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Old 05-21-14, 07:26 PM   #1
Louis Le Tour
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Smooth tires for touring?

My Surly LHTD currently sports Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires front and back. When it comes time to replace those would it make any sense to switch to a "racing slick" type tire for touring?
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Old 05-21-14, 07:39 PM   #2
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Your pick ... I dont like Mending punctures more than I want a Supple tire that will not be the same on a load carrier .

if you just day tour it may be fine .. maybe you should get a second wheel set , and fit different tires on the new one ..



no cloud decision miracle cure ..

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Old 05-22-14, 02:43 AM   #3
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It depend on what road surfaces you intend to travel. If gravel/dirt is in there somewhere, a treaded tyre such as the Marathon may well be your better choice.

However, we have been using Schwalbe Durano slick tyres for the past few years on our tandem and touring bikes (although the tourers still get mixed with Marathons). The Duranos have been in 700 x 28C size, although we also have used some 25C, too.
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Old 05-22-14, 04:09 AM   #4
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It depend on what road surfaces you intend to travel. If gravel/dirt is in there somewhere, a treaded tyre such as the Marathon may well be your better choice.
True, but slick tires are OK for some dirt. Tread really becomes a plus for slick mud. So just because you might ride a little dirt doesn't necessarily rule out slicks.

Personally I stay with a slick tire until I go to my mountain bike with knobby tires and at that point go with a tire with lots of small knobs. I'd do that if I expect the trip to be off of the pavement most of the time or if there were serious off road sections.
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Old 05-22-14, 09:17 AM   #5
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When you are riding though that 7 mile stretch of highway that you expected to be asphalt but that you discover is being repaved and has been milled down to dirt, a little tread might serve you well.
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Old 05-22-14, 09:52 AM   #6
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My Surly LHTD currently sports Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires front and back. When it comes time to replace those would it make any sense to switch to a "racing slick" type tire for touring?
It'll be a long time before they need replacing. If you want to switch you can do that anytime, sense and preference don't have to coincide.
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Old 05-22-14, 09:53 AM   #7
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I'm a big fan of the Vittoria Voyager Hyper and Vittoria Randonneur Pro tires. They both have a few grooves, but no real tread. In my experience, the Pro offers slightly better protection against punctures than the Hyper with almost no noticeable penalty in speed or feel. Neither one is confidence-inspiring off-road, at least for me.
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Old 05-22-14, 10:08 AM   #8
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Treads offer no advantages whatsoever unless you are riding on unpaved roads, trails, dirt, etc. Treads actually reduce traction in corners and wet roads, while increasing rolling resistance. However, if you are planning to ride off pavement, some tread might be desirous.
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Old 05-22-14, 10:23 AM   #9
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totally smooth or aggressively knobby there is a huge swath of tires in between ,, eg


Continental travel contact combines a wide smooth band down the center, and a row of knobs on the edges..

to be their ride past the end of the paved world, adventure touring tire..
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Old 05-22-14, 03:12 PM   #10
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If you take a look at the Michelin Cross Max XXcycle - Michelin Protek Cross Max Tire - 28' (W) - en the space between the treads aren't too large so it shouldn't cause too many vibrations on the road. There's also less space in there so glass can get in there.

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Old 05-22-14, 03:44 PM   #11
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schwalble supreams
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Old 05-22-14, 03:57 PM   #12
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I just mounted schwalbe supremes today. So far, so good.
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Old 05-22-14, 04:20 PM   #13
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Supremes are good, pricey, inconsistent roundness in some dimensions and at low pressures the puncture resistant center section makes for funny creep in turns but for a light, tough fast tire good on wet roads and riding through broken glass they are pretty impressive.
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Old 05-22-14, 05:17 PM   #14
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Hard surface, no problem with slicks. The lighter the better. Yeah, they'll wear a bit quicker, but are funner. Flats? That's maybe the penalty for a responsive ride. I've not had a problem with it on 23's on a tt, or 25's on a loaded upright. OTOH, if expedition touring, I'd go with at least 32's. See no expeditions in my future.
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Old 05-22-14, 05:57 PM   #15
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Compound is likely the biggest factor regarding traction on smooth pavement.

I used gatorskins as a sort of event tire. Took off the 38 marathons (a plus on the rear) and used 32 gatorskins.

My marathons grip incredibly well; hot, cold, wet, or dry. Much better then the smooth gatorskins, particularly wet.

But then there's always crap on the road I missed the tread.

I've put the marathons back on.
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Old 05-22-14, 08:11 PM   #16
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In my experience on Gatorskins, they're just bad tires in general and most any tire above box-store-bike level will compare favorably to them. They're kinda heavy, don't grip well, have a harsh ride, and have decent rolling resistance compared to other tires in their price range. I'm not sure what they are good at.

...Anywho, I'm also a fan of Vittoria Hypers. And I ride them on a dirt/small gravel packed rail-trail regularly with no traction issues. They're fast on pavement and ride well. I'm running 700x32c. As was mentioned before, I wouldn't try to tackle slick/wet dirt on them, but then I'd be riding a very different tire all together. Something with lots of small knobs.
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Old 05-22-14, 08:47 PM   #17
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I run lightish Schwalbe Marathon slicks. I still have a few pairs, but they aren't made any more. I have run them loaded on lots of rail trails and dirt. They work great, and the experience on paved roads is fabulous. All I use on my touring bike, If I needed treads I would be on a mountain bike.
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Old 05-22-14, 09:44 PM   #18
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When you are riding though that 7 mile stretch of highway that you expected to be asphalt but that you discover is being repaved and has been milled down to dirt, a little tread might serve you well.
It was 5 of down hill, not 7 miles, but the 28 mm Ultra Gatorskins did a good job of handling the downhill. Contrary to some opinions I find the Gatorskins a much better tire than the Schwalbe Marathon series tires. We did switch to the 32 mm Gatorskins, once they became available in the U.S.



I have used Schwalbe Marathons, and they were OK, but a little on the heavy side. Tire preference is just about the same as saddle choices; it is a very personal choice. Tire width is also one of those topics that involve personal preferences.
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Old 05-23-14, 04:28 AM   #19
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It was 5 of down hill, not 7 miles, but the 28 mm Ultra Gatorskins did a good job of handling the downhill. Contrary to some opinions I find the Gatorskins a much better tire than the Schwalbe Marathon series tires. We did switch to the 32 mm Gatorskins, once they became available in the U.S.
I too like Gatorskins, of the tires I have toured on they are my favorite. I used them on a number of longish tours including the ST, the Pacific Coast, and the southern half of the Sierra Cascades route and have been very happy with them. My only experience with Schwalbe was a pair of Marathon Pluses and a pair of Marathons. The Pluses rode like anchors and I hated them enough to take them off after a few hundred miles. The stiff sidewalls gave a poor ride feel and a lot of rolling resistance. Their weight was also excessive. The regular Marathons were OK as far as I could tell but they are on my folding bike so it is harder to tell how they are.
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Old 05-23-14, 04:56 AM   #20
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I meant some tread in general, as opposed to bald tires, not any particular brand of tire.
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Old 05-23-14, 05:45 AM   #21
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I too like Gatorskins, of the tires I have toured on they are my favorite. I used them on a number of longish tours including the ST, the Pacific Coast, and the southern half of the Sierra Cascades route and have been very happy with them. My only experience with Schwalbe was a pair of Marathon Pluses and a pair of Marathons. The Pluses rode like anchors and I hated them enough to take them off after a few hundred miles. The stiff sidewalls gave a poor ride feel and a lot of rolling resistance. Their weight was also excessive. The regular Marathons were OK as far as I could tell but they are on my folding bike so it is harder to tell how they are.
We run with 32mm Gatorskins also with no complaints, we took them on the Erie and GAP trails as well as road use.
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Old 05-23-14, 07:49 AM   #22
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re slicks on dirt roads, I've ridden slicks on dirt roads (dry dirt roads that is) for years and they are fine. Of course there are dirt roads and there are dirt roads, its like someone asking what clothes to wear when its "cold". Lots of variables.
Last summer on a trip, there was a prolonged section of the paved road we were on that was being redone, with "dirt road" ranging from pretty smooth, to stoney, to really stoney with biggish stones. Got through it on 28 slicks and about 40lbs of load, but took it easy more for not banging the crap out of my racks, as well as being careful for not damaging a tire.
Wider tires would have been nice for the load, but this was maybe an hour or so out of a week long trip so wasnt an issue. On good roads, I still like a lighter slick for overall use.

ps, I would add that when using 1.5 inch regular Marathons (37mm?) on steep, wet dirt rocky roads, a little bit of tread like on a Marathon isnt really going to help that much, just as if the dirt is very loose--you're going to need some real knobs or at least side knobs--but I dont think these type of dirt roads are what mr le tour is talking about.

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Old 05-23-14, 08:18 AM   #23
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I'm a big fan of the Vittoria Voyager Hyper and Vittoria Randonneur Pro tires. They both have a few grooves, but no real tread. In my experience, the Pro offers slightly better protection against punctures than the Hyper with almost no noticeable penalty in speed or feel. Neither one is confidence-inspiring off-road, at least for me.
I am also a fan of the Vittoria Hyper and Pro tires. Not much tread, but IMO, not much needed. The other tire I find is very good is the Conti Sport Contact. It has even less tread than the Vittoria and seems to be just a bit lighter in 26".
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Old 05-23-14, 09:16 AM   #24
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I use the Contential Sport Contact 26x1.6. Seems pretty light, minimal tread. I don't have issues with the gravel roads around here, but I don't ride them offroad in wet conditions. I'm about 95% paved road. I run them at 70-80 psi and they are fairly forgiving of rough surfaces.
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Old 05-23-14, 09:45 AM   #25
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Love really light tires? then Bring a 3rd one packed in your load.
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