Michael Cook has noticed something that we all wonder about every time we need to replace our tires, “why is there such a big price range?”. We’ve all been there every now and then. So we try to explain why some tires are so cheap and another break the bank!
Question: How can I choose the right tire at the right price for my bikes? It seems like you can pay anywhere from $15 to $65 per tire, and I’m not sure there’s enough difference to justify the huge range in prices. How can I know I’m getting value for my money?
Also, Do you have any recommendations for choosing a tire for a road tandem?
Yea, it’s the way of the world. I’m sorry to say, but if you buy cheap tires, they are either heavy and make you’re cycling feel like riding in soft cement, or they wear out very quickly, and you end up replacing them more often, so it’s a false economy.
Now when you buy expensive tires, they usually feel great and ride like a dream. But if they are very light, then they don’t tend to last very long either. Where the tire is made makes a big difference to the price, just like bikes. Asian made tires are much cheaper than European made tires.
It depends on the purpose
What’s the answer? Well, if you are racing, you will spend as much money as you can afford to get the best, so you might get the edge over the competition. If you are riding to work and need a hard-wearing tire, that doesn’t mean a cheap on, but usually a heavy one.
If you are riding for fun, fitness, or training, then you want a reasonably priced tire that’s going to feel good and last a bit of time. “Easier said than done,” I hear you say.
Ask what the other riders in your area are using and ask the workers at the local bike shop what they use. They should have a good idea of what are the best tires for your area. Try a few different tires, and when you find the one that fits the bill, stay with that one.
We like Vittoria, Continental, and Hutchinson. The Vittoria’s and the Continental’s cost a bit more, but they feel a little bit more lively. The Hutchinson’s when blown up really hard perform just as well but are less forgiving of rough roads, but they seem to last longer, but different road surfaces need different tires.
When I lived in another country, I only used Michelin’s, but here they chew up on the surface, so you have to find what suits you, your bike, your pocket, and your local road surface.
For your tandem… I know people who use the Continental Grand Prix, it’s light but hard-wearing. Also, the Panaracer Hi Road folding tire is a good recommendation. I hope we have explained things to help with your tire choice?