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Help me with TIRES - 4 questions

Old 12-05-11, 04:01 PM
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WestMass
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Help me with TIRES - 4 questions

First, I want to say that I have read a lot of different tire threads in a few different forums and have been looking a lot of tire reviews online but I'm still a little uncertain about what I should do.

The bike I'm trying to figure out tires for is my 2010 Kona Jake the Snake. Right now I have 700x23 Michelin Lithion.2 on the front and 700x25 Specialized all-condition on the back - which I swapped off of my road bike after I kept getting flats with the knobby cyclocross tires (they're getting a bit worn out - I bought the bike used a month ago and they were the only things about the bike that was 'meh')

I want this bike to my "all-arounder" but it will primarily be used for commuting 14miles round-trip (all roads, some in pretty crumby conditions). I guess I'm a "fair weather" commuter, but I have done a few commutes in the rain on another bike, and am still riding most days in the low 30s/high 20s.

I'm trying to decide if I want to use this bike in occasional triathlons and century rides or if I should stick with my cannondale r400 for that. I like the idea of trying out cyclocross, since that's what my bike is made for (I know I'll need different tires for that - but I look in the 'cross forum for that).

I've never ridden with fatter 700cc tires, and generally feel like I enjoy the thin tires, and get the perception that these tires are faster than fatter ones. I also have had really good luck as far as flats go with my current road tires.

Questions....

1) Aside from "absorbing road noise" and "superior flat protection" - are there any other real advantages to getting a pair of schwalbe marathons or something similar for commuting - or should I just stick with the skinny tires on my commuter. What do folks think?

2) Also, what specific tires would you recommend (both for a narrower tire (23-25) or a fatter tire (28+). I've been cruising the biketiresdirect site and reading reviews on the tires I see.

3) Is the tire weight really going to be noticeable (in centuries, in commuting, in zipping around town, in 40-70 mile weekend rides) between a narrower road-style tire and a fatter touring-style tire?

4) It seems like all of the group rides I do (not that I do a lot - but might start doing more), everyone has really narrow tires - will I be an alien / be able to keep up with a thicker tire?

Thank you - I feel like any friend I have in REAL LIFE who rides bikes is very focused on their own realm of cycling and can't give me good advice / don't know much about different tires.
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Old 12-05-11, 04:10 PM
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Continental Gatorskins 28mm may be what you're looking for. Hard, fast and puncture resistant.
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Old 12-05-11, 04:33 PM
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When I was commuting by bike, I had to ride on roads and bike paths that were often broken or had frost heaves. Riding a bike with my weight and carrying at least a small load made using fatter tires a necessity if I wanted to prevent damage to my rims. These days there are relatively fattires that are pretty light and fast, as well as very puncture resistant. I am currently riding Conti Sport Contact and Vittoria Hyper tires in 700x37c. If you areunder 200 lbs, 700x32c is probably more than big enough, if your bike has room for them. Those fast weekend rides are the place for the fast, hard, light tires.

Last edited by ClemY; 12-05-11 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 12-05-11, 05:20 PM
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Thanks for the feedback so far!

Continental Gatorskins 28s
Conti Sport Contact 37s
Vittoria Hyper 37s

I weigh 170 and generally carry 20-30lbs in panniers at least one way each day.
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Old 12-05-11, 05:23 PM
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I am ordering 3 of these tomorrow. Last day on Sale.

https://www.westernbikeworks.com/prod...-t-serv-protex
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Old 12-05-11, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
1) Aside from "absorbing road noise" and "superior flat protection" - are there any other real advantages to getting a pair of schwalbe marathons or something similar for commuting - or should I just stick with the skinny tires on my commuter. What do folks think?
Any tire has advantages and disadvantages. Every tire is designed with different priorities in mind. A tire like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus is all about durability and puncture protection. To achieve these goals, it compromises on rolling resistance, grip, weight and cost.

You need to figure out your personal priorities. It sounds like you want something fairly sporty feeling but with good puncture protection. For centuries, comfort is probably also a priority. For group rides, you would probably sacrifice a little comfort for speed. You haven't mentioned your price tolerance.


Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
2) Also, what specific tires would you recommend (both for a narrower tire (23-25) or a fatter tire (28+). I've been cruising the biketiresdirect site and reading reviews on the tires I see.
For fair weather riding, when I know I'll have good road surfaces and little debris to worry about, I like the Continental Grand Prix 4000S or Schwalbe Ultremo R.1 (recently replaced, I think, by the Ultremo ZX). I prefer 700x25 for either. A lot of roadies go with 700x23, but I'm not convinced it's even faster than a 700x25 and it's certainly not enough faster to be worth giving up width. I'd go even wider, but they don't make the GP 4000S in 700x28. The Ultremo is available in 700x28, but I haven't tried it.

When I'm going to be riding in the rain, I like Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons. These are marginally heavier than the GP 4000S, but have better puncture protection. I think I can feel the difference in ride between these two, but it's a small difference.

Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
3) Is the tire weight really going to be noticeable (in centuries, in commuting, in zipping around town, in 40-70 mile weekend rides) between a narrower road-style tire and a fatter touring-style tire?
It depends on how much weight you're talking about. Over the course of a century, I think you'd definitely notice the difference between 200 gram tires and 400 gram tires. Over the course of a 10 mile commute, the tire construction will account for most of the difference in how the tire feels, but lighter tires tend to be more supple too, and so I'd say you definitely feel it. Tires with a lot of tread will feel like they're slowing you down relative to a slick tire. How much they actually slow you down is debateable, but they'll feel like they are.

The weight, as such, only makes a difference during acceleration. If you like to sprint away from stop signs (or groups of other cyclists), that's where you'd feel the weight.


Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
4) It seems like all of the group rides I do (not that I do a lot - but might start doing more), everyone has really narrow tires - will I be an alien / be able to keep up with a thicker tire?
I seriously doubt that anyone would notice unless you get something really wide (> 32). If anyone comments and then doesn't drop you, the joke's on them. Your personal fitness will usually determine whether or not you can keep up.
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Old 12-05-11, 05:36 PM
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I have 2 seasons on my Panaracer T-Serv tires. They are 700X25 and have about 3500 miles on them. I have had one flat on each end of the bike- one was from the tiny wires from a steel belted radial car tire and the other was a pinch flat (I was in a hurry and didn't check my pressure after a couple of days). The rear has a flat profile now, so it is on my trainer for the winter and I already have a new one ready to go on the bike. My wife has 700x28 T-Servs on her Sirrus, and had one flat this season as well. Three flats on four tires in two years is an awesome track record as far as I can tell.
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Old 12-05-11, 05:57 PM
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Andy - Thanks for being thorough! This is all SUPER helpful. I'd rather pay less money than more, but am willing to put in maybe $50 or $60 a tire if it'll really make a difference. Looking at some of the suggestions it seems like there are a lot of recommended tires in a higher price range. Maybe I should reconsider? Those T-Servs seem like a good deal - do you think having that tread would feel significantly slower/different from a more slick tire choice. $30/tire with the recommendation of someone from Medway, hmmm. I grew up in Walpole.
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Old 12-05-11, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
Andy - Thanks for being thorough! This is all SUPER helpful. I'd rather pay less money than more, but am willing to put in maybe $50 or $60 a tire if it'll really make a difference. Looking at some of the suggestions it seems like there are a lot of recommended tires in a higher price range. Maybe I should reconsider? Those T-Servs seem like a good deal - do you think having that tread would feel significantly slower/different from a more slick tire choice. $30/tire with the recommendation of someone from Medway, hmmm. I grew up in Walpole.
There is no need to pay full price for tires.

I buy all of mine ahead of time on sale.
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Old 12-05-11, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
There is no need to pay full price for tires.

I buy all of mine ahead of time on sale.
And if you don't want to wait for a sale, the regular prices at the British and Irish sites are usually better than sale prices at the US ones, even after the shipping, which is sometimes free. Try ProBikeKit, Ribble Cycles, Wiggle, Chain Reaction Cycles, etc.

As for tires, I live in the city and work in da 'hood. The last thing I want is a flat in the rain in front of a crackhouse. I run Continental Grand Prix 4-Season tires on all my bikes--25mm on three of them, 28 on the fourth. My experience with them has been excellent. They're just as puncture-resistant as Gatorskins (which I ran previously), but they ride a lot nicer, they're lighter, and they have incredible wet weather grip. Ordered from Britain or Ireland, they're about $42 each.
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Old 12-05-11, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
Andy - Thanks for being thorough! This is all SUPER helpful. I'd rather pay less money than more, but am willing to put in maybe $50 or $60 a tire if it'll really make a difference. Looking at some of the suggestions it seems like there are a lot of recommended tires in a higher price range. Maybe I should reconsider? Those T-Servs seem like a good deal - do you think having that tread would feel significantly slower/different from a more slick tire choice. $30/tire with the recommendation of someone from Medway, hmmm. I grew up in Walpole.
I do think the T-Servs would feel significantly slower/different than something like a Grand Prix 4000S. I also think the T-Serv would last twice as long.

I just bought a pair of 26x1.25 T-Servs for my '89 Rockhopper. I haven't gotten them on the road yet, but the rubber seems to be thicker and harder than the rubber on the GP 4000s. Estimating mileage conservatively, I'd guess the T-Servs are effectively at least 4 times cheaper per mile.

A tire like the GP 4000S will cost you around $130 a pair (depending on how far you're willing to have them shipped). If you get 2000 miles from them (which I think is a conservative estimate), they'll have cost about 6.5 cents per mile. I'm willing to pay that for a great quality ride. If I had less money available for bike expenses, I might feel differently.
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Old 12-05-11, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
Continental Gatorskins 28mm may be what you're looking for. Hard, fast and puncture resistant.
+1- have them on my commuter and am very happy with them
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Old 12-05-11, 07:17 PM
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Most of the guys who group ride out here use Gatorskins, usually 700x25. They have strictly race bikes, though.
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Old 12-05-11, 09:14 PM
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I was commuting on Bontrager Racelite Hardcase 25s on my six13. They were ok.

On my new commuter, my on-one dirty disco, I went with the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 28s. They have been incredible commuter tires. They resist all the road crap, have had great traction in the wet and frost and built-in reflectors. I prefer the 28s now for my daily commute. I really don't notice much of a weight or speed loss between my old 25s and the Schwalbe 28s.
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Old 12-05-11, 10:47 PM
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1) Don't knock "flat protection" in a commuting tire. Not getting flats on the way to work is really nice. But, most people don't need SMPs to avoid flats. You don't have to go too fat, either.

2) I'd go with Continental GP 4 seasons in either 25 or 28. Perhaps 28 in the rear, 25 in the front?

3) Unless you're racing, the conti's will feel light enough. They're under 300g. Schwalbe marathons start around 300g (for the Racers or Supremes) and go up to 800g or more (the Marathon Pluses) depending on the size.

4) Nobody will care about your tires, unless you're riding something unusually wide for a club ride (like 35 or above). Even still, run what you like.
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Old 12-05-11, 11:47 PM
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i like speedy feeling tires. On the commuter I ride Conti Gatorskins, 25mm, my 2nd set in a row now, very good flat protection and grip and ride. Very reasonable weight. In my experience they lasted as just as long as the t-serves, but ride far better with less flats. Have not tried the GP 4 seasons, and based on the feedback I might try them next.

Despite my love of the Gatorskins I have GP 4000's on my road bike currently and I don't care for them all that much. I may go back to Michelin Pro Race 3.
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Old 12-06-11, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
And if you don't want to wait for a sale, the regular prices at the British and Irish sites are usually better than sale prices at the US ones, even after the shipping, which is sometimes free. Try ProBikeKit, Ribble Cycles, Wiggle, Chain Reaction Cycles, etc.

As for tires, I live in the city and work in da 'hood. The last thing I want is a flat in the rain in front of a crackhouse. I run Continental Grand Prix 4-Season tires on all my bikes--25mm on three of them, 28 on the fourth. My experience with them has been excellent. They're just as puncture-resistant as Gatorskins (which I ran previously), but they ride a lot nicer, they're lighter, and they have incredible wet weather grip. Ordered from Britain or Ireland, they're about $42 each.
My commute takes me about 7 miles through da 'hood - 4-seasons FTW. I run 28 mm foldables on my commuter and I second everything above. 3 punctures in 2500 mi. Another thing - I can install them on my Roval rims bare-handed, no need to mess up my manicure.

Gotta try ordering from Brits. Pricey things, these tires. On the other hand - I trust my life to two contact patches size of my thumbnail, better make them count.

SF
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Old 12-06-11, 06:58 AM
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Tire weight and rolling resistance do make a big difference. If you want a quicker riding commuter, Continental has some good choices. I've got Conti GP 4 Season 28s on one of my commuter bikes and it is everything you could want in a tire -- durable, light weight, flat resistant, low rolling resistance and nice handling. They are a little more expensive than Gatorskins but lighter and grippier in rain. They are available in 23s, 25s and 28s. For commuting, I would get get 25s or 28s, but make sure your frame has clearance for the larger sizes. I also have commuted extensively on Conti GP 4000 25s with excellent results as well but they are not available in 28s.

There are lots of options for durable, flat resistant commuter tires but not many that are also light weight, nice handling and low rolling resistance.
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Old 12-06-11, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bubbagrannygear View Post
+1- have them on my commuter and am very happy with them
+2 on the Continentals (Ultra Gatorskins 700cx28). Got a good deal on the Continental Ultra Gatorskins here.
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Old 12-06-11, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by El Duderino X View Post
+2 on the Continentals (Ultra Gatorskins 700cx28). Got a good deal on the Continental Ultra Gatorskins here.
Steel or folding? What's the difference? (construction-wise I get it - but weight? feel? etc?) I think I might go for the 25s.
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Old 12-06-11, 08:54 AM
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On my 700c bikes, I use Panaracer Ruffy Tuffys.

https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...ls.php?id=4595

No flats ever. Had them since 2005. Of course, I also run tire liners. That helps.
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Old 12-06-11, 09:06 AM
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23-622 Vredestein Ricorsos anyone? Trying my best to flatten em...no luck yet.
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Old 12-06-11, 09:46 AM
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I recently went through the tire debate when a couple of 'cross tires of mine started to look a little ragged and I decided to replace them.

I tackled the problem by addressing the various qualities I thought would be an issue.

1) puncture resistance: This was pretty crucial for me, because I've gotten a couple flats on my way to work and been late. plus, it's just a pain to change a tire on the fly. I was getting pretty caught up in trying to find the most puncture resistant tire (the Conti Gator and gator toughskins seemed quite attractive), but I started getting a growing sense of futility of the search. any tire is susceptible to a puncture, and the only way to combat it is increasingly thick and heavy tire bands and inserts. My brother, who started commuting from the mtb scene, suggested using Stan's no-tubes, which is a latex based tire sealant, that he previously found to be marvelously effective in stopping flats on his tubeless tires. He's been running regular "tubed" commuting tires, and says he hasn't gotten a flat since he started 2 or three years ago. So I decided that would be my puncture resistance, and not to rely heavily on "puncture resistant" technology. The trick to running stan's no tubes in a tubed tire is to either get schrader tubes or get presta tubes with removable cores (Conti and Q-tubes make these, probably others), and inject the stan's into the tire with the $10 syringe they sell. All in all, minimal weight gain, durable solution and I haven't had a flat yet (knock on wood).

2) tread- After riding on cyclocross tires for 8 months, I decided that a tread is not essential for road commuting. I originally thought I'd be commuting through parks and dirt paths on my commute, but that turned out to be not the case. I probably would've stayed with treaded tires, but I never find the need to traverse dirt.

3) size- I have commuted on 23s and 32s, and honestly, I'm not totally convinced there is an astounding amount of a difference (althought there probably is some). I feel more comfortable with bigger tires: the wheels seem more stout, they seem to tackle bumps a little better, I have less heartburn over potholes and curbs because I'm not as worried about a pinch, and they do seem to absorb a little more of the road. That said, the main advantage of larger tires seems to be that they can be run a slightly lower pressures for a softer ride and more traction without risking a pinch flat as much. I prefer to keep my tires maximally inflated (110psi on my 28s) because I want a quick ride and I don't want a pinch flat, so the ride quality is only slightly improved over the 23s I ran when I first started commuting. As far as speed and keeping up with riding buddies, at least for tires at or below 32, I don't think that the tires will be what hold you back. I've been crushed by dudes on knobby tired mountain bikes, and I'm pretty quick.

4) durability- I figured I'd try a high quality tire. the performance brand road tubes I had bought previously didn't last more than 6-12 months, (which is decent) so I wanted to see if I could get more bang for my buck. Schwable has a good rep, but I had done a lot of research on the Conti gatorskins before I found out about stan's notubes, so I felt more inclined to stay with the Conti scene. As far as the gatorskins specifically, they seemed exceptionally durable, but there were a couple of reports of sidewall blowouts, so I decided on the Conti 4 seasons

All in all, I went with the Conti 4 seasons 700x28c, kevlar bead, with ultralight q-tube presta (removable core) tubes and stan's notubes on the inside. This set-up has been great in the 2 months I've been running it, no flats on some sketchy streets, good handling, great braking (I can't get these things to skid when I brake hard, whereas my old cross tires skidded like crazy), good rain performance, lightweight and reportedly durable. I found a sale on e-bay, so I paid about $45 per tire, instead of the $80 or so that they retail for.

Last edited by usndoc2011; 12-06-11 at 09:48 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-06-11, 10:39 AM
  #24  
usndoc2011
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Oh! I almost forgot: I probably would've stuck with 32s because the ride is a little smoother and safer, but I decided to go with 28s partially because of the water spray. Fenders are obviously a must, but they don't protect from the spray that occurs as you ride through puddles (I'm having a hard time describing this, but it's not the spray that spins off your tire, but the wide, split spray from your tire separating the puddle). My feet were constantly getting wet with the 32s because they create a wide spray when going through puddles. The problem is better with my 28s, although not completely eliminated.
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Old 12-06-11, 10:44 AM
  #25  
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i've ridden tires with puncture resistance and ones without, and I have mixed reviews. my conti gatorskin 35mm width has about 300 miles and 3 flats so far. my grand bois cypres tires have 2500 miles, woren down to the nothing (you have to for the price) and I had 3 flats total across a set. although I have used the grand bois for a few commutes, I wouldn't recommend them for commuting, but I may suck it up and buy some more for other rides.

i've also used vittora randonneurs, ruffy tuffy and duranos. the duranos have been my favorite tire, although they don't make them in very large widths, if I remember correctly.
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