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Tires available now have never been better

Old 12-19-18, 05:03 AM
  #1  
Barrettscv 
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Tires available now have never been better

It wasn't very long ago when most bicycle tires were either light & narrow or wider & very heavy duty. Touring cyclist usually selected a heavy duty tire that maximized durability and flat protection. The Vittoria Hyper was one of a few tires that were tough enough for touring without being excessively heavy. During the last 3 years performance tires have gotten wider and a whole new market for gravel tires have emerged. Some of the wider and more durable performance road tires are wide enough and reliable enough for shorter tours where well maintained roads are traveled. A few of the more versatile gravel tires are also suitable for touring, especially on crushed limestone or gravel.

The list of Popular Touring Tires is taken from https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/tour-reviews . Clicking on the link will take you to the review.

Popular Touring Tires;

Schwalbe Marathon Almotion
Vittoria Voyager Hyper
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme
Continental Sport Contact II
Schwalbe Marathon (GreenGuard)
Schwalbe Energizer Plus
Continental Top Contact II
Continental Contact II
Continental City Ride II
Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Schwalbe Marathon Mondial Evo

Wider performance tires with reliable flat protection;

Continental Gatorskin
Michelin PRO4 Service Corsa
Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR

Gravel tires;

Schwalbe G-One tubeless: 40-584, 35,40-622
Clement X'Plor USH: 35-622 60&120tpi
Panaracer Gravel King SK: 32, 35, 40-622
Panaracer Gravel King: 28,32-622
Specialized Trigger Pro: 38-622
Specialized Trigger Sport: 33-622
Continental Cyclocross Speed: 35-622
Vittoria Revolution: 50-559, 584, 622!
Vittoria Adventure Trail: 37,40-622
Vittoria Terreno Dry, 31,33 and 40mm
WTB Riddler: 37,45-622

Please post a review of tires you have used.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-19-18 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 12-19-18, 08:41 AM
  #2  
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hi again barretts (hey, have you ever heard the song by a now deceased Canadian folk singer titled "Barretts Privateers"-fantastic song, look up the live version, its the best one)

but back to tires.
Just the other day I was talking with my daughter about kevlar, and I recall looking for better tires for touring back in the early 90s, and buying some IRC model I think that was branded as having kevlar flat protection in there somewhere. They were probably 25 bucks a tire, which was a bit expensive back then, but overall they worked rather well flat protection wise.
So I guess flat layer protection ideas have been around since 1990, but I absolutely agree that there are so many good tires on the market that do a very good job at rolling along and being well made with varying levels of stopping little bits of glass getting in.

This reminds me to do a follow up of the thread I put up last year sometime about how my Supremes have held up, I've put more mileage on them.




(now, I'm going to whisper this part very, very quietly-- but since I started touring, I've never had a flat while on a trip.....total jinx I know but true. Touch wood touch wood.
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Old 12-19-18, 11:02 AM
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Maxxis fan here. 2.5-3.0 tubeless on 35 mm wide, 29er rims. Works awesome for those bikepacking trips.
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Old 12-19-18, 11:52 AM
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Agree but still research

I appreciate the list and agree with most of it. However I can't recommend the Randonneur. I used them on my road bike for commuting in the city. Worked well for a few months (maybe a few hundred miles). Then I couldn't ride without getting a flat. It was almost daily for a couple weeks. Couldn't imagine touring on them and taking that chance.
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Old 12-19-18, 12:02 PM
  #5  
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For anything but absolutely rough/off road, I'm sold on my Clement USH.

For my 26", I like my Conti Travel Contacts, but they are a bit touchy on pressures.
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Old 12-19-18, 03:23 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by MiE View Post
I appreciate the list and agree with most of it. However I can't recommend the Randonneur. I used them on my road bike for commuting in the city. Worked well for a few months (maybe a few hundred miles). Then I couldn't ride without getting a flat. It was almost daily for a couple weeks. Couldn't imagine touring on them and taking that chance.
I removed the Randonneur from the list. I owned the 120tpi Randonneur Pro and it was a much better tire than the 30tpi Randonneur.

The list is not a recommended list of touring tires. Like you said, research (is required).

Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-19-18 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 12-19-18, 07:40 PM
  #7  
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It is a good thing that people are testing tires for rolling resistance. I'm not sure that these guys are doing it the right way. There are problems with testing tires on drums. The drum pushes into the tire in a way that doesn't happen on a flat road. A stiff tire will not deform as much and will record a lower rolling resistance than a supple tire.

Bicycle rolling resistance

From our pal, Jan Heine and Bicycle Quarterly who has looked into this issue.

Since the drum is convex, it pushes deep into the tire, unlike a real road, which is flat. The more supple the tire, the deeper the drum pushes. This makes the tire flex more, which absorbs more energy. That is why a stiff tire performs well on the drum, and a supple tire does not. We know that the opposite is the case on real roads
Increasing the tire pressure also makes the tire harder, and so the drum wonít push as far into the tire. That is one reason why drum tests show higher pressures rolling much faster (above). According to this data, increasing your tire pressure from 60 to 120 psi (4.1 to 8.3 bar) reduces the resistance by 30%!.
Off the Beaten Path

I would take any of the results from bicycle rolling resistance's tables with a grain of salt.
Heine et al., go into the details in their article but their take away is

After more than a decade of testing tires under real-world conditions, we can say with certainty:
  • Supple casings, more than anything else, determine the performance of your tires.
  • Wider tires roll as fast as narrow ones on smooth surfaces, and faster on rough ones.
  • Higher tire pressures donít make the bike faster.
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Old 12-19-18, 07:52 PM
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I recall clearly many many moons ago switching tires on my commuter bike. I had had some specialized nimbus somethingorother 26x1.5, they had a super stiff sidewall and I didnt know any better, and just rode them for many years. Switched to some regular marathons at one point, and could feel how more flexible the sidewall was on the marathons (not known to be supple or anything) . Sure enough , at similar pressures, the marathons were much more comfortable, so even for a tire thats thought as heavy and stiff (sure, the Plus versions have a much thicker inner anti flat band thingee in them) it still was nicer feeling than those super stiff spesh tires.
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Old 12-19-18, 08:30 PM
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Not sure

Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I removed the Randonneur from the list. I owned the 120tpi Randonneur Pro and it was a much better tire than the 30tpi Randonneur.

The list is not a recommended list of touring tires. Like you said, research (is required).
I'm not sure if I had the 120 or 30tpi but still have them and can check. Now I'm curious! I just Bought an old 93 giant iguana mtb instead so I could use larger and/or knoby tires. The largest I could go on the other bike was 700x25.
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Old 12-19-18, 11:25 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by MiE View Post
I'm not sure if I had the 120 or 30tpi but still have them and can check. Now I'm curious! I just Bought an old 93 giant iguana mtb instead so I could use larger and/or knoby tires. The largest I could go on the other bike was 700x25.
regular randonneur is wire bead.
randonneur pro is Kevlar folding bead.

they are night and day different and easy to identify.
I made the mistake of buying the regular low end ones and regretted it the entire time- from struggled installation to struggled removal and all miles between.
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Old 12-20-18, 02:23 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
It is a good thing that people are testing tires for rolling resistance. I'm not sure that these guys are doing it the right way. There are problems with testing tires on drums. The drum pushes into the tire in a way that doesn't happen on a flat road. A stiff tire will not deform as much and will record a lower rolling resistance than a supple tire.
We push the tire into the road instead; the net effect isn't that much different, and drum testing makes it much easier to test, and is reasonably representative of tire rolling resistance differences on quality road surfaces. You could do definitive testing with a bunch of different tires, a stretch of road without traffic or pedastrians, a power meter, and a lot of repetitions. Would be a huge endavour, and you'd expect the results to correlate closely to drum testing, nevertheless. I mean, look at the top spots for road bike tires, all dominated by high end expensive tires people actually race on... as you'd expect.

When the road surface is bad (there's a section of road closed off to most traffic where I often train with a really crappy road surface) then, well, while I don't have a power meter on the bike it appears that lower pressures to give more cushioning are actually faster for the same effort (again, I can't decidedly confirm without a meter). Which is kind of unsurprising, people who race on mountain bikes do so with, from our point of view, very low pressures. They for sure don't do it because it's slower.

I use 42x559 Marathon Supremes on my touring bike, and going for low rolling resistance was one of my motivations for picking the tire, and it does seem to roll quickly, especially where the road surface is good and I pump it up to a pretty high 75psi - not as good as a quality road bike tire, though.
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Old 12-20-18, 03:35 AM
  #12  
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Schwalbe Marathon Supreme

I've done three tours (Bali, Taiwan, South Korea) on them (42-406 Kevlar), and have not had a single puncture or problem with them at all. Too bad they are now discontinued. Good thing I stocked up.
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Old 12-20-18, 05:08 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
,,, Just the other day I was talking with my daughter about kevlar, and I recall looking for better tires for touring back in the early 90s, and buying some IRC model I think that was branded as having kevlar flat protection in there somewhere. ,,,
Kevlar has mostly fallen out of favor as bicycle tire anti-puncture belting for two reasons:

First reason is that--having low stretch and being rather fuzzy--it has a lot of internal friction when flexing. This happens all the time in the belt area of the tire, so the kevlar adds more rolling resistance than other materials like nylon would.

Second reason is that kevlar fiber tends to break apart into shorter sections as it flexes repeatedly, and the total strength depends on the fiber length. And there is really no good way to predict this issue, the usual method is destructive testing. So while the puncture resistance might be great when the tire is brand-new, it does degrade as the tire is used, and how much it degrades is difficult to estimate.

Kevlar does well enough for tire beads, since in use they don't flex at all.

---

A more-significant problem with anti-puncture belts for bicycle tires is that the tire tread area is expanded in the final molding stage of manufacture... So now matter how close the anti-punture belt threads start at, they always end up spread out a bit more, with open holes in-between them. Normal bicycle tire manufacturing equipment has no way to deal with this problem.

Also I would point out that the magical way that car tire punctures decreased in the early days of mass car ownership,,, had more to do with roads than tires... Paved roads were built and kept clear of debris, and amazingly, incidents of tire damage plummeted. Bicycle tire companies like to tell you that they have a paper-thin belt that is nearly impervious to punctures, and they're lying. There is no such thing. For a hundred years, the best way to improve tire puncture resistance is just to make the tread rubber thicker.
(-internal tire sealant is ~100+ years old as well-)

Originally Posted by skookum View Post
It is a good thing that people are testing tires for rolling resistance. I'm not sure that these guys are doing it the right way. There are problems with testing tires on drums. The drum pushes into the tire in a way that doesn't happen on a flat road. A stiff tire will not deform as much and will record a lower rolling resistance than a supple tire. ...
There is a lot of debate about how to best measure rolling resistance in the amateur bicycle world. Jan Heine may not like drum testing, but that's how all the best industrial labs in the world do it.

For bicycles--most people just settle on trying to measure the tire's own flex resistance while rolling at typical pressures, under typical loads, with whatever equipment they can afford. All other factors are ignored or removed, since they can be rather unpredictable.
A larger-diameter drum is more accurate than a smaller-diameter, but costs much more also.
Most amateur people have moved to using pendulums, since they give consistent results, allow testing on real pavement, and don't take up a lot of space or cost much to build.
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Old 12-20-18, 06:12 AM
  #14  
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Just bear in mind like many cycle product reviews what works for low weight or average weight riders can be the wrong product if you are a heavy rider. Some of the tyres can have thin weak sidewalls which is not an issue for lighter cyclists but can perish quickly for heavy riders and cause greater reliance on the innertube to keep the shape of the tyre leading to more frequent punctures. I've found many recommended tyres to be actually very poor often such reviews mention their lightness as a virtue which is often the thing to avoid for heavy riders. Touring can often bring cyclists effectively into the heavy weight rider class if the bike is hauling a lot of luggage weight. Remember those comfortable thin sidewalls that absorb road bumps well can be an instant puncture if those sidewalls pretty much collapse if you hit a pothole. Pot holes can often collect glass, nails etc and when the sidewalls collapse it's like hammering those bits of glass and nails into your tread. If you look at what tyres are used in Africa hauling huge weights on basic steel bikes along rough ground you won't find Continental or Schwalbe you'll find heavy thick tyres from companies like Kenda.
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Old 12-20-18, 10:09 AM
  #15  
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I must disagree. I've owned two sets the Vittoria Hyper and used them until worn at about 2000 miles with no flats. This tire held up under my weight, I'm 220-240 lbs. I wouldn't recommend a lightweight tire for expedition type touring in remote regions, but for shorter tours using modern roads, a lightweight tire has some advantages.

Originally Posted by Bonzo Banana View Post
Just bear in mind like many cycle product reviews what works for low weight or average weight riders can be the wrong product if you are a heavy rider. Some of the tyres can have thin weak sidewalls which is not an issue for lighter cyclists but can perish quickly for heavy riders and cause greater reliance on the innertube to keep the shape of the tyre leading to more frequent punctures. I've found many recommended tyres to be actually very poor often such reviews mention their lightness as a virtue which is often the thing to avoid for heavy riders. Touring can often bring cyclists effectively into the heavy weight rider class if the bike is hauling a lot of luggage weight. Remember those comfortable thin sidewalls that absorb road bumps well can be an instant puncture if those sidewalls pretty much collapse if you hit a pothole. Pot holes can often collect glass, nails etc and when the sidewalls collapse it's like hammering those bits of glass and nails into your tread. If you look at what tyres are used in Africa hauling huge weights on basic steel bikes along rough ground you won't find Continental or Schwalbe you'll find heavy thick tyres from companies like Kenda.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-20-18 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-21-18, 11:21 AM
  #16  
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I stand by my original comments which I think are accurate but I can't really disagree with anything you have stated. You are lighter than me and it sounds like you use better roads. I'm certainly not saying that light tyres don't have advantages but clearly making tyres lighter and thinner is a compromise. Sometimes it reads like people think you can eliminate a lot of weight from a product and still have the same wear resistance, strength etc.
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Old 12-21-18, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I must disagree. I've owned two sets the Vittoria Hyper and used them until worn at about 2000 miles with no flats. This tire held up under my weight, I'm 220-240 lbs. I wouldn't recommend a lightweight tire for expedition type touring in remote regions, but for shorter tours using modern roads, a lightweight tire has some advantages.
I've had 3 flats with Vittoria Hyper (700x35) tires under 1000 miles. One was a puncture, didn't check for more than 1 thorn so I got another. The third I'm pretty sure was a pinch flat as I never found the cause.

These are still my tire of choice though. I'm around 215lbs.
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Old 12-21-18, 04:27 PM
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Nor more expensive. Are they worth it?
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Old 12-21-18, 04:31 PM
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I love Vittoria Hypers for touring and commuting. I have a spare new set waiting for my next tour. Iím not looking forward to when that set wears out and I have to go to a heavier, stiffer typical ďtouringĒ tire. I might try my luck with a light, supple tire and running tubeless. Hmm...

Iíve barely flatted with Hypers. Only a few times in thousands of miles. Iím not one to flat much anyway, though. One flat I got was closely following a friend on tour. That wasnít the tires fault. He plowed right through a pot hole. I didnít see it in time since I was close behind him. As soon as I saw it my brain was like ďwtf?? Why are you going through this!?Ē Aaaand tire goes flat. Heís one of those people that flats a lot. I used to think it was bad luck. After following him for Many miles on tour, now I get it.
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Old 12-21-18, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Heís one of those people that flats a lot. I used to think it was bad luck. After following him for Many miles on tour, now I get it.
this comment really does touch on a real aspect of how diff people ride differently and have diff experiences with flats. Sure, a tough tough tire is going to help immensely, but I personally know riders who ride blithely through glass, sharp edged stuff rubbing along the side of their tires, and have no fricken clue of doing it, and frankly dont even think about it.
I also know riders who stay seated and put all their weight onto their rear tire when hitting potholes or whatever, and have no clue of doing it and frankly, dont even think about it.

lets face it, some people lack common sense and any sense of mechanical sympathy, and this tends to mean that they will get flats more often than other riders.
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Old 12-21-18, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
this comment really does touch on a real aspect of how diff people ride differently and have diff experiences with flats. Sure, a tough tough tire is going to help immensely, but I personally know riders who ride blithely through glass, sharp edged stuff rubbing along the side of their tires, and have no fricken clue of doing it, and frankly dont even think about it.
I also know riders who stay seated and put all their weight onto their rear tire when hitting potholes or whatever, and have no clue of doing it and frankly, dont even think about it.

lets face it, some people lack common sense and any sense of mechanical sympathy, and this tends to mean that they will get flats more often than other riders.
Someone needs to remind him that you're suppose to ride around the holes, not through them. Some people drive like that too. Then blame the car.
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Old 12-22-18, 09:13 PM
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I have to agree with the original premise that tires are much better then they use to be. I bought a pair of no name tires for $12.00 each and road them from Glasgow to Tashkent. When I bought them I certainly had no intention of riding them that far, but the damn things just wouldn't wear out. In case anyone is interested, I had just one flat while I was arriving in Aktau Kazakhstan, otherwise they were flawless.
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Old 12-23-18, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post

---

A more-significant problem with anti-puncture belts for bicycle tires is that the tire tread area is expanded in the final molding stage of manufacture... So now matter how close the anti-punture belt threads start at, they always end up spread out a bit more, with open holes in-between them. Normal bicycle tire manufacturing equipment has no way to deal with this problem.

Also I would point out that the magical way that car tire punctures decreased in the early days of mass car ownership,,, had more to do with roads than tires... Paved roads were built and kept clear of debris, and amazingly, incidents of tire damage plummeted. Bicycle tire companies like to tell you that they have a paper-thin belt that is nearly impervious to punctures, and they're lying. There is no such thing. For a hundred years, the best way to improve tire puncture resistance is just to make the tread rubber thicker.
(-internal tire sealant is ~100+ years old as well-)




.
I have tried a number of puncture resistant tires. One day I dug nearly a dozen pieces of glass, metal and rock shards out of one well used Bontrager Hardcase road bike tire. All stopped cold by the belt. In addition, there were some nasty gashes in the rubber where whatever caused the gash had not remained lodged in the soft outer rubber. The protective belt in other tires has done its job too.
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Old 01-19-19, 09:07 AM
  #24  
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Can anyone comment on the regular gatorskin and/or gatorskin hardshell for touring ?
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Old 01-19-19, 09:41 AM
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CliffordK
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
hi again barretts (hey, have you ever heard the song by a now deceased Canadian folk singer titled "Barretts Privateers"-fantastic song, look up the live version, its the best one)

but back to tires.
Just the other day I was talking with my daughter about kevlar, and I recall looking for better tires for touring back in the early 90s, and buying some IRC model I think that was branded as having kevlar flat protection in there somewhere. They were probably 25 bucks a tire, which was a bit expensive back then, but overall they worked rather well flat protection wise.
So I guess flat layer protection ideas have been around since 1990, but I absolutely agree that there are so many good tires on the market that do a very good job at rolling along and being well made with varying levels of stopping little bits of glass getting in.

This reminds me to do a follow up of the thread I put up last year sometime about how my Supremes have held up, I've put more mileage on them.

(now, I'm going to whisper this part very, very quietly-- but since I started touring, I've never had a flat while on a trip.....total jinx I know but true. Touch wood touch wood.
I can remember something a bit different.

There was interest in flat protection, and by the late 80's or early 90's, there was one tire with a steel belt.

I did actually get an early tubeless tubular. The idea was to inject glue into the hole using a syringe. However, the first hole I got, it never sealed. So much for that idea.

However, in the late 90's, I went to the REI in Portland to ask for a Kevlar tire.

They had kevlar beads, but not kevlar belts (at least not in the 23/25mm sizes). Maybe I wasn't asking the right questions, but nothing for flat protection.
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