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2 New Tires...2 More MPH!

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2 New Tires...2 More MPH!

Old 10-01-21, 07:40 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 5,766

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 2007 Dahon Boardwalk, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International, 2006 Felt F65

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2 New Tires...2 More MPH!

I bought a 2007 Dahon Boardwalk 7-speed last spring and have been making mods and upgrades. The original back tire was decomposing, but the front, a thick, heavy low-end Kenda 20 x 1.5" with "inverse tread" seemed to be okay. I replaced the rear tire with a used $7 no-name 20 x 1.5" of similar quality from the bike co-op, although slightly less stiff.

Well, the front tire began to split last week, so I bought new tires. Since I had upgraded the rear gear set to a much wider 11/48 for better hill climbing and the higher speed I want, and the mini bull-horn bars I added give me the road bike riding position I prefer, I really wanted to get smooth, supple tires like I have on my three other bikes, where they made a huge difference in average speed, handling and comfort.

So yesterday I went to a Local Bike Shop that specializes in folding bikes and recumbents since I knew they'd have some nice 20" tires...and they did:

Schwalbe Marathon Racers 20 x 1.5" for $40 each, which in these times of high prices due to pandemic fueled scarcities and shortages was an great bargain!

The previous tires had a stated max psi of 40psi, although I had been running them at 50. But the new Schwalbes' suggested psi is 55-85!

I pumped them up to 75psi, calibrated the odometer/computer with a measured roll-out and hit the road.

Since the gearing upgrade I had ben averaging 11.5 mph, like my heavy, drop-bar converted MTB. But with the new tires I averaged 13.5 mph like my two road bikes!

I did a quick 8-mile out and back which should cancel out wind and elevation, and the speeds through certain sections were consistent with my two road bikes.

Of course the ride motions on a shorter wheelbase 20" folder with a tall steering stem are not as relaxed as my medium wheelbase Charge Plug commuter, or my lovely 1984 Nishiki International, but the folder is much more nimble.

Further investigation is needed to make sure the computer is properly calibrated, and to learn more about how these tires perform...and of course I will take any excuse to ride!

So once again, smooth, supple road tires have transformed another of my bikes into a real performer which makes me feel half my 60 years out there!

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