Friday, October 20, 2006

Best Commuting Rear Tire

I've been running the IRC Tandem tire on the rear wheel of my Surly Cross-Check for several years now. The oval shape with thick center tread seemed like it would wear and handle well, and it has.

After I wore the first Tandem down to nothing, I tried a pair of Panaracer T-Serv for Messenger tires. They seemed like a sportier option. I've had good results with Panaracer tires. But within the first week I hit some metal debris and gashed the sidewall of the rear tire. I booted it, but the gash was too long, and at such an angle that casing cords just kept giving way. I had to toss that tire. When I did, I couldn't resist going back to the Tandem.

The Tandem I have on there now must have at least 5,000 miles on it. I've racked up at least 3500 miles of commuting, two years in a row. Of that 7,000-mile total, I might have done a total of 1500-2,000 on the road bike or the fixed gear. Adding early and late miles outside the full-on commuting season, I think 5,000 is a conservative guess. And the tire isn't completely toasted yet.

Front tires seem to last forever. The surviving T-Serv is still rolling along. It will probably die of dry rot before it wears out. I should rotate it to the rear, but I don't want to run the Tandem on the front. The oval shape feels a tiny bit weird dropping into a corner. It's not too bad on the back, with 55% or more of the weight flattening it out, but I prefer a rounder shape on the front.

I guess I need to build another bike on which to wear down my retired fat front tires. 700X32 is too plump for my road bike, and I run 27-inch wheels on the fixed gear.

The IRC Tandem is a 700X30 that takes 100 psi for all you roadie types (like me) who have a mental block against riding with less than three-digit tire pressures.


Fritz said...

For commuting, I've fallen in love with some Specialized Armadillos that I recently picked up.

cafiend said...

When I was composing this post in my mind, hours before I got to write it, I meant to mention that I used to use Specialized Touring tires in the early 1980s. They had a raised center ridge that really increased their longevity. You had to get used to falling off it when you went into a corner, but the tires lasted a good long time.

I've fallen out of touch with the Specialized tire line. For some reason, the owner of our shop does not buy into the whole concept store package, with the accessories, tires and clothing. It's nice to have more variety.

I had a Specialized 700X26 on the front of the Surly. It's on my wife's bike now. The companion rear tire wore down at no better than a normal rate. That's when I tested my first IRC Tandem. The longevity and performance struck me as superior. The 30 is a nice width for my route.

I put Panaracer T-Servs in 700X35 on my exploring/touring wheels. They're rated to 95 psi, so they get close to my 100 psi fixation. I'm sure Specialized has comparable stuff, and the Armadillos have always had a good reputation.

George said...

I use the Armadillos in a 28mm size on my Cross Check.

They are the dogs balls:-)

cafiend said...

My dog's balls went out with the vet's trash. But I think my commuting tires are the cat's ass. All of our cats still possess their asses:-)