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Alternative Stars of Touring Tires and their Virtues

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Alternative Stars of Touring Tires and their Virtues

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Old 09-06-18, 04:26 PM
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raria
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Alternative Stars of Touring Tires and their Virtues

Everyone knows the stars of touring tires and their virtues (even though we may not agree with those virtues): Schwabe Marathon, Gatorskins etc.

But what about those alternative stars and their virtues?

My favorite tire for the last 5 years has been the Kenda Euro-Trek in 32mm.

For touring its great. At 380grams its not light, but has the following virutes:

a) It comes off and goes on the rim so easily often without needing levers.
b) The bead has always sat down nicely
c) They provide great road buzz absorption
d) I like the sound they make.

a) and b) are god sends when you do get a flat on tour. c) and d) are really useful on those 10 hour day rides.

But alas, it looks like they are no longer available? Kenda doesn't even list them on their website.

Anyone know the equivalent tire in Kenda's line up now? They were the K197 and are currently only available in 38mm.

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Old 09-06-18, 07:22 PM
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I like my Challenge Gravel Grinders personally I have used both the open tubular version and the vulcanized version and have found them to be great tires. I probably wouldn't do a long distance tour on the open tubular version that are currently on my SS Cross/Rando bike but the vulcanized version most certainly. I would also recommend the Continental Travel Contacts, they are on my hybrid and I love them as well certainly not a light tire at I think 500+ grams for the folding versions but a sturdy durable tire for commuting and touring.

Certainly if Vittoria come out with a folding bead gravel grinder/travel contact with their Graphene layer on it, I would be on that in a heart beat. Sort of a mix of Corsa, Terrano Dry and Revolution but in at least a 35-38c.

I don't know Kenda's tires well, most of the stuff I see from them never quite gets me that excited. I looked at the Flintridge Pro a little while ago but the tread just didn't appeal to my riding and the tire just overall didn't really wow me. Maybe it is better for some folks.
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Old 09-07-18, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I would also recommend the Continental Travel Contacts, they are on my hybrid and I love them as well certainly not a light tire at I think 500+ grams for the folding versions but a sturdy durable tire for commuting and touring.
Anything by Continental? Nope. Continentals have failed me far too many times for me to consider their product anything but useless. They have literally left me standing by the side of the road after 4 blowouts in 26 miles. Never again!

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Certainly if Vittoria come out with a folding bead gravel grinder/travel contact with their Graphene layer on it, I would be on that in a heart beat. Sort of a mix of Corsa, Terrano Dry and Revolution but in at least a 35-38c.
Vittoria has been making me angry lately. ("You won't like me when I'm angry.") I like their products but they keep changing them and/or discontinuing them. The Randonneur was an excellent tire several years ago and came in various widths, weights and thread counts. Not so much now. The Voyager Hyper was an excellent tire but they don't even make it now. Their wider tires that would work for touring have very low thread count (like 30 TPI) and are heavy. Very disappointing.

On the bright side, it does look like they are going to put out a higher quality Randonneur Pro at some point in the future. Still kind of heavy, however.

Other tires I have used and liked are the Panaracer Ribmo and the Michelin Lithion (they used to be made in 32 and 35mm width). I even replaced the Lithion in the middle of a tour with a Travel Contact that delaminated after hitting a glancing blow on a small rock in the middle of the road.

IMG_0119 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

I replace that tire...with less than 100 miles on it...with a Bell Folding tire from Helmart. It was heavy and didn't ride all that well but it was better than the Continental.
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Old 09-07-18, 08:20 AM
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Panaracer Pasela PT’s. I’ve run several sets in 28, 32 & 35 widths. Raced them on gravel, done extended tours and ridden them on rock (not gravel) roads with 25lbs of touring gear. They're lighter and ride nicer than Marathons or Clements USH’s and are great on nearly all road surfaces. I’ve even got a couple 27” x 1-1/4" sets on vintage bikes too. Great tire for the $.
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Old 09-07-18, 08:49 AM
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I know Continentals can be something of a gamble, lol, but I'm on a pair that have held up quite well so far, through some fairly hard miles. Not really high mileage, but hard. Especially with that coarse tarmac they put on the roads, in mountains, for better traction. That stuffs hard on any tires.
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Old 09-07-18, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
I know Continentals can be something of a gamble, lol, but I'm on a pair that have held up quite well so far, through some fairly hard miles. Not really high mileage, but hard. Especially with that coarse tarmac they put on the roads, in mountains, for better traction. That stuffs hard on any tires.
EDIT: Meant to say, that's with zero flats, knock wood. 😋😉
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Old 09-07-18, 09:20 AM
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I don't know how you ride or where you bought your tires @cycocommute but that sucks. I have not had any of those experiences with Continental Tires at all. I have had at least 8 different pairs of their tires over the years and never had a replace a tire except for wear and once when I got a piece of glass caught up during some rain but the tires were already pretty worn anyway... The tires on my touring bike actually never got replaced and they had a lot of miles on them and they only got swapped out recently by their new owner just because they had seen so many miles. I wonder what the issue is with your tires?

For the record I have used: Gatorskins 23-28 Gator hardshells in 32, Travel Contacts in 37 and Grand Prix Classics in 25 as well as some in 26x.1.5 that came on my Disc Trucker but I cannot remember the tire and don't want to search for it.

I was never a Vittoria fan until I tried the Corsa G+s and fell in love. Supreme grip in all weather and a very light supple ride. Not ideal for touring and heavy commuting but on my road bike forget about it. However of course they make tires more suited to those needs.
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Old 09-07-18, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Vittoria has been making me angry lately. ("You won't like me when I'm angry.") I like their products but they keep changing them and/or discontinuing them. The Randonneur was an excellent tire several years ago and came in various widths, weights and thread counts. Not so much now. The Voyager Hyper was an excellent tire but they don't even make it now. Their wider tires that would work for touring have very low thread count (like 30 TPI) and are heavy. Very disappointing.

On the bright side, it does look like they are going to put out a higher quality Randonneur Pro at some point in the future. Still kind of heavy, however.
Loved my Hypers/Randonneur Hypers/Whatever-they're-called, but, yeah, every year it had a different name, and I had to track it down again. Not to mention that Vittoria itself seems to have a different name different places. Makes it frustrating to track down my tires.

But now I'm riding a 26 inch, plus capable bike, and I haven't found anything by Vittoria comparable to the Hypers in my size. I'd like something light on tread and tubeless ready in a 26 x 2.1 or a 26 x 2.5-2.8. Nothing fits the bill, but they have a couple in the off-road, tread-heavy catagory that approach Plus size, but even my off road riding is pretty mild. For that I've been using my Surly ExtraTerrestrials, and I've enjoyed them, although they are overkill for the rail-trails I usually ride. My Schwalbe Almotions can and have tackled the same terrain, but they're my preferred pavement tire right now. Actually they seem a little stiff, but running them tubeless makes them decent, but if I could find something comparable to the Hyper in that size, I'd try it. Almotion's flat protection seems unnecessary in a tubeless tire, although I may change my mind about that if I end up trying something else. So far the Almotions have been my commuting tire and have gone on some shorter tours over last year and a half or so, and they've done their job fine.
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Old 09-07-18, 10:33 AM
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I've been riding Bontrager T2 700x25s for the past several years, year round here in New Hampshire, yes on snow and ice as well as rain, and sun. They last a long time, 8000-10000 miles on a front tire and depending on the load, 4000-8000 miles on the rear. Typically the bead/sidewall connection area is the first thing to go on a T2. I rarely have any issues with tread wear. On my first three trips, 2700, 1700, 5000+ miles respectively, I had maybe one flat. One the last trip the first 1000 miles were fine but after that the flats just kept a coming. Even when I changed tires and put an either a T1 or R2 on it(didn't have any T2s at the bike shop I stopped at) made no difference. That trip was weird for the number of flats I got. I had more flats on that trip than in the rest of my life combined prior to the trip.
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Old 09-07-18, 10:56 AM
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I toured into eastern Europe on Michelin Hi Lite touring tires in 1991,
benefit they were folding type, so carrying tire spares was simple..


My tour of western Ireland, and Scotland, I used a Suomi Nokian utility tire

hard durometer rubber. , at end of 10 month tout they still looked like new.





...

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Old 09-07-18, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I don't know how you ride or where you bought your tires @cycocommute but that sucks. I have not had any of those experiences with Continental Tires at all. I have had at least 8 different pairs of their tires over the years and never had a replace a tire except for wear and once when I got a piece of glass caught up during some rain but the tires were already pretty worn anyway... The tires on my touring bike actually never got replaced and they had a lot of miles on them and they only got swapped out recently by their new owner just because they had seen so many miles. I wonder what the issue is with your tires?

For the record I have used: Gatorskins 23-28 Gator hardshells in 32, Travel Contacts in 37 and Grand Prix Classics in 25 as well as some in 26x.1.5 that came on my Disc Trucker but I cannot remember the tire and don't want to search for it.

I was never a Vittoria fan until I tried the Corsa G+s and fell in love. Supreme grip in all weather and a very light supple ride. Not ideal for touring and heavy commuting but on my road bike forget about it. However of course they make tires more suited to those needs.
Kind of the straw that broke the camel's back was the 4 blowouts...not flats but blowing off the rim...over 26 miles. I was riding in Texarkana on good roads with a touring load. The tires were 37mm Touring Contacts pumped up to the recommended pressure. The first one blew out on the front when I was doing a track stand at a light. The second on blew out on the back for no apparent reason. The third one blew out...another rear.. when I went over an expansion joint on a secondary road outside of Atlanta, Texas and the final one blew out at a campground will sitting overnight completely unloaded. You can see it in this picture if you look closely at the rear wheel

IMGP1553 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

I got a ride back to Texarkana and collected up my bike (see Twisting Down the Alley). I found new tubes and was very careful to keep the pressure way below the recommended pressure and made it through the rest of a truncated tour but I wasn't happy with the tires.

This, however, wasn't the first nor last time Continentals have failed me. My T800 had Top Touring tires on it. One blew out at the Lolo Campground on Lolo Pass in Idaho. I had put them on my daughter's bike as well and one blew out in the back of her truck a few years later on a warm spring day. That one blew out the sidewall. And then there was the rock strike. I can take some of the blame for that, although I've hit other rocks under similar conditions without issue. But 6 blow outs over the span of a few years really put me off Continentals.

I've used a lot of tires over the ages and I've never had as many problems with even cheap tires.

Not really a fan.
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Old 09-07-18, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Loved my Hypers/Randonneur Hypers/Whatever-they're-called, but, yeah, every year it had a different name, and I had to track it down again. Not to mention that Vittoria itself seems to have a different name different places. Makes it frustrating to track down my tires.

But now I'm riding a 26 inch, plus capable bike, and I haven't found anything by Vittoria comparable to the Hypers in my size. I'd like something light on tread and tubeless ready in a 26 x 2.1 or a 26 x 2.5-2.8. Nothing fits the bill, but they have a couple in the off-road, tread-heavy catagory that approach Plus size, but even my off road riding is pretty mild. For that I've been using my Surly ExtraTerrestrials, and I've enjoyed them, although they are overkill for the rail-trails I usually ride. My Schwalbe Almotions can and have tackled the same terrain, but they're my preferred pavement tire right now. Actually they seem a little stiff, but running them tubeless makes them decent, but if I could find something comparable to the Hyper in that size, I'd try it. Almotion's flat protection seems unnecessary in a tubeless tire, although I may change my mind about that if I end up trying something else. So far the Almotions have been my commuting tire and have gone on some shorter tours over last year and a half or so, and they've done their job fine.
I would have said Extra Terrestrials too, since they roll really well over pretty well any surface, but then this happened

If you look closely you'll see each tread block has a rim of hard rubber around it. The center is some crappy soft casing compound. I think Innova mess up molding a percentage of the tires, insufficient tread rubber into the mold, so it only creates a skin on the casing. As so as it wears off the top of the block you will be lucky to get 300 miles from the tire. In my case the tire is toast after 1500miles. Worst case I've read about is 600miles.
Unfortunately there's no easy way of telling if you got a dud by looking at the tire, I did think maybe you could cut a small section out of new block and see if you can see the difference, but you shouldn't need to do that with a touring tire! Not when they are 55bucks, and you can get a new Schwalbe Mondial for 30 bucks from Germany...
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Old 09-07-18, 08:53 PM
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Been using Conti's since 1989 and have never had a bad one. The Travel Contacts in 37 are beasts and wear like iron like the Top Touring I had before them. When I raced it was nothing but the Gran Prix. Durable, supple, very good wet weather grip.
My current daily rider has the Conti Ultra Sport in 28mm. I get 4000 miles a set. Not bad for a cheapo tire. Since my riding is no longer performance oriented, but endurance oriented, these work out just great. My son is also on the Conti bandwagon and races the Gran Prix. His commuter has the Travel Contacts on it. 37mm of course. He has the same experiences with them as myself.

I suppose everyone has their own experiences and swears by those experiences. The last VW I had was enough to convince me to never get another one, however I have friends that swear by them, although they are in the shop for repair at least once a year. To each his own.
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Old 09-07-18, 09:26 PM
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Had Conti touring tires that were pretty durable with 1-2 flats in 3-4 years of moderate mileage on paved roads. Switched to Schwalbe, 0-1 flat in 4 years incl 2 years on the lighter Marathon Supreme. 'm sure lots of other tires would work fine too. Marathon Plus was pretty heavy & didn't corner fast.
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Old 09-08-18, 12:06 PM
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I'm still getting the Hyper.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Anything by Continental? Nope. Continentals have failed me far too many times for me to consider their product anything but useless. They have literally left me standing by the side of the road after 4 blowouts in 26 miles. Never again!



Vittoria has been making me angry lately. ("You won't like me when I'm angry.") I like their products but they keep changing them and/or discontinuing them. The Randonneur was an excellent tire several years ago and came in various widths, weights and thread counts. Not so much now. The Voyager Hyper was an excellent tire but they don't even make it now. Their wider tires that would work for touring have very low thread count (like 30 TPI) and are heavy. Very disappointing.

On the bright side, it does look like they are going to put out a higher quality Randonneur Pro at some point in the future. Still kind of heavy, however.

Other tires I have used and liked are the Panaracer Ribmo and the Michelin Lithion (they used to be made in 32 and 35mm width). I even replaced the Lithion in the middle of a tour with a Travel Contact that delaminated after hitting a glancing blow on a small rock in the middle of the road.


IMG_0119 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

I replace that tire...with less than 100 miles on it...with a Bell Folding tire from Helmart. It was heavy and didn't ride all that well but it was better than the Continental.
From Planet X. They seem always to be on sale, so even with shipping from the UK they're inexpensive. 37mm folding.

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Old 09-08-18, 08:47 PM
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Type in "Brand X tires suck" and you'll find at least one person with anecdotal evidence as to why that brand sucks, for every tire out there. BTDT, decided its far better to amalgamate info from dozens or more of experiences and average it out. Of course then my issue was everything is pretty much the same and I'm back to square one

As to the OP, I'm happy with my Clement USH 35s for everything I'd realistically do on a touring bike.
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Old 09-08-18, 10:09 PM
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I like the Michelin city tires. Started using them around town, and decided that they would be good enough to tour on as well.
https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...e?fltr=&sg=501

Originally started using them because I got a set for ten bucks five years ago. That set has seen a lot of use, no idea how many miles on under maintained roads, rock and gravel. One flat in five years, on the rear which probably needs to be replaced. Will be ordering some more for a couple of other bikes soon.
They ride OK. No noise that I have noticed. Its just been nice not getting flats.

Another tire that I like is the Panaracer RiBMo. Bought one while on a tour a couple years ago when my rear tire started sloughing off its tread(brand new Marathon).

When I am doing a light weight tour my tire of preference is the IRC Jetty. A folding tire with a classic file tread, its not flat proof, but not bad. Pretty sporty ride. Comes in a 28. Look for them on ebay, you can get them pretty cheap.
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Old 09-08-18, 11:38 PM
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Most of my riding has been on 23mm and 25mm tires. My go-to tire is the Conti Gator Hardshell or Gatorskin. But, I've been re-thinking it a bit. The sidewalls look awfully frayed after a few months use (although they seem to be solid, so it may be cosmetic). But, I had one blowout (through the sidewall) with a pristine tire that had about 75 miles on it (flat occurring about 75 miles from home) It really scared me. But, so far that experience hasn't been repeated.

I put Michelin Protek Cross Max tires (32?) on one bike. So far, they seem to be TOUGH tires, but also are massively heavy, and feel slow. Still tough tires.

I have Clement X'Plor Ush 120 tires on one bike. Very sweet and lightweight tires. The center wear strip is wearing down, but they're still doing well. I did pick up a nail that pierced through the tread and sidewall, but I think that is the only flat so far.

Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
I would have said Extra Terrestrials too, since they roll really well over pretty well any surface, but then this happened

If you look closely you'll see each tread block has a rim of hard rubber around it. The center is some crappy soft casing compound.
OUCH!!! I have been planning to build a whole bike around the 29x2.5 tires (bought this summer).

Perhaps one could determine the rubber by the tire weight????

That makes me think of some Origin8 Elimin8er tires that I had with just the opposite problem. Couple of thousand miles and I wore down through the colored rubber to start seeing black patches of sub material showing through.

I decided to keep riding it... And, it rode and rode and rode... Whatever that black layer is, it is TOUGH!!! Perhaps 1000 to 2000 more miles since I started seeing black patches (became mostly a black ring). And, still I never quite got through to the casing cords.

On the other hand, I've seen Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires that once they were worn through the tread, it appeared to be soft blue the rest of the way down. The Marathon rubber seems to be very soft, and thus has good traction, but does wear quicker than one might otherwise expect.
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Old 09-08-18, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Other tires I have used and liked are the Panaracer Ribmo and the Michelin Lithion (they used to be made in 32 and 35mm width). I even replaced the Lithion in the middle of a tour with a Travel Contact that delaminated after hitting a glancing blow on a small rock in the middle of the road.

IMG_0119 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

I replace that tire...with less than 100 miles on it...with a Bell Folding tire from Helmart. It was heavy and didn't ride all that well but it was better than the Continental.
Blood Colored?

It looks like one of the several tires with an inner absorption layer (Schwalbe Marathon Plus, etc).

However, somehow your outer tread slipped on that inner layer.

That is disappointing to see.
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Old 09-09-18, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Kind of the straw that broke the camel's back was the 4 blowouts...not flats but blowing off the rim...over 26 miles. I was riding in Texarkana on good roads with a touring load. The tires were 37mm Touring Contacts pumped up to the recommended pressure. The first one blew out on the front when I was doing a track stand at a light. The second on blew out on the back for no apparent reason. The third one blew out...another rear.. when I went over an expansion joint on a secondary road outside of Atlanta, Texas and the final one blew out at a campground will sitting overnight completely unloaded. You can see it in this picture if you look closely at the rear wheel


IMGP1553 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

I got a ride back to Texarkana and collected up my bike (see Twisting Down the Alley). I found new tubes and was very careful to keep the pressure way below the recommended pressure and made it through the rest of a truncated tour but I wasn't happy with the tires.

This, however, wasn't the first nor last time Continentals have failed me. My T800 had Top Touring tires on it. One blew out at the Lolo Campground on Lolo Pass in Idaho. I had put them on my daughter's bike as well and one blew out in the back of her truck a few years later on a warm spring day. That one blew out the sidewall. And then there was the rock strike. I can take some of the blame for that, although I've hit other rocks under similar conditions without issue. But 6 blow outs over the span of a few years really put me off Continentals.

I've used a lot of tires over the ages and I've never had as many problems with even cheap tires.

Not really a fan.
It sounds like you had some real bad luck. I haven't had those issues and continue not having those issues. I wonder what happened and where you got your tires and things like that. It seems like an odd occurrence but things like that can happen so who knows.
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Old 09-10-18, 05:00 AM
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52telecaster
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Been using continental tour rides. Dirt cheap, heavy and last forever.
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Old 09-10-18, 06:50 AM
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Mr IGH
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
It sounds like you had some real bad luck. I haven't had those issues and continue not having those issues. I wonder what happened and where you got your tires and things like that. It seems like an odd occurrence but things like that can happen so who knows.
I wonder how long ago it was....
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Old 09-10-18, 08:45 AM
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robert schlatte
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I'll give another recommendation for Vittorio Randonneur Hyper. I bought a pair from Planet X in the 35mm size and love them. They are more on the supple, lightweight end of the scale with less emphasis on flat protection which is okay if watch for road debris and know how to change a flat. Along similar lines, I have always been a fan of Paselas because of the really plush ride they provide. A tire that I have not tried but am extremely curious about are Compass tires for their suppleness- but the expense has held me back.
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Old 09-10-18, 12:36 PM
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raria
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What about easy to mount and easy to set beads?

One latent item I prize a lot in a tour tire is the abilty to easily mount and easy to sit the bead with.

Nothing says, crapola, than sitting on the side of the road with flat tire and having to wrench it on only to find the bead doesn't sit properly.

Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
Been using continental tour rides. Dirt cheap, heavy and last forever.
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Old 09-10-18, 05:53 PM
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I'll second Panaracer Pasela's. I run 38mm gumwalls and was saddened when I couldn't replace them with the same after the South Dakota chipseal finally finished off the ones I had ridden from Seattle. The replacements are fine, but I miss the cushy ride of the gumwalls. I'll be putting them back on soon.
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