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  1. #1
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    Touring tires and wheels

    Just bought an old 520. Probably take it for my cc ride this summer. I am hoping to learn more about tire width options ( go with 28 for brisk pace, or wider for comfort( how wide?)

    Kevlar flat protection?
    # spoke wheels? Sweet looking synonym hub to charge an iphone, and light?

    I appreciate any advise.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    By cc can we assume you mean credit card? Cross country?

    How much will you be carrying in gear and bags? If going light, like less than 20 pounds I'd go 28 mm or less. If going heavier I have always found 32 mm to be enough. That is a personal preference though. Some tourists swear by wider tires, sometimes very wide. I was ultralight camping and cooking from San Diego to Florida and found 23 mm to buzz a bit more than I liked on the chip seal but they were not that bad. I did find the 25 mm ones I put on when they wore out to be much better.

    Also I prefer a lighter tire with a flexible sidewall and a lively ride feel. For me Continental Gatorskins are a good choice. I avoid a heavy tire with a stiff sidewall like the plague. So something like the Marathon Plus in a definite no no for me. This preference would apply regardless of tire width.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    What he said^^^^
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  4. #4
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    First off I'll assume cc means cross-country and that you'll be carrying camping equipment. In that case I would never tour on less than 32mm tires even if the entire trip was on paved roads. More than likely you'll have to deal with pot-holes and chip-seal at times. Unless you don't mind repairing flats I'd go with a Kevlar belt, for sure. For me speed means next to nothing on an extended tour.

    Personally most of my tours include back-country gravel & dirt and for that I would recommend at least 45mm.

    What year is your 520? I remember a thread that discussed a late 80's 520 frame and it was designed for 27" wheels. Besides the year, I'd post the frame size too.

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    See my current 700c wheel for touring thread for info and links.

    I've been riding an '89 Voyageur, prepping it for touring....

    Wheels

    Came with single walled 27" rims, 36h front, 40h rear. No problem with the rims or spokes but the hubs were just average 80's quality and the rear especially won't hold a bearing adjustment over long miles.

    Decided to go with 700c wheels after first verifying the brakes would accomodate that small shift. Sheldon Brown has several relatively inexpensive wheelsets that would work (including 27"), but I figure on tour 27" parts might prove hard to find if needed.

    Based upon their great reviews I had a set of 36h 700c wheels built at A&E.

    Tires

    Even riding everywhere (almost all pavement) with 50 - 60 lbs of training weight loaded in the bags (mostly water) I have found 32mm tires to be sufficient. The mild steel frame of the Voyageur is great at soaking up road noise.

    Also, while almost everywhere (including Wal-Mart) carries 700 x 28-32 tubes, IME wider 700 tubes are far less common, even at dedicated bike shops.

    I have brought two bikes, an old rigid mountain bike and the voyageur, back to life since August, and used both for commuting, which around here in the city is very hard on tires. Between the two I have actually bought eight new tires in the past few months looking for something that didn't flat:........ Continental Gatorskin Hardshells, end of story, expensive but buy 'em.


    Mike
    Last edited by Sharpshin; 02-27-14 at 12:57 PM.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    Also, while almost everywhere (including Wal-Mart) carries 700 x 28-32 tubes, IME wider 700 tubes are far less common, even at dedicated bike shops.
    For what it is worth. You can get by with using tubes well under the recommended size. I actually prefer to use lightweight and "too small" tubes. They are lighter, easier to mount, and help maintain the nice lively ride characteristics of flexible sidewall tire. They will need to be topped up a bit more frequently though, but I consider that a small price to pay.

    Granted I only go slightly under sized by choice, but in a pinch you can go a lot more undersized on the tubes and still be OK.

    Additionally in a pinch you can get by with either 27" or 26" tubes in a 700 tire.

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    Being a Clyde, I find I prefer wider tires and strong wheels. I have had wheel problems in the past, but with the newer deep section rims I haven't had any problems. I like 40 hole wheels, but if you are lighter, 36 will be fine. Velocity Dyad rims have worked well for me.

    For tires I like Vittoria Randonneur Hyper, as big as the frame will take. I have found the 700x32 to be the same cross section as the Conti Sport Contact 700x37. That seems to be a good minimum for me. On my Vaya I have the Vittoria Hypers in 700x38c. Big and soft and quite fast. I haven't had a flat with any of these in years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by euclidpb View Post
    Just bought an old 520. Probably take it for my cc ride this summer. I am hoping to learn more about tire width options ( go with 28 for brisk pace, or wider for comfort( how wide?)

    Kevlar flat protection?
    # spoke wheels? Sweet looking synonym hub to charge an iphone, and light?

    I appreciate any advise.
    How much do you weigh? When I was light and riding road bikes w ultralight gear w no panniers 28mm was fine.
    When I put on light panniers 32mm on the rear. Now I'm heavy so I'd start with 32mm and go to 35 with panniers.

    Absolutely no use getting light wheels if you're riding w panniers.

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    Thanks LeeG
    I'm 160, will carry some camp equipt. in rear panniers, possibly small front bags as well. I'll put at lest 32's. Won't 35's cause me a lot more work?..

    i have Mavic rims 32 spoke. I think I need stronger...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
    See my current 700c wheel for touring thread for info and links.

    I've been riding an '89 Voyageur, prepping it for touring....

    Wheels

    Came with single walled 27" rims, 36h front, 40h rear. No problem with the rims or spokes but the hubs were just average 80's quality and the rear especially won't hold a bearing adjustment over long miles.

    Decided to go with 700c wheels after first verifying the brakes would accomodate that small shift. Sheldon Brown has several relatively inexpensive wheelsets that would work (including 27"), but I figure on tour 27" parts might prove hard to find if needed.

    Based upon their great reviews I had a set of 36h 700c wheels built at A&E.

    Tires

    Even riding everywhere (almost all pavement) with 50 - 60 lbs of training weight loaded in the bags (mostly water) I have found 32mm tires to be sufficient. The mild steel frame of the Voyageur is great at soaking up road noise.

    Also, while almost everywhere (including Wal-Mart) carries 700 x 28-32 tubes, IME wider 700 tubes are far less common, even at dedicated bike shops.

    I have brought two bikes, an old rigid mountain bike and the voyageur, back to life since August, and used both for commuting, which around here in the city is very hard on tires. Between the two I have actually bought eight new tires in the past few months looking for something that didn't flat:........ Continental Gatorskin Hardshells, end of story, expensive but buy 'em.


    Mike
    Not to derail the thread but...... I have an 88 Voyageur and I was wondering if you were able to make the stock cantis work? Did you upgrade the rear drive train as well or do any drop out re-spacing?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by euclidpb View Post
    Thanks LeeG
    I'm 160, will carry some camp equipt. in rear panniers, possibly small front bags as well. I'll put at lest 32's. Won't 35's cause me a lot more work?..

    i have Mavic rims 32 spoke. I think I need stronger...
    Vittoria Randonneur Hyper come in 32, 35, and 38. They are the fastest touring tires I have found so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzgeek79 View Post
    Not to derail the thread but...... I have an 88 Voyageur and I was wondering if you were able to make the stock cantis work? Did you upgrade the rear drive train as well or do any drop out re-spacing?
    The cantis worked with the 700 wheels, after adjustment of course.

    The old Suntour deraillieur works with the 8 speed cassette on the new wheel except the chain rubs the frame on the small 11-tooth sprocket, to solve this I just limited the range of motion on the deraillieur with the set screw, that 11 tooth sprocket is of little use to me anyway.

    What surprised me was how well the dowtube friction shifters work with the 8 speed cassette versus the old 7 speed freewheel, its like they work better on the more closely spaced sprockets.

    Mike

  13. #13
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    Sadly I too would have little use for a 11 tooth sprocket. My bike has a 6 speed free wheel, deore rear derailler, and shimano sis down tube shifters. The shifters have a friction mode and I see no reason why the derailler wouldn't work, bug I'd have to re space my rear dropout.

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    I have respaced the dropouts on my older frames whether 700c or 26" rims to 135mm and standardized on that and 9 spd. My preferred shifters are Shimano indexed barcons. I used non-indexed barcons for many years and indexed is much better, IMO.

  15. #15
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    We tour on our tandem, ~400 lb. all-up weight including water, on 28mm tires. We've been using 36H Velocity Deep-V rims on Chris King hubs. Deep rims like this are exceptionally good for touring, as they dissipate heat quickly and stay truer than the common shallow rims. We haven't touched our rims on a tour yet, much less broken spokes and all the rest of the silliness one hears about. In fact, I've never broken a spoke on any bike in 60 years of riding. The "secret" is using double butted spokes and enough tension.

    28mm tires work perfectly for our touring weight. A light load could work perfectly with 25mm tires, which we use for sport riding at ~350 lbs. all-up. We use Michelin PRO4 Endurance tires at our sport weight, and Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech at our touring weight. Both these tires are flat and cut resistant and handle very well. We run our tires at 110 psi. Lighter loads could use less pressure.

  16. #16
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    I find that Specialized All Condition Armadillo Elites in 28mm make great light touring tires on my 1993 Trek 700. I outfitted that same bike as a gravel grinder with 40mm Schwalbe Smart Sams. Riding on pavement I was surprised to find that it really didn't make that much difference to average speed or effort. I'm still in that 15-16 mph over 50+ miles in gently rolling hills. The larger tires do make a significant difference in road buzz when the surface gets rough and roll over gravel and other less ideal surfaces more smoothly. Perhaps a 32-35mm in something like a Schwalbe Marathon would be a good compromise.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by euclidpb View Post
    Thanks LeeG
    I'm 160, will carry some camp equipt. in rear panniers, possibly small front bags as well. I'll put at lest 32's. Won't 35's cause me a lot more work?..

    i have Mavic rims 32 spoke. I think I need stronger...
    You can probably keep your front wheel if it's true and un damaged , get a new rear wheel with 36spokes and any pick of rims and spokes depending on your budget. 32mm are fine for your load on pavement. The weight you're carrying will give you a lot more work going uphill, your aerodynamics will limit you downhill. The type of tire will make a bigger difference than 32mm or 35mm wrt effort but it's still a smaller factor than weight and the motor.
    If in your shopping you come across a good deal with straight gauge spokes don't worry that they aren't double butted. You're more likely to wear out the rim or damage it in a crash before spokes start breaking if it was made right the first time.

    i like putting heavier/tougher tires on the rear if it's carrying a significantly greater load than the front. While the heavy tire is noticeable on an unloaded bike the difference kind of disappears with a load. In addition to the tires mentioned above I like the Panaracer T-serve. There are tougher tires but these ride nice with adequate durability and puncture resistance. With a pannier load I't put a T-Serve in the front and something heavier in the rear. The tread isn't that thick on the T-serves. Except for the Schwalbe Mondial I'm not a fan of deep sectioned tread like the Continental Touring models. I'd rather have a thick smooth rubber tread than a deeply sectioned one.

    Rivendell Jack Brown Blue is a nice tire, that in the front with a Conti Gatorskin Hardcase in the rear would be a smooth rolling and durable setup .
    A 35mm Mondial looks about the same size as a 32mm tire, it's a good choice for long tread life on the rear.

    btw a front generator will use up much more energy than the difference between a 32-35mm tire.
    Last edited by LeeG; 03-01-14 at 09:07 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzgeek79 View Post
    The shifters have a friction mode and I see no reason why the derailler wouldn't work, bug I'd have to re space my rear dropout.
    I dunno when they switched. My Voyaguer came new with what turns out were some mix of components from '89/'90. It seems they did switch frame to tange in '89, prehaps they changed the rear dropout space then too, mine's a tight 130mm

    (See the year by year pdf voyageur component table at http://sandro.knot.org/blog/bike-sta...touring-bikes/ )

    As for the friction shifters, seems even when the bike was new I spent a lot of time seaching for the rear cogs when shifting and having to adjust to quiet deraillieur noise. I had assumed that the closer spaced 8 speed cassette would be even worse in this respect but I find them easier to use with friction shifters. Maybe there's less room to get lost between sprockets.

    Mike

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