As I last reported, my rear tire failed on a fast descent. It had about 2,500 miles, 3 percent of those miles on dirt. The brand is Bontrager, All Weather Hard Case 700×28, wire bead, rated at 100 psi and retailing for about $44.
I have ridden the Bontrager Select 700×28 and like it better than the All Weather, which doesn’t seem to have anything going for it in terms of riding in different weather or flat protection, other than the name.
I was hoping for 3,000 miles, but from what I’ve been reading, 2,500 miles is about right for tire life. I have read numerous accounts or riders claiming 5,000 miles, but I’ve never had a tire last that long in my 30-plus years of riding. I’ve had plenty of tires make it to 3,000+ miles.
This leads to a word of advice. Always check your tires for bulges (something I failed to do), especially at the bead. There’s nothing worse than a front blowout. Jobst Brandt, author of The Bicycle Wheel, had one of those around 2007 descending the back side of Mt. Hamilton at 40 mph.
The crash left him with a bloody head, scrapes and bruises. He did not finish the ride. The tire was a Continental Ultra 2000, one of the less expensive models minus the reinforced protective sheath around the wire bead.
I checked my Nashbar Prima 2 front tire, which had the same number of miles, and sure enough it had a bulge. It’s 700×25, rated at 100 psi and retails for about $15.
So this begs the question: Is a $44 tire better than a $16 tire? I ran the economy tire on the front, so it’s hard to say how long it would last on the rear. Remember, a $60 tire cuts just as easily on a shard of glass as a $15 tire.
My big issue with tires is the lack of models in 700×28. Note that 28 mm is a nominal diameter. The Bontrager measured 27 mm. The Nashbar tire was a true 25 mm.
I’ve never tried Michelin tires but I’ve used Continental ever since Avocet shut down. I liked the Avocet tires for their traction, low rolling resistance and durability. They were made by IRC, which still makes bike tires. However, their 700×28 is a low-end model.
The late Sheldon Brown has excellent information about tires on his website.
I’ll let you know how my new tires hold up.