People always ask me, “What kind of bicycle tires do you use on your travels all around the world?”
They usually go on to tell me that their friend… or the guy at their local bike shop… or some random stranger on the Internet recommended a particular type of tire (usually the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires), but they want my opinion on the matter.
My response is usually a something like this: “Those tires that you were told about are a good tire to start out with. But if you’re planning to spend several months on your bicycle (like you would during a bike tour across an entire continent… or around the world) then those are simply the tires you are going to start out with. At some point during your bike tour, those tires will need to be replaced. It doesn’t matter how good your tires are – at some point, they will need to be replaced with new ones! And when that time comes, you will have to use whatever types of tires you can find in the part of the world that you are currently in. And you probably won’t be able to find that particular brand/type of tire once you’re away from home. Instead, you’re going to have to use the best tire you can find in the area you happen to be.”
If you have the luxury of ordering any tire you want and having it shipped to your home (or your local bike shop)… and you have the time to wait around for days or weeks for that tire to arrive. Then great! Go for it!
But when you’re in the middle of a bike tour, far from home, in another country, etc… then you’ll have to use the best tires you can find in that particular part of the world.
Since I started bicycle touring in 2001, I’ve gone through dozens and dozens of different sets of bicycle tires. There is no one brand that I am loyal to. I simply buy the best bicycle tires I can find in the part of the world I happen to be passing through. Sometimes expensive tires fail after just a short period of time. Other times, a cheap set of tires can last an entire year or more.
In the video above I show you the Innova bicycle tires I purchased last year (2014) during my bicycle tour across Latvia and Estonia. These tires cost about $20 USD each and I was worried about them at the time, because I wasn’t sure how long they’d last me. In the end, they lasted more than a year… and I probably could have ridden them a whole lot longer if I wanted to. They started to develop some cracks in the exterior walls and along the tire tread, however, so I decided to replace them with an even cheaper tire that I picked up in my current location (Romania.)
My new Rubena bicycle tires (made in the Czech Republic) cost me only $9 USD each. I’m hoping they will get me through the next 4 months, but you just never know. Stay tuned for a future update… and I’ll let you know how well these new bike tires perform during my bicycle tour across Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Denmark, Norway and Sweden this summer.