Author Topic: Tires for Touring  (Read 1630 times)

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Offline froze

Tires for Touring
« on: June 03, 2020, 09:53:18 pm »
I have a set of 700x45 Kenda Drumlins on my new touring bike, but those things are freaking heavy at 1600 grams a piece, so I was going to lighten the tires up by going with a set of Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, I heard a lot of good stuff about those tires, then I heard of another guy touring on Schwalbe Kojaks and said they were the best.  So while I was on the Schwalbe website I got into a chat with one of the reps, and he claims he does a lot of touring and he said that the Supremes and the Kojaks aren't made for touring but rather city commuting?!  Lots of people tour on those Supremes. 

So he said that the real touring tires are the Marathon Plus and the Marathon GT Tour.  He said that's the only tires he uses because their nearly flat proof and he doesn't want to spend his time fixing flats.

This is all new to me because I've heard of lot of people here on this forum that use the Supremes and haven't mentioned much about flats.  I told him I wasn't going to be carrying 90 or so pounds of gear but was going to try to keep the weight under 50 pounds, but he said nope get those two I mentioned above.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what that Schwalbe guy said?

Online John Nettles

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2020, 10:09:43 pm »
Put me in the Supreme camp assuming I will primarily be doing paved touring, i.e. NOT much unpaved touring other than chat (ground stone).  I will be (somewhat) happy to change a flat every 1500-2000 miles on my Supremes versus pushing the very heavy (extra work required) Pluses or GT Tours.  When I go off-pavement touring I use the Mondial but may switch to the Almotion when the Mondial craps out (still going strong after 6k-7k miles of mixed touring).

That said, the Supremes do wear much quicker.  I might get 2,500-3,000 miles of loaded touring on Supremes but can easily double that on the Mondials and I would assume the Pluses and GT. And for what they cost, that can be a factor.  However, I sometimes can buy tires via Europe and they are substantially cheaper than here, like half price.

It boils down to choice.  The guy you spoke with said "he doesn't want to spend time fixing flats".  I don't want to spend extra energy pushing sluggish tires (and they are sluggish).

Tailwinds, John

Offline froze

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2020, 11:22:32 pm »
That's what I was thinking about sluggish tire business you mentioned, I got enough problems pulling weight I don't want my tires to add to it!

Thanks, you're thinking what I was thinking.

Offline Inge

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2020, 12:58:07 am »
Exactly no need to add extra weight by using heavy tires when not needed. I use on one bike, should say used - been promoted to be my e-trainer, Almotions 50-622. And had only 1 flat (big nail) when riding the PC between Vancouver and SFO. Used the same tyre on numerous training routes, tours in the UK (tarmac and gravel) and no flats. On my other bike with 70-584 G-One allround tyres and no flats either. For heavy off road touring I would not use the G-one but for road and light gravel touring it is a nice, smooth riding tyre.

Offline froze

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2020, 08:49:34 am »
My camping weight is around 40 to 50 pounds depending on how far I go, that puts my total weight with the bike and myself at 240 to 250 pounds. If I get new tires to replace the 1,600 grams a piece tires now on the bike I can drop around 4 pounds, all of which would be rotational weight.

The only place I concerned about flats is the rear tire, because all of my gear will mostly on the back, so I will add a Panaracer FlatAway liner which only adds about 30 grams but that liner is extremely tough, more so than any plastic liner on the market.  I could drive a tack through a Mr Tuffy liner fairly easily, but I couldn't not get that tack to penetrate the FlatAway; I could cut a Mr Tuffy with a pair of scissors like butter, but I was hurting my hand trying to cut the FlatAway.  The only other issue I have with lighter tires like the Supreme is the mileage, reports I'm getting is around 3,000 miles loaded, I don't want to be buying a tire on the road if I can help it, but that maybe what I'll need to do.

Online John Nettles

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2020, 10:03:55 am »
The only place I concerned about flats is the rear tire, because all of my gear will mostly on the back, so I will add a Panaracer FlatAway liner which only adds about 30 grams but that liner is extremely tough, more so than any plastic liner on the market.

.... I don't want to be buying a tire on the road if I can help it, but that maybe what I'll need to do.
First, I would highly suggest you more evenly load your gear.  If you are not using front panniers, putting most of your weight on the rear wheel is a recipe for bike shimmy which can be dangerous especially on the mountain downhills.  If you are using front panniers, shift the heavy stuff to the front, i.e. food, tool kits, etc.  I actually strive for a 50/50 balance and I can then ride no-hands believe it or not.  Can't do the Peter Sagan wheelie though  ;) .

Secondly, just buy a foldable tire before you go and have someone mail it to you care of General Delivery to any US Post Office.  I use the General Delivery quite often on my longer trips as I take a BUNCH of meds (transplant) so need to replenish then every 3 weeks.  It has never failed me when I use the proper type, i.e. a town with a population between 1,000 and 4,000 people so they only have 1 post office but it has regular 9-5 hours including some Saturdays and the small-town "how can I help you" attitude is really helpful.  I have even had one Post Mistress (is that the correct term??) deliver it to me on a Sunday since I got off my schedule by two days and the next day was Labor Day.  Since then I have learned to always try to target the pickup time for a Tuesday (it can arrive up to 30 days before you pick it up).  That way if I am a day early or up to 3 days late, no big deal.

Sure it adds some cost if you only ship a tire, but then make yourself a care package, i.e., tubes, tires, new shirt, food/candy bars you can only get at home, etc. then the cost become acceptable.
Final point on General Delivery is that if it needs to be fowarded because you can't pick it up on-time, be sure to use priority or at least First Class as it will be forwarded for free.

Tailwinds, John

Offline froze

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2020, 10:39:37 am »
I hear you on the 50/50 thing, but I had an older 80's era touring bike that people claimed that touring bikes back in those days shimmed a lot, plus I was running 27x1 1/4 (32mm) tires, I put my stuff on the rear except for a handlebar bag, and it never shimmed, my new touring bike is built a lot more beefier than that old one was, it has wider 700x45 tires currently but will be dropping down to 38's, but I can't see it shimming either.  I also on the old bike didn't have any handling issues with weird steering or braking.

I don't ride with 90 pounds of weight like some do, I carry at the most 50 pounds, and 10 of that is on the front, which is the same distribution I had on the 80's era steel bike.  I will be adding two 40 ounce stainless steel bottles to the front so that's another 5 pounds of liquid going on the front.  The racks on the new bike also mount the bags a bit lower then they were on the old bike.

And when I was touring on the old bike, and noticing others while driving a car around, most people are going nowadays with just rear panniers.  I might, I say might, get something called a Porteur, this is a small rack that mounts to the front and I can put my tent up there which is about 4 pounds, but I'm going to wait to see how the bike handles with most of on the rear.

Here is an interesting read about this subject, and read what it says about no hands riding, read the whole thing too:  https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-carry-load-bicycle-touring-front-rear-panniers/



I find out about the shimmy this weekend when I do my first loaded ride with it.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2020, 10:50:54 am »
I use Marathon Supremes, tubeless. If you are concerned about getting flats, that is the way to go. The number of flats can vary widely, even among cyclists using the same tire. Longer wear typically means thicker thread and a heavier tire.

Online John Nettles

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2020, 11:48:22 am »
Here is an interesting read about this subject, and read what it says about no hands riding, read the whole thing too:  https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-carry-load-bicycle-touring-front-rear-panniers/
I find out about the shimmy this weekend when I do my first loaded ride with it.

With 40+ years and over 60k miles of loaded touring, I have to disagree with a few of his points.  I am not going to spend the time to go over them but I strongly disagree with his main assumption and that is to use ONLY front or rear panniers. 

For me, if I am carrying much over 25 pounds (11 kilos), I always use front AND rear.  Part of the reason is for organization but the main reason is bike handling.  I can keep my tent in one pannier; sleeping bag and such in another; clothes in another; etc.  Since I have way too many panniers, I frequently size the pannier for what is needed and it is not uncommon for me to use "front" panniers on the rear also. 

With front and rear panniers, for me, the bike handles better compared to when all the weight is just over the rear wheel (assuming just a handlebar bag and no front panniers).  Yes, the steering input is a harder (you quickly get used to it), but then there is not the tail wagging the dog feel I get and which I feel unnerving.  All in all, I can definitely feel a difference in way the bike handles (I have high end touring bikes that are strong) when over the front AND back or just over the back and strongly prefer it for medium to heavy loaded touring. For light touring, sure just use the rear only which I have and will do again in that scenario.

My final suggestion is to bum a rack and panniers from someone and try it both ways and see what works best for you.  After 40 years, I KNOW front and back work best for me.

Tailwinds, John

Offline froze

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2020, 11:59:08 pm »
thank for the reply, I think I will do as you suggest and play around and see what works the best.  I have front pannier racks, I just have borrow some pannier bags for the front from a friend...if he can find them!  He use to tour about 35 or 40 years ago, he has an old set of Cannondale pannier bags, he kept all the stuff but his garage is a just a huge mess.  Anyway it wouldn't hurt to ask him.

Offline froze

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2020, 12:04:20 am »
I use Marathon Supremes, tubeless. If you are concerned about getting flats, that is the way to go. The number of flats can vary widely, even among cyclists using the same tire. Longer wear typically means thicker thread and a heavier tire.

Well after much consideration I think I will go with the Marathon Almotion HS453 tire, it has the best rolling resistance of any touring tire on the market; it has .4mm thicker tread than the Superior so it should last a tad longer; it weighs less but that's might be due to the Almotion comes in a 38 size and the Superior a 40, but 38 is plenty wide for me; and the cost is the same, so I would get a bit better tire in the crucial rolling resistance and tread thickness.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2020, 06:45:00 pm »
I strictly run Schwalbe Marathon pluses on my Kona Sutra. Never had a flat. That's good enough for me.

As for the pannier debte - front and back for me with a small a handlebar bag. I like the stability, organizational ease and the extra room if I need it which I sometime do on long lonely stretches of road where I have to carry extra food.  Most of the time, though, the back panniers are only about 3/4 full but it's nice to have the extra room if needed.  Works for me.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2020, 06:02:25 am »
I haven't read the whole thread, but will say that I completely disagree with what the Schwalbe guy told you.  I bought into the hype for the Marathon Plus at one point and absolutely hated them.  I eventually took them off and sold them without too much mileage on them.  I hated the weight, but even more than that I hated the stiff sidewalls.  I value a supple sidewall and the ride they provide.  I appreciate a lighter tire for the weight advantage as well.  I won't comment on the other Schwalbe choices since I have not been running Schwalbe tires.

Some riders may not care about or even notice the difference a supple sidewall makes.  Some may not care about the extra weight.  For some avoiding flats at all costs is the name of the game.  For them the Marathon Plus or similar tires may be a great choice, but they are a pretty extreme step in that direction.

Offline froze

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2020, 08:02:49 am »
That was my issue too was the weight and the stiffness factor, which is why I want to get away from the 1600 grams a piece tires I have now!  Problem is I can't get tires now till August due to shipping issues with this C19 crap, so I'm going to be forced to ride on those heavy tires.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tires for Touring
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2020, 09:41:20 am »
That was my issue too was the weight and the stiffness factor, which is why I want to get away from the 1600 grams a piece tires I have now!  Problem is I can't get tires now till August due to shipping issues with this C19 crap, so I'm going to be forced to ride on those heavy tires.
Not the end of the world.  Not what I'd choose, but better than not riding at least.