You know you need them, first thing you should realize is not all tires are created equal. Selecting the right tire for your 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 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 tour 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 tour, what are the surfaces like? 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
- Tubeless Tires
- 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.
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 high revs. 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.