I’m late getting my summer tyres on this year, mainly because I’ve not been able to get much recreational riding in and because, well, I couldn’t really be bothered.
I posted in the winter, here, about changing my tyres from the factory settings to winter tyres and I’ve been thinking about changing them again.
My commuter bike came with basic specialised tyres which I changed to Schwalbe Marathon Plus, mainly because of the reflective strip on the tyre wall and the reputation they have for being puncture proof. The irony of that change was that, almost immediately, I got a puncture! I think that it would have happened anyway and it was through no fault of the tyre. In ordinary circumstances I can’t see anything getting through the walls of those but there it is, it happened.
I changed the tyres on my Mixte to the ordinary Schwalbe Marathons and I’ve had no problems at all. I changed the tyres on my Wilier to Continental Gatorskins and I’ve no plans to change them again. They really are a four-season tyre. Even though they may be a bit more solid than the factory slicks, they ride so well. They’re a smooth ride and, up to now, no punctures. They grip the road well and feel solid.
But the Marathons are very heavy going. Fine for the commuter bike but when I did the rebuild on the Mixte, Diego at Racer Rosa put a pair of Bontranger Racelights on instead of the Schwalbe Marathon. I’ve got the hard case version, and, very much like the Continental, they are a really smooth ride, hard and grippy, if that’s even a noun!
There are further ironies to this story. I spend a great deal of my time changing and testing the different components of my bikes, from pedals to saddles, tyres to gearing, trying to get the combinations just right. But on my ancient Trek which I keep over in Antwerp, I’ve not changed a thing and nothing has ever failed or felt wrong. The rear light has been going for as long as I’ve had the bike, which is about 18 years and I can’t remember ever having changed the battery! I’ve had one rear puncture. I really can’t remember ever having cleaned it or done anything to it in all those years and it’s been ridden consistently in all that time. I did a 70 km ride on it in the spring, it’s done the London to Brighton and it’s been my go-to ride and never had an up grade. What does that tell me about the squillions I spend on the rest?
I think we all know the answer to that….but I still like the process. And if it wasn’t bikes it would be shoes!
I’m away on my summer cycling oddessy for the next three weeks and I’ll be back at the beginning of August. I’ve brought the re-built Mixte over to France and I’ll be writing a full review of it when I get back. In the meantime, happy cycling…..
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