Author Topic: Tough Touring Tire  (Read 15969 times)

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Offline Westinghouse

Tough Touring Tire
« on: March 29, 2009, 02:06:01 pm »
I am sure people here can answer this with no problem. What is a really tough, high mileage, tire for touring, long distance touring. And I mean a tough tire, not IRC or those cheap Kenda tires. I want to hear from those who have been there and done that.

Offline JimF

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2009, 04:15:58 pm »
The Schwalbe Marathon Plus likely would meet your criterium. Not a single flat on the Transam. I haven't replaced them after an additional two years of riding, still--knock on wood--without a flat. Expensive, though.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2009, 06:10:13 pm »
Yes the Marathon Plus is quite flat resistant but they each weigh as much as two of many other touring tires and have whatever is the opposite of a lively ride.  I only recommend them if flat resistance is your main and almost only criteria.

Different strokes, but I'd rather go with something lighter and with a nicer ride.  I think they are great for commuting on debris strewn roads but prefer something else for touring.  I currently have the pluses on my touring bike and will probably replace then before the next long tour.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2009, 09:36:32 am »
What I am thinking about is a tire that will go from east coast to west coast. I am not all that worried about having to patch punctured tubes and pick wires out of a tire. What I do not want to do is buy other tires on my way across the continent. How much are they anyway? Being able to go the distance without having to buy more tires would be worth it. I used to buy $9.00 IRC tires, and Kendas, but they tended to fall apart under hardship. On the back I would get 800 to 1000 miles at best. On the front I would change to the second tire while on my third rear tire. From east coastal Florida to California would take three to five tires on the rear, and two on the front.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 10:05:43 am »
How much you weigh and how much gear you carry will be a major factor in how well your tires last.  The OEM Kenda Eurotreks on our bikes lasted 5000 miles for a lighter rider with a lighter load while mine lasted 1000 miles or less for the rear tire in exactly the same conditions (riding together).

There are lots of tires that will last for 5000 miles for a bike carrying a reasonable load and still weigh a lot less than the Marathon Plus tires ($54.45 each).  This includes some of the other Schwalbe tires as well as some of the Continentals.  For example the Marathon HS 368 ($34.95) is a lot lighter and a lot cheaper, but not quite as puncture resistance.   If you can tolerate a tire on the skinny side the Continental Ultra Gatorskin is a really nice tire, but the widest it is made is 700x28 and it is narrow for a 28.

I have heard good things about the Continental Top Contact, but have not tried them.

I tried the Continental Security Contact and it was horrible wear wise.  It was recommended by a shop along the way on the TA and was a complete waste of money.

In my opinion, if you don't mind fixing a flat once in a while the Plus is not worth the poor ride and extra weight.  At 28+ ounces each for a 700x32 Marathon Plus the weight penalty is substantial and the ride has a dead feel to it.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 12:38:00 pm »
I know what you mean about the ride feeling dead. I usually tour with 27 1/4 tires, lightweight, and noticeably more responsive. I can feel the difference even when I put Mr. Tuffy tire liners between the tire and the tube. There is a noticeable sort of slowing, deadening effect on the ride. It is not that pronounced, but it is perceptible. That is why I asked more after the weight of the first tire was mentioned. I am weight conscious when I tour. I try to pare everything down to a minimum. I once got 3,400 miles or so out of a rear tire which I thought was near miraculous. I paid about $18.00 for it in Germany in 1994. I can put up with some punctures, but i am tired of worrying about carrying a spare tire, and having to buy new ones along the way. When it comes to matters of equipment I like to have all concerns taken care of before starting a tour. Thanks for the information. I am writing it down. It will be put to use.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 12:44:25 pm »
Good luck.  I hope you find a choice that works well for you.

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 08:58:00 pm »
I always hesiate to say great things about my tires, because I am afraid that, as soon as I do...POP! Anyhow, I have used WTB All-Terrainasaurus on both my patrol bikes (I'm a park ranger and a NMBP volunteer patroller) and my Bianchi Volpe touring bike for years with abolutely no problems. The 26" pair on my old ranger/EMS bike had almost 2500 miles on them with no flats and still usable tread on the rear. (I would have replaced them last year, but got a new work bike instead.) The 29" pair on the Volpe are doing very well after two years; No flats, good tread but only about 750 miles. My Novara Safari has Conti Town and Countrys on it. They are doing very well too, but will be replaced with the WTB All-Terrainasaurus 26" tires when they either wear out or give me any problems.

Right now I work in a very sandy park area, so I use 2.3" wide WTB Weirwolves on the bike. I am getting a new bike for suburban and EMS work that comes with Serfas tires, which will be replaced with All-Terrainasaurus(es) before it leaves the shop.

They are only $20.00 each and weigh in at 655 gms for the 26X1.95, 610 for the 700x35c, and 640 for the 700x38c.
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Offline biker_james

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2009, 06:50:55 am »
I like Continentals-used the Top Touring until it was discontinued, and am now using the Travel Contact (I think thats what its called). We have always found Conti's to wear very well. We do use Mr Tuffy's in the TT's, and flats are a real non issue then.
I did try a set of Marathons a few years ago, at the suggestion of a bike shop. I paid more for them than the Continentals, and gave them away because the bike rode so horribly with them. The friend I gave them to was happy with them, but I won't be buying them again.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2009, 09:40:17 am »
Thanks for the information. I want you to know I value your experiences and your observations on these matters. I know tire makers advertise all over the www. It is not that I totally distrust advertisements. The fact is there is nothing like experience, or like my late brother in law Doug Moston used to say, "Experience is not the best teacher. It is the only teacher."

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2009, 12:18:48 pm »
I used Continental Top Touring tires on my previous touring bikes.  They were a great tire.  Sometimes I feel that Continental has lots its way, another once great company where good engineered has been replaced by marketing hype.

I currently have two bikes with Schwalbe Marathon tires.  It seems like there are 50 variants of the Marathon, and to be honest, I can not keep them straight.  The tires on my touring bike are OK.  The ones I have on my mountain bike have a pigish quality to their handling.

In Michigan (where I live), it will be several weeks before the ground has thawed out enough that the trails can be ridden.  So if I am going to ride the mountain bike, it will be on paved or dirt roads.  Pavement is just too hard on mountain bike tires.  So this time of year, I use the Marathons.  And it is too muddy to inspire me to get any of the other bikes out.

Offline whittierider

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2009, 04:22:56 pm »
Sometimes I feel that Continental has lots its way, another once great company where good engineered has been replaced by marketing hype.
They seem to have the best racing tire now (the Grand Prix 4000) according to the test results shown in the article starting on page 46 of the 9/07 issue of Tour magazine put online at at
 , and the Bicycling magazine issue that just came a few days ago had a short article saying, "This is not only the best Conti ever, but, all things considered, one of the best tires ever made."  It certainly is the best tire I've ever used, and I've bought and maintained some 200 tires of many brands for myself and my family over the years.  If it were made in something bigger than 25mm, it might be one of the best touring tires as well.  It has the so-far-unheard-of combination of good grip even on wet roads and very long life too, and one of the lowest rolling resistances while also being very puncture-resistant with its Vectran (not Kevlar) layer.  I've been averaging one flat with them about every 2,000 miles with the ultra-thin 49-gram LunarLight tubes.  The article is about the 4000S with their "black chilli" compound, but in the last year the non-S-version 4000's have also been made with black chilli, so you can get it in 25mm, which is the biggest my bike will take, and I plan to use it on credit-card tours.

Offline geegee

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2009, 11:59:16 pm »
I currently have Vittoria Randonneur Hyper kevlar tires on my touring bike and they are the toughest tires I've owned. I rode it up to Alaska from Vancouver last summer and did not have a single flat despite the long stretches of unpaved roads (especially on the Top-of-the-World Hwy). I rode the same pair from Orlando to Houston a few months ago, switching the back and front to even out the wear. I did have one flat on that ride, during a rainy day when particles seem to penetrate small fissures in the rubber. Despite all that riding the whisker-like things on the sidewalls are still intact. The only issue I have with them is they fit really tight on the rims and I've broken several plastic tire levers taking them off and I've had to get metal levers.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 12:05:41 am by geeg »

Offline robo

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2009, 12:42:53 am »
I rode 14OO miles last summer (fully loaded), as did two friends, on 1.25 inch XG-K tires from Performance.  Two flats total, and one of them was a thumb tack.

Don't know if they gave the nicest ride possible, but we were pleased to ride rather than fix flats.

Offline livinday2day02

Re: Tough Touring Tire
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2009, 11:13:33 pm »
I've had Great luck with the Bontrager Hard Case Race Light.  I found them to be extremely puncture resistant.  I would commonly find glass in my tires (commuting in NYC) and just pick it our with a tool or pen or something and the tire would continue on no problem.  Even found a staple in the tire one day and rode to the bike shop to pull it out.  I got there, pulled out the staple, and still the tire didn't leak.  Anyway had great luck with these tires, took them on many 4 and 5 day long tours over the course of two years, as well as daily commuting 16.5 mi to and from work. I'll swear by them for their reliability, but also they tend to be on the lively side of good puncture resistant tires.
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