New tyres: Old Skool Kool or not?

I’m in the market for some new tyres. I was cleaning my commuter bike last weekend and I noticed the back was getting very low on its tread. Its quite timely at the moment because I’ve been researching tyres a bit anyway for my upcoming cycle tour and now could be a great opportunity to change for a few reasons I will explain.

At the moment I’m commuting on 32mm Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres. Tractor tyres I call them. They roll ok(ish). Grippy on climbs, ok for light offroad use but pretty bombproof and very comfortable. Comfort is fine. I have nothing to prove these days but I’ve begun riding to work and home occasionally with a couple of guys from Boardman Bikes. They have carbon Boardman bikes, thinner tyres and I get a kicking sometimes. I don’t like getting a kicking 😉 To be fair I hold my own. Occasionally a bit of willy-waving takes place but we’re mature enough not to smash each other into the ground because we have a home life, we’re older and we need to ride a few times a week. Recovery is an issue!

It was the commute with those guys that first prompted me to look at my tyres. My tyres actually weigh over a whopping half a kilo each! About 620g to be specific. Woah! I nearly fell off my chair when I read the spec. I didn’t even think to check when I bought them. I just wanted bombproof. Fit and forget. I’ve been trying to find a tyre that offers the best compromise between light offroad grip (I ride a cross bike!), puncture resistance and weight. I’ve looked at a few manufacturers. Continental, Vittoria but I always come back to Schwalbe. I think, for me, they offer the best options and I’m very familiar with them as I sold them when I had my shop.

I’ve decided I probably don’t need such a wide tyre, so a 28mm will probably be my next choice. Less tyre less weight. Folders will lose a hefty chunk of grams and £££ so it comes down to the tread and puncture resistance.

I’ve narrowed my search down to three tyres

marathon-racer.jpg
Schwalbe Marathon Racer, 700 x 30c, wired, 395g (28mm not available)
delta-cruiser.jpg
Schwalbe Delta Cruiser, 700 x 28c, wired, 550g
duran-dd.jpg
Schwalbe Durano DD, 700 x 28c, wired, 430g (330g folding)

The Durano doesn’t really offer any offroad grip like the other two. I could save major weight with folders but they are expensive. The Delta Cruiser is my tried and tested tyre I’m happy with. I’m sure a 28mm will roll better and I save weight but 550g is still hefty but is probably an indication of how tough it is. The Marathon Racer is the obvious choice for tread, weight and cost (I can pick them up for £16.99 each at the moment) BUT I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about getting 28mm tyres. The Marathon doesn’t come in 28mm only 30mm. The other bee in my bonnet is I’ve become a big fan of gumwall tyres. The light brown sidewalls do it for me. I can only get these on the Delta Cruiser and to be honest I’m tempted by them despite logic telling me @ 395g and £16.99 the Marathon Racers are a no-brainer.

Do I need to worry about a few hundred grams though when I’m touring?

delta-cruiser-gumwall.jpg
Old Skool Kool or not?
gumwall-bike.jpg
there is something about gumwall tyres I love

I haven’t decided what to do yet. Go with my heart or go with my head. I’m scanning the Internet for deals. I will probably run my current tyres for as long as I can and will swap them out for my tour and then keep them on for commuting afterwards. This one will run and run. For once it won’t be an impulse buy.

Thanks for reading.

gumwall-tyre.jpg
yes, yes, yes!

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