Advice a Father Passes To His Son About Tires

I was working on installing new tires, Schwalbe Marathon Plus w/ SmartGuard wire, that Rivendell Bikes got me to ride across the country: 4200 miles and 0 flats.  Eventually they do wear out.

If I had advice to give my son it would be this:

Spend a lot of money on the tires.  The $/mile is a lot less that way.

Tires that snap the bead into the rim are hard to mount, squeeze them off the edge and set them into the valley and the mm you save going around the edge are the difference between a full blown tantrum and a job well done.  In the unlikely event the tire is still hard going over the last part of the rim, use furniture polish on the inside lip of the tire (without getting it on the outside) if you are in your shop, and soap if you are by the side of the road (chamois cream, sweat/blood/tears if you have to).

That is it, everything you need to know from a Dad’s point of view.

Oh and while the wrenches at the local shop wax on about tires, read Engineering specs like whenever you can.

Keeping the Rubber Side Down

I have had a great deal of mail on the tires.  I had my tires recommended by the folks at Rivendell Bicycle Works and that made all the difference.  Keven may not think I am riding on a wide enough tire, and he had to work a great deal for him to get me on these, but they made the whole difference.  The wear is critical, the flat issue fun to tease other riders with, but the primary difference is safety and comfort, or maybe comfort and safety.  The larger tires handle better, absorb shocks better, and simply ride better all day every day.  Yes, they were the difference when I was run into the ditch of staying “afloat” or “digging in” like my 700x25Cs that I rode my last tour with.

I put pictures up so you can see there actual wear.  I will actually ride on wider tires, and inflate them a hair less, Rivendell has provided me further education, and I am can understand what it means after having collected more experience.

The tires are from Schwalbe and the details are in the picture off the box below.

From Eye-Fi

I have included pictures of the tread wear after 4800 miles across every imaginable road surface in the US.  You can see the rear tires, under the greatest load, have the greatest wear.  Otherwise, wow, these are the best touring setup I saw out there.  Yes, I pulled glass out of them once halfway, but hey, that is regular maintenance on any tire.

Front Tire

From Eye-Fi

Rear Tire

From Eye-Fi

Baby Powder your tires as well as your tubes

I may not be the last person to figure this out; however, I feel like it. I apply talc (baby powder) to my tubes to restrict pinch flats and ease all sorts of issues. And to speed finding objects in my tires I always mount the same way, the label on the tire is bisected by the nipple, which always leaves the last section of the tire to pull over the wheel at the same place. Today I applied a fine coat of baby powder just to the inside of that one section and pow! the whole tire simply glides on with no effort, and this one is rigid. Try this trick if you have ever had any issues at all with your tire, skip this if you really like to wince and grunt and have sore palms after the last bit of the tire goes on. Time saved is time to ride, and this will pay off on the road for your buddies who wait as well.