contact 700c x 37mm tires and Im going to build a 26 LHT. There are plenty of threads about which tires to use (Ill probably go with Schwalbe Marathon Supremes or Duremes), but that isnt my question. Im wondering what width tires to run.

    1. Are my current 37mm tires equivalent to 1.45 when comparing to Schwalbes?
    2. Is there a way to determine the circumference of tires? E.g., how will the circumference of Supreme 26x2.0s compare to my Continental 37s?

    Since Ill be on 26 rims, it seems like going to a wider tire is probably a good thing (more cushioning, less likely to ding a rim, no difference or improved rolling resistance, still lower gearing than the 700s, etc).

    Any other considerations between 26x1.6 and 26x2.0 tires?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I have found that, on average, most 26 tires are really slow. I prefer to tour on 700x35c or 700x37c. At the moment I have Conti Sport Contacts in 700x37c on one bike and Vittoria Radonneur Hyper 700x37c on the other. They seem pretty equal and very nice. In 26 the only tires I have found that are satisfactory, that match the equivalent 700c tires, are Conti SportContact 26x1.6. They also come in 26x1.3 for those who want more performance. I have a pair of Vittoria Randanneur Pro in 26x1.5 that I havent used yet. They are supposed to be good, but I have no experience with them yet. Im sure there are other tires that people use with complete satisfaction, but these are the ones I am familiar with.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    I ran 1.6 Supremes on my LHT for a while and switched to 2.0 Duremes...I haven't missed the Supremes. There is a difference in speed but it I want to go fast I am not on my 26" LHT. The Duremes are comfy , handle the road and mixed conditions well while not feeling sluggish.

    Great all around touring tire imho.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iforgotmename View Post
    I ran 1.6 Supremes on my LHT for a while and switched to 2.0 Duremes... <snip>.

    Why'd you switch? For the tire or the width?

  5. #5
    Doesn't ride enough Lamabb's Avatar
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    I ran 2.0 Supremes on the Trans-AM and they felt incredibly cushy. But they slowed me a great deal. I'm 200 lb and found the 2.0 to be overkill. For someone in your weight range, I'd recommend no greater than 1.5. Even I'm running 1.5 without problems now on my LHT. The increase in speed feels refreshing. I also plan to run 1.5 supremes or Duremes on my next tour ( Sierra Nevada)

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    559-47 / 26 - 1.75" i liked the Conti travel contact .. gatorskin sidewall..
    Its their aardventure tour tire
    street, commute- tour, Schwalbe marathon plus..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sachelis View Post
    I’m a 170-pound rider who tours fully loaded (~75 pound total bike and gear weight). I’m usually on pavement, but it’s not uncommon to spend a day or two on gravel roads or a smooth single track. I often ride very steep roads.


    1. Are my current 37mm tires equivalent to 1.45” when comparing to Schwalbes?
    2. Is there a way to determine the circumference of tires? E.g., how will the circumference of Supreme 26x2.0s compare to my Continental 37s?

    Since I’ll be on 26” rims, it seems like going to a wider tire is probably a good thing (more cushioning, less likely to ding a rim, no difference or improved rolling resistance, still lower gearing than the 700s, etc).

    Any other considerations between 26x1.6” and 26x2.0 tires?

    Thanks!
    This isn't a place where published numbers will be reflected with precision on the wheel but generally speaking the ERTO number is the one to go by when comparing 26" with 700c. A 26"x1.6" Supreme has a ERTO designation of 42-559. So while it is wider than a 700x35 Supreme it feels like a good match for the same surfaces.

    What isn't clear is whether you ride loaded on roads and occasionally gravel and steep single track or if you ride loaded only on paved roads. Once you take the loaded bike on sketchy surfaces the need for fat tires goes up a lot with a corresponding penalty on paved roads especially when road riding lightly loaded.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
    I ran 2.0 Supremes on the Trans-AM and they felt incredibly cushy. But they slowed me a great deal. I'm 200 lb and found the 2.0 to be overkill. For someone in your weight range, I'd recommend no greater than 1.5. Even I'm running 1.5 without problems now on my LHT. The increase in speed feels refreshing. I also plan to run 1.5 supremes or Duremes on my next tour ( Sierra Nevada)
    Thanks Lambabb. What size frame is that in your photo? Are those the 2.0 Supremes?

  9. #9
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    559-47 / 26 - 1.75" i liked the Conti travel contact .. gatorskin sidewall..
    Its their aardventure tour tire
    street, commute- tour, Schwalbe marathon plus..
    Thumbs up for the Conti TC.
    No love for the Schwalbes, MP or MS.

  10. #10
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    For the last year + my GF has been riding whatever Conti model came on her LHT with 26" wheels. Think it's the Travel Contact. Last year we did a route that was mostly paved but included about 60 miles of unpaved roads ranging from smooth dirt, washboardy hard pack to loose gravel with big stones thrown in to bare rock. Some steep grades were involved. She's also ridden it on limestone trails. No handling problems or flats.


    Disclaimer: She's only around 105 lbs. and pulls a trailer as you can see:

    MELROSE BENCH.jpgCOW.jpg

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sachelis View Post
    Im a 170-pound rider who tours fully loaded (~75 pound total bike and gear weight). Im usually on pavement, but its not uncommon to spend a day or two on gravel roads or a smooth single track. I often ride very steep roads.<snip>
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    <snip>What isn't clear is whether you ride loaded on roads and occasionally gravel and steep single track or if you ride loaded only on paved roads.<snip>
    Thanks Lee.

    To clarify, I always ride loaded which occasionally is on gravel or single track. And the steeps (> 8%) are always on paved roads.

    IMG_2948.jpg

    There are threads saying that wider tires have lower rolling resistance than skinny tires (contrary to our intuition) with data to back it up, but you know what they say about statistics.

  12. #12
    Doesn't ride enough Lamabb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sachelis View Post
    Thanks Lambabb. What size frame is that in your photo? Are those the 2.0 Supremes?
    It's a 56 cm frame and yes, those are the 2.0s. I was talking about road riding. For Some off-roading, the 2.0s were pretty nice if you don't mind them slowing you down on the road.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
    It's a 56 cm frame and yes, those are the 2.0s. I was talking about road riding. For Some off-roading, the 2.0s were pretty nice if you don't mind them slowing you down on the road.
    Thanks Lamabb. I'm almost exclusively on paved roads, but I do end up on an occasional dirt road as mentioned. (The gravel road in my previous post was a classic example. I didn't realize I was going to end up on an unpaved road until I was there. It turned out to be a spectacular route in northeastern Utah.) Definitely leaning toward 1.5" per the replies I've received (and thanks for the photo--I'm on a 56cm LHT, too).
    Last edited by Sachelis; 05-23-12 at 11:26 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sachelis View Post
    Thanks Lee.

    To clarify, I always ride loaded which occasionally is on gravel or single track. And the steeps (> 8%) are always on paved roads.

    IMG_2948.jpg

    There are threads saying that wider tires have lower rolling resistance than skinny tires (contrary to our intuition) with data to back it up, but you know what they say about statistics.
    I am not convinced that wider tires have lower rolling resistance, but the right wide tire can seem to have little or no increase in rolling resistance, compared to slimmer tires. In 26, most of the tires seem to be tractor tires: tough in the dirt, but dirt slow on pavement. So far I have found a couple of tires that are reasonably fast, the Panaracer Pasela and the Conti SportContact. The Pasela seems to have too much sensitivity to rain. I got in trouble with them in heavy rain conditions in WA state. The side wall seemed to absorb water and it weakened it. The Conti dont seem to have that problem. I have timed myself on a closed loop course on several bikes with several different tire combinations and the Conti seem to measure up very well. The Schwalbe Marathon Dureme and Conti TravelContact both look interesting when you plan to do a majority of your riding on looser surfaces, but I have used the Duremes on pavement and they are a little slow.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    I'm currently running Schwalbe Marathon Racers 26" x 1.75 on my Rodriguez UTB. I've been doing a combo of paved roads and dirt roads here in Mexico. Haven't tried singletrack or wet terrain, yet. Compared to my 700c x 32c Panaracer Ribmo on my Miyata 610, I feel I can go at the same speed (or possibly even faster) and keep up with my buddies running 23-25c tires on Sunday rides. I guess those guys that say that wider tires offer lower rolling resistance than skinny tires are on to something. What I like about the Marathon Racers is that, at the end of the ride, I don't feel "beat up." The fact is that they feel so silky on the road. I believe 1.75" is the equivalent of 42c tires. The only thing to be determined is durability. I have been using these tires for only two months.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClemY View Post
    I am not convinced that wider tires have lower rolling resistance, but the right wide tire can seem to have little or no increase in rolling resistance, compared to slimmer tires. In 26”, most of the tires seem to be tractor tires: tough in the dirt, but dirt slow on pavement. So far I have found a couple of tires that are reasonably fast, the Panaracer Pasela and the Conti SportContact. The Pasela seems to have too much sensitivity to rain. I got in trouble with them in heavy rain conditions in WA state. The side wall seemed to absorb water and it weakened it. The Conti don’t seem to have that problem. I have timed myself on a closed loop course on several bikes with several different tire combinations and the Conti seem to measure up very well. The Schwalbe Marathon Dureme and Conti TravelContact both look interesting when you plan to do a majority of your riding on looser surfaces, but I have used the Duremes on pavement and they are a little slow.
    Thanks ClemY. I'm looking for fast on the road (where I do the majority of my riding) and decent on looser surfaces.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sachelis View Post
    Thanks ClemY. I'm looking for fast on the road (where I do the majority of my riding) and decent on looser surfaces.
    Part of your solution will involve your weight. I am over 250 lbs. I like wider tires. If you are much lighter, narrower tires will work fine. The Conti SportContact tires are semi-slicks. They work great on pavement. They should work well on firmer off-road surfaces. With my weight and the weight I tend to carry, I formerly used 700x37c Conti Top Touring 2000, which is now out of production. I have switched to Conti SportContact 700x37c and 26x1.6" on a couple of my bikes, with 700x37c Vittoria Randonneur Hyper on one bike. There are good tires out there, but you probably won't find them at Walmart.

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    Satchelis, you might consider two different kinds of tires. Loaded on rough roads will put the sidewalls on the rear tire through more work assuming that's where most of your weight is. A slightly larger front tire will make off road riding more controllable. A fast comfy set up could be a 1.6" Sport Contact or Supreme on the rear with 1.5"- 1.75" Panaracer T-Serv on the front.
    Steepness of paved roads has no bearing on tire choice, that's pretty much power/weight ratio. Tire type can make as much difference in rolling resistance as size. The Panaracer T-serv and Sport Contact feel like faster tires than the Supremes. I put 2.0 Supremes on my LHT which had 1.75 T-servs and noticed it was a smidge slower. Once the bike is loaded up it's kind of academic given that weight on any incline has more significance than rolling resistance.
    Last edited by LeeG; 05-24-12 at 07:47 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Thanks LeeG.

    I've heard from quite a few people saying that Supreme 2.0's felt a little slow. I think I’ve settled for tires in the 1.5-1.75 range. And although my OP said I wanted to discuss widths and not tires, the discussions about tires has been helpful, too (not that there aren't plenty of "what tire should I buy" threads to read). I'm a roadie at heart and don't need the look of beefy tires. In fact, I prefer 700 wheels but I'm seriously considering building a 26" after getting two flats in one day in rural Colorado and being unable to buy 700 tubes. (Oops! I may have just hijacked my own thread!)

  20. #20
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I am gennerally a fan of skinnier tires in general, but I will say that on 26" rims I find I want them a bit wider than on 700C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sachelis View Post
    Thanks LeeG.

    I've heard from quite a few people saying that Supreme 2.0's felt a little slow. I think I’ve settled for tires in the 1.5-1.75 range. And although my OP said I wanted to discuss widths and not tires, the discussions about tires has been helpful, too (not that there aren't plenty of "what tire should I buy" threads to read). I'm a roadie at heart and don't need the look of beefy tires. In fact, I prefer 700 wheels but I'm seriously considering building a 26" after getting two flats in one day in rural Colorado and being unable to buy 700 tubes. (Oops! I may have just hijacked my own thread!)
    I've got a 26" 56cm LHT, I like how it handles but the LHT aren't roadie bikes, they're roadie trucks. Between the 700c and 26" version the 26" is more nimble and road like. Tire type is as important as tire size when it comes to flats and handling on different surfaces. I think what makes the Supremes kind of funny is the puncture strip in the casing, it makes for a solid feeling wheel and takes out some of the road feel. I'm running 35mm Supremes on a Cross-Check. On the LHT I've got two sets of rear wheels, 32 spoke Mavic 719 and a 36 spoke Rhynolite. 1.5" Marathon Racers and T-Servs are very fast tires but won't hold up for long on the rear. Racers aren't very puncture resistant.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I've got a 26" 56cm LHT, I like how it handles but the LHT aren't roadie bikes, they're roadie trucks. Between the 700c and 26" version the 26" is more nimble and road like. Tire type is as important as tire size when it comes to flats and handling on different surfaces. I think what makes the Supremes kind of funny is the puncture strip in the casing, it makes for a solid feeling wheel and takes out some of the road feel. I'm running 35mm Supremes on a Cross-Check. On the LHT I've got two sets of rear wheels, 32 spoke Mavic 719 and a 36 spoke Rhynolite. 1.5" Marathon Racers and T-Servs are very fast tires but won't hold up for long on the rear. Racers aren't very puncture resistant.
    I think the tire decision changes based on the tour. E.g., last year I spent two weeks riding in rural UT and CO. Never more than 100 miles from a bike shop. The stock LHT Continental Contact felt fast, but I did have two flats from the steel belted wires left over from car tires. I'm going to Spain/France in a few weeks and I’m taking the same tires. On both of those tours (less than a month and within a day's drive from a bike shop) a tire like the Marathon Racer might be a decent choice. However, for my daydream tours of China or South America, I'll probably go with a wider puncture-proof tire.

  23. #23
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    I had Contacts on the 700c LHT and didn't like crossing metal grates/bridges with them. The angled tread zig-zagged across the grate too much compared to the Supremes and T-servs.

  24. #24
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    The Contacts in 26x1.6” work well, but I still prefer 700c. I hadn’t really thought about bride grates. I rode across a nice bridge grate this weekend on Vittoria Randonneur Hyper 700x37c and they were fine, but I am not a fan of bridge grates. I tend to get squirrely on any tire.
    Last edited by ClemY; 05-24-12 at 02:57 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Jim Kukula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sachelis View Post
    There are threads saying that wider tires have lower rolling resistance than skinny tires (contrary to our intuition) with data to back it up, but you know what they say about statistics.
    At the same pressure, a wider tire should have lower rolling resistance. But wider tires can't handle as much pressure as skinny tires.

    A big advantage of fat tires is their ability to handle rough roads. On a full suspension bike it shouldn't make much difference, since the suspension will smooth out the bumps anyway. But without suspension, the bumpy road will shake you and your cargo and that soaks up energy. Also, if you are carrying a heavy load, then the bike won't respond much to the bumps so e.g. hitting a branch or stone or ledge that is higher than the width of your tires, that will hit the rim and maybe dent the rim and/or cause a pinch flat. With a light unloaded bike and pedals attached to your feet somehow you can even hop a bike over an obstacle. With loaded panniers, that just isn't going to happen. So fat tires can be vital protection from potholes etc.

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