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Wider tire for rails-to-trails gravel

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Wider tire for rails-to-trails gravel

Old 06-15-19, 12:17 PM
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Doc_Wui
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Wider tire for rails-to-trails gravel

My wife's Downtube 8FS has 20x1.25" tires, while my Nova is a 20 x 1.5". Actual tire widths are 1.41" and 1.56". Rims are either .85" or 1/0". We did some packed gravel on the Illinois Prairie Path yesterday and there were a few squishy spots where my tires sunk in. I can live with that, but we want something wider for the 8Fs.

It looks like the v-brakes have plenty of clearance for wider tires. What's a good tire.
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Old 06-15-19, 12:42 PM
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I'm really happy with the Tioga Powerblocks I put on my Dahon. They totally transformed the bike from the cheaper and thinner Kendas that were on there, it's much more spirited feeling now.

I started with the 1.95" model, but that didn't have enough room for fenders. I ended up with the 1.75" with fenders, works fine. These work fine on the few short jaunts I've taken on gravel, though wider is better for soft gravel.
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Old 06-15-19, 12:54 PM
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Schwalbe Big Apple 20x2.0 should be perfect. Comfortable, not bad when it comes to rolling resistance, durable, not Too expensive,...
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Old 06-15-19, 04:29 PM
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No fenders here, so I will try the Schwalbe Big Apple.
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Old 06-17-19, 09:28 PM
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Schwalbe tires arrived today. Went on easily, except for me putting one on backwards. Took the opportunity to grease the bearings too.

Did a quick ride before it got dark. All seems fine, except the bike is fractionally taller, so the kick stand no longer works.
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Old 06-17-19, 11:05 PM
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Widest I have used are 1.65" on 18" wheels, so probably near to the 20" 1.5" tires you are using in terms of contact patch to the ground.
Marathon Racers have given me very good results on week long trail riding as well as long 160-200km rides.

What you go for will depend on the amount of gravel/road you will encounter.
If there is a lot more gravel, you will need as wide as the bike can take.
3 surfaces pose the most problems, rock gardens, loose/fresh gravel and washboards.
All 3 will favor wide tires on lower pressure and larger wheel diameters (in which a fatter tires does add a bit to )
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Old 06-18-19, 11:37 AM
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I have Schwalbe marathon plus tires 406-47 on my Bike Friday Pocket Llama..
+ thorn resistant tubes , weigh more but, I only top them off for psi, once in many weeks..
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Old 06-18-19, 11:54 AM
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I would think with gravel you would want tires to be the suppler the better for the same reason you want wide at low pressure. But I suppose where you ride and flat resistance comes into it too.
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Old 06-18-19, 10:42 PM
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The Big Apples do roll well. This has never happened before, but coasting down a hill on our usual ride, my wife kept up with me instead of falling back as she usually does. She said she felt much more stable, so she didn't use her brakes.
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Old 06-19-19, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Doc_Wui View Post
The Big Apples do roll well. This has never happened before, but coasting down a hill on our usual ride, my wife kept up with me instead of falling back as she usually does. She said she felt much more stable, so she didn't use her brakes.
Even though people all suggest differing brands, which I've tried as well, I always end up falling back on the Schwalbe Big Apple tires. They just tend to work!
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Old 06-19-19, 11:55 AM
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I used to have Big Apple 2.0" 50-406 and they were pretty good, but I started getting punctures after 1 year. I then switched to narrower Marathon Supreme 1.60" 42-406 for the lighter weight, but it was much more stiff on bumpy roads, and it also started getting punctures after 1 year. I then switched to Energizer Plus with greenguard 1.75" 47-406 and I had no punctures for 2 years, but after that I started getting punctures every week. Then I switched to the Marathon with greenguard 1.75" 47-406 and had no punctures for 2 years.

When I got a new bike I went with the Big Ben Plus 2.15" 55-406 tires with greenguard and snakeskin. It's around 200g heavier per tire compared to the Big Apple 2.00" 50-406. But almost the same weight as the Marathon 1.75" 47-406.

The Big Apple Plus 2.15" is surprisingly heavier than the Big Ben Plus 2.15" even though they're the same size and both have greenguard. While the Big Ben Plus has additionally the snakeskin for sidewall protection. So if you wanted balloon tires with greenguard, I would go with the Big Ben Plus over the Big Apple Plus since you get better puncture protection with a lighter weight.

One problem with 2.15" tires is that not all folding bikes can fit them. The forks and stays need to have enough tire clearance. I was able to fit the SKS 60mm mudguard on my Dahon bike after snipping small notches into the mudguard to get a few more millimeters further up into the fork joint. I only have around 3mm of clearance between the tire and mudguard at the fork joint, so if gravel gets into the tire tread, it makes scratching sounds against the mudguard until the gravel gets dislodged, but it doesn't bother me. Also the screw for attaching the rear mudguard to the mounting hole behind the BB had too large of a head, so I had to use a super low head screw 1mm that I had spares of. You can usually only find them from Japanese companies, like Sunco, which you can order from misumi.

Another problem is chain clearance to the tire and mudguard. The largest cassette cog actually sits inside the profile of the 2.15" tire, so you can't see the cog if you are looking at it from the edge of the tire and parallel to sidewall. I have around 3.5mm chain clearance to the tire, and 0.5mm chain clearance to the mudguard on the lowest gear combination combination. This is on 130mm dropouts. You get about an extra 1mm chain clearance if you have 135mm dropouts. This also depends on whether you're using a single, double, or triple crankset. Triple will have chain clearance problems on the inner ring with 2.15" tires, since the inner triple is around 2mm closer to the BB than the inner double.

The Big Ben Plus gives a much softer ride than the Marathon, depending on how much pressure you put into them. It says 2-4 bar, and I usually put in 3 bar, which makes it more rigid and rolls faster. 2.5 bar is very soft and bouncy, which absorbs a lot of road bumps. It also takes less effort to pump the lower pressure, although the bigger volume needs more pumps.

https://www.schwalbe.com/en/tour-rea...-ben-plus.html
https://www.schwalbe.com/en/tour-rea...pple-plus.html
https://www.schwalbe.com/en/tour-reader/big-apple.html
https://www.schwalbe.com/en/tour-reader/marathon.html

Marathon supreme, no longer available for 406. But it folded, so you could store it in panniers to take on a remote tour.
https://www.schwalbe.com/en/tour-rea...n-supreme.html

Energizer Plus. Seems to be a little bit different from the original pair that I used to have. No longer available in 406. I used it because it had greenguard and I found it at a super cheap deal for $15 per tire.
https://www.schwalbe.com/en/tour-rea...izer-plus.html

I just looked at prices again and the big Ben plus and Marathon are only $14 to$20 per tire.

Last edited by tomtomtom123; 06-20-19 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 06-24-19, 07:19 PM
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It looks like the v-brakes have plenty of clearance for wider tires. What's a good tire.[/QUOTE]

What helps is width, and how supple the tire is. If you can fit a superlight Box one 20x1.95 tire (at 20-25lbs psi if you are about 170lbs) you can roll the chunky stuff much more easily. That tire is the closest thing to the Compass tires for the BMX crowd. Warning- running those tires means you will never go back to a Schwalbe or anything else. They roll that good, and make everything else feel like crap.
The newish Kenda slant six 20x2.6” allows you to speedily roll over some super chunky stuff, but unfortunately, few bikes can fit that tire, even though it can clear V-brakes and chainlines with 68mm bottom brackets on a properly designed folder.
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Old 06-25-19, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Widest I have used are 1.65" on 18" wheels, so probably near to the 20" 1.5" tires you are using in terms of contact patch to the ground.
Marathon Racers have given me very good results on week long trail riding as well as long 160-200km rides.

What you go for will depend on the amount of gravel/road you will encounter.
If there is a lot more gravel, you will need as wide as the bike can take.
3 surfaces pose the most problems, rock gardens, loose/fresh gravel and washboards.
All 3 will favor wide tires on lower pressure and larger wheel diameters (in which a fatter tires does add a bit to )
I'm looking for an alternative to the sluggish 406-40 (20x1.5) Marathon Racers .
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Old 06-27-19, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
I'm looking for an alternative to the sluggish 406-40 (20x1.5) Marathon Racers .
Marathon Racers are indeed less supple with the thick nylon protection, but I have never felt that they were slower in the 65-75psi range.
I used 18"x1.5" ones and it always held their own against Tyrell Fx, CSI and even some folks on road bikes.

If you are looking at more supple tires, I really like the Schwalbe Ultremo (on a 451 bike) (now replaced by "One" ), they were really supple.
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Old 06-29-19, 02:22 AM
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I wish there was a Schwalbe Almotion 406-40 ; the Almotion is supple like Kojak and puncture resistant like Marathon .
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Old 07-04-19, 11:40 AM
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I've mounted 55-406 Big Bens (with fenders!) on my Downtube 8FH. It's a bit tight for the rear, but it does work. However, they "bulge" quite a bit, as the factory rims are 19mm wide inside (Schwalbe says 19mm is the minimum width for them). That's why I'm considering using Alienation TCS Malice rims instead (23mm inside width).

Having said that, I've gone back to 50-406 Big Apples for now. They seem to be wide enough for the riding that I do.
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Old 07-04-19, 07:20 PM
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The big Ben plus on my 19c rim with fenders on my Dahon has very small tolerances on all sides. So I won't change my rim width. the only other size available locally is 25c. I assume a wider rim would increase the tire width but reduces the tire diameter. A wider tire would contact the fork or chain.
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Old 07-17-19, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
I'm looking for an alternative to the sluggish 406-40 (20x1.5) Marathon Racers .
There’s the Schwalbe G-One Speed in 406-40, and in that size they are only available with Microskin construction which is the most supple (and expensive) of the G-One range. Schwalbe’s own website is quite honest about comparative qualities between their tyres though, and the G-Ones are much better rolling than Racers or Kojaks. I’ve got one pair that I’ve had on a couple of different Dahons and they transformed the ride compared to various Kendas etc. My new-to me BF Silk came with Marathon Plus tyres that might be flat proof but at the expense of an enjoyable ride so another pair will be on my next order from Germany.

Andrew in AU
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Old 07-17-19, 07:45 PM
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Higher Load Rating Than Big Apples

Thanks for the heads up on the new Schwalbe G-One Speeds; I wasn't aware of them.

Interesting the 40-406 version is rated for 100kg and weigh 365g. MSRP = $84
Fatter Big Apples (50-406) are only rated at 85kg but weigh 395g. They are cheaper though (MSRP = $33).
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Old 07-18-19, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wqlava1 View Post
There’s the Schwalbe G-One Speed in 406-40, and in that size they are only available with Microskin construction which is the most supple (and expensive) of the G-One range. Schwalbe’s own website is quite honest about comparative qualities between their tyres though, and the G-Ones are much better rolling than Racers or Kojaks. I’ve got one pair that I’ve had on a couple of different Dahons and they transformed the ride compared to various Kendas etc. My new-to me BF Silk came with Marathon Plus tyres that might be flat proof but at the expense of an enjoyable ride so another pair will be on my next order from Germany.

Andrew in AU
Thanks ! How's the puncture protection ?
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