A recent club ride had its fair share of punctures and the talk invariably centred on what were the best tyres for our roads. It was interesting listening to different opinions and long-held beliefs about what brand are best, The answer to the question is akin to finding the Holy Grail and got me thinking about my own preferences so I thought I would revisit a topic I had previously blogged about.
There seems to be two schools of thought, you either go for light weight race tyres that are favoured for performance and you acknowledge that punctures are part of the game or you opt for heavier puncture resistance and accept your ride may take a couple of minutes longer.
I have no particular brand loyalty and let conditions dictate my choices. I read reviews but I find a lot of them pretty meaningless and do not reflect my own findings, there are so many variables with this subject that I prefer to rely on my own experiences to make my choice.
My main area of cycling are the roads of Hampshire which present their own challenges over the year, the mention of Hampshire Diamonds has an all to familiar meaning among the counties cyclists.
I am a bit too old to be racing but do enjoy putting the hammer down occasionally on the Sunday club run and pushing my performance in the form of PBs on Strava. I cycle near daily, about 15.000 miles a year and balance my desire for performance against my dislike for mending punctures especially on a dank December day.
For summer use when roads are dry and “cleaner” I opt for Continental GP4000s II , weighing in at 235g each (25c foldable), they roll well and do have puncture protection but they do wear fairly quickly, they also have very fragile sidewalls which have seen a good few retired prematurely.
Hampshire roads are not very forgiving, as well as our poor road surfaces and many pot holes there is a lot of arable land in the county and that equates to a lot of agricultural equipment on our lanes and a lot of mud deposits from tractor tyres that provide a nice sticky medium to retain the “Hampshire Diamonds” , very small pieces of razor-sharp flints that will slice through rubber.
The onset of Autumn see the “Contis” taken off the bike and replaced with Schwalbe Durano Plus for winter use. At 380g each (25c foldable) they are 140g heavier than my Summer choice but with Smart Guard, which is a 5mm thick flexible layer of India rubber for puncture protection along with tougher side walls they offer a more robust alternative for winter cycling. They do not roll as well as the “Contis” and the weight penalty is negligible to a club cyclist. That is the set up that works well for me.
I have just taken delivery of a pair of Vittoria Corsa G + folding Graphene tyres which are preferred by some of the pro teams for poor surfaces, these boast a thin sheet of pure carbon for puncture protection, they are only 5g per tyre heavier than the GP4000s II. They are significantly more expensive but I am ever hopeful, I am trying these following a recommendation so will ride and assess them in my search for the “Holy Grail”.
Costs: Continental GP 4000s II £29.99 Schwalbe Durano Plus £23.99 Vittoria Corsa G+ Graphene £39.99