Tyres, tyres, tyres …


… my kingdom for some tyres that work.

I got 4 bikes that I use a lot, and all run different tyres. I pretty much tend to ride on road surfaces with them all and in all kinds of weather all year around.

Dirty Pia, MTB Principia, 1995.
She was converted to a flat bar “road bike” some years ago. Last year I fitted some Schwalbe Marathon Plus Evolution, 26″ x 1″. Which have already clocked up over 3400 miles, on roads and dirt track/canal/towpath in all kinds of weather.

And got a fair few cuts in them as you can see in this photo.


I find these tyres very “grippy” and very fast, I think I have gained up to 6mph with changing from 2″ MTB tyres to these.

Total count of visit = 0 vs 3400 miles, that is a win.

Stella, 1980’s road bike now fixie.
I fitted some Specialized Armadillo, 700 x 28c, around 3.5 years ago. I have cycled on and off road, on dirt track/canal/towpath and a heck of distances on roads in London. They are a bit heavy to ride but I got used to that and plenty of grip and feel very comfy to ride on bumpy surfaces.

It is now just under 8000 miles later and I can only remember that I have had 2 punctures on these. One on front a big bugger of a flint and then there was the nail that went straight through to rim. I feel so safe I often go out on a long ride without tools and repair kit.

Though I do hear that people are falling out of love with the newer versions of these tyres.

Total count of visit = 2 vs 8000 miles, now that is fecking brilliant :)

Chutney, Dahon Speed TT 2008.
I got this bike in August 2008 all being a very brilliant bike to ride. But compare to the amount of miles I have gotten out of the “Dahon Special Edition Schwalbe Stelvio, Mango/Black, 20″ x 1″, foldable Kevlar bead, DualCompound Silica casing, RaceGuard anti-puncture protection” I can only display my disappointment.

This bike has only touched the Queens highway, never been off road or on dirt track/canal/towpath. Though I have ridden it in the rain and the tyres have a brilliant grip and roll very fast. I have had 3 inner tubes on it and the tyres are now falling apart, click here to read my open letter to Schwalbe about this.

Total count of visits = 8 or was it 10 vs 1780 miles, now that is just not on.

The little Tank, Surly Long Haul Trucker 2009 (LHT).
This bike is only a few weeks old but have already done 250 miles. I fitted some old Bontrager Select Invert Hardcase, 700 x 35c, I got these from a friend and I’m not sure how many miles they have done, there is some wear to see.

I have no experience with touring, only done 250 miles, so I don’t know how other touring tyres handle under heavy load. Though I did find these alright, good roll, albeit a bit slow to get going but I hear that about the LHT anyway. I have only cycled on road on these so yet to find out how they handle on dirt track/canal/towparth.

Total count of visits = 0 vs 250 or so miles, not bad but still not enough to know how well they last.

So right now if you can get hold of some old Specialized Armadillo you will get the best protection. Though the Schwalbe Marathon Plus‘ are pretty darn good too from what I see and hear about them, and I already got a set ready for my LHT for when the Bontrager wears out. But I will not be surprised that next year Michelin will have the tyres you just got to have.


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