Latex tubes

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by cyclintom, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    I picked up some glass in a tire and was having all sorts of trouble getting the darn thing fixed. I pinched two tubes to death mostly because they aren't putting talcum powder on the tubes and inside the tires anymore.

    In disgust I pulled a new tube off of the shelf and it turned out to be a latex tube. Installing that was a great deal easier because it is red and you can see if any of the tube is in the way. It is harder to fill with a Silca floor pump though because there is so much give in the tube it is extremely difficult to put the pump end over the filler. I suppose if you had the more common type of pump with the lever lock on it you're be much better off with latex tubes.

    In any case I went for a little 32 mile ride. I had forgotten part of it and in three different spots I hit bumps so hard that the tire bottomed against the rim. On two of these at least I know that a normal tube would have gotten a flat because I've gotten flats on those same bumps.

    Have others used latex tubes and found them to be a lot more forgiving as well?
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    my experience with latex tubes is such that I will never use them again. I used them for a long time with tubulars back in the day but that's all that were in them back in the 70's. Later when I went with clinchers I tried them about a year and gave up and went back to butyl, then even later still about 5 years ago I tried them again for about 6 months and went back.

    Why did I keep going back to Butyl? Because while the latex did offer a more comfortable ride, they felt like riding with butyl tubes deflated about 20 psi. But the negatives are in my experience is that they actually flated easier, they were more difficult to repair the flats with, you have to real careful not to get the tube caught between the tire and rim or it will rip whereas butyl doesn't even flinch, and you have to put in about 30 psi of air every day, plus they're about twice as expensive as butyl tubes. Some argue they are lighter, not really because I use Specialized tubes that are just as light as the latex tubes; some argue they have less rolling friction, this is true but we're only talking about 2 watts of difference, such differences you will never notice, and you will only get that benefit with ultra lightweight racing tires, if you are using heavy tires designed for street use you'll won't gain anything.

    You do need to talic latex tubes as well, is that con? no because you should be doing that with butyl anyways.

    Another situation is patching. I like glueless patches, I've never had one fail on a butyl tube unlike SOME other peoples experience, as long as I use the best glueless patches and I prepare the tube correctly, with latex glueless patches won't work for longer then maybe 8 hours. So for me the convenience of the glueless patch is more then worth the tiny gain I might make from using latex tubes.
     
  3. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    Please don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds like your biggest issue is that you need to work on you tube installation technique. Talc or no, you should not be pinching tubes when you install them. Are you putting air in the tube, installing it in the tire, then installing the tire/tube assembly on the rim? Using this method, you're much less likely to pinch tubes, since the tube is up inside the tire.

    Are you putting the tire on the rim using just your hands? If you're using tools, that's likely a big part of the problem, too. It's pretty rare that I encounter a tire/rim combination that cannot be assembled without tools.

    I rarely bother to talc tubes or tires and I don't pinch tubes when changing them (talcing is a good idea). It's really all in the technique.

    The simple solution to filling the tire is to let enough air out that you can flatten the tire against the valve with the thumb of one hand while pushing the pump head onto the valve with the other.


    If you're bottoming out the tire that frequently, you're not running enough air pressure.

    I can't help you with much with that, as I use butyl tubes only. My girlfriend tried latex a while back and wasn't happy with them - especially for the price - but I don't recall her specific complaints.
     
  4. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    Bryan - I've been riding for over 40 years. Do you suppose that aside from building all my bikes from scratch that I never learned the proper technique for repairing flats? And both the inside of tires and tubes used to come with talcum powder on them. So this wasn't something you had to do.

    I'll tell you what - come over and TRY to install new tires on Campy wheels using just your hands. Using tire levers to get them to the last 6 inches of rim is difficult enough. Since this was the way I was taught by a pro racing mechanic I expect he knew the "proper technique" a bit better than some people.

    Without talc the tubes do not slip along the inside of the tire when you pump and deflate them and so they never line up properly to the filler. Also because they don't slip, if you get a puncture the tube deflating tears a long gap instead of a pinhole.

    Elsewhere in these threads I complained that the Michelin Power Endurance had heavy rolling resistance. With the latex tube this changed dramatically and riding in a group now I have to be careful to stay back enough so that when they stop pedaling I don't freewheel right into their back wheel. My average speed went from 15 mph on those tires to over 17 mph. And this in the winter with all of my fitness gone. By Summer I should be back up being able to ride at 28 mph (45 kph) for 20 minutes or so solo. At 73.

    I weigh 185 lbs naked so about 200 lbs when ready to ride. I use 23 mm Michelins or Gatorskins. Both tires have bottomed against the rims with 120 psi pressure in them. This is the maximum rated pressure. Perhaps you don't mind a tire blowing off the rim from overpressure but I do. The advantage of butyl tubes is price only. They can be pinched easily when you hit the invariable potholes in California or what is getting more common every day - the "repairs" that have an almost razor edge to them.

    I use my Silca Pista Pro pump and I bought it because I remember the older pump head that released pressure on the rubber seal when you pulled it. The new pump heads do not do this and so it requires a great deal more pressure to push it on or remove it.

    After reading tests on rolling resistance I am changing to either 25 or 28 mm tires.
     
  5. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    The point of my previous post was not to be insulting; I'm just pointing out things that I see very frequently with other riders.

    We've been riding for about the same amount of time (45+ years for me). I spent 9 years in the bike biz as a manager and mechanic; I have literally changed thousands of flats. You would be amazed at the number of riders I encounter who've been doing it just as long and still can't fix a flat with trashing tubes. There simply is no excuse for pinching tubes and whether they have talc on them or not is completely irrelevant.

    If you put the partially inflated tube in the tire first (with the tire off the rim), then install the tire/tube assembly on the rim, everything will be properly "lined up" by default and there won't be any need for the tube to "slip" within the tire. As I said, using talc is a good idea, but it is definitely not a prerequisite for successful installation or long tube life, so I rarely use it. I have never seen a puncture "tear a long a long gap instead of a pinhole", not once, regardless of the tire/tube combination. It sounds to me like you're probably getting blowouts from pinching the tube under the tire bead or cutting it with with a tire iron. OTOH, latex tubes will tear much more readily than butyl, so if you're seeing a difference between them that's understandable, but it likely has little or nothing to with whether the tube can move around in the tire or not. Again, if it's properly installed, it's not an issue.

    Technique is everything and missing any aspect of it can result in problems. It's not rocket science, but it does require attention to detail. Perhaps you've simply forgotten something that the mechanic showed you?

    I'm a bit lighter than you (~170#) and I regularly ride 25mm tires (Conti GP4000s) on narrow road rims (20-21mm) at 72/82 psi front/rear on rough New England roads. I haven't had any issues with bottoming out or pinch flats. Your idea to move to wider tires is well advised, but the real issue is probably a need to be more attentive to road conditions. Growing up in an area where potholes, frost heaves, elevate railroad tracks and other road hazards have always been a way of life, I'm probably just more attuned to it. Smooth roads are a much-appreciated luxury. Around here, you learn to "ride light" by carefully lifting and shifting your weight on the rough stuff, or jumping over obstacles. From the limited amount of riding I've done in a few places in CA, I'd say on average, your roads are much better than what we have here so it's understandable if potholes and such catch your local riders off-guard.

    I have a couple of Silca pump heads from the '70's, but I haven't seen the new ones. I have no idea what you mean by the old head releasing pressure when you pull on it. Besides, I though you said the issue was putting the pump head on the valve, in which case there is no pressure in the pump hose.
     
  6. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    As I said, I'm more than a competent mechanic and I know how to change flats. Do not tell me what is a proper procedure and what is not. Placing the tube inside of a tire off of the rim requires the tube to be inflated to the level that installing it on a tight rim is impossible without deflating the tube after one side has been installed and then you are right back in the position as if you installed it with the tire already installed on one side. Or are you saying that you install both beads simultaneously?

    I have no idea of what sort of riding you do. But you certainly do not seem like you hold sustained descents at 35 to 50 mph. Just yesterday I held 25 mph on a very narrow verge with heavy traffic passing at 50 mph+ for 4 miles. I really want you to see a pothole that covers an entire lane when doing a 35 mph descent on a blind turn. Especially if you have to take a medication that screws up your memory so that you have to take a route 10 or 12 times to remember where all the dangers are.

    Last year we had two very good riders descending Mt. Diablo and one struck a deep crack in the road and fell off breaking his neck. He is now a quadraplegic. I dropped into the same crack a couple of months before and rode it out without a fall. The second rider was so traumatized that he cannot descend any more. He loves to climb but will actually walk down hills. And he's an orthopedic surgeon.

    The original head LOOKED like this one: https://silca.cc/collections/replacement-parts/products/silca-17-4-stainless-presta-head but the bottom did not thread on. It slipped up and down. In the up position the pressure on the seal was released and it slipped on and off easily. Then the spring pressure would force the head down closing the seal down tightly. Since the original seals were leather instead of neoprene it was necessary to keep from tearing the seals to pieces in days.
     
  7. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    By the way Brian. Do you remember when you used to pump up your clinchers about half way and then let the air out so that the inner tube would re-position itself to the right position in regard to the inner surface of the tire? Without the talc and the new sticky rubber used in tires this has no effect many times and the inner tube will remain improperly positioned in the tire. Then under the weight of a person with the tire heavily loaded if you puncture the tire with even a small pin-point of glass the inner tube will try to re-position itself. This is what causes what should have been a pin-prick into a slice. I haven't seen this from wire flats - only from glass shards.This is why I purchased a bottle of talcum powder.
     
  8. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    Sorry, but you're wrong on both counts. After installing the first bead, you start working on the second bead. You release just enough air from the tube to allow the bead to be installed, but not enough that it loses it's shape and you risk pinching it. This is so simple that I can't fathom why you don't understand it. Additionally, by using this method, the tire and tube are properly positioned so there is no stress on the tube when it's installed, eliminating all of the problems that you attribute to a lack of talc.

    I'm trying to help you avoid the problems that you complained about initially. If you're not interested in learning anything, just say so and we can end this thread.

    What's you point? While I don't regularly ride descents much more than a mile long, the hills around here are steep and I'm no stranger to high speeds and long descents. What does that have to do with the topic of tubes?

    If you want to get into a discussion of harrowing situations, I could tell you about descending at 30+ mph in the rain with 5 teammates and encountering a set of raised railroad tracks in the middle of an S-bend. All six of us jumped them successfully, dove into the exit corner, then looked at each other as if to say "What the Hell just happened?". So what? Again, this has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

    The same is true for your medical condition and the anecdotes about injuries. As cyclists, we all face challenges and dangers when we ride. I have sympathy for your injured and traumatized friends, but it's another diversion from the original discussion

    The original Silca heads are just like the one pictured, except that they had a barbed fitting on the end instead of threads. They have a rubber seal. I've never seen a Silca head with a spring in it, so apparently you're referring to something relatively new. I've also never seen a Silca head with a leather seal, but I have Silca pumps with leather seals on the plunger head.
     
    #8 BrianNystrom, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  9. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    No, I've never done that or needed to. If you install the tire and tube properly none of that is necessary.

    Again, this is not an issue if the tire/tube is properly installed.

    That has never happened to me. In the thousands of tubes I've changed, I don't ever recall seeing that. It is obviously an aberration caused by incompetent installation.

    Look, if you want to go through a bunch of unnecessary gyrations in order to avoid learning how to properly install a freakin' tube, be my guest. Apparently, you're absolutely convinced that you're a more accomplished mechanic than people who don't suffer the same problems with tubes that you do. Have you noticed that nobody else has indicated that they have the same issues? That should tell you something.

    This thread has become a waste of time, as you obviously have no interest in learning anything. Hopefully, others reading this will learn from your mistakes and understand my instructions for avoiding them. Good luck to you.
     
  10. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    If you never inflated a tube and then let the air out and reinflated it you have never properly installed a tube. While it generally isn't necessary most butyl tubes can get a twist in them while installing and pumping them to pressure can ruin a tube. Funny how Froze finds it proper to use talc while you are telling us it isn't necessary. It isn't necessary to have your handlebars taped either.

    If you never recall having seen that either you have a poor memory or very poor observations skills.

    How many tires and tubes have you installed on Campy Scirroco CX wheels? Funny that I don't have that problem with the Campy Neurons or Neutrons or Protons with non-aero rims. But you obviously use an anodized aluminum aero rims all the time that are designed to be so tight that the last 2 feet have the tires stretched so tight that they do not have sufficient room in them to fit an inner tube unless the installed bead has been shoved against the opposite wall. Something that new tires won't do until they have been worn in. Or tools are used.

    What has become a waste of time is some egotistical ass who believes that he knows more than anyone else. Who is willing to tell me that I don't know what I'm doing because I have trouble using super sticky tires and standard butyl innertubes without talc.

    You haven't even seen a glass puncture pull a slice in a tube which anyone that has used modern tires will see sooner or later.

    And I especially like your attitude that if you haven't seen it, it doesn't exist even after having it described to you. The valve end of the pump was made from brass and was different from the one's that they are using now. Another comical ignorance is your idea that they were using rubber seals on these pump head since they started making these pumps in 1917 and the rubber available at that time wouldn't have worked for a week in a "push on pull off" mechanism.

    If you have never seen this why are you pretending it never existed?
     
    #10 cyclintom, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  11. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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  12. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    Looking in the mirror, are we? :p

    This really is getting way too funny! The more you rant, the less sense you make.
     
    #12 BrianNystrom, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  13. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    The reason I mentioned this was because the tires and butyl tubes on black anodized rims with a black rim strip make it nearly impossible to see if you have the tube properly seated and not trapped under the bead of the tire. That using talcum would greatly decrease the chances of this happening.

    That when I used a RED latex tube it was easy to see if it was properly seated and had the additional advantage of reducing rolling resistance enough that you could actually feel lower friction.

    Froze didn't seem to have a problem with that but from you we get that I don't know what the F I'm doing when you don't even know what I'm talking about. Then you tell me that you NEVER saw any such pump head as I described and I SHOWED you your F'ing ideas of what is right and wrong are so screwed up that I don't believe for a second that you EVER worked as a bicycle mechanic. As a matter of fact I would be surprised if you could fix a flat by the side of the road.

    Tell me - could you actually FIND that brass pump head I described or wasn't a reference enough for you? You know - that pump head that you said never existed?
     
  14. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    The method I've been trying to explain to you doesn't require me to be able to see the tube, because it's up in the tire where it belongs and doesn't get trapped under the beads.

    I'm so thrilled for you that I'm nearly speechless!

    Who or what is Froze?

    That's correct, I've never seen one, which is exactly what I said. I never said that it didn't exist, you made that nonsense up yourself.

    And before you go off another stupid rant about talc, I said repeatedly that it's a good idea, but that I don't find it necessary. You made up the other crap you were spewing.

    I really don't care what you believe but one thing's for certain, I would never fix a flat for you. You seem to be the one with your panties all in a wad and you're obviously losing control. Wipe the foam off your chin, take your meds and calm down. I don't want to be blamed for you having a stroke.

    I particularly like your insane tirade about pump head seals. Let me see if I have this straight. In 1917, they had tires with rubber tubes in them and rubber treads on them, but they didn't have rubber that would work as a seal in a pump head? Yeah, right. I suppose the next thing you'll be telling us was that they made seals from unicorn leather and powdered their tubes with pixie dust. Perhaps they didn't have access to rubber due to the war (I have no idea), but if they actually did use leather seals, it wasn't because suitable rubber didn't exist.

    I've had enough of this nonsense and I'm not going to risk angering forum moderator(s) over the likes of you. If it makes you feel better, you can tell yourself that you "won". Have a nice life...
     
    #14 BrianNystrom, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  15. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever heard of these new fangled items called "tubeless tires"? You know, the ones that have a higher rim depth so that fitting the tire pulls both beads to the center of the rim making it almost impossible to have the tire up into "where it belongs" when mounting?

    No of course you haven't because you're riding a Schwinn.

    Were that only the case. Instead you throw in totally ignorant advice where it isn't even correct.

    Case in point.

    Oh, that must be why you said, " I've never seen a Silca head with a spring in it, so apparently you're referring to something relatively new. " Or in your rush to tell me I didn't know what I was doing did that miss your observations?

    There apparently is a lot of things that "you" don't find necessary because you know so much. After all, you were a bike store manager and you tell us that you were a mechanic but I have never seen a mechanic that knew so much as you.

    Who suggested for one second that you do anything? Personally I don't believe you have the slightest idea what you're talking about. The insulting comments you make are from someone in their early 20's and make you look the fool.

    More of your vast experience showing. Because they had rubber tires they had to have rubber that wouldn't have been torn to pieces in two or three uses. Because they had rubber it wouldn't have mattered in the least that people's vast experience with leather wouldn't have been overridden by the great dream of developing the ability to mold small rubber parts that were actually flexible and tear resistant.

    I'll bet you believe in man-made global warming and would have voted for Obama if you were old enough.
     
    #15 cyclintom, Feb 7, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  16. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I'm trying to figure out how I got into this arguement!

    The problem with latex is even if you just barely get it caught on a rim it can tear, I did this back in the early days of clinchers when I first started using them and didn't know how to install the tube and tire onto the rim real well, latex tore easy, heck just the tire lever accidently contacting the tube tore it, that never happened with butyl. They are a fragile tube subject to tearing, and they are fragile when aired up from punctures. Also back in the day all tubes came with talic on them, now you have to do it yourself, but the talic does make the tire and tube combo go together easier, but tests results have shown that you can save about a watt or 2 of power by putting talic on tubes...even butyl tubes, something to do with the tube sliding around inside the tube vs sticking to it reduces wattage, I don't know the science behind that.

    I've had tough tires before, in fact Specialized Aramdillo All Condition tires were a pain to put on, I tried all the stunts I knew and the last 2 or 3 inches would not go, so a bike mechanic recommended the VAR tire lever, see: https://www.amazon.com/Var-Nylon-Tire-Lever-System/dp/B004YJ30M8 I bought mine from the mechanic, but this thing popped that tire on like it was almost nothing, and the way it is designed it's all but impossible to get the tube pinched between the tire and the rim, plus it's small enough to fit into seat bags unlike bigger tire bead jacks.

    The Specialized Armadillo was a wire bead job those I've found to be more difficult then folding bead tire, combined that with a really thick and stiff sidewall and you got your work cut for you. I'm wondering how difficult it is going to be to put on my Schwalbe Marathon wire beaded tire on my touring bike...but I have the VAR so it shouldn't be a big deal.
     
  17. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    The Michelin latex tubes I have aren't that sensitive and hitting those big potholes (especially nasty are water main valves with the top cover missing.) they are flexible enough to take the hit without compression flats.

    I bought some Michelin Pro4 Endurance tires and the reduction in rolling resistance jumped right out at you. Then I heard that if you cut them they would peel away from the carcass. The fix was supposed to be the Power Endurance so I bought a set of those and they did not have that reduced rolling resistance. But installing the latex tubes in the Power Endurance tires brought the rolling resistance down to what the Pro4's were. Next flat I get on the Pro4's I'll install a latex tube and see if that reduces the rolling resistance more.

    For a long time the only real flat proof tires you could get were Armadillos but MAN are they expensive. (locally $83 apiece.) Gatorskins have better flat proof road surfaces but the sidewalls cut easier.

    Most of these tires and rims today are designed to be used tubeless so they fit much tighter than before. Folding bead tires do stretch out a little and become easier to install but wire beads always remain a headache.
     
  18. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    The Armadillo All Condition tire is not that expensive, they're about $45 and are priced fixed so it doesn't matter where you buy them the price will be the same. When I moved to the Mojave Desert area of S Calif, I was getting about 2 flats a day due to goatheads, after a lot of experimention and frustration an LBS in the town said to try the Armadillos, which I did and my flats went to ZERO with over 15,000 miles of riding. Todays Armadillos are lighter then the ones I used back in the late 80's and late 90's by about 150 grams. I couldn't tell the difference between butyl and latex tubes at all, and according to tire rolling resistance tests the result of gain was only 2 to 3 watts using latex, and only 1 watt if you put talic on a butyl tube.
     
  19. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if that is a different model but I did buy a set recently of "Armadillos" and they were $83 apiece. And they didn't last very long - maybe 1,500 miles. And I had to buy them in a Specialized shop.
     
  20. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I hate to say this but I think your LBS ripped you off. Specialized has price fixing on their tires, this means you can buy the tire directly from them or an LBS and pay the same, see: https://www.specialized.com/us/en/e...o:categoryProperty:Mountain&text=#result-list If you notice Specialized doesn't have any Armadillo tire over $55. My LBS sells them for the same price as the Specialized website, and they told me they can't raise or lower the price without Specialized telling their dealers to do so.

    The tire I got was the All Condition model, that tire lasted me about 4500 miles but I do rotate my tires sort of. If I install a new set of tires I run them till the rear is worn, toss the rear, put the front tire on the rear and a new one on the front. If I don't do that the rear tire will last about (Armadillo's case) 3500 and the front about 5500. It's always wise to put the newest tire on the front simply because you lessen the chance of a blow out plus the tread is better which gives you better traction on the front.

    I will tell you this, with the old Armadillo All Condition tire I wore a rear once down to the cords, then I got my first flat with it from a pebble of all things; since the sidewalls was so thick and stiff I decided to try an experiment, I rode 5 miles back home with it flat! The dang tire not only held up without shredding the sidewalls but my rim didn't get damaged either. I was constantly monitoring the rim to make sure it wasn't getting damaged and I never went over 10 mph. Obviously I wouldn't recommend anyone trying this but I sometimes like to test things beyond their limits, and since the tire was already wasted what the heck.

    New model of the All Condition tire weighs about 150 grams less then the ones I had, not sure what they did to reduce the weight and still keep the puncture resistance high, because that's a lot weight taken off, so something had to give I would think. According to the reviews on the Specialized site for those tires they still are difficult to put on, so the sidewalls must be as stiff and thick as they use to be. I found a tool made by VAR that allowed me to put those tires on fairly easily, see: https://www.amazon.com/Var-Nylon-Tire-Lever-System/dp/B004YJ30M8 This tool fits in my seat bag which the tire bead jack tool cannot; it also makes it all but impossible to get the tube caught between the rim and the tire. I also recommend for people using any stiff beaded tire to have a set of Somo Steel Core tire levers, because I broke one of mine once but it was also 36 degrees outside which made the plastic brittle.

    One of the reviewers said nothing can penetrate the tire but staples, nails, tacks, and other metal objects, hmmm, not sure what to think about that because I've had that stuff hit my tires over the 7 years and over 15,000 miles I used them and all that stuff did was get stuck in the tire and bend inside without ever penetrating the tire, I just had to pull it out and ride on. So not sure if that means the flat protection belt is not as good as it use to be or the reviewer was just yakking about something he knew nothing about.

    I do know that if you want the ultimate in flat protection and long wear the go with the Schwalbe Marathon tires, they cost a bit more but I found them on sale for $36 last month so I got a set for my touring bike, haven't used them yet, but they look nice! I'm going to heat the tires up beside my fireplace stove before I put them on, the heat should soften it up enough to put on easier.
     
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