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Rolling Resistance of tougher tires, tested

Old 06-27-16, 03:13 PM
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Rolling Resistance of tougher tires, tested

The Bike Tires Rolling Resistance guy has been testing "tour/e-bike" tires which also covers a lot of our usual tough commuter options... the Marathon and its competitors. He has been standardizing on 35-37mm sizes. This site shows the tires ranked by rolling resistance.

Tour/E-Bike Tires Rolling Resistance Reviews

He also has a lot of useful notes. For instance
  • The current outright winner for rolling resistance is the Vittoria Voyager Hyper but it's sort of a cheat, he says "The Vittoria Voyager Hyper is pretty much a big road bike tire disguised as a touring bike tire." It's totally outclassed by true tough tires in the puncture testing.
  • The thick soft layer in the Marathon tires doesn't add a lot of rolling resistance because it is soft, but for the same reason it is not very resistant to his puncture resistance test, which pokes a steel pin into the tire. He has added a new "puncture factor" rating of resistance x thickness for tires like these.
  • He tests several sizes of Marathon Green Guard and finds that the 32 is unusually and unexpectedly crappy and studies why
  • In the same test he tries different loads as well as his usual different pressures
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Old 06-27-16, 03:31 PM
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Schwalbe "Marathon Racer" seems a poorly named tire.
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Old 06-27-16, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion
Schwalbe "Marathon Racer" seems a poorly named tire.
Right? What's amazing to me is how well the regular Marathon Green Guard 37 does. Comparable to the mid-grade 25mm roadie tires at the same pressure. I'd never have expected it with all the added material. They weigh 3x more.
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Old 06-27-16, 06:41 PM
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Wider tires can roll fast.

Schwalbe Marathon Dureme folding bead tires are light, tough and fast.

Love them on the pavement and on the trails.
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Old 06-27-16, 07:46 PM
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Thank you for finding and posting this. We need more of this. Thanks again.
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Old 06-27-16, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF
Wider tires can roll fast.

Schwalbe Marathon Dureme folding bead tires are light, tough and fast.

Love them on the pavement and on the trails.
You had better stock up, I went looking for it to compare it and neither the US site or the English-language worldwide site show it any longer.
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Old 06-28-16, 12:13 PM
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I got a good deal on the Voyager Hyper tires, and they are good, as noted. But they run large. I wish I had known. I would have gotten a narrower size.
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Old 06-28-16, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Right? What's amazing to me is how well the regular Marathon Green Guard 37 does. Comparable to the mid-grade 25mm roadie tires at the same pressure. I'd never have expected it with all the added material. They weigh 3x more.
Thanks for posting!

Weight does not have much to do with rolling resistance. There are a lot of factors, but the suppleness of the sidewall is one of the biggest factors.

Weights biggest impact is on acceleration, either from a stop or when climbing hills. For instance, If you are just doing a flat time trial, weight isn't going to slow you down.
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Old 06-28-16, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58
Thanks for posting!

Weight does not have much to do with rolling resistance. There are a lot of factors, but the suppleness of the sidewall is one of the biggest factors.

Weights biggest impact is on acceleration, either from a stop or when climbing hills. For instance, If you are just doing a flat time trial, weight isn't going to slow you down.
Some of the reason that normally heavier=worse is that the heavier the tire is, the more rubber it has, and that makes it stiffer, and armor just makes it worse. For many of the tires tested, it's true, some of them are real dogs. But Schwalbe have gotten around it with a softer tread compound, and latex for the caramely center.

As soon as someone invents a supple-o-meter I hope that person will let us know. Until then I will consider that word marketing and not data. You can find it in the ad copy for nearly any tire.
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Old 06-29-16, 11:14 AM
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@cyccommute posted this in another thread but it's a good and relevant post with two good references for this thread too. He was posting about tread patterns but the second link, a press visit to testing company Wheel Energy, has a good discussion of the causes and trade-offs of rolling resistance.

Originally Posted by cyccommute
You are correct that hydroplaning on a bicycle is impossible. But that's not the whole story. This article from VeloNews presents some arguments as to why tread can be helpful. This article from Cycling News about Wheel Energy, a Finnish company that tests bicycles and tires, has perhaps the best quote I've ever read on why tread is a good thing to have on a bicycle tire
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Old 06-29-16, 12:37 PM
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No Specialized tires were tested?

I think Armadillo & Espoir would both fall under "tougher tires."
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Old 06-29-16, 12:40 PM
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It looks like he only tested fatter types of tires. Armadillo & Espoir only go up to 32.
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Old 06-29-16, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5
It looks like he only tested fatter types of tires. Armadillo & Espoir only go up to 32.
Yeah, not many Specialized tires. Two fast roadie tires and a few MTB things.

I think Armadillo is S's name for their flat protection layer, not a single model of tire. You sort of need to read between the marketing lines. Black Belt is one layer in the fast roadie tires, Black Belt x2 in the Espoir must be tougher, Armadillo in the "flat proof" tires is toughest, Flak Jacket is the cheap one? But it's not entirely clear. They haven't really put them in a nice comparison table for us. What is clear is that the Espoir for example is the second-cheapest roadie tire and people are going to be more interested in the performance of the Turbos
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Old 06-29-16, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5
It looks like he only tested fatter types of tires. Armadillo & Espoir only go up to 32.
Well that's not true. My Hemisphere Armadillos are 38. Although with their high profile they ride more like 35.
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Old 06-29-16, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Yeah, not many Specialized tires. Two fast roadie tires and a few MTB things.

I think Armadillo is S's name for their flat protection layer, not a single model of tire. You sort of need to read between the marketing lines. Black Belt is one layer in the fast roadie tires, Black Belt x2 in the Espoir must be tougher, Armadillo in the "flat proof" tires is toughest, Flak Jacket is the cheap one? But it's not entirely clear. They haven't really put them in a nice comparison table for us. What is clear is that the Espoir for example is the second-cheapest roadie tire and people are going to be more interested in the performance of the Turbos
It's both. They call one of their flat protection layers Armadillo. But there is also a line of tires that they call Armadillos. The funniest part of that to me is that some of the tires in the Armadillo line of tires don't use the Armadillo flat protection technology. That's always left a question mark floating over my head.

I used to always use Armadillos. They are practically bulletproof. The last time I went into my LBS, they had the Espoir for $15 less per tire. I tried them and they are now my go-to tire. They make for a slightly smoother ride with some crazy-impressive flat protection. I still commute through the same industrial areas I always did on my Armadillos and have had no issues.
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Old 06-29-16, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina
Well that's not true. My Hemisphere Armadillos are 38. Although with their high profile they ride more like 35.
Right on. Thanks. I didn't realize they produce them at that size.
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Old 06-29-16, 11:57 PM
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It looks like another drum test. If you're commuting on a velodrome track, then the test is relevant. If you ride on real roads, it misses suspension losses and will fail to reward tires with supple side walls/penalize tires with stiff sidewalls.
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Old 06-30-16, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
It looks like another drum test. If you're commuting on a velodrome track, then the test is relevant. If you ride on real roads, it misses suspension losses and will fail to reward tires with supple side walls/penalize tires with stiff sidewalls.
Yes, it is a drum. He's used diamond plate on the drum to try for a little more realism, but there are a lot of things he doesn't claim to measure... also like quality of traction, service life, or real-world durability.

In your post above, the part in bold, you've essentially said that all tires would be marked down, and I don't think that's what you meant. But I can't tell which you meant from context. Can you please write back and clarify?
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Old 06-30-16, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
It looks like another drum test. If you're commuting on a velodrome track, then the test is relevant. If you ride on real roads, it misses suspension losses and will fail to reward tires with supple side walls/penalize tires with stiff sidewalls.
The assumption is that the real world losses over different surfaces will be proportional to the losses on the drum. While the absolute numbers might change when riding on chip seal, the relative rankings will be the same.

None of the fast tires have stiff sidewalls. Thick stiff sidewalls and thick bike tubes absorb a lot of energy on the drum as well as on a rough surface. The fastest tubes are thin and supple latex.
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Old 06-30-16, 11:33 AM
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Yep, it is really the sidewall & tube (not the weight) that mostly determines the rolling resistance. you are essentially pushing a bubble around the tire when it moves, and that deflection of a stiff sidewall is what is sapping the energy. That is why larger tires (of the same build) have less rolling resistance than the skinny 23mm version (the smaller tire has a longer contact patch, creating a bigger sidewall bulge). With a well made tire, you don't lose much rolling resistance at low tire pressures.

Then you get some touring guy who loads up the bike and complains how bad the tires are because the sidewalls won't take the abuse of heavily loaded touring on rough roads. You gotta have the right tool for the job.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58
With a well made tire, you don't lose much rolling resistance at low tire pressures.
Oops. I think you meant "efficiency" where you wrote "rolling resistance," right?
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Old 06-30-16, 01:05 PM
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I've been very impressed with the rolling resistance of my 700x35 Voyager Hypers. They feel almost as good as the GP4000S II's on my road bike. I'm planning to try the Marathon Supremes on my new e-bike. The added puncture protection will be appreciated since changing a tube with a rear hub motor is a PITA.
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