The Tire That Saved My Newfoundland & Labrador Tour
My Ryan Vanguard is hard on rear tires (26 X 1.5 typically) especially when loaded for self contained touring. The worst situation I’ve encountered was while touring in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I started the 1000 mile ride with more gear than usual because of the weather (July is typically low 60’s during the day and high 40’s at night with a wind you can’t believe unless you have been there). I had been riding on Avocet Slicks and knew they wouldn’t last too long loaded so I brought 4 spares (2 Avocets and 2 Hutchinson Top Slicks) with me and 8 tubes.
My gear was heavier than normal about 60 pounds (I still had a 7 pound tent and a Holofil Sleeping Bag). Of course, we hit rain the first day and what started out as 60 pounds of gear probably weighted around 90 pounds. I am not light about 220 at that time. Combine a ton of wet gear with a heavy rider, a heavy bikes (about 40 pounds with faring), and the Vanguard’s poor weight distribution, you have a plan for rear wheel disasters.
Both Avocets spares and the one on the bike shredded that day. The sidewalls just shredded and the tires tore apart. I was pretty worried that night but still had 2 spare tires. The Hutchinson’s only made it to noon the next day. They also shredded.
At the last minute while packing for the tour, I found a folding 26″ tire I’d never heard of before. It was a narrow light tire (26 X 1.25) with thin sidewalls but it had a Kevlar bead and it was a folder. I didn’t expect much of it but I could easily slip it into my loaded pack and said what the heck.
Well that afternoon, I was down to my last tire and we’d only ridden about 160 of our planned 1000 mile ride. At this point we were about a 125 miles from the closest bike shop (the only bike show on the west coast of Newfoundland). So I put the folding tire on and expected to be calling the bike shop soon.
Well that light, fast, folding tire not only finished the day but made it though the the rest of our tour of Newfoundland and Labrador with no problems. It didn’t have much tread left when we arrived home but it had handled an incredible load for almost 1000 miles. This tire was clearly a much sturdier tire than the tires I had been riding.
I knew that the Panaracer Pesela Tourguard 26 X 1.25 was a tire I could trust and my new tire for both training and tours. If you are ordering Panaracer Pesels make sure that they are the Tourguards (TG) with the Aramid belt under the tread. You can check out the technical details at the Panaracer Web Site.
That was 6 years ago and I have lighten my touring load by almost 30 pounds but I am still riding the Panaracer Pesala Tourguards and continue to think they are the best 26″ touring tire available. They are much lighten and faster than other legendary touring tires like the Continental Top Touring 2000 and the Schwalbe Marathon.
I am not saying those other tires aren’t fine touring tire because they are great tires. But I’ve found that the fast, light Panaracer Pesala Tourguards are tough enough to handle anything I can throw at them and they are available as folders for easy packing.
The only reason I would change tires is if I planned to ride on dirt roads then I would probabaly change to the sturdier Continental Top Touring 2000.
My favorite bike shop Harris Cyclery carries both 26 X 1.25 and 26 X 1.5 sizes for about $25 each. You can see the non-folding version at Harris Cyclery. The folders can be found at a Lickbike.com for about the same price, a real buy.