Off-road capable commuter tyres?

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
I feel like I'm chasing a unicorn here, but if you'll humour me for a moment...

I ride 95% commuter pathways and roads, with 5% fire trails and single track exploring. My setup is a Giant Explore E+1 running Marathon Plus tyres and Tannus Armour inserts. It's been a brilliant combo for commuting. They're heavy but fast rolling, and have had zero flats since install about 5000 km ago.

I run them at about 60 - 70 psi but drop them down to 30 psi for the odd trail adventure. It's still a very squirrely setup on loose rock and steep inclines. The Explore is no hardcore trail monster. It's kitted out with rack, lights and fenders and my aggressive commuter geometry (high seat, low bars) so I'm under no illusions about what it's capable of. But this setup isn't ideal for the types of tracks I'm starting to explore. Here's an example of a few of them:
.

Are there any tyres out there that can retain some of the bulletproof puncture resistance of the Marathon's but throw a little more grip my way, without being knobbly, noisy, draggy beasts? If I took this more seriously I'd look at a second wheelset, but keen to avoid that expense right now.

Thanks for reading.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
I feel like I'm chasing a unicorn here, but if you'll humour me for a moment...

I ride 95% commuter pathways and roads, with 5% fire trails and single track exploring. My setup is a Giant Explore E+1 running Marathon Plus tyres and Tannus Armour inserts. It's been a brilliant combo for commuting. They're heavy but fast rolling, and have had zero flats since install about 5000 km ago.

I run them at about 60 - 70 psi but drop them down to 30 psi for the odd trail adventure. It's still a very squirrely setup on loose rock and steep inclines. The Explore is no hardcore trail monster. It's kitted out with rack, lights and fenders and my aggressive commuter geometry (high seat, low bars) so I'm under no illusions about what it's capable of. But this setup isn't ideal for the types of tracks I'm starting to explore. Here's an example of a few of them:
.

Are there any tyres out there that can retain some of the bulletproof puncture resistance of the Marathon's but throw a little more grip my way, without being knobbly, noisy, draggy beasts? If I took this more seriously I'd look at a second wheelset, but keen to avoid that expense right now.

Thanks for reading.
Good question! For me mara.+ were squirrely at any pressure, but I´m a big guy. Tried mondials, not better.
I´ḿ on green guards700/50. If you find sumpin´ better let me know.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Can fit 47-622? Smart Sam (DD, Raceguard version): I ride them on my Vado. Silent on-road, grippy off-road, durable.
P.S. Actually, I ride them (different size) on both Vado and Vado SL.

How about Schwalbe Johnny Watts, or Continental ERuban?
Either for 27.5" wheels, or too wide for Explore E+ on 28" wheels.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
I also ride with a Smart Sam on my Vado's front wheel for better control on our local gravel and dirt roads. I use a smoother tread on the rear for lower rolling resistance.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I also ride with a Smart Sam on my Vado's front wheel for better control on our local gravel and dirt roads. I use a smoother tread on the rear for lower rolling resistance.
If I put a 47-622 for the front, and a 51-622 on the rear, that would be bad?
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
Stefan, are these both Smart Sams? If so this combo adds a level of difficulty for loose surfaces as both tires want to grip, with more grip in the rear. More grip in the front is better for,loose surfaces.

With the front being a Smart Sam and the rear being smoother tread, I would think your combo might be a bit better on loose surfaces as the front tire has the 'grip' for control on looser surfaces and your rear has a bit more traction for drive. The bike will tilt some to the front so maybe some more pressure on your grips...
 

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
Thank you gentlemen for your recommendations. I appreciate all your experience and insight. @Sierratim I think our conditions are similar to yours, just without the vertical elevation!

I'm not actually sure of the rim specs (Giant EX-2, scant info online) but they came with grippy but wafer thing 622 x 45 tyres.

That's a good shortlist to work through. I'll run down the options:
  • Schwalbe Marathon Green Guards
  • Schwalbe Johnny Watts
  • Continental ERuban
  • Schwalbe Smart Sam
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Can fit 47-622? Smart Sam (DD, Raceguard version): I ride them on my Vado. Silent on-road, grippy off-road, durable.
P.S. Actually, I ride them (different size) on both Vado and Vado SL.


Either for 27.5" wheels, or too wide for Explore E+ on 28" wheels.
The stock Smart Sams on my bike rolled fast, had a very comfortable ride, but couldn´t seem
to go a week without a flat or busted spoke. I then went thru a number of ´mtn´ tires that faired no better.
I´ve had not a single issue in 2500 miles with the green guard marathons & they still show very little
wear. I even tried the S. Sams+ which also tended to slip on the rims tearing off valve stems or pinching
at the bead. Maybe they´d be great if the sidewalls were thicker & tougher.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
I also ride with a Smart Sam on my Vado's front wheel for better control on our local gravel and dirt roads. I use a smoother tread on the rear for lower rolling resistance.
I think Sams might be fine for lighter riders, but a 6´2¨, 240 they were an enormous pain itb. Even Leon Cycles
has admitted on their site these tires were a mistake. I tried the Sam+ on the rear, but faired no better. I have
to have higher PSI & tougher sidewalls. As far slipping in the rim, maybe my bike just has too much torque.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Schwalbe Johnny Watts
First of all, check available sizes. Probably the same for Continental ERuban.

These tyres are for e-SUVs and e-MTBs as all-rounders. Therefore they come mostly for 27.5" wheels, and are generally in plus size. Your wheels are 622 mm and require thinner tyres to fit your fenders.
 
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john peck

Well-Known Member
How about Schwalbe Johnny Watts, or Continental ERuban?
I checked these two. but none of the sellers provided specs as to psi or anything else for that
matter. The johnny watts tread design looks great for trails, but a bit clunky for ordinary riding.
The ruban looked better; wish I knew the psi?
 
Last edited:

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Stefan, are these both Smart Sams? If so this combo adds a level of difficulty for loose surfaces as both tires want to grip, with more grip in the rear. More grip in the front is better for,loose surfaces.

With the front being a Smart Sam and the rear being smoother tread, I would think your combo might be a bit better on loose surfaces as the front tire has the 'grip' for control on looser surfaces and your rear has a bit more traction for drive. The bike will tilt some to the front so maybe some more pressure on your grips...
Forget my question. A stupid idea. I was thinking of Smart Sam in the front and Electrak in the rear. If both were same size... but are not.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
The johnny watts tread design looks great for trails, but a bit clunky for ordinary riding.
Actually not correct. JWs are great all-rounders that are easy and quietly rolling on pavement and are aggressive off-road. You should not judge before you rode them.

JWs are generally designed for expensive e-bikes running plus tyres on 27.5", or for e-MTBs, owners of which ride more frequently in the city than off-road. Dave Matthews rides an e-MTB, hence his suggestion. (ERuban are direct competitor to JWs).
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Actually not correct. JWs are great all-rounders that are easy and quietly rolling on pavement and are aggressive off-road. You should not judge before you rode them.

JWs are generally designed for expensive e-bikes running plus tyres on 27.5", or for e-MTBs, owners of which ride more frequently in the city than off-road. Dave Matthews rides an e-MTB, hence his suggestion. (ERuban are direct competitor to JWs).
PSI? I finally found it for the E-Ruban 29¨x 2.10, 58 psi, other widths 55. 58 just might work for me, I like
the tread, a tad less aggressive than the johnny watts, but looks fast rolling. Testing tres, being the only
way to judge for myself has already become an expensive proposition. (thank you very much)
 

DaveMatthews

Well-Known Member
I checked these two. but none of the sellers provided specs as to psi or anything else for that
matter. The johnny watts tread design looks great for trails, but a bit clunky for ordinary riding.
The ruban looked better; wish I knew the psi?
Here's a chart...

 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Tyre inflation pressure mosty depends on their size (the thinner the tyre the higher inflation). Johnny Watts 27.5x2.6" take 17-38 psi.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Here's a chart...

Yeah, found it already. I´m on an e-mtn, but ride general use primarily. The ruban 2.10 looks perfect,
& not too pricy, narrow but good for gravel (?). The green guards are just okay on trail, not so good
uphill on a modestly technical trail. Still, for me they are great on pavement. When I wear ´em out,
I think I´ĺl go with the ruban,
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I just made this bike this morning. It has WTB's for urban, trekking and trails. The idea was for a do it all bike in any weather: 750W, 95Nm, rear internal brake.. I used Mr Tuffy for added flat protection without much added weight. The HB is because the guy's Dr. told him he cannot hunch and should change up positions.
 

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