You know you need them, first thing you should realize is not all tires are created equal. Selecting the right tire for your commute or tour will greatly enhance your experience and performance. If you follow some basic guidelines you can be sure you get what is best for you and your bike on your daily commute or tour. The tire selection is vast and with lots of options and things to take into consideration you need to narrow your search, hopefully we can help narrow your options.
Modern tires can last up to 3000 miles and greatly reduce your chances of getting a flat. Choosing the proper tire for your commute will ensure your ride is enjoyable, comfortable and relatively trouble free. You will usually get what you spend, good tires are not cheap… just like car tires. Making an investment in a nice tire usually will mean less frustration on the side of the road changing flats and equals a more enjoyable ride.
On your commute or tour, what are the surfaces like? Are they easy maintained Bike paths or harden torn apart street roads? A smoother tire will roll easier on a flat surface and a Knobby tire will help you roll over the destroyed street roads.
When you’re bike touring you’ll need to be prepared for single or multi-day trips, or even for months long trips, as you’ll need tires that will go above and beyond. The Trekking/Touring tires are built to last and ready for high mileage. if you plan on Credit-Card Touring or Expedition Touring around the world we have the tires you need to get you there. Touring tires are built with Speed, Grip, Protection and Durability. Speed: You’ll need speed to keep your bike and you rolling forward while keeping the weight down. Grip: A feature to help you navigate heavy terrains and technical trails. keeping you good in the wet, Off-road and winter riding.
When do I need new tires? – When you’re getting more flats than you’re used too. Shape (flat spots or tears). Texture (dry rot or flaking) or when you are changing seasons or terrain.
Types of Tires –
- Tires with tubes
- (Traditional)Tubeless Tires- used more off road now, but finding a place in day to day commuting. More puncture resistance, but more up front costs and work to make the conversion. Special tires are needed and are more expensive.
- 20″ (BMX, Recumbent, Bike Trailer)
- 26″ (Mountain Bike, Cruiser, Hybrid)
- 700c (Road Bike, Cyclocross, Hybrid)
- 29″ (Mountain Bike)
- 20″ (1.5″-2.125″)
- 26″ (1.5″-2.125)
- 700c (20c-25c Road Racing 25c-32c Touring Commuting)
- 29″ (1.5″-2.125)
- Slicks- City Commuters, smooth roads, low rolling resistance
- Semi Slicks- Slick center with knobbies on side to aid in corner on looser terrain
- Inverted Tread- Lower rolling resistance than tires with tread, but roll nicely on road and provide more traction than Slicks on dirt or really rough roads
- Knobbies- Off road, dirt, rocky, muddy terrain
Threads Per Inch (TPI)
- Higher TPI- Best for racing, higher pressure, greater puncture resistance
- Lower TPI- Lower pressure, smoother ride, less puncture resistance
- Folding Lighter, more expensive, easier storage, harder to mount
- Wire- Heavier, less expensive, eaters to mount
Sub-Tread Not all tires have sub-treads. They’re a common feature on tires designed with additional puncture protection. For example, an additional Kevlar or nylon layer will be placed in the tire beneath the tread to stop sharp objects from being able to puncture the tube. Tires equipped with protective sub-treads will be labeled as such.
Directional Tires– Some tires are directional and front or rear specific.
Touring handlebars are an extremely subjective area. Bicycle tourists may differ in their priorities for choosing the right bar. But, the following guidelines seem to be universal: Comfort, function, durability. Once, you’re dialed in on your requirements in those areas, you have quite a few options to choose from. It can be an experiment, though. And, one that isn’t easily determined by shorter rides.
Comfortable touring handlebars are often a function of hand positions. Usually, the more the better. Additionally, some people are prone to hand pain issues and certain types of positions may look comfortable but stress the hand in such a way that pain issues, not easily alleviated can be a problem. Make sure you have a good idea of how your current hand positions may translate on bars with different geometries and shapes.
Function is about what goes where on your handlebars. Some have borrowed the term “cockpit” management. Everything in it’s place, easy to find if you’re not looking and easy to see when it’s necessary. Touring handlebars come in many varieties. Positioning brakes/shifters, lights, computers, GPS, phones, and other accessories, if you have them will need some thought and analysis.
When you ride your bike to work or school you need gear that is comfortable or you just won’t ride. Handlebars without a doubt are about as important as it gets when it comes to comfort. Being able to alter hand position while you’re riding is a huge benefit in staying comfortable and being efficient.
When selecting a commuting handlebar you need to consider a few things…
- How long is your commute?
- What is your desired riding and hand position?
- What type of terrain will you be riding?
- Are you looking for speed or more upright comfort?
Identifying these things will help determine if you need Drop bars, Flat bars, Riser bars, Bullhorn bars, Trekking bars, Mustache bars, Upright bars or Cruiser bars. Don’t get overwhelmed just take into mind what you’re trying to do and keep comfort as your number one option.
When you’re touring, the most important piece of equipment is probably your saddle. There’s nothing worse on tour than having an uncomfortable saddle. Once you’ve found the right saddle, your touring and long distance riding will be what they are supposed to be: some of the most enjoyable outdoor activities.
Touring saddles typically are used by long distance riders, randonneurs, and those who throw their gear on their bike and go tripping about. The saddles are wider allowing for a more upright position. They are made from leather, synthetic materials or a mix of the two. Some folks swear by saddles with channels and cuts. Others find them unnecessary and allow for more pressure on the existing non cut out portions of the saddle.
Another thing to consider when choosing a touring saddle is whether or not you may want a saddle with springs. The reason you may is that you’ll likely be more upright, the bicycle will have loaded weight and you’ll spend less time, if any, out of the saddle. You may find that shock absorption and “smoothing out” the bumps really helps on long days on the road. Riding with a sprung saddle takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re a “spinner” who likes hirevs. You may find yourself bobbing about until you get your style adjusted.
If you choose a leather saddle, bear in mind that they almost all require some break in period, even if only minimal. Leather saddles also require a bit of care and maintenance in the form of a leather protectant, which all the saddle manufacturers sell, as well as a saddle cover. Wet, unprotected leather saddles will sag and may develop cracks. A well cared for leather saddle will last for years and many miles.
If, like us, your bike is your car, you know how important a good saddle is to the overall well being of your ass. That’s why we are here to help you choose the right saddle for your commuting lifestyle. What is a commuting saddle? Well we don’t know either! As a matter of fact we’ve been arguing about it for days now.I can happily say we’ve come up with a few things we feel help define a quality commuting saddle. First you want something comfortable since you are probably in the saddle a decent portion of every day. Second you definitely want durability. The average commuter probably puts 20 – 100 miles per week on their bike and you probably don’t want to replace your saddle every 6 months so excellent durability is a must. The third important feature would have to be water/weather resistant. Again, if your bike is your car you probably find yourself riding in all sorts of conditions and your saddle better be up to the task.
Keep in mind saddle size does not always equal greater comfort! Riding style, type of bike and type of riding play a much greater factor in choosing a comfortable saddle. The same goes of saddle cushioning, soft does not always mean your rear will be happy. If your saddle is not comfortable you won’t ride your bike, its that simple. View your saddle as your mattress, buy the best one you can afford — you will be spending a lot of time in it!
Commuting saddles should not really differ from what makes you comfortable on your other bikes. If you feel comfortable on a Brooks Sprung saddle when you’re touring, then when you commute you will have a comfortable experience as well. Additional considerations for choosing a commuting saddle are… Weather, distance, will your bike be exposed to the elements while parked and security. Answering these questions will help narrow your choices.