Picking Tires and Tubes for July Northwest Tour
I know this sounds pretty trivial but I have spent some time thinking about what tires to use for this 1000 mile ride in July through Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. I have not done any riding in this area but from what I have read there are a few things different than here on the East Coast and in Europe where I have done most of my long rides.
My usual set of tires a Kevlar belted Primo Comet 20 X 1.35 on the front and a 26 X 1.25 Panaracer Pessla Tourguard on the rear. Both are 100 PSI tires that have proven to be the rare combination of tough and agile. These are great tires on a hard surface and have proven themselves in Corsica, Sardinia, Croatia, Newfoundland, and Labrador.
But some things I expect to be different on this ride in the Northwest point to a change in tires. We are planning to do a good bit of Bike Trail Riding (Montreal and Washington, DC are the limits of my trail riding experience) and not all of the trails will be paved. That says lower pressure and wider tires to me.
Plus we expect to be in an area where thorns are a problem. Kevlar belts help but I am also going to try InLine Self Sealing Tubes. These are like Slime Tubes but come in sizes that fit recumbent tires.
My conclusion is that I will be rinding:
1. Continental Top Touring 2000 20 X 1 3/8 65 PSI tires on the front.
This is a tire with a great reputation for toughness. The knock on it is that it is heavy and not very agile. But the wider tread and profile combined with lower pressure should help on the trails.
2. Panaracer Pesela Tourguard 26 X 1.5 65 PSI tires on the rear
I have had great luck with Panaracer Peselas. They are very tough. The 1.5 inch width and 65 PSI take some of the snap out of these tires but they are still nimble for a 1.5. They are about the biggest tire I can find that will go on this rim. A Continental Top Touring 2000 might be tougher and have a slightly wider profile but I just don't like riding these tires on the rear.
3. Inline Self Sealing Tubes 20 X 1.5 and 26 X 1.25
The Inline Tubes look good and are much cheaper than Slime Tubes plus they were the only self sealing tubes in the sizes I need. These tubes are available on Amazon for half the price of Slime Tubes. A good source with a good price is Performance Downhill. I know this looks like a Snow Boarding Site but they also sell bike parts at good prices mostly on eBay at Performance Downhill.
Note: The Inline Self Sealing Tubes have Red Caps
I have been riding this combination for a few weeks now and have had a few 80 mile rides with them. They have a heavy feel and I am definitely pulling the self sealing tubes and 65 PSI tires when I return. They hurt me by at least a mile per hour when touring and more at the top end.
The difference is not as noticeable when fully loaded and if they help on the trails and prevent thorn flats it will be worth it.
Life is finding the best solutions not perfect solutions.