Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm a wanker prima donna tire snob

It's true. It must be like fine wine or high-performance cars or other wanky high-cost pursuits of the privileged class: once you get into fast cushy tires, it's hard to go back.

These blingy white Challenge Grifo XS tires are the new "daily driver" standard.

They're super supple cush fasty-enough for road/commuting. And they have just enough bitey-tread for dry trail riding.

Mud? Forget it -- they suck.
Close up of tread.
Courtesy of the Challenge website.

But for the majority of "riding season" on the High Drive, dusty-ass, dry-with-a-bit-of-loose-dirt-on-top trails? Perfect.

I deem these the best all around 700c tires. For value, you still can't beat the (non-tourguard) Pasalas. But for performance, these high-zooters rock. It's only taken one ride to work and one ride home on the trails to make this bold statement.

And to be clear: I got nothing here! No freebies!


stevep33 said...

Wowza looks sharp!
The Grifo tires rock. Unbelievably cushy for a 32, fast like a slick but grippy when you need it. It does break my heart that the tread is a bit delicate; locking a wheel on pavement will file those tiny pyramids right off. Still worth the zillion dollar price tag IMHO.

adventure! said...

What's your feeling about tourguard Paselas? I'm thinking about them for the Long Haul Trucker, maybe in a 35mm width. I normally roll with Schwalbe Marathons, but am always interested in other options.

John Speare said...

Steve: good to know. I'll keep the powerskids to a minimum.

Adventure! - generally, my feeling is that I'd rather ride cush and change the occasional flat than ride "flat resistant" tires. that has changed in the last few years as my commute is shorter than it used to be and my schedule is more flexible. I would ride a more flat-resistant tire, maybe, if my commute were longer or I couldn't suck up the potetial 10 minute tire change.

All that said: I run the marathon on the back of my tandem b/c I never want to change a tire on it and it's a giant slow turd. I had the Marathons in 700x40 for this same bike many years ago and couldn't stand them. that was before I became a snob too. Or before I embraced my snobbiness -- but they were just jarring.
So, choosing b/t the two: I'd go with the Tour Guard Pasalas. I'm running one tour guard 26x1.75 on one bike and it's fine. But when it dies, it will be replaced with a non-tourguard version.

adventure! said...

John-Thanks for your exhaustive reply!

Right now I'm planning a long tour for the summer, so I'm trying to seek the right balance of cush vs. flat resistance. I don't want to be riding harsh tires thousands of miles, yet I don't want to change flats every day.

I'm considering going wider, too. Normally I've rocked 32mm Marathons on the LHT, but now am thinking about 35 or wider. What's your thoughts?

John Speare said...

I'd go with the 35mm tourguard Pasalas. And if you're heavily loaded and you're doing dirt, I'd consider the 37's. There's a folding version too you can buy as a spare.

Anonymous said...

Well you convinced me. Ten minutes and one spraycan of Rustoleum "Bone" later I have converted all my tires to white.

I feel cushier already, just looking at 'em.

Wankers of the world go white, you have nothing to lose but your chains!

Speaking of chains, maybe I'll just spray a little Bone to brighten them up?

rory said...

I can only assume that you think this is the best all around tire because you haven't tried the mythical Dugast tires:

John Speare said...

Rory: yow. High zoot. But the Dugast tires all appear to be tubulars, which disqualifies them for daily drivers. I'll happily change a flat for cush, but I'll only deal with sew-ups for cross. And after sending one to flordia to get a repair, I question that... but the Challenge tubulars are super duper rad.

rory said...

one other tire I really liked was the specialized tri-cross, which had a tread that was very similar to the dugast tread. currently, specialized has a tread thats close, but no cigar:
my only problem is that in only comes in 32 mm. the tricross use to come in 35 mm. maybe they actually measure the same, but it's another option that I really enjoyed using for cross.

doug in seattle said...

Adventure! -- I know you weren't asking me, but I'll jump in. I have 700x35/622x37mm (the tire says both, haven't measured) marathons on my camper. I don't really have any complaints -- when I'm riding with a camping load. I did a week long tour in the GPNF in Western Washington last summer with plenty of deep gravel riding both up and down huge hills, and they didn't ever go flat nor did they appear to suffer any damage. This is with four panniers, a week's worth of food, frequently a gallon of water, and a fairly large pilot (200lb). Pavement riding while loaded is similarly fine, since the bike doesn't perform all that well loaded anyways.

Riding the bike unloaded -- forget it. It's no fun. I'm considering getting 37mm Paselas and putting the German beasts on my new tandem.

John Speare said...

Doug: GPNF. Lovely. I really want to go spend a few days there again. Pictures please.

adventure! said...

Doug in Seattle--Thanks! I'll take that into consideration. Since the riding I'll be doing is fully loaded for thousands of miles, that sounds like a feasible option. And it'd be nice to have something that would do ok on dirt/gravel, but I'm not looking for that on the route.

To be honest, I had bad luck the one time I used a Panaracer tire (not a Pasela, mind you), so I've been a little apprehensive switching to them. I've pretty much exclusively used Marathons the past few years. I've also used Armadillos, and won't do that again.

Gifford Pinchot is beautiful! I've only done one small foray into the forest. Yet it's so close to Portland! I need to explore it more.

Anonymous said...

Marathons for fully loaded touring, imho ymmv. I wouldn't bring a spare unless you're way outback somewhere for months, or one tire is worn and you're running it out. Seems funny to bring lighter tires but then pack a third.

But even Marathons eventually wear through, as I once discovered on tour.

Schwalbes naming conventions for the Marathon series aren't consistent. They're all good, but some are heavier/tougher. They're all hellish to mount.

Lighter tires make sense for light touring though, or Bob touring.

Anonymous said...

Fuck a marathon, I'd rather walk!

The Schwalbe Kojak is pretty amazing though, I wish they made them in 584 x 35 and 50 like they do for 559 (also 622 x 50 would be so baller)