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Tandem Tires - That balance between fast and durability

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Tandem Tires - That balance between fast and durability

Old 03-06-21, 04:51 AM
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socalrider
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Tandem Tires - That balance between fast and durability

I have just a couple rides under my belt on my Santana Noventa. The wheels it came with are Velocity Dyads which are good for tires from 700 x 25 to 38

The tires on the bike are Conti Gatorskins 700 x 25 with thicker tubes. Will I feel a little more smoothness if I move up to 700 x 28 / 32 tires.
On the road - I have always been a fan of the wire bead version of the Vittoria Rubinos or would it more prudent to go with a more durable city tire?

Opinions please - collective weight of our tandem duo is right at 375lbs.
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Old 03-06-21, 07:38 AM
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We have had the best luck with Gatorskins. We are a larger team then you and your stoker and typically ride with 28 and 32. We've been using 32's for the last 6 months and think that is our regular tire now. People here are using Conti 4000's/5000's and 4 seasons with good luck. We've stuck with what is giving us the most trouble free performance. The Gatorskins are not know for being the most smooth but we've enjoyed more then a decade of good results.
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Old 03-06-21, 08:52 AM
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I'll second Paul J's suggestion of Gatorskins. Our collective weight is 350 pounds and have ridden 28s for years. Last fall, I put a 32 on the back and lowered the pressure about 5 psi. There is slight decrease in the harshness on rough roads and I don't notice any other difference. I put a 32 on the front but it would not go into the wheel bag we use when we haul our tandem so I put the 28 back on.
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Old 03-06-21, 11:09 AM
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+1 on the gatorskins. We run them (28mm) on our road tandem and get great mileage and have only had few flats over the years. We put wider tires on our travel tandem to ride the local rail trails (with about 50% on pavement). We've tried 37mm WTB Riddlers, and 38mm Maxxis Ramblers. Both are known as supple tires. Ride was awesome, but both rear tires tread wore down and the casings failed in less than 1000 miles.

I realize that I am comparing road tires built to last with gravel tires built for a smooth ride. The calculus suggests going with the better wearing option over ride.
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Old 03-06-21, 10:08 PM
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We've been most satisfied with Conti 4000IIs in 28mm and Conti 5000 in 32mm. They are both the same size inflated. We don't have the cleanest roads here, they put nasty flints on in the winter if it snows and don't sweep until April, plus we ride in the rain. We like the ride, the performance, and judge the flat resistance to be more than adequate. We'd rather change a tire and have a smooth fast ride. We bought the bike used 13 years ago and it came with Gatorskins. First thing I did was change them out. I couldn't figure out why we couldn't make the bike go.
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Old 03-07-21, 08:16 AM
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We have had good durability and mileage with Schwalbe Marathon Mondials. They’re good all-around road/trail tires and we have not experienced a puncture in over 20,000 miles of riding on them (not the same set of tires!). The downside is that they’re somewhat expensive.
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Old 03-08-21, 05:41 PM
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Looks like I am going to go with the Conti Duraskins - since we are a bigger team 350+ _ i thought the extra stiffness would help a bit. Anyone have experience with these tires.
I chose the 700 x 28 models.
https://www.amazon.com/Continental-G...5246600&sr=8-5


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Old 03-09-21, 01:22 AM
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We rode 28 mm Gatorskins for ~20 years on several tandems. Durability is their strong point.

We switched to GP 5000s in size 32 a year ago and are now on our second set. The ride is better and the durability is still pretty good. (More objective testing showed the 5000s to be only slightly less resistant to wear and flats.) We’ll probably stick with the GP5000 in 32, though we may experiment with something wider still when this current set wears out.

- Kevin

Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
Looks like I am going to go with the Conti Duraskins - since we are a bigger team 350+ _ i thought the extra stiffness would help a bit. Anyone have experience with these tires.
I chose the 700 x 28 models.
https://www.amazon.com/Continental-G...5246600&sr=8-5



Last edited by CaliTexan; 03-09-21 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 03-09-21, 12:07 PM
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Another vote for the Conti 5000 in either 28 or 32. Incredibly smooth tire that rolls fast.
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Old 03-09-21, 06:57 PM
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Thank you - will take a look at the 5000's. I would rather have a more compliant ride then one that lasts a long time but provides a harsher ride.
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Old 03-09-21, 08:14 PM
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Compliant ride and 28 mm tire on a tandem seems a bit contradictory. I must be missing something here!

We are working through a stash of 700 x 37 Panaracer T-Serv that measure 39 mm on our rims. Go fast, ride great, last a long time! When the panniers go on, we switch to 42 or 47--Schwalbe Mondial, Supreme or Dureme or Conti Top Contact 2.

"If you think I'm going to ride tandem with you on a bike with those skinny tires, You are sleeping in your bike cave from now on" sez the woman with the 33 mm tires on her fast race single.

Mount up the biggest QUALITY tire you can get between the stays and try to stop smiling-
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Old 03-11-21, 01:02 AM
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well the first ride was with the 700 x 25 Gatorskins that came with the bike - was going to give 28's a whirl but leaning toward the 5000's in 700 x 32.
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Old 03-11-21, 07:04 PM
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My wife and I rode Gatorskins for two seasons and put about 1,600 total miles on them. I always thought the ride was harsh, and didn't have much confidence in the grip when cornering. We switched to Continental Grand-Prix 4-Season and will never go back to Gatorskins!

The 4-Seasons are a huge improvement to ride quality for us - much suppler rubber, lower rolling resistance, and the same size tire (we ride 700x32 @ 80-85 PSI) is much smoother over bumps, I'm guessing because the sidewall isn't as rigid. We are a 340 lb team.

Last edited by kmulder; 03-20-21 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 03-12-21, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Ross200 View Post
Compliant ride and 28 mm tire on a tandem seems a bit contradictory. I must be missing something here!

We are working through a stash of 700 x 37 Panaracer T-Serv that measure 39 mm on our rims. Go fast, ride great, last a long time! When the panniers go on, we switch to 42 or 47--Schwalbe Mondial, Supreme or Dureme or Conti Top Contact 2.

"If you think I'm going to ride tandem with you on a bike with those skinny tires, You are sleeping in your bike cave from now on" sez the woman with the 33 mm tires on her fast race single.

Mount up the biggest QUALITY tire you can get between the stays and try to stop smiling-
+1
We have 38mm Supple Vitesse tires on our Cannondale and the ride is great, and feels pretty quick. I may go to 33mm on the front to get fender clearance. I expect it would still be plenty plush.
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Old 03-13-21, 01:35 AM
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Wow those Soma tires are really lightweight - would love some more info on these. Do they seem true to size - some tires are a little on the smaller side. I would definitely look at the 33's. Puncture resistant at least - the 33's at 250grams is a light tire.
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Old 03-13-21, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
Wow those Soma tires are really lightweight - would love some more info on these. Do they seem true to size - some tires are a little on the smaller side. I would definitely look at the 33's. Puncture resistant at least - the 33's at 250grams is a light tire.
I like them quite a bit. I have only used the EX version but find them quite supple and a fast tires. I have the 33mm version on an old Raleigh. Have not used the Compass/RH tires, but have heard others compare them favorably.
We have around 1200-1500 miles on the 38ís on our tandem and I just rotated them. The rear was getting a bit smooth but not threadbare or anything. The front still showed the tread pattern. We had one flat from a wire. We are around 280#.
Oh yeah - yes, they do measure pretty close to the stated size.
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Old 03-16-21, 10:13 PM
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Many of you tandem folk seem to like Contis, makes me want to give them another shot after being disappointed in the Gatorskins I tried some 12 years ago. The tandem I recently bought secondhand came with a front Armadillo labeled 23mm that measures 25.8, and a rear Gatorskin labeled 28mm that measures 27.8. I have been very fond of Vittoria lately and was thinking of getting some 28mm or 30mm Zaffiro Pros to smoothen the ride a little more for our 265lb team (mostly me). The stoker is too short to run a suspension seatpost.
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Old 03-17-21, 08:02 AM
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Schwalbe Marathons 35c here.

Here is a great review from Rolling Resistence https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...-marathon-2015
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Old 03-18-21, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by kmulder View Post
My wife and I rode Gatorskins for two seasons for about 1,600 total. We then switched to Continental Grand-Prix 4-Season and will never got back to Gatorskins!

The 4-Seasons are a huge improvement to ride quality for us - much suppler rubber, lower rolling resistance, and the same size tire (we ride 32s) is much smoother over bumps, I'm guessing because the sidewall isn't as rigid. We are a 340 lb team.
+1 for the Grand Prix 4-Seasons. We used to use Gatorskins but the 4-Seasons are lighter, wider for any given stated size, and seem to ride better. We've had one flat on 4-Seasons that I don't think any slick road tire would have resisted... in the rain, large slash in the center of an almost new tire, with immediate loss of pressure. A boot got us to the end of the day's ride but the boot was herniating so we replaced the tire after that ride.

Other than that one tire that died young, durability has been really good. I never want to come anywhere close to pushing a tire to end-of-life on the front wheel, so when I need to replace the rear tire I move the front to the rear and put a new tire on the front. I use Strava's Gear function to track mileage for the parts on my bikes, and looking back at the numbers our current rear tire had 2,600 miles on the front and now 1,600 on the rear. It is still looking good. The previous rear tire had 1,200 on the front and 2,600 on the rear. I replace the rear tires when they look significantly flattened in the center. Others might push them a bit further than I do.

We're running 700x28mm and they measure about 32mm on our Spinergy FCC 3.2 rims. 28mm Gatorskins on the same rims would measure closer to 28mm. I've considered going to 32mm so we can run lower pressure but I still have a few spare 28s to use up first. We are about a 320 lb team not counting the bike and run the tires between 85 to 95 psi.
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Old 03-21-21, 07:25 AM
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I am using Schwalbe Marathon Plus in 700 x 38C size on my 385 pound gross weight tandem. I would like to point out that the
original poster left out a major criteria and that is Comfort. So. in choosing tires, it is between Fast, Durability, and Comfort (ignoring cost)
I have chosen the Marathon Plus. I would like to point out that no tire because of structural design or construction has ANY effect on ride smoothness. ONLY ONE THING
affects smoothness that is tire pressure. The larger volume the tire has, the lower the potential pressure to support the weight and with the lower pressure
a greater ability to soak up road vibration. The lower pressure tire will ALWAYS be smoother than the higher pressure tire.
There are some who referred to different tire sidewalls as being stiffer than others and affecting the
ride smoothness but that is a falsehood. If you want to know how stiff your sidewall is and how much weight it alone will support, then let all the air
out of the tire. The sidewalls support zero weight. Except for the guys who are riding competitively, and I dont know of any Tandem races, I believe the safety of
the stoker is far ,more important than being 100 yards further down the road after a 20 mile ride. For any given pothole or rock that you hit, the larger the tire and lower
the pressure, the greater the liklihood that your tire will survive the impact. I say always run the largest size reputable tires that will fit on your tandem bike.
I also have a tandem bike with 26 inch wheels and a straight handlebar. On that tandem I run 26 x 2.4 inch knobby tires at 35 psi and boy is it a super pleasure
to ride. Technically speaking it should have the greatest rolling resistance, but after a couple hours riding the pavement, maybe I would get to the finish line a minute later than
my drop bar "race" tandem. Never again in my life do I ever want to ride on any kind of bike with skinny tires. I have no quarrel with any young racer dude who wants to ride
balls out on a skinny tire half bike but you should never ride that way with a helpless stoker on the back.
i
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Old 03-22-21, 03:44 AM
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OIffroad stiffer sidewalls give more steeering stability with large tires in tubeless with lower pressure and stiffer sidewals(especially in the rear )prevent burping. I ride 2.6 front(1.9 bar and rear(1.8 bar), only in the mud 2.3.
With enduro casings I can lower pressure but these tyres weigh a lot more. Between 800 and 900 grams tyres are an ideal compromise on not too rocky terrain.
I like marathon mondial 1.6 because they last very long and are puncture resistant. Ideal gravel tyre. On the front I prefer a smaller tyre.
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Old 03-29-21, 12:37 PM
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On a different note... I decided to try as an experiment these tubes: https://schwalbe.com/aerothan/en
My upgrade priorities are safety and endurance (minimizing fatigue). Although these tubes are very lightweight, what caught my attention were the claims around puncture protection, heat resistance and a smoother ride. We’ve only taken one ride with these tubes installed so far, but subjectively I have to say that the ride did seem somewhat smoother, sort of like moving up a size or two in tires, but with no change in handling. Also seemed to roll pretty fast. Keep in mind that our bike already rides very smoothly with lots of carbon fiber and suspension components between the riders and the road. We run 700 x 32mm (34 measured) Continental tires at 90 psi, gp5000 front, 4 seasons rear.

Can’t report on any of the other aerothan claims so far, but I’ll keep these on the bike until they give me trouble, if they do. The downsides are price and repairability, which I won’t attempt roadside, at least the first time. So I’m carrying 2 butyl spares for now, which negates any weight advantage, not that I care.

$30 tubes aren’t for everyone, but then again there are many who are happy to pay $90 for Compass tires for the ride characteristics.
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