Best tyres for European road tours

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rannochraider
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Best tyres for European road tours

Postby rannochraider » 21 Dec 2014, 12:07am

Hi Folks, I don't know a great deal about touring tyres other than what I've read. I've been riding Continental Contact 700 x 35's on a Surly Disc Trucker. They're certainly not as nice as 23 mm racing tubs but they are doing the job quite well. I've never punctured but I've not done thousands of miles on them. I've not been carrying much of a load either but I'm planning to change that soon. I wonder if I could draw on your experience and ask for advice on tyre choice. What would you choose to ride on a heavily laden bike that'll mainly be used on reasonable tarmac as well as hard packed gravel / whin chips on cycle tracks and canal towpaths?
I see the Schwalbe Marathon plus seems to have a massive following but I see Schwalbe also do a few other tyres that are made with touring in mind. Are Marathon Plus the first choice or are there lighter, faster and more comfortable tyres out there with good puncture resistance that are better?

Thanks
Jim

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby Brucey » 21 Dec 2014, 12:25am

it might help if you can say how much load you are going to carry, and what kind of tyre width you might consider/might fit and give acceptable clearance on your bike.

Also, how traumatic are punctures for you?

Some folk run tyres that (say) trade away puncture resistance for something else, like comfort.

cheers
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rannochraider
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby rannochraider » 21 Dec 2014, 12:50am

Sure Brucey . I don't think I'd like to go any bigger than 35's. Like I said the bike is a Surly Disc Trucker with the 700 wheels. I've never done a big tour so I've never weighed a load as yet. I envisage that at maximum load I'll have four Ortleib Classic panniers. I think I'll use the 20l panniers front and rear if I can. I've got a 1500 gm sleeping bag, an Exped Down sleeping mat of about 850 ish gms, tent will be 1700gms , Stove is a primus multifuel and I'll use gas so guessing 1500gms . Clothing would be minimal, Light gore tex jacket, Mountain Hardwear Nitrous down hoody, one pair of shoes for riding and living in and a few more items of clothing and other essentials obviously. As you will have guessed I'm going to try and keep things as light as possible with nothing of any real significance weight wise. I can't see me ever getting so far off the beaten track that I would need to carry large amounts of water / food / fuel etc. I suppose it would be fairly tame touring really. I can deal with the odd puncture, I've had them in all sorts of places and at all sorts of speed so they're not new to me. I like a degree of comfort but I don't want to be puncturing daily !
I suppose the reason I ask is that I'm really not too sure what sort of tyre can deal with a the sort of weights that get carried on touring bikes with the 'full monty' aboard. I'm guessing that snakebite punctures could be more common on heavily laden bikes?
Hope that's that enough info to give you an idea of what I've got in mind?

pete75
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby pete75 » 21 Dec 2014, 6:45am

This thread may give you a clue viewtopic.php?f=5&t=85806&hilit=vittoria

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Sweep
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby Sweep » 21 Dec 2014, 9:34am

Brucey wrote:it might help if you can say how much load you are going to carry, and what kind of tyre width you might consider/might fit and give acceptable clearance on your bike.

Also, how traumatic are punctures for you?

Some folk run tyres that (say) trade away puncture resistance for something else, like comfort.

cheers

Interesting sensible post as always brucey.

I personally am willing to trade a certain proneness to punctures for comfort (and i get few punctures anyway as i very regularly check the tyres) but since punctures on the back are more of a pain fully loaded would it make any sense at all to have a Marathon on the back and something lighter on the front?

Or would this just be too daft and ride like hell?

No need for anyone to be gentle with me.

If this is a non starter-an awful/terrible/stupid idea feel free to say so.
Sweep

reohn2
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby reohn2 » 21 Dec 2014, 9:53am

pete75 wrote:This thread may give you a clue viewtopic.php?f=5&t=85806&hilit=vittoria


Yep those are the tyres IMHO,very comfortable,very fast,very durable,especially if you're mainly on tarmac,though I ride them off road for about 25to30% of the time which doesn't phase them at all.If you want something even more durable Vittoria Randonneur Pros have a little more tread:-
Hypers:- http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/TYVIVOHY/v ... lding-tyre
Rando Pros:- http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/TYVTRNDP/v ... lding-tyre

Brilliant tyres,can't recommend them enough :)
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Brucey
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby Brucey » 21 Dec 2014, 10:13am

Sweep wrote:.... but since punctures on the back are more of a pain fully loaded would it make any sense at all to have a Marathon on the back and something lighter on the front?

Or would this just be too daft and ride like hell?....


no, if you have a rear load on, using a lighter front tyre makes quite good sense to me. I sometimes do that on unladen bikes, and I very often do it on things like Dutch bikes where rear punctures are a mighty pain.

The OP could be as skinny as a whippet and carrying 5-10kg, or he could be a lot heavier built and shooting for nearer 20kg luggage (it does creep up on you....). [It is kind of difficult to fill any panniers that size with real stuff and not have each one weigh 5kg or so].

I'm not sure I'd use the same tyres for each load!

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

reohn2
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby reohn2 » 21 Dec 2014, 10:17am

Sweep wrote:
Brucey wrote:it might help if you can say how much load you are going to carry, and what kind of tyre width you might consider/might fit and give acceptable clearance on your bike.

Also, how traumatic are punctures for you?

Some folk run tyres that (say) trade away puncture resistance for something else, like comfort.

cheers

Interesting sensible post as always brucey.

I personally am willing to trade a certain proneness to punctures for comfort (and i get few punctures anyway as i very regularly check the tyres) but since punctures on the back are more of a pain fully loaded would it make any sense at all to have a Marathon on the back and something lighter on the front?

Or would this just be too daft and ride like hell?

No need for anyone to be gentle with me.

If this is a non starter-an awful/terrible/stupid idea feel free to say so.


I think Brucey poses a good question but unless your tyres are bulletproof or almost,you'll get an occasional puncture.Marathon M+ tyres will almost guarantee puncture free cycling,which for short commute city riding is desirable and convenient but for long rides are awful.
The occasional puncture isn't a problem for me and something which I accept as part of cycling,ride quality OTOH is something seek and desire.
I don't think the marathon on the rear is a bad idea at all,but is it necessary?
I/we rode Marathons solo and on the tandems for years,they're no more puncture resistant than Vitt Hypers IME,but the ride quality isn't in the same league.
Another very durable tyre with a good track IME are Panaracer Ribmo,ride is better than Marathons,but not as good as either of the Vittoria's linked to above,durability very good.

I puncture rarely but I don't run tyres to the canvas I do ride them at optimum TP's for load,and I check them regularly for defects and foreign bodies etc.

EDIT:- Thinks... If you really must have a more durable rear tyre perhaps a Voyager Hyper up front and a Rando Pro on the rear :mrgreen:
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rannochraider
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby rannochraider » 21 Dec 2014, 11:15am

Thanks folks, I've just ordered a pair of 700x 37 VRH's. I value the comfort and feel a tyre provides. I can't think of anything worse than clunking along on an unresponsive, unforgiving almost solid rubber tyre. I'm no featherweight but I'll take my chances and live with the odd puncture if that's the price I've got to pay for that wee bit of extra enjoyment on my rides. Thanks for the pointers.

Cheers
Jim

reohn2
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Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby reohn2 » 21 Dec 2014, 4:20pm

If you've been riding these:- http://www.conti-tyres.co.uk/conticycle ... tact.shtml
or any of the Conti Contact range,you won't believe the difference Hypers will make.
Decent tyres are only half the story,please check out this chart for tyre pressures:- http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/TireDrop.pdf
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Bikefayre
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby Bikefayre » 22 Dec 2014, 4:06pm

Would personally recommend the new Schwalbe Plus Energizer as it has road bike performance and is MOPED rated so will be able to carry your weight no problem as it it's also designed for electric bikes too. Plus has a decent four season multi purpose tread, reckon pretty much perfect. You could be brave and try the new Schwalbe Durano Plus or the Standard Marathon Plus in 25. billys.co.uk also do an excellent tyre for you a 'Plus' tyre, The Halo Courier Twin Rail Berlin Puncture Protection in 24C and 29C, tested for bicycle couriers in Berlin city, basically a road bike tyre with a cut out block tread with the grip similar to the Halo mountain bike tyres.

pga
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Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 9:40pm

Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby pga » 22 Dec 2014, 7:28pm

Over many years of European touring, mainly in France, I have used a variety of tyres from most major makers in a variety of widths from 20 to 37mm. My conclusions are:-

For cycle camping I prefer Continental Touring Plus. I dropped from 37 to 32 and then to 28. I found the 32 best. The load is usually two front panniers and two rear with the tent strapped to the top of the rear panniers.

For youth hostelling/hotel touring I prefer 25 Continental Ultra GatorSkin. The load is usually two rear panniers only.

I carefully pump the tyres to the maker's recommended pressure, not the maximum, visiting bike shops en route every week or so to borrow a track pump to keep the pressure up. My tours have varied in duration with a maximum of six weeks.

mountainman531
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008, 10:17pm

Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby mountainman531 » 23 Dec 2014, 11:05am

Like many I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus, I like the almost total resistance to puncturing, I haven't noted any difference in comfort and as for rolling resistance Chris Juden commented recently in "Cycle" that as a tyre wears the rolling resistance decreases, that seems to make sense as there is less compound to drag. As for having a lighter tyre on the front consider this: your rear wears faster than the front and at some point you can swap them around to even the wear out but you will need the tyres to be the same.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby Brucey » 23 Dec 2014, 11:35am

If you know your wear rates, you can choose a tyre that wears pro-rata at the front vs the rear.

So for example, x3 wear rate at the rear means you can start with a tyre with x3 the tread on it vs the front; as they wear they are always in proportion to one another, and you change them both out at the same time.

Considering the thickness of rubber there, the M+ rolls quite well. But it is really very draggy by comparison with a lot of other tyres, and that is the price you pay for the puncture protection. BTW M+ is still pretty draggy even when it is worn; the reason is that there is still lots of rubber there even when the tread has gone. That extra rubber is how the protection works.

cheers
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MikeF
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Re: Best tyres for European road tours

Postby MikeF » 23 Dec 2014, 12:31pm

reohn2 wrote:If you've been riding these:- http://www.conti-tyres.co.uk/conticycle ... tact.shtml
or any of the Conti Contact range,you won't believe the difference Hypers will make.
Decent tyres are only half the story,please check out this chart for tyre pressures:- http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/TireDrop.pdf

I haven't yet tried the Hypers I've bought, but Contact II x32 I find are very sure footed in muddy patches, and I quite like them for that. However they are an absolute pain to fit - but apparently so are Marathon Plus (which I haven't used).
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master