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thoughts/recs on touring tires

Old 03-08-17, 12:10 AM
  #1  
gringodevil
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thoughts/recs on touring tires

Greetings BFers,
I am relatively new to roadbikes (1 year) and completely new to cycle touring and have an upcoming ride of about 1200K. I have a titanium road bike with mountain bike rims and disk brakes, modelled on Salsa traveler, with SS-type frame couplers. I have been riding road with continental gatorskins 28s on the rims at 110, and I love them, and they haul a**, and they seem indestructible, but ride is a bit harsh, and they have zero tread. This ride in Spain will have about 10% hard-packed dirt road/trail. I am looking at other kevlar-lined or otherwise puncture-proof options with tread, and have found Schwalbe marathon plus in 28s that seem to get good reviews. My question is, from talking to varied cycle tourers, it always seems like they were riding fatter mountain bike/bike messenger slicks--I don't recall seeing any people riding skinny tires--maybe they were in my blind spot. I will have about 20 pounds of clothing/gear on this trip. Schwalbe has this HS 348 model in 28, 32, 35, and 38--all of which would work on my rims.

So, my questions are: does anyone cycle tour on 28s or 32s , or is that masochistic and insane? other than schwalbe, and any other tire recommendations for puncture proof, low rolling resistance, and with some tread?

Thanks for your sage advice,

Russell
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Old 03-08-17, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by gringodevil View Post
Greetings BFers,
I am relatively new to roadbikes (1 year) and completely new to cycle touring and have an upcoming ride of about 1200K. I have a titanium road bike with mountain bike rims and disk brakes, modelled on Salsa traveler, with SS-type frame couplers. I have been riding road with continental gatorskins 28s on the rims at 110, and I love them, and they haul a**, and they seem indestructible, but ride is a bit harsh, and they have zero tread. This ride in Spain will have about 10% hard-packed dirt road/trail. I am looking at other kevlar-lined or otherwise puncture-proof options with tread, and have found Schwalbe marathon plus in 28s that seem to get good reviews. My question is, from talking to varied cycle tourers, it always seems like they were riding fatter mountain bike/bike messenger slicks--I don't recall seeing any people riding skinny tires--maybe they were in my blind spot. I will have about 20 pounds of clothing/gear on this trip. Schwalbe has this HS 348 model in 28, 32, 35, and 38--all of which would work on my rims.

So, my questions are: does anyone cycle tour on 28s or 32s , or is that masochistic and insane? other than schwalbe, and any other tire recommendations for puncture proof, low rolling resistance, and with some tread?

Thanks for your sage advice,

Russell
The trend is wider tires.....but lots of folks toured with skinny tires back in the day. Before the fat tire trend took off I did tours with 28 and 32s. Bigger allows lower pressure which = more comfort and better rim protection over potholes and rough terrain. Skinny tires really don't have any benefits on a touring bike. If your bike fits em', get the biggest you can get, especially if using 'slicks' offroad, so you can airdown and find better traction.

Schwalbe tires are excellent, across the board and have some of the best touring options available.
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Old 03-08-17, 01:27 AM
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CliffordK
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The Marathon Plus tires are HEAVY, but are good durable tires.
Panaracer Tourguard tires are quite similar too.

Depending on your surface, you may not need a lot of tread. I take my road bike onto pea gravel, although I don't like it on descents.

A bit lighter tire might be the Continental Gator Hardshell, but everyone has their favorite flat protection tires.

The Clement X'Plor USH has a good center wear strip, and lots of tread for gravel and dirt. So far I haven't had any flats with mine, but can't comment on flat protection.

As far as weight, distance. 20 lbs is a good weight. Those are pounds, and not kilos, right?

1200 km, 750 miles isn't bad. It depends a bit on how many miles you do in a day. But, I do most of my riding on 23mm and 25mm tires. If a racer can race on them, then a mere mortal cyclist can also ride on them. I use wider tires only when I expect a lot of gravel.
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Old 03-08-17, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gringodevil View Post
I have been riding road with continental gatorskins 28s on the rims at 110
but ride is a bit harsh
What's your bike+rider mass? 110PSI for a 28mm tire is very high, I'd certainly expect it to be harsh.

My bike+rider mass is around 200lbs on my bikes with 28mm tires, and I run the rear tire at 85-90PSI for most pavement.

and they have zero tread. This ride in Spain will have about 10% hard-packed dirt road/trail.
Are you sure you need aggressive tread? Most hardpack is a good use case for road tires.

Schwalbe has this HS 348 model in 28, 32, 35, and 38--all of which would work on my rims.
Would they clear your brakes/frame/fenders? Rims are the easiest part of tire compatibility.

So, my questions are: does anyone cycle tour on 28s or 32s , or is that masochistic and insane?
Depends on the sort of tour. I've done lightly-loaded paved touring on 28s and been fine. I even survived a little bit of loose gravel, although that was less than ideal.

That's because that's all the bike will clear with fenders, though. Nothing wrong with going super wide.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:10 AM
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When exclusively on road, 32 mm is perfectly adequate. It's what I've always used for wholly paved tours. I could see 35-38 mm being welcome to some folks for the plush ride, but beyond that, seems like you're adding mass without much benefit, unless you want squishy tires for off-roading.

Schwalbe Marathon Supremes are excellent tires.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:17 AM
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32c tires were the standard for a long time for touring. There is a lot to be said for fatter tires run at lower pressure in terms of comfort but a 700 x 32c is still a fine choice for touring.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:55 AM
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Panaracer t-serv protex folding

Originally Posted by gringodevil View Post
Greetings BFers,
I am relatively new to roadbikes (1 year) and completely new to cycle touring and have an upcoming ride of about 1200K. I have a titanium road bike with mountain bike rims and disk brakes, modelled on Salsa traveler, with SS-type frame couplers. I have been riding road with continental gatorskins 28s on the rims at 110, and I love them, and they haul a**, and they seem indestructible, but ride is a bit harsh, and they have zero tread. This ride in Spain will have about 10% hard-packed dirt road/trail. I am looking at other kevlar-lined or otherwise puncture-proof options with tread, and have found Schwalbe marathon plus in 28s that seem to get good reviews. My question is, from talking to varied cycle tourers, it always seems like they were riding fatter mountain bike/bike messenger slicks--I don't recall seeing any people riding skinny tires--maybe they were in my blind spot. I will have about 20 pounds of clothing/gear on this trip. Schwalbe has this HS 348 model in 28, 32, 35, and 38--all of which would work on my rims.

So, my questions are: does anyone cycle tour on 28s or 32s , or is that masochistic and insane? other than schwalbe, and any other tire recommendations for puncture proof, low rolling resistance, and with some tread?

Thanks for your sage advice,

Russell
Superb tire for touring. They sabotage themselves by suggesting that this is a bike messenger tire. Great touring tire. Light weight, excellent puncture protection, smooth rolling, folding kevlar bead. I've toured Pittsburgh to Washington DC on the gravel and dirt Great Allegheny Passage on this tire and also across New York state on the Erie Canal trail, self supported camping. I've commuted on them, too. I recommend this tire highly. I've run 32s and 35s and i think 38s.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:58 AM
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Pasela 32s are what my regular and tour bikes wear. The majority of my riding is on hard pack dirt/clay/limestone paths, they've never been a concern. They got me through some not so nicely packed or smooth trails with more than 20# in bags on the bike, too, when I didn't read maps carefully last trip.

As to tread, it takes a while to learn and get out of your head, but tread simply doesn't matter that much outside of actual off road riding. Compound is far more important for grip and suitability in bike tires.
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Old 03-08-17, 09:37 AM
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I used to ride Marathon Plusses, then I tried the Vittoria Randonneur Hyper or whatever it was/is called these days (I feel like they change the name slightly every year). It doesn't have near the flat protection of the Plus, but it felt so much better to ride on, that I decided I didn't mind changing a flat here and there. And even then I don't actually remember getting a lot more flats. Very little tread, which is fine on the pavement, okay on hardpack, and not much use in the mud. I kept bumping the width up until I was at the largest size, 38/40. Then I switched to a bike that could take even fatter tires, so the Hypers got left behind. But they were a great tire, and when I get new tires for my wife's 700c bike, they'll very likely be Hypers again.
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Old 03-08-17, 10:27 AM
  #10  
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I used Panaracer Pasela TourGuard 27 x 1 1/4 on my Univega Gran Turismo for a number of years and never had a flat. They have low rolling resistance, cushy ride, enough tread to keep you feeling stable in the rain, and not super heavy. And they're pretty cheap. I think my rear tire went about 1,000 miles before showing any signs of wear and tread loss (albeit minimal tread loss), and the front showed negligible wear. A few hundred of those miles were loaded touring miles. Most of them were semi-loaded commuting miles (rear panniers only or rear panniers + trunk bag). I also did the Seattle to Portland ride using them. They also handled well on dirt roads and okay on gravel, but a little extra caution was needed on gravel due to their width.

I think they changed the name of TourGuard to something else. It's their name for flat protection, but having inspected and used both Pasela TG and regular Pasela side by side, I'm convinced they're exactly the same. Give'em a try. If they're not to your liking, you're only out like $20.

EDIT: Also, Schwalbe Marathon Pluses are totally overkill. They are heavy, thick, hard rubber. They are nearly indestructible, but they're also one of the most uncomfortable, sluggish rides out there. The standard Schwalbe Marathons are equally indestructible and slightly less sluggish but still overkill. If you want to go that route, a comparable tire to Schwalbe Marathon is the Continental Contact. They're a faster, lighter tire but still have great flat protection. I've had good luck with them. And just so people know I'm not unfairly knocking the Marathon, I've got a pair of 26 x 2" Marathons on my LHT right now. They're good for heavily loaded, off-the-beaten-path touring, but they're probably not what you're looking for.

Last edited by Timequake; 03-08-17 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 03-08-17, 11:00 AM
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Last Tour I used Suomi Nokian Utility tires 622-40, By end of a 9 month tour one , rear got replaced , side wall tear, but tread wear was Nil..

I bring an extra tire.

Seen on OR Coast route over the years, all sorts of bikes, Touring, all sorts of tire choices , they all probably dont read this forum..





Last edited by fietsbob; 03-08-17 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 03-08-17, 11:20 AM
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After riding on Schwalbes for a number of years I'm thinking of going to a more supple sidewall on my 26" converted Bridgestone MB-1's wheels. Anyone had much experience touring with Compass McClure Pass tires?
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Old 03-08-17, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
After riding on Schwalbes for a number of years I'm thinking of going to a more supple sidewall on my 26" converted Bridgestone MB-1's wheels. Anyone had much experience touring with Compass McClure Pass tires?
Compass tires = rebranded Panaracer tires with a tripled pricetag.
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Old 03-08-17, 11:34 AM
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They're made by Panaracer with Pasela molds, but aren't the compounds considerably different?
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Old 03-08-17, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Timequake View Post
If you want to go that route, a comparable tire to Schwalbe Marathon is the Continental Contact. They're a faster, lighter tire but still have great flat protection. I've had good luck with them.
+1. Although I will add that I have been using the Top Contact/Contact II version. Have toured on them both on and off pavement, including some pretty rough/rocky, mountainous/hilly roads with no problems.
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Old 03-08-17, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
After riding on Schwalbes for a number of years I'm thinking of going to a more supple sidewall on my 26" converted Bridgestone MB-1's wheels. Anyone had much experience touring with Compass McClure Pass tires?
Compass tires ride extremely well, they're quick and light and supple. If you need puncture protection or beefed-up sidewalls, expect to find neither.

Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
They're made by Panaracer with Pasela molds, but aren't the compounds considerably different?
McClure Pass looks like a Pasela because it was one of the first Compass 26ers, and they weren't yet committing to making new tire molds in that size. The rest of the Compass tires don't look like Paselas, since they now have their own molds.

Compass "standard" tires use, I think, Panaracer 120TPI casing; the "extralight" models use Panaracer's tubular race casing, which takes the same threads but lays it up at 90TPI. Both have quite thin sidewalls, no puncture protection.

Definitely not Paselas.

Last edited by HTupolev; 03-08-17 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 03-08-17, 03:52 PM
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My wife and I have done a lot of touring on 28 mm Continental Gatorskins, including riding across the U. S. on them. We might have used 32 mms, but they were not available in the U. S. at the time. We have used them on several other tours with no significant problems. We later changed to 32 mm Gatorskins when they became available. This is a good compromise between comfort, weight, rolling resistance, and durability. Your rim may take the larger tire sizes, but will they clear forks and chainstays?

If you are going Schwalbe, I'd recommend the plain jane Marathon. They are lighter than the Plus and are very durable. Here again a good compromise. We have used 32 mm Schwalbe Marathons on several trips. Including a 3-month tour through Europe, which included over 400 miles of dirt and gravel roads and paths, a lot of it in wet weather. We did not hit much gravel or dirt in Spain.




On the same ride we rode over 500 miles on cobbles, paver stones, and sett stone roads and trails, our first European trip, and close to that on our second one. The 32 mm Marathons did fine.


We rode on gravel quite a bit, including this 5 mile stretch just outside Yellowstone on 28 mm Gatorskins without any issues. However, they do not do well in goat head country.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-09-17 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 03-08-17, 04:30 PM
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P.S. I just couldn't resist this one

In The Netherlands. This is the bike path; the road was too wet to ride on. The point of all this B.S. is that schwalbe 32 mm will handle most conditions, especially with only 20 lbs. of gear.
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Old 03-08-17, 11:46 PM
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Touring tires

[QUOTE=CliffordK;19426381]The Marathon Plus tires are HEAVY, but are good durable tires.
Panaracer Tourguard tires are quite similar too.

I second Clifford's opinion. I am retired now but on my daily commute (~20 miles) to work I had to take a bike path that was often littered with broken glass and junk cars in the process of being stripped. Before I switched to the Marathon Plus tires I would often get several flats a week. Frequently more than one in a day. On the Marathon's I had almost zero flats. I think I had maybe 2 or 3 flats in a five year period before I retired. They are heavy I guess but I never noticed the weight as I cycled but I did notice that they provided a nice soft ride and they wear very well.

Just my $.02 .
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Old 03-09-17, 01:46 AM
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CliffordK
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Originally Posted by jackrippah View Post
I second Clifford's opinion.

Just my $.02 .
Not quite... but close. The OP mentioned the Schwalbe Marathons. They are a robust tire. But, about my second ride out, I managed to pick up a really large piece of glass and got a flat, leaving a nasty gash in the side of my tire.

I babied that tire along for another 1000 miles or so, and it still has a lot of tread left. Unfortunately, the gash from that piece of glass continued to cause headaches, and I eventually stopped using the tire. I don't think I had any significant flats unrelated to the original gash.

I thought the Marathon Plus had some of the best traction (spin resistance & recovery) of any of the tires I've used recently. Wear seemed somewhat quick, so they may use a fairly soft rubber on the tread (for good traction).

However, I have wondered if the thick tread in the tire also leads to larger holes, and perhaps more tire damage.before whatever the insult is rejected by the armor layer.

Anyway, the Marathon Plus or Panaracer TG would be good touring tires, especially if one wants light tread on the tires.

But, I also wouldn't ignore all the other common armored tires such as the Gator Hardshell, or the rider's favorite.

The OP's trip is relatively short, and may not overly stress the tires.
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Old 03-09-17, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gringodevil View Post

So, my questions are: does anyone cycle tour on 28s or 32s , or is that masochistic and insane? other than schwalbe, and any other tire recommendations for puncture proof, low rolling resistance, and with some tread?

Thanks for your sage advice,

Russell
In the last nine years Iíve almost always toured 28f and 32r with a number of different brands and models. I've no intention of changing. My current choice is Conti 4-Seasons. Theyíre light, smooth as silk to ride on, unbelievable traction wet or dry and best puncture protection of any tire in that weight category that Iíve toured with. Theyíer not cheap.

You say your tour is approx. 20% dirt. Is that going to be long stretches of dirt, say most of a day, or going from sealed surface to dirt on and off all day long? When itís the former I take a separate set of dirt tires, 40mm, to switch as needed. If itís continually on and off dirt to sealed Iíd consider some 35mm cyclocross tires designed for fast rolling on compacted dirt. Run them inflated high for the sealed and let some air out for the dirt. (Bring a good pump.) Schwalbe SV18 are excellent tubes for skinny to fat tire switches, as they are rated 28-44mm.
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Old 03-09-17, 08:16 AM
  #22  
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I've gone TUBELESS

I converted to tubeless for touring. I know this drives old schoolers crazy, but I love it. Lower psi, better ride, better rolling resistance, no flats. I cary an extra tire and tubesx2 for emergencies, but have never had to use. I have been riding on Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469 700x35 and am completely satisfied. They replaced a 42mm gravel tire because I wanted something more road oriented, though the 35's do great off road too. I installed them in 30 minutes with 2oz sealant with no mess or fuss with a floor pump. They sealed immediately and roll and climb wonderfully. I can find no negatives only positives. The rims I use are not tubeless specific, but converted easily with a roll of stans rim tape. I would recommend to tubeless touring to everyone.
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Old 03-09-17, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
In The Netherlands. This is the bike path; the road was too wet to ride on. The point of all this B.S. is that schwalbe 32 mm will handle most conditions, especially with only 20 lbs. of gear.
Since you started, my experience mirrored yours. I'd estimate over two days, we had 30-40 miles of trails like this on 32mm (really 1-1/4, same difference) Paselas. Never had an issue with tires.




That last pic is about as bad a road as I'd want to use them with, though.
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Old 03-09-17, 10:26 AM
  #24  
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I was a loyal Schwalbe Marathon Plus user - 32 or 35mm. They were hard to flat, but heavy and harsh. I've recently switched to Maxxis Refuse 40mm. I love how they ride, rolling resistance and plush ride. Clearly subjective on both, but that's how it feels. I've gone close to 1,000 miles on them so far without a flat and intend to use them this summer on my 2,000 mile tour.

Eric
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Old 03-09-17, 10:52 AM
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Puncture protection adds weight, so does long milage tread thickness, like light tires? bring spares. folding bead probably..
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