Monday, February 7, 2011

Schwalbe Tires

Was talking with a future cycle tourer this morning, and we were going through bike bits. Whats good and what isn't. He was tossing up what light weigh folding tire to take as a spare for his year long trip. Luckily he had already found the best brand: Schwalbe.
Schwalbe are the only tires I use. I came across them originally by chance, but now don't use anything else. Why? Simple. No flats. Well maybe not no flats ever, but darn close to that. Before Schwalbe tires, I was fast at fixing punctures. The quick stop, get tools, tire lever off the bit of tire where the puncture was, pull out the tube a bit, file tire, glue, press out the thorn/glass/nail from tire, patch on glue, press, push tire in tube, tire on rim, pump, tools back in the bag, wipe hands and cycle on. I was fast from lots of practice with cheap tires.
One day, after a bad run of flats, I asked my local bike shop if there were any better tires for punctures. Result was Schwalbe tires. That was years ago when I was still riding to work. I still fixed flats - on other peoples bikes. But commuting, I didn't have another puncture. And there were times when I rode over so much glass, that I was cringing just waiting for the tire to deflate. It never did.
Now touring, I've managed to puncture a couple of times. I like riding on dirt roads, and camping in the bush. Often I'll ride off the road, across the drain and into a paddock. Sometimes the tires are furry with thorns and prickles. Maybe this got me once. Don't know. I had one puncture that I don't know the cause of late last year. I suspect barbed wire. My other puncture was from running over a tent peg on the road. It rattled around in the spokes and frame, and then jamed into the tire. Granted the tire was worn, and maybe should have been changed hundreds of km sooner, I don't think anything would have stood up to that tent peg.
Currently with over 7000km touring I'm very happy to be running Schwalbe tires. I like to spend my time riding, not fixing flats.
And the light weight spare folding tire? What I do is just take another full tire. There isn't much weight savings on a folding tire. The folding tire isn't going to be the same as what your using each day. Even if you just use it to "get you to the nearest town" - the next town may not have the tire you want (or any tires!). So just carry a spare of what tire you use. And of course, use Schwalbe tires