How to Choose Your Bike Tires for Touring and Bikepacking

How to Choose Your Bike Tires for Touring and Bikepacking

Show Video

Welcome Ciao! Today I need to change tires. So let's talk about how to choose the tires for your grand adventure biketouring, bikepacking, whatever you want to call it. I've got you covered, tubeless, tubes, anything.

If you're new here, my name is Davide Travelli, I've been cycling around the world since 2015. I pedaled over 85 000 kilometers across 58 countries and so I have a little bit of experience. In the Americas I had a classic bike touring setup with a Surly Disk Truckers 26 inches wheels and then from Africa the last 50 000 kilometers I have the Genesis Longitude that you see here. It's a 27.5 plus type of bike. I run a tubeless setup on this bike.

So let's get into it. The first choice you have to do is tubeless or tubes and it's a very easy decision to make. If your wheels, your rims are tubeless ready, go for tubeless. It's a very simple technology, it's simple to use, simple to manage and usually is set and forget. You won't know that you got a flat because the sealants repair it.

But we will talk more about the tubeless system a little bit later. If your rims are not tubeless ready, I would suggest stick to tubes unless you do loads of dirt road, stick to tubes and save the money because otherwise the conversion it becomes a little bit more expensive. You have to change the rims, so basically you have to replace the wheels and it's expensive. So we are all familiar with tubes even though now there are some new tubes on the market that are half of the size and half of the weight.

What type of tire do you want to get if you use tubes? Most of the people that they do long distance traveling, they use Schwalbe, it's this brand here, and they use basically two type of tires from the Schwalbe line, either the Marathon Mondial or the Marathon Plus. A good amount of people think that the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial is a superior choice in the Schwalbe catalog. In my experience it is not.

The difference between the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial and the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB or Tour is that the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial is a foldable tire. What does it mean foldable? It's like this is a much bigger tire because I use plus tires, but as you can see it's folded in one, two, three pieces. So it packs down quite small. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour or MTB they cannot be folded like the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial because they have basically a metal wire on the edge.

You can fold them in basically eight, like an eight number, and then fold them. So it's basically there will be around this size. In my opinion the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour or MTB they are superior of the Marathon Mondial because they have an extra insert that if you go on the Schwalbe website it's the blue insert and they are a little bit more puncture resistant. All of these three tires they last more or less the same amount of mileage. You can get up to 14,000, 16,000, 17,000 kilometers if you are mostly on paved roads. So they last a long time.

The durability is very good. They are puncture proof and yeah they are very very tough It's not the the most comfortable tire and you have to run them at a very very high psi. So the pressure has to be at least over 50 psi.

Better if you inflate them at 60 psi. So it's a very it's very tough. It's not going to be the most gentle tire on your back but it's definitely the one that lasts the longest and is the most puncture proof and you don't want to deal with replacing the tires all the time when you're on the road because a is expensive, b logistically wise it's difficult to arrange deliveries or to source these type of tires especially if you are outside Europe or northern America. If I was you I would strongly consider either the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour or the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB. Both these tires have the same compound.

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB has a slightly different threading and design so it's a little bit more apt for off-roading but it rolls very similar to the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour. So my suggestion you will probably do some dirt on your journey so go for the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB and if you're stick only to pavement maybe you could consider the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour but the rolling resistance between the two is very very similar. Depending on the clearance of your bike frame fit the widest tire you can possibly mount on that bike. I would strongly suggest do not travel long distance with a tire that is shorter narrower than two inches. The narrower you go it's less comfortable but you also open up to have some problems on the road like breaking spokes on your wheels but if the tire is wider it's very difficult you're gonna break a spoke. If you use tubes what kind of spare parts do you need to take with you on a tour? I would strongly suggest to take with you at least two tubes so when you get a flat you find the hole you patch it up and you let it rest and meanwhile you use one of the two spare tubes to mount on your wheel.

Remember if you get a flat to try to find it on the tube where you have a hole and check the tire in the same spot because usually the problem is in the tire so if you patch your tube after a flat and then you fit it on the tire and you didn't check it you're gonna puncture it again. Which brands should you buy for tubes? In my experience the two brands that are reliable in terms of tubes are Michelin and Schwalbe. I always use Michelin and Schwalbe sometimes when I was in the Americas I basically broke the the Schwalbe and the Michelin I was carrying with me and I had to source something locally and in Latin America they sell Kenda and it was terrible all the Kenda tubes that I use eventually they break where there is the valve they used to break I hope they solve this problem but I will never touch a Kenda tube ever again if possible so just buy Michelin or Schwalbe that are reliable if they cost one euro more is not that much different.

Now this is a traditional type of tube in rubber if you want to save some weight and space now there are these ones that are basically half of the size and half of the weight I strongly suggest to bring these type of patches that require vulcanization so you need this this special glue and in my experience they are they are very strong and the one that doesn't require glue they never adhere properly to the tube and you're gonna find yourself to have another flat because the patch did not patch properly the hole the puncture in the tire. You need levers to remove the tires again there are different type of levers most of them are made of plastic I would strongly suggest you to buy levers like these ones that they are metallic they they have plastic on the outside but they are a metal plate this will not break especially if it's cold the tire is very hard you might snap and break the plastic lever in two with the metal ones they are not gonna bend and people are afraid that they they are not gonna hold and people are afraid that they might scratch the rim who cares we need to look at the practicality when we live on the road if your rims are tubeless ready go for tubeless it's you set it up and you forget it it's a very very easy technologies it's easier proof if I can manage you can manage as well we'll talk about the tires that I'm using a little bit later what do you need to do the conversion from tubes to tubeless if your rim is tubeless ready first of all you need tires that are also tubeless ready so think about that then you need sealant there are different brands different type of pricing but they're more or less they're not the same but there are many that are quite reliable on the market so that's not going to be a huge problem then you need a valve because you will need to stick a valve when you have tubes they already come with a valve so you need a tubeless valve you need to patch the rim and seal it with a tape there are rim tapes that you can buy in bike shops that are a little bit more expensive but you can also do it do it yourself using either duct tape or some electrical tape as long as you seal the holes in the rim that's fine sometimes the rims that are tubeless ready come already with a with a tubeless kind of setup so the the tape that there is inside is already tubeless check some do some don't but you can also go around with some tape just to make sure so yeah very easy you put the tape then you pierce a little hole you push through the valve you fit it properly you fit the tire and then you put some sealant inside that's it and then you have to seal the tire so that the air and the sealant doesn't come out from the side of the rim and for that you basically need to pump up very quickly the tire and you will need a compressor or a special pump that releases loads of air at the same time they call it gong or something like that but you will find hundreds of tutorials online about this thing now let's talk about the tire there are like thousands of tires that you can choose even on tubeless which one to get which brand to get again we go back to the same consideration that we did for the tire that you choose for tubes we want something that lasts a very long time that is durable that is capable to cover different type of terrain and that it doesn't puncture and it doesn't fall apart very quickly i try different ones i am very happy with schwalbe i'm very happy with the compounds they use i think they make very reliable tires that i used in america when i had tubes and i found myself in africa going back to to schwalbe even though for a tiny little part i use a different kind of brand but i think this is the the solution for me i use the Nobby Nick because my my bike can fit plus size tires so they are 2.8" and the Nobby Nick is an all-rounder tire it's capable to cover different climates different terrains it lasts quite long i start to notice degradation on the performance of the tires after the 10 000 or 12 000 kilometers mark but on my front tire i got to over 14 500 kilometers with a knobby nick so it's it's very very good very capable all-rounder sometimes i feel i would like a little softer compound but all in all i always go back to this choice because it's the most reliable for me and yeah it performs very well you really rarely have problems as i said the only problems you start to have is after the 10 000 or 12 000 mark in terms of mileage and what are the problems you start to notice a few more holes a few more punctures and sometimes the the sealant is not able to seal the the puncture properly because it's a it's a wider cut so you need to stick some plugs into them even this is very easy you don't need to remove the wheel with a screwdriver or a proper tool you stick into the the tire the the plug and that's it and then you pump up again your tire and that's the end of it i would suggest to take one or two tubes with you if you do a very long bike tour i would suggest to take two tubes just in case you cut you make a big huge cut in your tire for some reason and the the sealant obviously is not able to to seal a cut like that and even the the plugs are not able to seal a cut this big if you get a cut like that you basically just remove the tire remove the the valve clean up the tire from the from the sealant and basically use a use a patch like this a rubber patch that you put against the the cut and then you basically need to use the tube and pump it up in over 50 kilometers 50 000 kilometers crossing the whole of africa and basically most of europe i never had this kind of problems i it happened a few times that i had to use the the plugs only one time last year in morocco i went to morocco with a very old tires and i thought to myself i replaced them after morocco because i i thought i was gonna stay only a few weeks but i ended up staying four months and i did very extreme routes in the desert and my tires they were very old they were about 12 000 kilometers so yeah i thought i could squeeze a little bit more life and be a bit more economical for me but i should have replaced the tire before going to morocco if i knew i was gonna stay so long also my mistake on i was running very low pressure because i was on a on a dirt road that was uh was quite challenging and then i started to descend and i forgot to pump up a little bit the tires and because when they are old you can easily pinch them and cut them and yeah i got a cut and i had to use a tube and that was my first time in 50 000 kilometers using the the Nobby Nick another advantage of using the tubeless system is that you can run the tires at a much lower pressure so it's more gentle it's more fun it's more easy to ride your bike and especially on dirt road you want to have soft tires because it's like having a suspension on your bike if you go for tubeless what should you bring with you well it seems like you have to bring more than with the tubes because you need to in my opinion in europe i don't do it but if i was to be in latin america or in africa i would bring a small bottle with some spare sealant how much usually it depends maybe at least 200 but it's better if you go for a you you fill up a plastic bottle of like coke or sprite and or 500 or 400 ml and you're safe you know that anything happen you can refill basically two tires i will bring with you one spare valve or in reality you don't really need the the valve because it's almost impossible it breaks but you might want to bring with you a few cores because if something breaks is the core of the valve and this you can go to the your local bike shop is probably has a drawer full of them there might be second hand but who cares you just need to bring with you like three or four and that's it basically bring with you some sort of tire boot so that if you get a cut you can patch it up easily and i would also suggest to bring with you a few ones you probably never need it but bring a few thumbs up patches and vulcanizing glue and one or two spare tubes based on my experience in reality you will probably do not need anything except when the tire is very old you will probably have to use a few plugs here and there but the rest of the stuff even the tubes you will probably never use them if you go for a tubeless setup how much sealant do you put in a tire like this 2.8" or 3 inches well it depends who you believe if you believe your bike mechanic you won't put much but if you believe me you're gonna use a lot so when the tire is new and i have to seal it and set it in place in the in the rim i usually put at least 120 but for example now that i'm going back to africa and i'm going to algeria i'm gonna replace the tire and i will put at least 140 milliliters on on each side in my opinion if you put at least 120 milliliters you have a you have some peace of mind of course if your tires are 2.6 2.4 2.2

2 inches use a little bit less but a little bit of extra weight is not gonna it's not gonna make a difference another thing you could consider on a tubeless setup is to use some inserts i do not use them because they are always a little bit messy to fit but it's probably wise because if i had an insert i would have not been able to cut or probably the chances of cutting my tire as i did pinching it on a descent on a rock would have been very slim but again it's something more to buy something more to fit and i never really tried to be honest but it might be wise to use an insert especially if your biomechanic fit it for you it's a it's probably a no-brainer that's it i hope i covered all my knowledge about tires if i missed something or you have a question leave a comment down below and i will just reply with my opinion or my experience in short if your wheels are tubeless ready go for tubeless it's very easy it's fit and forget kind of technology if you have to use tubes again i don't think it's worth to to buy two new wheels just to have tubeless but it's a choice that you have to make it for yourself if you do loads of off-road usually the rims the type of bike that you bought should be tubeless ready so i strongly suggest go for tubeless because it's easy to manage it's a very comfortable riding because you can use much lower pressures so on the schwalbe marathon plus mtb i was using about 60 psi on this one i usually i'm on 15 psi one five against six five imagine how comfortable it is for my back all right it's dark i hope you found this video helpful if you did like subscribe all that crap and i'll see you the next time ciao

2024-04-19 23:37

Show Video

Other news