Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
I know there's a gazillion discussions in the other forum sections about tyres, but none I've found that particularly address commuting. Whilst I'd like a pair of the much lauded GPS4000S's I'm not sure that they'd pass the 'I'm cycling to work to save money' process
I currently run 700x28 Specialized All Conditions tyres, but they need replacing soon. Gatorskins get a good rep here and I'd think about getting these, but is there anything else I should consider?
I commute on Sydney roads in all weathers, so they need to be robust and handle well in both wet and dry. I'm not looking to shave the last second off my commute time so they don't have to be the best performers available.
Interested to hear your suggestions.
I'm presently running 700 x 28C Vittoria Randonneur Tires the city versions and have clocked up close to 2000k's with no issues. At $49.90 that's not a bad buy, one forum user has used the cross version and got over 8000k,s with no punctures.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity!
I have a 700x23c CST (cheng shin tyre) Flatfighter front ($27 LBS) which I have run for almost 2000km with no flats and some kind of no-name (Duro?) puncture resistant 700x23c on the back ($22) which I have run >1,500km no flats. I am pretty careful though. I slow down when I see glass and try to miss the worst of it. I also stop and check the tyres if I ride through a bad patch. I will keep a track of how long they last but am happy with them so far.
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Ive commuted on Gatorskins and lately, Schwalbe Blizzard ($40 each from cheeky transport). The Schwalbe is also Kevlar lined and although I only commute 10km each way, I havent had a puncture yet (fingers crossed) and I do ride on some crappy roads. The Schwalbe also has a reflective stripe around the wall of the tyre.
for continental Gatorskins. Ive been riding on them for almost 3 months, 150km per week, with no punctures. Prior to that with Kenda Kriterium tyres, i was getting at least 1 or 2 punctures a week.
700x28c Schwable Marathon Plus with reflective sidewalls and kevlar. up to 1700kms now and no punctures...YEAH! Good grip on gravel and grass, slippery tram tracks and road markings not a problem, and good in the wet. showing a bit of wear and a bit slower than the kenda Rolla I had on previously but all together a better package for my commute. They do go much faster if kept at 100psi so I track pump them every 2 or 3 days and you would be amazed what a few psi makes to my time. Previously I used to get punctures heaps, 2 in 3kms one front and one back made for a very grumpy Big Jonny, does anyone else get more punctures after a good rain?
I run the Gator skins and they're good until some glass/metal actually makes a cut in the tyre, then the item gradually wears it's way through the lining to cause a puncture. Still overall they're pretty good and it's really long sharp metal and glass slivers that do them in, and not when new only as they age and the tyre gets warn
I've not yet used the Schwable Marathon Plus, but have seen at the LBS the cutaway version and the kevlar lining so they look very well made and should be at least as good, maybe better than the Gator skins.
GT Avalanche 1.0 | TCR Alliance 0 | Giant Bowery | BMW K1300R
Two wheels good, Four wheels bad
Okay, here goes. First up I would suggest it would be helpful to give some idea of riding conditions when recommending tyres. Riding conditions is important as wet weather generally means there is more likelihood to puncture, so high mileage dry weather riding is different from high mileage wet weather riding. Oh also indicating if the wear rate is for the front or rear is helpful too as the rears wear more quickly.
Now the first thumbs down for the Continental Gatorskins. I commuted on them in wet and dry weather, in the city on roads and bike paths for 4,454 km (rear tyre). I retired the tyre then as the side wall gave away. During that 4,454 km I had 12 punctures at a rate of 378.75 km per puncture or about one every two weeks. Never again will I bother with Gatorskins. My blog posting on them can be found here if you want more details.
Thumbs up for the Continental GP4000/GP4000S. These are fitted to Froggie which is more of a dry weather ride and spends more time on the road than paths. I am getting around 4,000 km from them and the puncture rate is around 2,000 km + between punctures.
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 700c x 23. I had one of these on the front of my CRX 1 which was my wet weather/dry weather road/path commuter. It lasted 4,257 km and had one puncture at 4,215 km. I would consider it for the rear on this bike. Worth a shot at least IMO.
700 x 28C Vittoria Randonneur: Fitted to the rear of the CRX 1 and ridden 1,646 km mostly dry weather kilometres. Handles like a dog ... not nice on the CRX 1 going down hill "fast" and trying to take corners. The feeling of the back wheel giving way is not nice at all. Will not fit these again. Too early to get a judgement on puncture resistance.
700 x 37C Continental TravelContact: These are fitted to the front and rear of the Surly Long Haul Trucker and have done 1,646 km of mainly dry weather riding. They handle okay (can't go that fast on the Surly) and seem to be wearing okay. To early to get a handle on the puncture resistance but.
I was running 63.7km/flat on the rear and 491.7km/flat on the front using Gatorskins 700Cx23. No, I am not joking! I mainly commute and in all weathers. Rain = more punctures.
With Schwalbe Stelvio Plus 700x23c I have had 4 flats ~7000km.
Three were due to holes in the tire side walls (two on one tire and one on the other). I think the holes were due to a crash where the front rim broke and needed replacing and the rear truing weakening them - although I am only on my second pair so I will let you know in a few 1000km.
The other one was due to a 3-4 inch nail which I doubt even a 4WD tire would have survived.
Stelvio Plus do not exist any more AFAIK, the new equivalent is Durano Plus,which are apparently more durable. They are ~$100 each in Oz , but I have ordered a spare pair (along with a load of other stuff, spares, new tires for mrs - Schwalbe Marathon Plus, apparently virtually indestructible, but slower) from http://bike24.com where they are significantly cheaper, even with postage to Oz.
Hey Andrew, with your experience with the Vittoria Randonneur's do you think it might be the bike\tyre combo?
I'm curious as I've had no handling issues on the Felt and have had them on for over 2000k's now and in that time have pulled out 2 3 cornered jack (buried right in) and a steel staple out of the front with no punctures.
Has any one else had experience with tyres handling different on different style/brand bikes?
Might be relevant to the ops choice of tyres.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity!
Really don't know Martin, could be a combo along those lines.
Do you have step hills you go down with right angle bends at the end? I ride these hills at 40 km/h plus into the bends and had no problems with the other tyres I used. With the Randonneurs I was on the brakes loosing speed because of the feel of the back end. First time scared the living daylights out me. Thought I was gone.
To me there are other tyres with the same level or better puncture resistance so will go with them over the Randonneurs.
I just wanted to add a point about the kevlar and rain.
In the rain little bits of glass stick to the tires and are therefore give more opportunity to puncture the tire.
With the gatorskins, I found that glass would pierce the kevlar and a tiny bit would be left underneath the belt, which would then look un-pierced/undamaged leaving the tiny bit of glass virtually impossible to find, particularly in the dark and rain, but ready to puncture your new/repaired tube again.
YMMV of course.
Not that many steep hills here at all, the closest would be a sweeping left hander that I take at about 30kph no issues there or a strait hill at 60kph+ hope I don't come across your problem
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity!
Although I have not been commuting on them long, I would like to offer my suggestion for the Specialised Armadillo's. I also had the 700x28 Specialized All Conditions tyres on my bike from new, and I felt like i was fixing a flat on almost every second ride, (M7 Path mainly). Once these wore out, i got the Armadillo's from my LBS, they are labelled 700x25, with the red sidewall, No Flats, and so far, 900-1000 kms, wear signs are good for a while yet.
The real proof will be in the increased commute on Sydney roads, but so far, i am very happy with them..
I hope this helps in your eternal quest for the perfect tyre...
Rule No 1: Have Fun.
07 Avanti Blade Comp.
08 Teschner Piuma SL.
10 Norco Storm MTB.
Best tyres are what-ever is resistant to punctures! Nothing worse than getting to work late because of a tiny shard of glass.
I've got a lot of glass on my commute. Was averaging about 1 puncture per 1000km with specialized armadillo 700x28 and similar for fat boy 26x1.25, probably one per 200 with the michelin OEM tyres that came on my Perigee.
Continental contact 700x32s I got 4000km from the rear, down to cloth without any punctures. The handling did feel very weird at first (quite chunky tread) and although I got used to it after a while, I changed to a city contact for the front which felt much better. I am pretty impressed by the lack of punctures and intending to buy more sport contacts, seem to be around $50 at LBS. Some of the contacts sometimes have a "no puncture" guarantee. Not actually very worthwhile as the postage cost you need to pay for a replacement is close to the price of a tyre, but a nice sign they have confidence in the product.
Just got some city contacts for my 26" commuter off ebay. These seem a fair bit heavier and may be going too far, they have a very "hard" feel to them even at lowish tyre pressure, but so far no punctures.
Currently I'm using Airfree Laguna Hybrids from airfreetires.com. Punctures: 0, and will always be zero because they are solid urethane. They are great commuters and are only let down by "squidging" in the rim on high-speed corners (~40kph). I will get the HR/HD versions to address this issue with my next airfree tires purchase but after ~3500kms they look to be 80% tread so it will be a while.
--Current rides: Cannondale Bad Boy 8 || Surly Big Dummy || Dahon Dash P-18
I'm just about to buy a pair of MICHELIN Erilium 2 700x23 tyres for commuting.
They appear to be reasonably cheap and have a kevlar ply which supposedly makes them more puncture resistant. I'll post a report after I've ridden on them for a while.
Has any one tried them?
Bontrager Race Lites. After getting 5 flats in a week I went into Clarence St and said I wanted the tyres that will stand up to Sydney roads. 1 flat in a year commuting every day in Sydney (150 - 200 kms per week). The rear one finally died a couple of months ago when I stripped the rubber off the wheel during an emergency stop. I still have the front one which is going strong.
They are not the fastest in the world but are very reliable and are good in the wet.
It's probably got something to do with how much it sucks to have to change a tube, especially on a cold morning! Any tyre that resists the urge to flatten is loved!
Just got some Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x28c on my bike around a month ago. 500km later I'm still loving them. Due to their rubber thickness and the puncture resistant layer they are pretty stiff which comes in handy on streets with sharp edged potholes but makes it harder to get them on or off the rim. They're also puncture resistant, at least on the test cut version in the shop I tried hard but was not able to push a pin through them. So far I never had a flat with them (compared to one flat in 2 weeks average before). Handlingwise they have more grip than my previous ones (Bontraeger). Alltogether they are heavier than the average tyre and may increase the friction on the road due to their profile. However, for commuting in all weather conditions and on rough city roads with lots of glass around they feel very very robust.
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