Tires are the second installment of our “Upgrading Your Bicycle” blog series.
Tires, as we know, are a consumable part on our bicycles, therefore, its a great opportunity to upgrade your bicycle and replace some worn out rubber as well. Tires also share many of the upgrade benefits with wheels, ie lighter tires lower rotating mass. Every gram you save in rotating mass is about the same as saving half a gram in static (non rotating) mass.
Tires can one of the most difficult decisions to make when choosing, because tires have become very specialized for different types of riding, road racing, triathlon, durability, weight, recreational, the list goes on and on. In the post I am going to give you information that you can use to choose the proper tire for you.
I’m going to use a rating scale to give you an idea of how well some tires are 5 being the best 1 being the worst. I am only rating the tires that I have personally riden and only clincher tires.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t one tire that does everything very well, there are a few tires that do everything quite well but they are quite pricey as well. My personal favorite is the Schwalbe Ultremo Double Deffense (DD). This tire retails for about $85.00 each tire. Weight (4.5), durable (5), rolling resistance (4.5), and comfort (3). The Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons fits into this category as well, with a retail price of $75.00. Weight (4), durable (5), rolling resistance (3), and comfort (3).
Lets get a little more specific: Racing Tires:
Racing tires are designed for one purpose…to go fast. This means very light weight, ultra low rolling resistance, not very durable and not very comfortable (typically). Open tubular tires are the only exception to the racing tire comfort. Open tubular, racing tires, are hand sewn with his quality and high thread count materials making them very supple to they ride very comfortably but generally have a slightly higher price tag. Here are a couple examples of racing tires: Schwable Ultremo ZX retails for about $80.00. Weight (5), durable (2), rolling resistance (5), comfort (2). Challenge Criterium Open Tubular retails for about $80.00. Weight (4.5), durable (2), rolling resistance (4.5), comfort (5).
With Triathlons growing in popularity, its only natural that they would get their own specific tire. Triathlon tires are very similar to Racing Tires with the exception of some brand models come in narrower widths like 21 or 22mm compared to 23 or 25mm.
Training Tires/Performance Tires:
Training or performance tires make up the largest selection of tires on the market. With that being said, you will have the most debate and most controversy between tires among reviewers. When reading these review make sure that you realize that people will give bad reviews even if the tire is a great tire but they were using it for the wrong application. Any way, most tires in this category are going to be in the $60.00 price range, they are also going to be middle of the road as far as all of the categories are concerned. Here are a couple of examples: Vittoria Rubino Pro 3 retails for about $60.00. Weight (4), durable (3.5), rolling resistance (4), comfort (4). Schwalbe Durano S retails for about $65.00. Weight (4), durable (3.5), rolling resistance (4.5), comfort (3). Continental Gator Skin retails for about $65.00. Weight (3.5), durable (5), rolling resistance (3), comfort (3).
This tire category is for the novice rider or for the leisurely rider who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on rubber. These tires are going to focus on comfort and price and should not be used for competitive racing. Here are a couple of examples: Vittoria Zaffiro Pro retails for about $40.00. Weight (3), durability (3.5), rolling resistance (3), comfort (4). Schwalbe Lugano retails for about $40.00. Weight (3), durability (3), rolling resistance (3.5), comfort (4).
After reading through this post and as you digest and think about what tire is going to be your next purchase, I want to give you something else to think about during your tire shopping experience. Tire companies tend to have certain areas that they focus on, and I will list some of them now. Schwalbe tends to focus on rolling resistance with a second focus on weight. Continental tends to focus on durability. Michelin tends to focus on rolling resistance. Verdstein tends to focus on durability with a second focus on rolling resistance. Vittoria’s focus is on everything, being very well rounded for each category of tire.
I hope that the information in this post has been helpful. For more information feel free to shoot us an email or phone call and we will help answer your questions or order up a set of tires for you.
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