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Tires - Wire Or Folding Bead?

Old 02-24-15, 09:08 AM
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jyl
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Tires - Wire Or Folding Bead?

Do you prefer wire bead or folding bead tires?

In my limited experience, wire bead are easier to mount, folding bead are lighter and easier to carry as a spare on tour, otherwise I don't know what the practical difference is. I wonder if one tends to stay on the rim better during the dreaded high-speed blowout.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:30 AM
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My 91 bike tour was on Michelin Hi-Lite 35 tires, folding , used several . on a 3 month tour ..

my 97 tour I used Suomi-Nokian A10 utility tires and they still look new after a 10 month tour.

You a Porsche Guy & C&V bike collector probably dont need to carry extra Tires on your rides so a steel bead tire on your wheels will be fine .

Folding beads do let you pack spare tires . in little more space than a spare sew up.


Minor imperfections of rim bead seat and tire beads interface, makes blanket fit - brand statements hard to do ..

But an easy to fit 23 wide tire would cause me some doubt as to how secure it can be at 100+ psi


FWIW as I gather the best tire to stay on the rim after a puncture / Blow out is Glued on ,
that is a reason sewups are still on a lot of Pro race Wheels

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-24-15 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:55 AM
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I choose the tire size, casing grade, the tread pattern before I think about the bead material. If all else was equal then for my single bikes a folding bead for the day tripping/commuting ones and a steel bead for the touring bike. For the tandem only a steel bead. Andy.
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Old 02-24-15, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Do you prefer wire bead or folding bead tires?

In my limited experience, wire bead are easier to mount, folding bead are lighter and easier to carry as a spare on tour, otherwise I don't know what the practical difference is. I wonder if one tends to stay on the rim better during the dreaded high-speed blowout.
Not much difference between the two in day to day use other than weight I would say. I find folding tires sometimes a pain in the ass to mount first time because they are still suffering from being folded, whereas wire bead tires will of course be round (or else they'd be bent). Wire bead versions are typically cheaper. I have a mixture of both on my bikes, and can't say I have much of a preference.
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Old 02-24-15, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Do you prefer wire bead or folding bead tires?

In my limited experience, wire bead are easier to mount, folding bead are lighter and easier to carry as a spare on tour, otherwise I don't know what the practical difference is. I wonder if one tends to stay on the rim better during the dreaded high-speed blowout.
Good question -- and how many angels can dance on a wire bead? How many on a folding bead?
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Old 02-24-15, 10:39 AM
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Folding tires are a bit lighter and they fold, obviously. Wire bead tires are generally cheaper but heavier.

Whatever you do, don't listen to anyone that tells you folding tires are more difficult to mount (except for the first time, possibly.) I've worked with plenty of each type and I can tell you some folding tires are incredibly easy/impossible to mount, just like some wire bead tires are incredibly easy/impossible to mount. Difficulty mounting is more a result of rim depth and specific tire bead diameter. The type of bead is irrelevant.
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Old 02-24-15, 11:55 AM
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steel bead tires can be rolled down into 1/3 of their diameter for carrying extras .. ..

The technique is Like storing Band Saw Blades but you dont have to wear heavy leather gloves to do it with a Bike Tire.
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Old 02-24-15, 12:13 PM
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fietsbob's got it. Wire bead tires can be coiled into three loops. They then fit easily into panniers and backpacks.

Stay far, far away from wireless beaded tires that fit sloppy on the rims. I rolled one in a blowout and crashed very hard. Before I crashed, I rode about 30' feeling like I was riding on black ice and hoping I could stay away from the curb. Doing that balancing act, I was completely unprepared for the tire jamming in the seatstays.

I now have several very expensive Challenge folding tires that I bought as super mountain fix gear tires, light, sweet rolling and ultimately secure and grippy on bumpy, winding descents. As fine a tire as the sewups I used to race. The fit has loosened up on them and I don't trust them at all. Back to the Vittoria Open Paves that I can trust. (I now have a few hundred dollars of tires that have maybe 1000 miles total. But another crash like that last one? No thanks!)

Ben
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Old 02-24-15, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
In my limited experience, wire bead are easier to mount, folding bead are lighter and easier to carry as a spare on tour, otherwise I don't know what the practical difference is.
Folding tires cost about 50% more than the same model in wire bead. I think that's a significant practical difference.
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Old 02-24-15, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post

In my limited experience, wire bead are easier to mount, folding bead are lighter and easier to carry as a spare on tour, ....
This pretty much nails it.

The single wire steel beads are the classic method and proven reliable. At some point either to save weight or so thy could be folded synthetic beads were introduced. Both do their jobs, but because the synthetics have more give under tension they have to be made a bit undersized and can be harder to mount, especially on rims with shallow center wells. As pointed out above they also cost more.

So it's your money, is lighter and/or the ability to fold worth the penalty in cost or added mounting effort? call it, or toss a coin or as AS does choose your tire based on other factors and take it the way it comes.
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Old 02-24-15, 02:41 PM
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I choose tires that are light. Typically they end up being folding bead 23's. I have had great success on these, never a bad tire.
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Old 02-24-15, 03:18 PM
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I only buy folding, lighter and no reason not to.
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Old 02-24-15, 03:32 PM
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Every case will be little different. I like 700x28, at least 100 PSI, durable, long lasting, and flat resistant tires. Weight doesn't matter much to me, but the only tire that I'm happy with is Vittoria Rubino. These are 340-345g for wire bead, and for around $20. You can't beat that.
Only other tire I was considering, was the most popular Continental Gatorskin or Hardshell tires, which are foldable, but almost same weight, less durable and cost more than twice as much than wire bead Vittoria Rubinos.

If every tire was long lasting, durable and with good flat protection - I would choose foldable version over wire bead though.

Last edited by lopek77; 02-24-15 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 02-24-15, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
I only buy folding, lighter and no reason not to.
I only buy easier to mount steel wire bead tires. No reason not too.

That's what makes horse racing interesting.
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Old 02-24-15, 03:41 PM
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I hadn't thought of it before but I can't remember the last time I saw a wire bead tire.
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Old 02-24-15, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
My 91 bike tour was on Michelin Hi-Lite 35 tires, folding , used several . on a 3 month tour ..

my 97 tour I used Suomi-Nokian A10 utility tires and they still look new after a 10 month tour.

You a Porsche Guy & C&V bike collector probably dont need to carry extra Tires on your rides so a steel bead tire on your wheels will be fine .

Folding beads do let you pack spare tires . in little more space than a spare sew up.


Minor imperfections of rim bead seat and tire beads interface, makes blanket fit - brand statements hard to do ..

But an easy to fit 23 wide tire would cause me some doubt as to how secure it can be at 100+ psi


FWIW as I gather the best tire to stay on the rim after a puncture / Blow out is Glued on ,
that is a reason sewups are still on a lot of Pro race Wheels
I think the pros tend to stick to old systems because they worked in the past(superstition still reigns). I think Joseba Beloki, would argue with you.
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Old 02-24-15, 05:02 PM
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It's Business. often comes to money. sponsors Use the races to promote their stuff to the Rabble .. Pros ride what they get paid to.

somebody wants to sell tubeless clinchers race on them, do well, then sell them to the rest of the Market.
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Old 02-24-15, 06:11 PM
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If a tire is available in both,I'll usually get the folding to save weight. If it's only available as wire bead,that's ok too. As for mounting,I've had folding tires go right on and wire beads that needed the bead jack. All depends on the specific tire and rim.
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Old 02-24-15, 06:23 PM
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I prefer folding beads to save rotating mass. The exception is city tires which are so thick and heavy that they only come in wire bead.
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Old 02-24-15, 06:28 PM
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The modern irony is that a folding bead doesn't automatically define a tire as being light, or of quality. Want proof? Go to Walmart bike section. All of the tires they sell will fold, I'm sure they mandated that to maximize retail space.
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Old 02-24-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mobilemail View Post
The modern irony is that a folding bead doesn't automatically define a tire as being light, or of quality. Want proof? Go to Walmart bike section. All of the tires they sell will fold, I'm sure they mandated that to maximize retail space.
Yep, tires are a PITA to display and merchandise nicely. So no one should be surprised that big box stores want tires in easy to display boxes with bar codes & enticing labels.
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Old 02-24-15, 07:51 PM
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Thanks all.

The tires I recently bought were michelin pro 4 23 mm. For $35 each, I figured why not get the 208 g folding tire.

I haven't bought a lot of clincher tires lately. Mostly been buying tubulars. For the commute bike I've pretty much standardized on gatorskin wire bead. I don't care about weight there.
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Old 02-24-15, 07:53 PM
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If road buzz gives your hands problems, get the folders and play with lower tire pressures. bk
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Old 02-24-15, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
If road buzz gives your hands problems, get the folders and play with lower tire pressures. bk

Don't you mean go for thin casings and wide profiles? IME the bead material has nothing to do with shock/vibration absorption. Andy.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:38 PM
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I always buy folding tires because they are lighter and pack down smaller.
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