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  1. #1
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    Tire consensus for commuting and touring?

    Look for a wide tire (35-40 mm range) to add to a steel gravel grinder commuter. This will be primarily used for work commuting and as a townie, and will hopefully serve some bikepacking duties this Summer.

    Speed, durability and cost are primary criteria. Decent cornering and weight are secondary.

    What are my best options from those of you who are knowledgable about such things?

  2. #2
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    Specialized Nimbus Armadillo. I have used these things for over a decade and love them. The fantastic puncture resistance is my number one reason but they are also reasonably light and fast-rolling for a puncture resistant tyre. They last very well too. Not too cheap but worth it in my opinion.

  3. #3
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    Unless I'm mistaken, the Armadillo on goes up to 32 mm.

  4. #4
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    I just installed some Clement Xplor MSO tires, in 35mm width. I have a bit over 50mi on them so far and I'm pleased.

    I had some Specialized 700x38 with a puncture protection coverage one step below the Armadillos that I've been using lightly for years. I don't remember which ones they are, though. The rubber is hard, so traction is meh in spite of having good tread. But they've been durable as all hell. I've only managed one flat with them.

    The Clements I just installed are softer, so I expect less life out of them, but the grip is superb so far. They're also more supple, so comfort is improved. And, I cut 2lbs of rotating weight by switching to them, still using tubes. They claim a puncture protection belt, so the jury is still out on durability. They're more expensive, too. But so far I'm happy with the new rubber.

  5. #5
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    I've used Conti Tour RIDES successfully in that size (42s measured a close 39-40 on 18mm internal rims), though I did get a few flats over their life (around 3k miles, still with ~50% tread). They are neither light, nor sexy, tires. They have a reflective strip option, if that's your thing. I was very happy with the tread's performance on mixed surface, and the shape had very predictable cornering on road.

    After those, I used Conti CX Speed (back)/Cross King(front). I would probably use just Speeds, if I had to again, as I never felt like I exceeded the braking capacity of the Cross King, and I certainly didn't need more traction to go forward than the CX Speed provided. The Speed cornered very well off road, but you have to lean way into it to get to the side knobs; on road was somewhat...uncomfortable...trying to keep up with people who had round cross-sections.

    The Schwalbe G-Ones promise to be good, built off the same platform as the One, if they ever become more than vaporware. I was fed some line about them sharing the same rubber compound that is in short supply, blah, blah, blah...Marathons are the classic go to, though. I very much like the Almotion; it corners very predictably on road, but is a bit squirrel-y off.

    I currently have WTB Nano 40s on the bike, as at the time, they were the only actually tubeless beaded tires available for purchase in that size. They perform okay on road, if a bit slow. My average commute speed (99% road, with some singletrack occasionally thrown in) dropped about 1mph. Actual commute time? Only lost about 5 minutes, but I appreciate the cushiness. They shine on dirt roads/off road, though. Being on a CX bike, I have no desire to test their traction limits on loamy/sandy singletrack, but they acquit themselves quite well...Cornering is, as with all knobbed tires, not confidence inspiring on road; they tend to slide a bit on hardpack dirt, too. Durability is so-so; I expect them to last maybe 1500 miles, if lucky...granted, mostly on road. I plan to swap them for Almotions as soon as they become available in tubeless.

    *edit* It comes to my attention that they changed the name of the CX speed model I was using to Speed RIDE
    Last edited by wschruba; 06-11-2016 at 09:13 AM.

  6. #6
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    BICYCLE

    This guys make low cost tires

    and they last.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zirkel View Post
    Unless I'm mistaken, the Armadillo on goes up to 32 mm.
    In 700c you get it in three sizes. 28, 35 and 38mm. I've only ever seen the 26'' ones in 28mm (1.5'')

  8. #8
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    I like Conti Speed rides a lot:

    https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...e-tire-folding

    Cheap, fast rolling, decent traction and they ride like a far more expensive tire. They run smaller than advertized, I think they measure 38-39mm. Suck for mud though.

    Clement Xplor USH are nice too, but since they are smaller, they knife more like a road tire in soft dirt. For commuting and all around, a 35mm tire is awesome, but if you're seriously heading out into the backcountry, I'd stick to @40mm tires.

  9. #9
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    +1 on the conti speedride. Have them myself and like them better than the marathon racer I had before.

  10. #10
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    I had 2 flats on speed rides on some streets they were sealing and got rid of them. I'm currently using 40c Marathon Supremes. They're 460g, have a reflective sidewall (I'd prefer reflective wording like on Kojaks, but oh well) and so far are pretty bombproof. You can kind of tell they're only 60 tpi and not 120, but they're still 40c so they're forgiving if the pressure's down under 50.

    I'm not sure if I'd want them on gravel, but they're *ok* on hard packed dirt. The rubber's really sticky so if you ride through sand you bring it with you for a few miles.

    Also I got em on sale on Amazon for like 60 bucks each.

    If you want a gravel tire that's also a commuting tire you're going to make sacrifices that will make you unhappy. In the long run you're better off getting two sets of tires. That way they'll each last longer.
    You change your own flats? Support your LBS and pay them to instead.

  11. #11
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    I really like the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires:
    DSCF1446
    Nice in the dirt and gravel and roll fairly well on pavement, especially since converting them tubeless. Only had one flat in 5000 miles and that due to a nail that went in the tread and came out in the sidewall right above the bead.

  12. #12
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    I had a cobble stone in my rear that I noticed after three days when it started clicking on the tarmac. When I peeled it out it appeared that it was 3 mm in but did not cause a flat.

    Note that there is a difference between the cx speed and the speedride: the speedride has a double breaker in it with a 3mm gumwall breaker. The cx speed doesnt have that breaker.

    If you rather want to go for the marathon supreme: that one was redesigned not long ago, maybe you find the older model on sale somewhere. They are decent tyres, my wife has them on her bike and is very pleased with them (the previous model that is....)

  13. #13
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    I have these https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...plus-tire-700c. Three years of commuting that consists of crummy roads, dirt/mud/stone paths and lots of debris like glass and metal. Zero flats.But fella let me tell you they ain't light, almost a kilo each. They're just fine on gravel, not awesome but fine. I've used them on a few metric centuries in the gravel and ended up getting a set of cx tires just to cut down on weight.

  14. #14
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    Sounds like the Clement Xplore USH might work well for you.

  15. #15
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    I'm very pleased with Kenda's Happy Medium Pro in 40c. Good traction when you need it and nice rolling. Of course, if my bike could fit them I'd go with Bruce Gordon's Rock and Road.

  16. #16
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    second on the Clement X'plore MSO. Running the 40's and so far they have been awesome. Smooth on the road, good grip on some hard pack 1x and seem to be holding up well.

  17. #17
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    I'm running the schwalbe marathon supreme 2016 model now. very good grip in those. these models have conflicting naming. In the front I have the 32-622 and its 30 on a dt xr400 rim. in the rear I have the 37-622 that is also called 700x35C om schwalbes site, and it measures 35 on a dt tk540 rim.

    very grippy, very fast tires imo. I run them at 5,5 and 6 bar.

    I also have the 2014 marathon supreme 50mm 26er in the rear on my 26er, and a conti contact 2 in 1,75, these also have really good grip, I'd say almost unlimted grip, the limiting factor here seems to behow much I dare to lean in going into turns.

    The difference in comfort here iS GIGANTIC, sure the 26ers are on a lite steel framed bike and the 700s on a stiff cx frame.

    If you think you will encounter glass/heroin needles/thorns/nails/sharp gravel/other bad stuff just go with any of the plus tires, the plus tires comes with 2 different thickness of the plus foam/rubber, i think its 5 and 3mm. For schwalbe they have the evolution line and them performance line, the evo uses grippier rubber, their best and perf uses longer lasting rubber. The marathon plus and marathon seems to be good plus tires.

    For conti town ride and touring plus seems to be good. The touring plus was the contact (1) before and they are truly bombproof. Had mine for 4 years or so. they dont like wtb rims, extremely hard to get them on. The difference between the town ride and touring plus is the thickness of the foam/rubber plus thingy, one weighs over a kilo and the other like 600g, if you want the thick protector its always heavy, like a kilo. Also these tires with the thick plus thingy feels somewhat sluggish. Thats the price you pay.

    Tyres click "city/trekking"
    Tour - Schwalbe Professional Bike Tires

    I would not get tires without any type of advertised puncture protection at all. the marathon supreme and contact 2 has some kind of thin fabric and it works for me at least, but I'm 98% on paved road and 2% on road that is under construction. Never had a puncture for like 8 years now.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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