Bicycle Tires, a brief review
Bike Repair Season is upon us.
Our time at Queen City Cycles has been filled with neighbors popping in for air or just for a chat, catching up on news and exchanging stories. New bicycles and accessories are arriving to the store weekly and suddenly there is structure to our days after the dreary, dark winter season.
When you hit the pavement it’s your bike tires that take the brunt of the road. Look for embedded debris, gashes, dry sidewalls, and other defects every time you inflate your bike tires or we can examine your tires with you at the shop. If your tires fail while out on a ride you will be greatly inconvenienced or worse.
When it’s time to replace your bike tires there many choices to consider like width, tread, compound. We concentrate our tire inventory on city friendly options. This is a loose definition for most of our city tires are just as just as appropriate for dirt trails.
Questions to ask when you are considering new tires;
- How many miles is your typical bike ride?
- What is the terrain you ride?
- Do you experience a lot of punctures?
We will happily give tire recommendations based on your riding style and expectations. For instance a pair of thick stiff tires may be a great choice against punctures but are probably harsh to ride on and are not very grippy around corners. Skinny slick tires may be fast on smooth pavement but will jar you as you traverse potholed city streets.
- How long will tires last? It depends upon the number of miles ridden, whether your bicycle is parked outside, and on the rubber compound of your tires. Our dry western climate dries out tires just like our skin. I typically change out my tires every year sometimes every two.
- Cost? Tire prices start at about $20 ea. Higher quality tires cost $40-60.
- Inner tubes? The best practice is fresh tubes with new tires.
A few tire models that we recommend:
The ever-popular touring tire, the Marathon, defines the Schwalbe brand for many. This family-owned German tire manufacturer actually produces an incredible range of bicycle tire styles. We stock their inner tubes because they don’t split at the seams and hold air longer than the el cheapo inner tubes. We keep the Marathon tires in the store because they do indeed roll over road debris for many, many miles without flatting out.
Ever since Ethan started riding Panaracer’s Smoke and Dart tires back in his mountain bike days of the 1990s he has been a loyalist. Manufactured in Japan Panaracer produces a fantastic range of tire styles for every type of riding conditions. Our shop emphasizes city appropriate tires but then most of those tires easily handle gravel roads too.
Not too slick, not too heavy this tire suits many circumstances. The Pasela handles well and is available in a great number of sizes including 27” for those classic steel road bikes. I run Paselas on my road bike always ready to tackle a few dirt roads on the side.
The natural compound of the T-Serve is supple, even plush, an absolute pleasure to ride on. This tire offers incredible grip in dirt, slush and dry roads, even sandy street corners. This is the tire I run on my cycle cross bike.
Perhaps the answer to the question of which tire is the best touring option, the Shikoro is certainly embraced by the CX community. This quick armored tire protects against punctures; has low rolling resistance, and is comprised of a high mileage compound. Need a tire for all types of street riding, even over corrugated roads? Try the Shikoro.
Being dependent on my own bicycle for transportation, fitness, and fun I expect it to perform safely. Bicycle tires are a most important component for a safe ride. Let us know if you have specific questions about bike tires, it is a favorite topic at the shop and I have only just touched the surface of the choices to consider.
A good habit for all bike owners to develop, for safety’s sake, is to set aside 30 minutes every week to;
- lube your bicycle chain,
- pump up your tires,
- and examine your tires for cuts or scrapes.
Blogs and links that I have been enjoying
I really like to cook which is one reason why I really like to ride bike but during the busy season I just read recipes:
I have never been a big fan of the NYC Bike Snob but his column in Outside Magazine is less profane and touches on issues that effect city cyclists... oh he is a big fan of Panaracer tires too!