What are the toughest tires?

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Anonymous's picture

and was wondering what are the most punture-resistant tires on the market. I don't care about wieght, my only concern is durability. I've heard of the armadillos, are they all they're cracked up to be?


Anonymous's picture
Bill (not verified)

I swear by the armadillos. I bought a set a for winter riding in early 2002, then kept them on all summer without a single flat. 4500 miles later I noticed some wear and replaced them with a new set, still flatless after a couple thousand miles.
They're very good in wet weather too. The only place I've found them so far has been Toga, but other shops in town must have them.

Anonymous's picture
Diane Goodwin (not verified)
Best Tires

From my experience, flats are fewer each year .... I don't attribute this to the tire brand. I believe flats depend on your EYE SIGHT ... watch the road as you ride. Another factor is where you ride and how often. The West Side bike path has helped me against flats - I rarely use Ninth Ave. You also need to keep the pressure high and remove glass immediately after riding through debris and check the tire after every ride.

I use to ride Specialized but didn't like that tire anymore - I prefer something smoother, less resistent - like Michellin. Before Michellin I used Vredestein.

Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)
Try Tuffy Strips

I personally just buy whatever tires are on sales and put Tuffy strips in them. Only had two flat all last year, and they were due to nail or sidewall punctures. Over a thousand miles this season without a flat, so far. Tuffy strips add a little weight, but if weight is not a consideration, try it.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Conti Top Touring

I agree with Diane about removing glass and debris immediately after you've ridden through rough stuff. But even good eye sight won't always protect you, especially if you ride in the dark.

In London I used to commute on Continental Top Touring tyres, the predecessor to Continental Top Touring 2000. My size was 700x28, I don't think they make them in 700x23, unfortunately.

If you intend to use them for commuting, I think they are hard to beat. Twice I managed to get 10,000 miles out of a back tyre before I had my first puncture. In both cases, after I had fixed it, I got another 4,000 puncture-free miles out of it before I had to replace it. The front tyres can go on for at least 15,000 miles. I thought I had been exceptionally lucky with my first set of Conti Top Touring, but when my second set proved to be just as robust, I assumed it was because they are very good tyres. While London's road surfaces are much better than New York's, they have just as much broken glass, nails etc.

These tyres give good traction in wet and damp weather, which is definitely a regular occurrence when commuting in London. This was an important consideration for me when commuting.

If you really insist on a 700x23, I'm not sure what to recommend. My 700x23 Vredestein Fortezzas are pretty good on my road bike, but I rarely get more than 2,000 miles out of them in total, and I certainly wouldn't use them for everyday commuting. I don't commute these days, as I work from home, so I can't tell you much about the Specialized tyres I have on my touring bike because they've yet to do achieve a high mileage, as most of my riding is on my road bike these days. But the first 1,000 miles have been puncture free. I no longer have the bike with the Contis and my touring bike came with Specialized.

Anonymous's picture
Adam Pollock (not verified)
michelin erilium, conti ultra gatorskin

I commute on 700x23 clinchers, and have had good luck with Michelin Eriliums and Continental Ultra Gatorskins. Both have Kevlar belts. Both run at about 100psi. Both stand up well to the tortures of NYC streets. I found the Contis to have tougher treads, but they cost more, and their sidewalls are less rugged. The Michelins have a slight file tread; the Contis have a minimal grooved tread. Both are ok training tires -- not especially light or supple, but an acceptable compromise between ride and durability for everyday use. Either one can get cut up by glass in the rain, but they are bicycle tires... In the dry, it takes something pretty substantial to hole your tube with either. Figure about $26 for the Michelins, closer to $40 for the Continentals.

Anonymous's picture
Jay (not verified)

I've been using Armadillos on my road bike for about 2 yrs--I get about half as many flats--I am told they are more difficult to change--I don't even try to change them.

Last year I rode a 950 mile trip on my touring bike with them and thorn resistant tubes from Memphis to Mpls without any flats--we now also have them on our tandem.

Anonymous's picture
Peter Hochstein (not verified)
Another vote for armadillos, with reservations

"I too swear by armadillos -- when it comes to virtual flat-proofing. I'm on my second set of them. I did about 5,000 miles on my first Armidillo front tire, all the time wondering if the damn thing would ever wear out, and about 4,000 miles on the rear tire. I'm now on a ""new"" set of armidillos with only 1,500 miles on them and in all this time I've had only one flat -- that when I rode over a bent screw with a wide head that acted as a lever and drove itself into my tire.

(There was also an incident when I briefly replaced a rear Armadillo tire with something else that flatted out almost immediately and then blew a gash through the side that couldn't be booted. I think it lasted a total of 300 miles.)

I ride a touring bike with 27"" X 1 and 1/4"" wheels. Yes, Armadillos are a bit tougher to change, but that issue comes up so rarely that I don't worry about it. And the beauty part is, if they're fully inflated (mine at 110 to 120 lbs.) you don't ever have to look out for glass. Just ride over the effin' stuff and enjoy the crunching noise.

However, Armadillos do have a drawback. They weigh a whole lot more than most other tires I've ridden on. And I think -- this is just my instinct, based on recall of how things went on other tires and how they go on my Armadillos -- that they somehow have more rolling resistance, although that feeling of pedaling through jello might just be the extra weight.

Listen, life's a tradeoff. You can maybe gain a half mile every 60 minutes or so if you don't use Armadillos. But if you have to stop and change a tube, you lose it again and probably then some while you get filthy playing with rubber and tire levers and drive chains.


Anonymous's picture
Douglas Kalb (not verified)
Vredestein Fortezza or Kenda Kaliente Iron Cloak

I've heard great things about the Armadillo's but here are 2 more to consider.
They are lighter weight & probably don't quite match up to the Armadillo's durability so it depends on how critical weight is to you. However, as light weight tires go, they hold up very well. The Vredestein's are high pressure too-rated to 160 psi, although any tire should be backed off on very hot days. The Kenda's only take 125 psi but seem very durable, so far (about 1,200 miles).

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