Most of the debate exists around how one defines "great performance". For some, that means extra light, high-pressure, skinny tires with great grip and low rolling resistance for fast riding. For others, it means low-pressure fat tires with aggressive tread for dirt and rock navigation without slipping. For others, it means no flats EVER, and nothing else matters. Still others might define performance as being the cushiest, smoothest ride ever, without any major concerns of weight or speed. Your definition of tire performance may be en-"tire"-ly different. That's just fine ... and that's why there are so many different tires on the market ... to suit the many different needs of many different riders.
I've had just enough time riding a bike to finally form an opinion of my own regarding tire performance. It goes something like this (not necessarily in order):
- Lots of air for comfort.
- Enough tread for mild trails and fire roads, but not too much for paved surfaces.
- High puncture resistance.
- Folding bead preferred.
Notice I didn't use the word "fast" anywhere. I guess I'm over that. I figure any tire that fits the other criteria will be plenty "fast" enough for me. I also didn't use the words "light weight". With the same logic, I think any tire that fits the other criteria will be light enough. Also, I've never actually had a tire so heavy that I said to myself "wow, that tire feels heavy when I'm riding on it". I generally assume that if I'm slow, it's because it's ME ... not the bike or the tires. Besides, I'm not in a hurry, and a little extra effort won't kill me.
All that aside, I pretty much adhere to the theory that when something's right, I'll basically never notice it or give it any thought. It just sort of blends in and does its job so well that it doesn't draw attention to itself. It's a bit like adding reverb to a track in a music mix ... the right type and amount should not be actually "heard" by the listener, only a noticeable difference when removed. Well, at least that's my take on it ...
Back to the purpose of this post ... it was a beautiful day today, and I was out riding on a trail that had some rough spots from horse hooves, mixed with some soft sandy spots ... and for whatever reason, I realized how nicely my tires were handling it all.
|Nice day for a ride on the trails ... how nicely my tires are handling this!|
Here's my disclaimer: None of the products reviewed here were provided to me by the manufacturer or any retailer for evaluation. Nope. I'm not one of those famous bloggers who gets stuff for free. I purchased everything with my own money, and without any sort of special interweb journalist discount, so you can rest assured that the opinions expressed here are unbiased and come purely through my own experience ... good, bad, or otherwise. That being said, should any manufacturers out there wish to provide some cool bike-related products for ... ummm ... testing and evaluation ... I would likely be open to offering my honest review.
The Schwalbe Marathon Dureme is described by the manufacturer as follows:
This new Marathon is a dream. Incorporated in it is all of Schwalbe’s Evolution
- HD Ceramic Guard. The safest protection belt for light weight tires.
- SnakeSkin. Much lighter than a rubber sidewall, but just as robust.
- Triple Nano Compound. Our best rubber compound for outstanding grip,
We combined this high quality technology with a classic, versatile tread, which feels at home on any road: The Dureme is a breeze on tracks and rolls phenomenally easily on the road.
- easy rolling and long life.
|Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 26" x 2" on Velocity Synergy rim|
If you look at my list above for my definition of "performance", then look at Schwalbe's description of the Marathon Dureme, it's easy to see why I chose that model. It has great puncture protection, good tread for mixed riding conditions, a "robust" sidewall construction, and a "long life" durable design. Plus ... it comes in a 26" x 2" size ... plenty of air for a comfortable ride. And ... a folding bead for easier installation and (in my opinion) better rim attachment.
The price for these tires was a bit of a shock at first. Actually, it's still a shock. They're expensive tires. Even for high-quality tires, they're expensive. But my experience with Schwalbe told me they would be worth the price, and when I thought about it, $150 for a pair of tires that will probably last for two years of great riding isn't really that much to spend. I spend that much EVERY MONTH for cable TV and Internet! Breaking the cost down, if they do last two years, it's only $6.25 per month and only 21 cents per day! I can't even buy a cup of coffee for 21 cents ... so for something that really makes a difference, it's quite a bargain. In the end, I really felt the Hunqapillar deserved a great set of tires, so I added them to the build list without hesitation.
|Fat tires and fenders ... appropriate style elements of a Woolly Mammoth bike!|
|Bright ... BRIGHT ... reflective stripe on the sidewall!|
|Marathon Dureme Tread: sure-footed on trails, smooth on pavement|
|30-70psi for the 26" x 2" model ... 50psi works for just about everything!|
Have a great weekend!!