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26 inch tire choices

Old 02-12-20, 01:22 PM
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26 inch tire choices

In the very near future I will be having some unstructured time on my hands. So, I figured one thing I could do with that time is to ride the Palouse to Cascade trail (aka John Wayne trail &/or Iron Horse trail) from Seattle to Spokane & possibly points beyond.

With that in mind, I have a super fancy touring bike with 26 inch wheels & clearance for 2 inch tires. Currently it has 559x32 Panaracer Pasela tires and they seem to roll ok on the hard packed, fine gravel, well groomed surface of the Tolt Pipeline trail.

I also have a set of 26x2.0 inch Specialized Hardrock'rs on my mountain bike. The sidewall is stamped 559x51 or some such number. (ERTO vs inch always comes up in tire discussions for some reason...)

What my question is, is: Does anyone have any recommendation for a reasonably wide 559 folding tire suited to gravel/off-road/loose &/or potentially chunky unpaved touring? I mean, I could just put the knobby, wire bead Hardrock'rs on & go, but is there something significantly better available in 559 that's not a chunky mountain bike tire or a too skinny for loose/soft gravel road/commuter tire? Any 559 tire with 120tpi?

Am I on a unicorn hunt?

At the LBS I scouted out Compass tires. Man, they are too rich for my blood & although they seem like they would ride like a cloud, that thin casing & absence of tread seems like it comes at the cost of durability of any sort. I have Open Corsa road race tires that costed less & seem more substantial...Any advice or experience is in this quest is more than welcome, it's encouraged!

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Old 02-12-20, 01:34 PM
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I like continental travel contact tires for mixed surface riding. You can get it in 26 x 1.75 or 2.0.
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Old 02-12-20, 02:00 PM
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Schawlbe Big Apple or Marathon Supreme (or its replacement). Unless you are riding singletrack, smooth tires are fine.
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Old 02-12-20, 03:06 PM
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Schwalbe has a bunch of 559 tires that could work. Most of them are wire bead, but the Supremes are a folding tire.
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Old 02-12-20, 03:18 PM
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Sounds like you need to make up your mind whether you want something fast-ish (120tpi and folding) or durable, since you certainly won't get both of those cheap.

Panaracer makes their RibMo and T-Serv models in 559-42 size if you liked the Pasela but want something more durable. I've put a lot of happy miles on regular wire-bead Paselas in that size.
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Old 02-12-20, 03:47 PM
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Cool, guys!
Thanks for the direction.
This ought to be enough to get going on the decision process.
There's what? About 4 choices each with their own merit. This helps whittle the field down considerably. Considering the real world experience of BF, I'm sure any of the ones suggested will perform admirably.

I'll let you guys know what I decide as soon as I make the final decision & start actual logistics planning for the trip.

Thanks!
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Old 02-12-20, 03:49 PM
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Maxxis DTH - 26 x 2.15" or 2.3"
Panaracer Gravelking SK - 26 x 2.1"

Not sure how durable these would be on a tour, but they would work for gravel and fire roads. I only have experience with the DTH 2.15".
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Old 02-12-20, 04:31 PM
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26" and folding

https://www.biketiresdirect.com/sear...at=cto&dcnt=61

https://www.biketiresdirect.com/sear...t=csl&dcnt=117
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Old 02-12-20, 07:07 PM
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There are many options, one is Schwalbe Marathon Mondial, they come in a cheaper wire bead version and a much more expensive folding version. I suspect that the folding version rolls faster on pavement.
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Old 02-12-20, 07:27 PM
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What super fancy touring bike do you own?

there certainly are various options tires wise, guess it really depends on how much tread you need.
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Old 02-12-20, 08:00 PM
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I used some old Kenda Slant Six MTB tires. Not normally being an MTB guy I was surprised how much extra grip I had climbing short sharp rises. They don't last as long on pavement though, and are noisy and slow.

One tire I found to be very poor is the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme. Most road orientated tires will be semi-useable in general on gravel roads or trails, but the Marathon Supreme really wasn't suitable at all. I fitted them without really thinking it through on my last trip.
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Old 02-12-20, 08:44 PM
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I used 26 x 1.5" wire-bead Marathons on the C & O path through a lot of water and mud. They were no problem. Further on through PA and Ohio they did nice on pavement too. The same tires carried me last summer in Spain and France on mixed roads and trails with only one flat. Very versatile rubber. A couple years ago I also put a pair of 26 X 1.75" wire Rim-Mo's on for a 1000-mi. tour in Central America, mostly paved. They have a unique triangular cross-section. That seems to help them roll well on hard surfaces with a narrow center-line strip, The center rubber is quite thick, making them pretty durable too. The only drawback is that the profile slices through soft surfaces, particularly those with a thin crust over loose stuff. Both tires are sure reliable enough and the Panaracers are priced right. I would bump up the sizes on either to 2.0" as the surfaces become softer. That's how my S & S travel bike is set up now, with lighter 32h wheels, 1.5" Marathons and a heavier 36h set with 2.0" tires for the heavy loads and rougher roads. Glad to hear that 26" wheels are still carrying tour riders.
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Old 02-12-20, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
What super fancy touring bike do you own?

there certainly are various options tires wise, guess it really depends on how much tread you need.
A Rodriguez High toller disc This is my bike.

...and thats the thing, I don't know how much tread I need 'cause just I don't know anything about "gravel touring" across states. I only know gravel local & what I have (32's) won't be good & my fear is 51mm mountain knobbies may be too much.
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Old 02-12-20, 11:15 PM
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I picked up a Schwalbe Marathon Mondial (folding) as a spare. Have not used it yet, but it looks like a good gravel tire
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Old 02-13-20, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
A Rodriguez High toller disc This is my bike.

...and thats the thing, I don't know how much tread I need 'cause just I don't know anything about "gravel touring" across states. I only know gravel local & what I have (32's) won't be good & my fear is 51mm mountain knobbies may be too much.
I'd recommend at least 1.5, although ive ridden with 2in a lot on gravel, both tires with minimal tread, like regular marathon or Supremes.

without knowing those trails, I would tend to agree that mtb knobbies are overkill.
I would strongly suggest doing a bunch of gravel road riding to see how comfortable you are with a given tread. My experience is that I don't need much.
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Old 02-13-20, 08:05 AM
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I was going to mention Rene Herse before I saw you mentioned them being too expensive. They are more than I was accustomed to paying for a tire. I took a chance anyway, and my Rat Trap Pass tires ride like a dream. I have not used them touring, so I don't know how they'd handle that situation, but I've been commuting on them since summer and they still seem to be going strong. I was reluctant to shell out the money the first time, but at this point, if one wears out, I'll happily buy it again. And I'm looking to fit something similar on my wife's bike. They ride extremely smoothly.
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Old 02-13-20, 08:18 AM
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Marathon Mondials are probably the most durable mixed gravel/pavement touring tires you'll find. Done a lot of logging roads in Canada, chunky, loose, and sharp and they were great. Pity you're not in Australia, I have some used ones for sale, I've moved on to touring on 2.4/2.5 tires. Trying the Moto-X next after a disappointing run with extraterrestrials.
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Old 02-13-20, 09:11 AM
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Base2, could you give us an idea of what this trail surface is like?
when I've ridden on some trails that have some gravelly sections, even my 2in nearly slicks do fine, in the dry. Wet and mud would be a different story, although from my experience, once you get past 1.5, and into the 2in range with lower pressures, even reasonable tread like a regular marathon works fine for me, but of course not on mountain bike trail stuff, so it depends.

also, another factor is your bike handling skills and what you are comfortable with. Totally different for different people.
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Old 02-13-20, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
Maxxis DTH - 26 x 2.15" or 2.3"
Panaracer Gravelking SK - 26 x 2.1"

Not sure how durable these would be on a tour, but they would work for gravel and fire roads. I only have experience with the DTH 2.15".
Looks like the 26" Gravelking is out now: https://www.universalcycles.com/shop....php?id=101535

If $53 isn't too much, that ticks a lot of the OP's boxes!
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Old 02-13-20, 10:53 AM
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I think it comes down to what you think you will value more: durability or supple low rolling resistance.

The Mondial would be a great long distance bulletproof tire. I have the Marathons and they seem to last and last with next to zero flats (one pinch flat that was my fault). They have an ok tread for gravel and the Mondial looks even better in that regard. That durability comes at a rolling resistance cost though.

The Gravel kings, or Compass tires are more supple, and probably roll better, but they have no where near the durability of the Schwalbe's, regardless of the hype. They will wear quicker and be more susceptible to flats. It's just the nature of the beast.

Ultimately you have to decide which is more important. If I were going on a long trip, or didn't want to buy tires more often, I'd choose from the Schwalbe line. If I were doing day trips, short tours or didn't mind the greater repair/replacement cycle, I might go the other way.

Everyone has an opinion but that's basically the decision fork that it comes down to.
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Old 02-13-20, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Base2, could you give us an idea of what this trail surface is like?
when I've ridden on some trails that have some gravelly sections, even my 2in nearly slicks do fine, in the dry. Wet and mud would be a different story, although from my experience, once you get past 1.5, and into the 2in range with lower pressures, even reasonable tread like a regular marathon works fine for me, but of course not on mountain bike trail stuff, so it depends.

also, another factor is your bike handling skills and what you are comfortable with. Totally different for different people.
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East of the Columbia River, the trail is mostly track ballast and fat-tire bikes are recommended. Beginning in Beverly, trail users return to irrigated farmland and wildlife refuges. In this section of the trail, trailheads are planned for Malden, Rosalia, Pandora, and Tekoa.
So far I've been up & down the western section bunches of times. Even making a gravel century once by way of the Samammish Valley Trail. Unless it was on my mountain bike it was always unloaded and recreational on 32mm or 28mm tires of one variety or another.

But being loaded with camping stuff, tent, food, water, etc, combined with the quoted text above & the "loose sand" description of the transit across the army training area has me concerned. It sounds like it would be tough on tires

The Marathon Supremes have my interest, oweing to the ballast rail bed & having been mentioned several times already. The Continentals Top Contact getting honerable mention for their 3 layers of 60 tpi casing.

I am very pleased with the current 559x32 Panaracers & may go larger to ~2 inch size Gravelkings if anyone here has experience on the Eastern section of the trail & can illuminate with first hand knowledge whether my concerns are founded or not.

The Supremes seem to thread the needle in my mind between the Gravelkings lightness & the Top Contacts seeming toughness.

Thus far, you all have been very helpful, & I thank you all.

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Old 02-13-20, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
The Gravel kings, or Compass tires are more supple, and probably roll better, but they have no where near the durability of the Schwalbe's, regardless of the hype. They will wear quicker and be more susceptible to flats. It's just the nature of the beast.
If you desire a supple tire, I would say start with planning on going tubeless. Tires roll better and flats don't become a real issue until it's time to replace the tire. Schwalbe do last, though. It took two years and probably more than 5 thousand miles before I thought my rear Almotion might be wearing out. Even then I'm not sure, but it was definitely showing wear, and I wanted to try the Compass tire. Front Almotion was fine, and is hanging out as a potential spare tire in my closet. It's been almost 4 thousand miles of riding since I switched to the Compass Rat Trap Pass, but it's really hard to gauge how many of those miles are actually on those tires since I alternate between two wheelsets on my main bike and occasionally use a different bike, but my guess is that I have done at least 2 thousand miles on them, and my only flat has been a result of letting the sealant dry up. They probably won't last as long as the Almotions, but I'm pretty happy with how they've done so far.

That said, unlike my Almotions, which went on a couple of short tours and camping trips, the Rat Trap Pass tires have only done commuting, errands, and day trips so far. I'm sure extended riding while carrying a lot of extra weight would make them wear faster. Still, when the opportunity arises, I will take it. Of course a long tour for me is still under 500 miles, but if I were going further, I think I'd just use the same tire and pack a spare.
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Old 02-13-20, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Traillink
So far I've been up & down the western section bunches of times. Even making a gravel century once by way of the Samammish Valley Trail. Unless it was on my mountain bike it was always unloaded and recreational on 32mm or 28mm tires of one variety or another.
But being loaded with camping stuff, tent, food, water, etc, combined with the quoted text above & the "loose sand" description of the transit across the army training area has me concerned. It sounds like it would be tough on tires
The Marathon Supremes have my interest, oweing to the ballast rail bed & having been mentioned several times already. The Continentals Top Contact getting honerable mention for their 3 layers of 60 tpi casing.
I am very pleased with the current 559x32 Panaracers & may go larger to ~2 inch size Gravelkings if anyone here has experience on the Eastern section of the trail & can illuminate with first hand knowledge whether my concerns are founded or not.
The Supremes seem to thread the needle in my mind between the Gravelkings lightness & the Top Contacts seeming toughness.
Thus far, you all have been very helpful, & I thank you all.
to begin with, if you've done a gravel century (Imperial right, so 160kms 100 miles?) then you must be fairly comfortable on diff dirt and riding at a reasonable speed, so already thats a good sign.
re the Supremes, if you havent seen my reviews of them over a few trips, here is the link
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...ly6000kms.html

the main point about them is that the sidewall is rather thin, and the term "track ballast" seems a bit risky, and fat tires would certainly be best. When I think of this, it can be with rather large and sharp stones, and while Ive ridden over stuff like this with my 2in supremes, I was very careful of my line and took it really easy--but thankfully not too much distances with this sort of thing.
On the other hand, I've really found the wide 2in tires at a nice pressure, to work really well on loose and bumpy surfaces. The main advantage to the supremes is that they roll really nicely and efficiently on pavement, and in my case, were remarkeably tough and long wearing, way more than I expected.
I guess it really comes down to the trails, and I carried a spare tire with me on the farther away trips, but didnt take the spare in France, as I figured I'd be able to easily find a good tire if needed, less so in Latin America, and if on a trail far from stuff and maybe with large sharp rocks, I'd personally go with another tire with a bit more protection on the sides.
good luck getting more details of how the surfaces are where you want to go.
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Old 02-13-20, 02:56 PM
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oh geez, forgot to ask, what is going on with your bike, and IGH and a triple front crankset? How does that work? And does the bike have one of adjustable bb area things, eccentric bb's, and if so, is there enough play to work with the large diff in chainrings on your bike?

never seen that before.
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Old 02-13-20, 04:11 PM
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For the past 10 years I've been a GreenGuard Schwalbe Marathon tire fan on various cycles, roads and trails around my countryside. Over the past 25 years they've been the best bang for my money with zero flats although for insurance I still use tube sealants to avoid down time with no signs of leakage whether I was 330 or 200 lbs plus loaded gear. I'm not interested in changing just yet but could be exciting.
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