CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Questions/Support/Help

Tyre advice for utility bike

(54 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by Greenroofer
  • Latest reply from gembo
  • This topic is not resolved

  1. Greenroofer
    Member

    Mrs Greenroofer has a Giant Expression N7 utility bike like this. With its roller brakes and hub gear it's pretty much maintenance-free, but you really don't want to have to take the wheels off. The tyres it came with are odd knobbly things, 700c x 40, I'd guess. They are wearing out and we've started getting punctures.

    Given that I have to fix the punctures, I'd like to consult the CCE hive mind on alternative tyres. We need puncture-proofness and good cushioning because Mrs G is very sensitive to jolts and jarring from the road. This is a bike for the road, so we don't need knobbles at all.

    I'm thinking something wide, smooth(ish) and puncture proof.

    My ideas are:
    1) 38mm Marathon Plus
    2) erm, I don't know what next. I was going to say a 'Big Apple' but I find they are only available for 26" wheels.

    So, what would you advise?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  2. Uberuce
    Member

    I wore my daily brute's Marathons bare, and the jury's still out if they ever punctured because the one flat I had was while the bike was parked outside Nediworld while I watched a film.

    Got three years, minus two winters of spikes, out of them so I'm not sold on the need for Plus.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. Darkerside
    Member

    Another vote for the Marathons. I've (unintentionally) crunched through glass on mine with no ill effects.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  4. wingpig
    Member

    Specialized Armadilloes, which are called Nimbi when they're 35mm wide. Not smooth, for some reason, but unpunctured after years of varied use on the sparebike, though I was going to try Gatorskins next to see what they're like in larger sizes.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  5. SRD
    Moderator

    Definitely marathon pluses.

    My schwalbe big apples punctured all the time. Marathon pluses almost never if they're kept at a decent pressure.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  6. algo
    Member

    I have standard marathons on my touring bike which have only punctured once, but they are a lot easier to get on and off than the marathon plusses and are a bit lighter with less rolling resistance. You can also get chunkier marathon plus tour - in fact I have a pair of used but ok 40s in the shed if you would like them….

    Even though it doesn't seem to be a popular choice, I still run continental touring plusses on my everyday bike and I really like them - mine are 32s but they also come in 37 width. I have never had a puncture with them in many thousand miles of cycling, but I may just be lucky.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  7. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    I'm a big fan of Specialized Nimbus. Not as intractable as the Armadillos but near bomb proof in the puncture stakes.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  8. Morningsider
    Member

    I have used both nimbus and armadillos in the past. I found the armadillos far more puncture proof than nimbus. Worth the extra tenner per tyre I found. Both good, fast rolling tyres though.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  9. SRD
    Moderator

    folks - my sense is that Mrs Greenroofer is not looking for a 'fast rolling' tyre. She wants a comfortable tyre.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  10. Greenroofer
    Member

    @SRD - spot on. Comfort a priority. Low rolling resistance clearly desirable, but you can see from the bike that top speed and acceleration aren't really what it's about.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  11. Darkerside
    Member

    Marathons + Brooks saddle...?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  12. Morningsider
    Member

    SRD - it's a tricky balance though. I find that "comfort" comes from wider tyres kept at a moderate pressure. However, avoiding punctures requires fairly well pumped-up tyres. I found the nimbus/armadillo to offer a fairly decent balance - the fact that they are well made and have a fairly low rolling resistance is simply an added bonus.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  13. Arellcat
    Moderator

    Although Bicicapace is fitting the Schwalbe Crazy Bob tyre to its cargo bikes, it only comes in 24" and 26" variants according to Schwalbe.

    For 700c I would consider the Schwalbe Big Ben which is available in 50-622 or 55-622, or the Panaracer Pasela Tourguard whose largest size is 37-622.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  14. Uberuce
    Member

    I'll tagteam with Darkerside and second his shout for the Brooks sprung saddle. SMASCC colleague Georgie's bike (the Raleigh Esquire roadster) used to be mine and I can vouch for the jolt-scoffing nature of the saddle. It's a Brooks from 1977 but I doubt they have changed much.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  15. SSR
    Member

    Marathon plus, sp12-ncx suspension seatpost and brooks sprung saddle for ultimate puncture resistance and comfort. At least that's what I'm hoping (the saddle is still breaking in...).

    Posted 6 years ago #
  16. Greenroofer
    Member

    Thanks folks - lots of food for thought here. Mrs G already has a sprung saddle (although it's not Brooks). The problem is more with vibration through the handlebars and pedals, I think, rather than the saddle. That means that the tyres have to be right because they are what will make the difference to that vibration.

    Having checked tonight, the existing tyres are 42 x 622, and there may be scope to go bigger...

    Posted 6 years ago #
  17. Uberuce
    Member

    Has a treacherous voice in your head whispered that aluminium is less real than steel?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  18. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    I've just fitted my first pair of Marathon Plus after fourteen years of Specialized Nimbus. The Nimbus I took off have done four and a half thousand miles and are beginning to delaminate. The bead had actually failed on the back one, which is why my rear wheel wasn't round. Only ever noticed freewheeling downhill on the fresh tarmac on our street.

    The Schwalbes are tighter than a cetacean's sphincter. Snapped a plastic tyre lever putting them on. We'll see how they ride tomorrow. Drive train cleaned too.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  19. gembo
    Member

    OOOh IWRATS it will be ortlieb panniers and a brooks saddle next

    Posted 6 years ago #
  20. Greenroofer
    Member

    @IWRATS. I'm sure you once said to me that you never needed levers to get a tyre off or on, and that it was just a case of squidging them into the middle of the rim and flicking them on (or off) :-)

    Welcome to the world of Marathon Plus, where that is not the case.

    @Uberuce. The voice isn't in my head, it's one that I hear myself saying: "Mrs G. what you need is a Paper Bicycle made in Scotland from Girders, rather than a Giant made in Taiwan from Coke Cans". However Mrs G. is of the belief that she has a perfectly good bicycle already (and to be honest it's pretty close to a Paper Bicycle in terms of both form and function). A Paper Bicycle would be nicer, but her current bike isn't bad.

    I've today ordered some 38mm Nimbuses (Nimbi?) for Mrs G. We'll see how they go.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  21. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    @Greenroofer

    You can use tyre levers if you like, you just can't ever look in a mirror thereafter.

    @gembo

    Just been on wiggle for a poncho. (Prison slang?)

    Posted 6 years ago #
  22. gembo
    Member

    Iwrats is it a rain Cape you are after? Brooks do a nice one for approx £100. Go well with your ratty nineties hybrid?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  23. Greenroofer
    Member

    @IWRATS you need to look at Decathlon, not Wiggle.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  24. Dave
    Member

    I flatted the Marathon Plus on the back of my commuter a week or two ago. The thorn that went through was totally jammed in and could not be removed by any human means (I used my keys to rag the sharp point to prevent another flat on the way home).

    I was interested to find that I got it on and off the bike with just one tyre lever, as standard. There's probably more leeway with big tyres and big rims.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  25. gembo
    Member

    Managing my old marathon pluses with thumbs and maybe a lever or two but a new marathon plus for me is four standard levers. You can get the big levers designed for those tyres with leverage plus and you on.y need one of them, depends how many levers you desire.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  26. Instography
    Member

    Isn't the fact that you're fixing a puncture on a Marathon Plus and can get it on and off easily a sign that you need a new Marathon Plus?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  27. Greenroofer
    Member

    About every year or so I drag out my theory that it's easier to get Marathon Pluses onto disc-braked rims than rim-braked rims. The theory (in my head) goes that the disc-braked rim often has a coating of dry mud that lubricates the tyre as the last little tight bit slides into place, whereas the rim-braked rim has a whole row of circumferential scratches on the rim from braking. Each of these (in my theory) catches the inside of the tyres and makes it harder to get on.

    I used to use washing-up liquid to help the tyre on, but now I have disc brakes.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  28. Uberuce
    Member

    I may or may not be guilty of hubris when I suggest my former powerlifter and grip gaynesser's hands are mightier than any other CCErs, but I do know that our ancestors didn't go to all the bother of dying in childbirth from skull size issues and then in later life from malnutrition because of a bigbrain's calorie demands just so we could paw at things like a brute, so I use tools even when I don't have to.

    Has Mrs G.Rfr swapped from an Al to Fe/Mb/Cr in the course of a day, I wonder? I did, quite recently, and the difference is frankly absurd. I admit the two test beds were my ridiculously stiff track bike and my ridiculously comfy Croix, so maybe there won't be as much of a...

    ... what I am talking about? This is an excuse to buy a new bike! Buy a Paper! They ride like you're Xerxes in 300.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  29. Darkerside
    Member

    Interesting simile.

    Some testing is clearly in order. Launch your steed of choice at a Classical-era spear wall (no sarissas). 50m run-up. The comfiest bike is the one that gets through the most ranks.

    I don't know why the British Standards people haven't asked me to work for them already.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  30. sallyhinch
    Member

    Nothing is proof against blackthorn, nothing, not even brand new Marathon Pluses. Something with a kevlar strip as well as the thick rubber the pluses have might do it I suppose

    I have no hand strength whatsoever but give me a warm day, an hour, metal tyre levers and maximum swearing leeway and I can get a marathon plus on and off. If I puncture on the road, I just keep pumping up until I get home.

    Posted 6 years ago #

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