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Choosing the right tires – Going the Distance (part 2)

/ tires

In ultra cycling as in many endurance sports keep moving is a main priority. This plays a huge role in connection with choice of tires. If you have not checked out my quick guide to tire types take a look here. In this article I’ll compare two very popular tires which are known for puncture protection, durability at a good price.

The tests
I have tested both tires on the road for feel, comfort, durability and puncture protection. My findings have been compared to a standardized test using a 77cm drum diameter, running with 200 RPM (28.8 km/h), a load of 42.5 kg, butyl tube (for clinchers), and controlled temperature between 21 and 23°C. The tires tested on the road were not the same but similar to the ones used in the lab.

The tires
Schwalbe Durano Plus (25mm clincher)
Continental GP 4 Season (25mm clincher)

It’s no secret that I’ve been working with Schwalbe through Project Ultra Cycling since 2016. Never the less I will be as objective as possible in the tests to give you the best possible advice.

The best-priced: Both
No difference in price between these two training tires. They are both mid-range when it comes to pricing. Great with more people being capable of riding good durable products.

Tire name Price €
Continental GP4 Season 49.90
Schwalbe Durano Plus 49.90

The lightest: Continental GP 4 Season
When comparing weight the tires are including a standard butyl inner tube (100g). Non of the two tires are actual lightweights but then again we would not expect that from all year around training tire. The Continental tire is quite a bit lighter than the Schwalbe though.

Tire name Weight (gram)
Continental GP4 Season 340
Schwalbe Durano Plus 480

The thickest: Schwalbe Durano Plus
The thickness of the center and the sidewall of the tires does give an indication of the durability and puncture protection before actually getting them out on the road. The Schwalbe Durano Plus has the thickest sidewalls protecting from cuts and punctures as well as the thickest center indicating a good durability.

Continental GP 4 Season Schwalbe Durano Plus
Tire Thickness Center 7.68mm 4.84mm
Tire Thickness Sidewall 0.71mm 1.49mm

The lowest rolling resistance: Continental GP 4 Season
Talking about rolling resistance it’s important to remember that tire pressure is the one thing which affects rolling resistance to most. The lab test was performed with 80, 100 and 120PSI (5.5, 6.9 and 8.3 Bar) to simulate the most common tire pressure for an average road rider. The road testing was performed with 6.0 Bar (front wheel) and 6.3 (rear wheel) with the 5% more pressure rear duo to the weight distribution of the total weight of me and the bike. The lab test shows that Continental GP 4 Season has the lowest rolling resistance without any of the two tires really being fast rollers.

Tire pressure Continental GP 4 Season Schwalbe Durano Plus
120PSI (8.3 Bar) 17.3 watt 19.7 watt
100PSI (6.9 Bar) 18.1 watt 20.6 watt
80PSI (5.5 Bar) 19.8 watt 22.9 watt

The most comfortable: ?
Let’s be honest. Training tires made for durability and puncture protection tend to be harsh compared to soft rubber like Schwalbe Pro One. Comfort-vise I’ve been happy to ride 2016, 2017 and 2018 on Durano Plus. The training is effective and more importantly they are (almost) bullet prof which means punctures will not be an excuse when riding on bad roads, in winter og even a bit of off-road. Surprisingly the comfort is of very high standards.

The most durable: ?
Without any long term test of the Continental GP4 Season it’s impossible to say anything about the durability. The thickness suggests that it might not be as durable as Durano Plus, which is a personal favorite of mine, when it comes to keeping me rolling throughout a whole year of ultra cycling.

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