Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: Westinghouse on December 09, 2021, 08:38:06 am

 
Title: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: Westinghouse on December 09, 2021, 08:38:06 am
Paying seven or eight dollars for a tire on a bicycle might seem like a good deal. I used to pay that. Then I would take off from Florida to California fully loaded and camping. If the tires are readily available along the way you might end up using four or five on the back and three on the front. Not only that you could have 40 or 50 punctures along the way. That was my experience. Then I started using Schwalbe marathon tires. One set went all the way across from Southeast coastal Florida To San Diego or Los Angeles. I had eight punctures total. The marathon tires cost a little bit more upfront but the saving in time fixing punctures and stopping to buy new tires is more than worth it. Add to that the carefree worry free cycling on good tires and the more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: John Nettles on December 09, 2021, 08:53:16 am
I agree that quality will usually save you money over quantity.  I use Schwalbe's Marathon Supreme tires on fully paved tours and Schwalbe's Mondial tires on mixed road surfaces. I usually average less than 1 flat per 2,000 miles assuming I don't ride much Interstate and their associated truck tire wires that come from flattened truck tires.

Note that Westinghouse referenced "Marathon" tires.  There are several Marathon lines, i.e. think of Ford Motor Company with its Mustang, F-150, Bronco, Focus, etc.  Each has a different purpose (and cost).  Check out Schwalbe's website to figure which tire is best for your needs.

There are other good tires out there but stay away from the Walmart crap unless you are stranded.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 09, 2021, 08:55:17 am
Unfortunately Schwalbe does not make that tire in a 26" (I ride 26 to match my wife) and tubeless - the new trend in tire ride and reliability. I am going cross-country on Surly Extraterrestrials, which I run now and have had good luck with. About $50 each.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: John Nettles on December 09, 2021, 08:57:41 am
Unfortunately Schwalbe does not make that tire in a 26" ... and tubeless.
Which tire?
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 09, 2021, 09:04:01 am
No Marathon Supreme or Plus in 26" Tubeless that I could find
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: John Nettles on December 09, 2021, 09:09:00 am
Interesting. I thought they had a lot of tubeless but I now see they seem to have cut back.  Granted, I have not been a huge fan of tubeless (too scared to be left stranded or having to deal with a major goo mess) so didn't keep up to date on them but I am surprised more are not available.

Glad you found a tire that works for you.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 09, 2021, 09:12:31 am
I just took the plunge after reading countless positive reports. I may regret it and have to add tubes, but I was building new wheels with a dynamo hub for my trip and decided it was now or never.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: John Nettles on December 09, 2021, 09:28:49 am
We would never advance if someone didn't take risks.  I do envy the supposed sew-up feel of tubeless.  I haven't ridden sew-up since the '70s but oh, they were so so sweet.  Expensive and a pain to repair but sweet.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 09, 2021, 09:43:06 am
(too scared to be left stranded or having to deal with a major goo mess)
At one time I had the same concerns.  Since then my experience with tubeless has removed both of thse concerns completely for me.  I wouldn't hesitate to set up a touring bike for tubeless at all, especially if I ran wider tires.

I have not toured on tubeless, but I do run a Stans No Tubes tubeless setup on my mountain bike though and all the worries of a sticky mess are WAY over blown.  The sealant just isn't very messy.  It is easy to manage to not get it all over and washes right off with water.  Even without much water just wiping off with a damp rag until you get to more water isn't that bad.  As far as getting stranded, the setup has been completely reliable I went from weekly thorn flats to zero flats ever in my local trail riding.  That said carrying a tube just in case should make the setup as reliable as any regular tubed setup.

Not all sealants are equal though. I did try slime tubes on tour once in the distant past and they were a disaster.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 09, 2021, 09:43:39 am
Bike trip in Maine 1972 (maybe 73) running sew ups. Memorial Day Weekend and light snow - 5 flats Lewiston-Auburn, ME - all blow-outs same position in tire. Hutchinson tires - must have been a defective batch. Had to hitch hike to Portland to buy new ones. Only shop open that had them. Talked a Boy Scout troop leader with a Pinto Wagon at a gas station into taking us.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 09, 2021, 09:46:43 am
At one time I had the same concerns.  Since then my experience with tubeless has removed both of these concerns completely for me.  I wouldn't hesitate to set up a touring bike for tubeless at all, especially if I ran wider tires.

Running Velocity Cliffhanger Rims, Surly 26 x 1.75 Tires, and Stan's.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on December 09, 2021, 01:28:06 pm

I have not toured on tubeless, but I do run a Stans No Tubes tubeless setup on my mountain bike though and all the worries of a sticky mess are WAY over blown.  The sealant just isn't very messy.  It is easy to manage to not get it all over and washes right off with water. 
As a road tubeless rider, I agree about the lack of mess. Sealants like Stans are water soluble.  Totally different than slime.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on December 09, 2021, 01:33:37 pm
One member of our cross country group was, as another rider put it, "Scotch."  Refused to spend money on good tires. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that he flatted twice/week, if not more.  I got 3 the entire 6,000 mile of my journey that summer.  One of those was caused by a large, sharp screw that probably would have gone through any tire in existence at the time.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 09, 2021, 02:22:18 pm
Oh, by the way the original topic...  No need to waste money on real cheap tires.  There may be some bargains, but for the most part it is best to spend a bit more and get good tires.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: John Nelson on December 09, 2021, 08:19:20 pm
I get twice as many miles and one tenth the number of flats out of tires that cost twice as much. And I don't want to waste time in Gaastra, Michigan looking around to see if I can find suitable replacement tires, which you won't be able to.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: BikePacker on December 10, 2021, 07:38:17 am
The cost of the tires (& tubes, if i'm running 'em)
when compared to the total cost of a tour,
both in dollars and time spent organizing and executing,
along with the justifiably based added peace of mind while on the spin,
makes the decision for me.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: canalligators on December 10, 2021, 07:44:38 am
On bikes that go on tour or are ridden a lot locally, I don’t skimp on tires or braking.  They last longer and work better.  Same holds true on my motor vehicle.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: John Nettles on December 10, 2021, 09:05:50 am
One reason I believe it is a good idea to buy the best quality tire you can afford is that the tires are what keeps you upright on the road. 

Think about it, you basically have around 1" of tread keeping you upright on a 225+ pound fully loaded bike going down a twisty mountain at 45mph.  If the tire doesn't grip well, isn't strong enough to prevent blowouts (or roll offs!!), or prevent sidewall punctures on gravel roads and you risk a true blowout, then you could be toast. This is especially true of front tires because a blow out at even 10mph on the front can easily cause you to slide out before you know what happened.

Same philosophy is used for my car tire.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: Pat Lamb on December 10, 2021, 10:30:26 am
I get twice as many miles and one tenth the number of flats out of tires that cost twice as much. And I don't want to waste time in Gaastra, Michigan looking around to see if I can find suitable replacement tires, which you won't be able to.

While I agree with the sentiment you and Westinghouse advocate, I wonder where the guidance breaks down.  $20 tire twice as good as a $10 tire?  No argument.  $40 tire twice as good as a $20 tire?  Maybe.  But is a $100 tire twice as good as a $40 tire?  Hmmm...

And for some of us, flat resistance and longevity aren't the only criteria for comparing two tires.  Some tires achieve flat resistance through thick rubber and extra belts.  Those work; but IME they compromise the comfort of the tire (like rolling on wood with a little give), and if such a tire does have a flat, good luck getting that sucker off the rim!

So do you accept those trades, or is there a sweet spot somewhere in the middle price range or the middle weight range?
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 10, 2021, 10:37:16 am
To me safety is the first concern, as John pointed out. Can the tire support a loaded touring bike and does it have a good reputation for safety. Next comes flat protection - flats are not the same as blowouts - both result in a flat tire, but a blowout is more likely to take you down. Next is handling and ride, I guess that is comfort. Some tires can check all the boxes pretty equally, but if you put your three of four must-haves into a 1-10 rating scale, I am looking for a tire that ranks at least a 7 in all areas.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 10, 2021, 10:45:14 am
I get twice as many miles and one tenth the number of flats out of tires that cost twice as much. And I don't want to waste time in Gaastra, Michigan looking around to see if I can find suitable replacement tires, which you won't be able to.

While I agree with the sentiment you and Westinghouse advocate, I wonder where the guidance breaks down.  $20 tire twice as good as a $10 tire?  No argument.  $40 tire twice as good as a $20 tire?  Maybe.  But is a $100 tire twice as good as a $40 tire?  Hmmm...

And for some of us, flat resistance and longevity aren't the only criteria for comparing two tires.  Some tires achieve flat resistance through thick rubber and extra belts.  Those work; but IME they compromise the comfort of the tire (like rolling on wood with a little give), and if such a tire does have a flat, good luck getting that sucker off the rim!

So do you accept those trades, or is there a sweet spot somewhere in the middle price range or the middle weight range?
As with most things, I suspect there is a law of diminishing returns.  Where the sweet spot lies may depends on you needs, tastes, and the thickness of your wallet.

Also as you point out we all have different criteria.  There is puncture resistance, resistance to catastrophic failure, rolling resistance, ride feel, weight, ease of carrying a spare, whether it is tubeless ready, and a few others.  We don't all value them the same.

Then there is the fact that pricing isn't always rational.  Sometimes something actually can be a bargain.  Also sometimes an over rated product can be grossly over priced.

Still, it is worth spending enough to get a good tire.
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: DaveB on December 17, 2021, 07:29:56 pm
Like a lot of products, bike tires have a "sweet spot" for cost as it applies to the majority of riders.   Much less and the durability, ride quality and uniformity suffer.  Much more and you are into specialty race oriented tires where durability is sacrificed for low weight and low rolling resistance.   
Title: Re: The more expensive tires are the least expensive.
Post by: froze on December 18, 2021, 10:55:29 pm
8 punctures seem like a lot for a Schwalbe Marathon (though you didn't say which Marathons you used), but that is a lot of miles too, so not sure what to think; I have heard from some tourers that they never got a flat using the old Marathon Greenguard tire, which I think is the new Marathon Plus HS440 improved a bit.  On my old touring bike I used the Greenguard and never had a flat with those so I think the Plus HS440 will be at least equal to that.

On my camping/touring bike I decided to go with Schwalbe Marathon Almotion Evolution tire, because they have long tread life, they have the highest degree of puncture resistance, and they had the lowest rolling resistance of any touring tire with low weight at 490 grams.  After reading that the poster had 8 flats, while not bad but can those flats be reduced further?  I'm not sure, but I decided to put a set of Mr Tuffy Ultralight liners in my tires and see what happens.  The Almotion Evolution is a TL tire, but it can be used with a tube no problem.  I just bought these tires, I tried to get them 8 months earlier but there were none around till last month and then I found 2 only and they were on sale?!

The Marathon Plus HS440 is their best flat resistant tire, in fact they call it flatless, which I highly doubt, but I'm sure it has the highest degree of flat protection bar none, with the highest degree of durability that was similar to few other models.  I didn't choose this tire because the rolling resistance was quite high as was the weight at 960 grams.  So while I liked the idea of the tire, I also didn't want more work to keep the bike moving, and at the end of a day of riding my legs would be more tired using the Marathon Plus vs with the Almotion, so that was my thinking process for getting the Almotions.   I do know from using the Greenguards you could feel the weight and the sluggishness of the tire as the day went on.

While the Mr Tuffy Ultralite liners do weigh 52 grams but still even combining the weight of the liner with the tire it's still significantly lighter than the Marathon Plus tire by over 400 grams!  I also plan on only using the liner in the rear tire since 98% of flats occur in the rear.  I haven't fully decided not to use a liner in the front, but I think that's the direction I'm heading. 

But I would recommend someone wanting to buy a Schwalbe tire is to go to their site and look at how Schwalbe rated each tire then select one that best fits your needs.