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Do you switch out tires based on tour conditions?

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Do you switch out tires based on tour conditions?

Old 09-10-17, 07:50 PM
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CapTandem
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Do you switch out tires based on tour conditions?

There is a similar thread under "Touring" but I'm going to post this topic here for a Tandem specific discussion.

We ride a 2007 Cannondale tandem with 700 x 28 Continental Gatorskins at 110 PSI. As a team we weigh 440 lbs. We usually ride on asphalt paved surfaces on rural roads in the area. The Conti Gators have been really bulletproof under these conditions.

Last Sunday, we took the tandem to a local rail trail, the Flint Hills Nature Trail in Ottawa, KS. Didn't get far before we blew the front tire. Our friends helped match the hole in the inner tube to the tire. I was shocked to find that something had sliced through the sidewall of the tire. Clean and deep. It looked like a knife cut.

The crushed gravel were were riding on was compacted and made a good riding surface. I blamed debris we were riding through, thinking that the tire pressure/load combination left the sidewall vulnerable to a sharp thorn.

My riding buddy suggested that the 5 year old Conti Gators were suffering a case of dry rot. His solution was to replace the tires before we completely wear out the tread. The tires were in storage in my garage until I mounted them three years ago. I could not see any obvious signs of deterioration due to age.

I'm thinking that I want to switch out tires for trail riding conditions. Something more pneumatic, lower pressure, and more rubber like a set of 700 x 38 Bontrager H2 Hard Case Lite Hybrid Tires. This combination would also be less vulnerable to snake bites on the inner tubes should we accidentally ride over a sharp corner.

Are the sidewalls of Conti Gators more vulnerable because of tire pressure/load?

Do you switch out your tires based on tour conditions?
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Old 09-10-17, 08:51 PM
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We usually run Conti GP 4 Seasons in 28 at 100 psi. When we tour loaded we use Conti Gators in 32 at about 95 psi. We will tour on hard packed rail/trail. We're a team weight of 290 lbs.

I think you would be much happier on larger tires, especially on the gravel.
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Old 09-11-17, 04:22 AM
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We now tour using Swalbe supreme folding 2.0" on smooth firetraps and sealed roads. If we know we are going on rougher fire trails I have a set of Marathon Duo's which are a tandem rated tyre. Our gross weight would be around the 180kg mark. We've found a huge improvement to comfort and cornering depending on conditions. The supremes corner great on sealed road but not on gravel and the Marathon Duos are great on the gravel but no good on sealed roads for fast cornering.
We are also using 35mm wide Blunt35's which make a difference also. Go for the widest tyres you can fit that will also be ok with your rims. Do a test ride before you go on tour though
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Old 09-11-17, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by CapTandem View Post
Do you switch out your tires based on tour conditions?
No.

We had quite a few snake bites riding loaded along the Canal du Midi in France a while ago even while using 700x35.

Rather than trying to find wider tires (this was a while before 29" became popular) and deal with squeezing bigger tires into very limited space between the stays, we switched to a 26" tandem. We run 26x2" slicks all the time for paved and hardpack sufaces. Since we don't do real offroad riding, this works perfectly for us.

No need for separate wheels or swapping tires.
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Old 09-11-17, 12:53 PM
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We are a team just a little lighter then your team and we've been using Gaters in 32 for several years on rail-trail conditions with great service. We ride them in 28's for our regular riding. We put a pair of regular Victoria Randonners in 32 on a tour and they were terrible on pavement.

Last edited by Paul J; 09-12-17 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 09-11-17, 01:36 PM
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Wider tires for gravel is key. We could slice up the sidewalls of a set of 35mm Paselas pretty quickly on gravel, but they'll last 1000s of miles on pavement. Just bumping up to 42mm tires has been enough to keep sidewalls happy on gravel. If funds allow it, I'd recommend a 650b wheelset with ~47mm tires (i.e. WTB Horizon, Compass Switchback Hill, Teravail Rampart) to complement your current 700c wheelset.
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Old 09-11-17, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
Wider tires for gravel is key. We could slice up the sidewalls of a set of 35mm Paselas pretty quickly on gravel, but they'll last 1000s of miles on pavement. Just bumping up to 42mm tires has been enough to keep sidewalls happy on gravel. If funds allow it, I'd recommend a 650b wheelset with ~47mm tires (i.e. WTB Horizon, Compass Switchback Hill, Teravail Rampart) to complement your current 700c wheelset.
With out changing wheel size they are probably only getting to a 35c, maybe a 37 on a cannondale. I don't think a 42 would fit,but I could be wrong.
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Old 09-11-17, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
With out changing wheel size they are probably only getting to a 35c, maybe a 37 on a cannondale. I don't think a 42 would fit,but I could be wrong.
Fine point. I think 700x35mm fits all Cannondale tandems. I seem to recall measuring a friend's and finding that 700x38mm tires would be okay for road use, but 700x42mm would be too risky. 650b x 42mm tires would likely fit fine. That said, 35mm tires would be much better than the OP's 28s. We're a much lighter team and we've only used 42mm (Pari-Moro) and ~54mm (Big One, Thunder Burt, Beaver, Speedster) tires in the past year. Our 700x35mm Vittoria Voyager Hyper tires are collecting dust.
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Old 09-12-17, 06:57 AM
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The Continental Sport Contact 700 x 37 tires we just retired from our Cannondale road tandem worked great for roads or gravel for us for 3000 flat free miles, bike plus 2 riders and trunk bag total 400 lbs.

Last edited by 3bluebikes; 09-12-17 at 06:58 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 09-12-17, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 3bluebikes View Post
The Continental Sport Contact 700 x 37 tires we just retired from our Cannondale road tandem worked great for roads or gravel for us for 3000 flat free miles, bike plus 2 riders and trunk bag total 400 lbs.
CapTandem, keep in mind that though the numbers, 28,32,35,37,42, are what apprears to be a standard measurement, different tire brands and even models within a brand, can be larger or smaller then others. I've found that the Gatorskins run larger as do the GP 4000's, our 28 Gatorskins are running about 30 when measures. I'm not sure on the Contacts measurement but it is awesome to know they work on 3bluebikes Cannondale so that looks like it could an option. SO it is always good to check with other users when you are looking to bump-up against the potential limit on your fork or rear stays.

On sizing, this was the most blatant example I've found, Victtoria Randonneurs are called 35 in the marketing material but the actual size marked on the side wall is 37-622 which would imply they are actually 37. Tire sizing is not exact and can impact the fit between brands and models. :-)
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Old 09-12-17, 02:20 PM
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We change tires and wheels. Around home we run Spinergy wheels and 28 or 32 Gatorskins, usually the 32's. A supported tour we'll run our 48 spoke Phil Wood/Dyads with 32 Gatorskins. Unsupported or credit card on our own we run a set of 40mm Schwalbe Duremes, but most bikes won't fit that wide.
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Old 09-21-17, 09:36 AM
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For rail trails, especially gravel ones, I'd do 35mm at least. On gravel, no matter how well packed, narrow tires (even 28s) with the weight of a tandem on them will knife into the trail surface and actually slow you down. The wider tires will float you better and you'll enjoy the ride more IMO.
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Old 09-22-17, 01:15 AM
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We change bikes depending on conditions. Figure like lots of folks are like us and have extra bikes instead of extra wheels. Second hand tandems can often be found for pretty good deals.
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Old 09-22-17, 07:18 AM
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We switch to 40 mm tires when riding gravel. We rode the Flint Hills Nature Trail earlier this year and sections between Pomona and Council Grove were not in good shape. I would not recommend riding those sections on 28 mm tires unless you are very good at riding on gravel.
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Old 09-24-17, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by geoffs View Post
We are also using 35mm wide Blunt35's which make a difference also.
i have read many good reports of Velocity rims for tandems, but usually the more narrow rims. i was wondering about the blunt ss and 35, as i have blunt 35 rims on a mtn bike. i take it you are pleased? how many spokes are you using with your setup?
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Old 09-24-17, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kevrider View Post
i have read many good reports of Velocity rims for tandems, but usually the more narrow rims. i was wondering about the blunt ss and 35, as i have blunt 35 rims on a mtn bike. i take it you are pleased? how many spokes are you using with your setup?
We have a 36h 27.5 Blunt 35 for our adventure wheels. So far so good. The Blunt SS isn't recommended for tandems by Velocity. I'd consider using one for road racing or unloaded paved riding on the tandem, however.
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Old 07-25-18, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
We have a 36h 27.5 Blunt 35 for our adventure wheels. So far so good. The Blunt SS isn't recommended for tandems by Velocity. I'd consider using one for road racing or unloaded paved riding on the tandem, however.
Per recommendation by OneIsAllYouNeed, we are running 36h Velocity Blunt SS rims on our Granite Ti Tandem. They are 30mm wide, and 26.5mm inside the hooks. We have been using 28mm Conti 4000 tires, and so far all is good, and a nice ride. Considering trying 32mm tires now.
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Old 07-28-18, 07:07 PM
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I've been using 36H blunt 35's with no problems so far. I would hesitate to use the BluntSS as they just seem to light to me. They one thing I really don't want to worry about when we are touring is our wheels. I'just about to build up a set of Light Bicycle carbon 650b 36h rims to a pair of Chris King hubs with cx-rays as a set of light wheels for around town. They are a custom layup though and at 500gr, they feel really strong even with out the spokes.
So we'll be using 26" x 2.0" for touring and 650b x 40 around town and weekends away
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