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Old 2008-06-03, 05:07 AM   #1
wickedbob
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A question for the fixie and road bikers. What are the best tires for durability.

Yeah, I just need some more durable tires, the 15$ bells that were on my bike pooped today. I was doing a little high speed skidding. So are their any tires that can take this? I've seen this type of skidding in a bunch of videos and figure I wouldn't see it that much if the tire broke within the first 25 skids or so. Price isn't that much of a problem if I can get a job lined up for this summer.
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Old 2008-06-03, 06:36 AM   #2
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You asked at just the right time, as I am researching a new set at the moment.

As an avid long distance tourer and commuter, I have had ample experience testing and destroying tires. Depending on how much you want to spend you have several choices.

I'm assuming you are wanting slickish road tires in either 26 or 700c. I'm also assuming you want flat protection (kevlar) and high durability.

Choices:

Specialized Armadillo Series. These are heavy, stiff, and extremely flat proof. I have had a pair of Nimbus EX's for 8 years and I got my first flat last week. They still have tread but are starting to come apart just a bit after 5k miles or so. Here is a link to their 26" flat proof tires. I like the nimbus but they are all good. DO NOT buy the super bald 700c "All Condition" Armadillos. Those ARE NOT durable and have barely any tread. They crapped out on me after barely 2k miles. Go Nimbus or something else with good, thick tread.

Another choice, the Schwalbe Marathon series. Schwalbe Marathons are THE BEST touring tire on the market, period. They are a bit nicer of a ride (less stiff and hard) and last very long. I had a friend use one set of tires for a fully loaded ride from the Arctic Circle in Alaska to the bottom of South America. Another friend of mine then took that EXACT same pair of tires and rode x-country with me last summer on them and only got 1 flat the entire time. If you are wanting to spend $40-$45 then go with the specialized because at that price they are better (but this is debatable). The more expensive Schwalbes are worth their weight in gold and are, IMO, the best tire you can buy. Find them here.

Bontrager also makes a good tire called the "Hard Case." I picked one of these up in a 700x32 version when my rear tire exploded on my last tour somewhere in Pennsylvania. At the time it was the only good treaded tire at at the shop, but I grew to love it. After 3 states heavily loaded it looks almost new. These are also cheaper, in the $30-45 range and ride better than the specialized because they are less stiff. My next set of tires for commuting MIGHT be these, since they are cheaper and ride better than the Nimbus Armadillos. Unfortunately are aren't quite as flat proof, but are still pretty good. I probably won't be buying Schwalbe's for commuting because I don't want to spend $55-60 for their high end tires and at $40 I think a specialized or Bontrager might be a better tire. For the money, I think a Bontrager Hard Case it the best bargain - assuming they can last 8 years like my Nimbus's did. They are here. (under hybrid, I think)

After re-reading this is kind of confusing. The Nimbus' are on my (often loaded) 26" commuter, and the other tires I've tried have been on my 700c loaded touring bike.

Last edited by Seager; 2008-06-03 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 2008-06-03, 07:37 AM   #3
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I don't do fixie skid stops so I've never bothered to find out what tires work best.

An equally important aspect is the number of skid patches you get with your gearing combo. The sites linked explain the concept and give some handy tables giving you the number of skid patches for various gearings.

If you have, say, 5 or fewer potential skid patches you will wear out a tire more quickly than if you have many more skid patches.

My bike has 46x18 gearing. That gives 9 skid patches. If I did skid stops I would change the gearing to a 17 or 19 tooth cog or hunt around for a 47 tooth chainring. Then I'd have bunches of skid patches.
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Old 2008-06-03, 03:13 PM   #4
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I guess with skid stops in mind it wouldn't surprise me if alot of those guys just use cheap tires and replace them a lot.
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Old 2008-06-03, 03:26 PM   #5
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For normal road riding I'm a big fan of Continental Duraskin/Gatorskin. I use 28mm, but I think they go down to 23mm. Really nice to ride, good grip in wet and dry, predictable handling, roll easily, good puncture protection.

But if you want something specifically for skidding then I suppose you just want to find the thickest, hardest compound tyre possible and just put up with the ride quality. Or keep changing the tyre like you said.

(or you could try a new invention known as a "brake" )

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Old 2008-06-03, 03:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seager
Specialized Armadillo Series. These are heavy, stiff, and extremely flat proof. I have had a pair of Nimbus EX's for 8 years and I got my first flat last week. They still have tread but are starting to come apart just a bit after 5k miles or so. Here is a link to their 26" flat proof tires. I like the nimbus but they are all good. DO NOT buy the super bald 700c "All Condition" Armadillos. Those ARE NOT durable and have barely any tread. They crapped out on me after barely 2k miles. Go Nimbus or something else with good, thick tread.
I am running the 700c Specialized Armadillo (not the all condition slick ones) on the back of my road/commuting bike (giant ocr 3). Front tire is a continental something or other and I haven't ever had a flat on the front before, so I haven't found the need to swap that one out yet, but when I do, I will get another armadillo. I used to get a lot of flats running the continentals on the back before, and to date I haven't had a flat with the armadillo. It does roll slower and doesn't feel as nice though since the tread is rather hard. When commuting though, the main concern is not saving a few mph, it is making sure I don't have to spend a long time replacing the tube on the way to work. I would rather have something reliable than something a little smoother and faster.
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Old 2008-06-03, 08:26 PM   #7
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Call me an idiot, but I think the best solution for durability is to avoid the skidding. I don't know the ins and outs of fixie bikes (except my Bauer artistic bike), so maybe this is a popular or essential way of putting on the brakes. But it's got to be hard on tires!
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Old 2008-06-03, 08:47 PM   #8
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It's hard on the enviroment too. If one of the main reasons that people ride bikes is to save oil, it doesn't make much sense to keep scraping your tires off on the pavement. Seems like a waste.
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Old 2008-06-03, 09:58 PM   #9
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I ride these Continental Gator Skin tires. They rock.
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Old 2008-06-04, 04:34 AM   #10
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Well, thanks for all the help, I'm surprised I would get that much here. Also, I'm not on a fixie since the area I live in has massive hills, I just figured fixie owners might know since they seem to skid a lot. I know it would be best to stop skidding completely, but skidding at 40mph is really fun. Stupid and expensive, but fun. Thanks again everybody.

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Old 2008-06-04, 10:57 AM   #11
john_childs
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One thing you could do is change technique. When fixie riders skid they move their weight towards the handlebar to unweight the rear tire and initiate the skid. They keep their weight forward towards the handlebar to keep the skid going. They use their body position to regulate how much weight is on the rear tire during the skid. For long skids there is little weight over the rear tire and the tire is kind of just floating on the ground.

So perhaps moving your weight forward when you skid will help keep the tire from wearing as quickly.
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Old 2008-06-04, 11:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_childs
So perhaps moving your weight forward when you skid will help keep the tire from wearing as quickly.
But then surely you do not stop as quickly?
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Old 2008-06-04, 12:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamessd
But then surely you do not stop as quickly?

skidding isn't about stopping quickly
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Old 2008-06-04, 02:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kington99
skidding isn't about stopping quickly
Urm is it some kind of trick or skill then?
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Old 2008-06-04, 04:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamessd
Urm is it some kind of trick or skill then?
Yes. Or just something fun to do. Skidding isn't a good way to stop anything with wheels; which applies just as much, if not more, to cars.
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