What’s Up with Tires Nowadays???

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I’ve been having the worst time with clincher tires this season. With my shoulder all jacked up, changing tires and tubes isn’t all that easy. It seems like the clincher tires are getting worse and worse. Getting worse quality and wear while getting more expensive. It seems backwards.

I put a new Bontrager clincher on my front wheel about a month ago. I don’t know exactly how many miles I’ve ridden in that time, but it can’t be 1500. It wore through the tread. I could understand if it were a rear tire, but a front? It seems like all the clincher tires are getting worse. They don’t have straight treads, mount all weird, plus wear out in the blink of an eye.

And the cost of the things are starting to mirror tubulars. Most of the tubeless tires are approaching $100 now. I can see that is your going to race them, but for training, it is insane. The benefits of not changing a couple flats for an extra $50 doesn’t add up.

Anyway, just wanted to vent a little here. I’m in a rush, packing to head up to Madison for Elite Nationals, and noticed threads showing on my front tire and didn’t really feel like I had the time or energy to mess with it.

What's up with this tread?  It looks like they painted it on by hand.

What’s up with this tread? It looks like they painted it on by hand.

I put this tire on.  It seems to have tread on the inside and outside.   A choice of slick or tread.  Weird.

I put this tire on. It seems to have tread on the inside and outside. A choice of slick or tread. Weird.

Here's the slick choice.

Here’s the slick choice.

And Bill raced the criterium on Sunday on this tire when his race wheel went flat right before the race.

And Bill raced the criterium on Sunday on this tire when his race wheel went flat right before the race.

15 thoughts on “What’s Up with Tires Nowadays???

  1. Chad

    I know for a fact the bontrager tire pictured is made my kenda, I’ve toured the factory in Taiwan. This isn’t to bash kenda, they are very good bout testing and experimentation. For the last few years we tested several different tire compounds and most went back to the drawing board. The bontrager looks exactly(down to uneven dual-compound edge) like a soft compound tire they no longer make… Bontragers higher end tires are made by Victoria, should be better, or ask around. The kenda kriterium is one of my all time favorite tires, grippy, super long lasting. Like everything out there some is good, a lot is crap

  2. kenny

    It’s all about the weight weenies and weekend warriors. I heard the same thing about bontrager tires and tube, kenda made to trek specs, junk. I found the Kenda Tinker Juarez C2C Tire and they last 2k easy and knock on wood they resist punctured very well. Just not the lightest tire and they have a awful gold stripe.

  3. Clay Moseley

    Maxxis ReFuse! They last a good many miles, even on these crappy New Mexico roads. Just don’t ride them in the rain if you’re on technical roads. The Maxxis Courcheval is a great race tire, though.

  4. Daniel Russell

    Vittoria Rubino Pro Slick, lasts forever, tread does not get hard and slick, supple feel like a tubular. For years I had used Continental Ultra 2000 which last a long time but the tread does get hard and slick, also not supple but still a good tire. The Rubino is like the old Continental Giro tubular, great tire that goes and goes. Sometimes the best tires are not the most expensive.

  5. Velo-er

    Steve, have you made the jump to 25mm wide tires? They have the same rolling resistance (or lower) than narrower tires but the comfort and cornering is much, much better.

    I’m about your height and wt and run my vittorias at 80-85 psi. Plush and super sticky.

  6. Fabio Cardoso

    Steve, I think you have a point. I remember riding on Continental tires for training and getting about 3000 to 4000 miles on them. By 4000 miles there was no more rubber on the center of the tire. Now I ride 2000 and the thing is just junk. Now the pricing is also getting up there…. 🙁

    Happy rides

  7. jed schneider

    i’ve been getting about 2k miles on the tubeless hutchy fusion 3’s. I’ve had one flat in the last 2 years on them. They are about 80 bucks if you shop around if i recall correctly.

  8. Jon Nelson

    How about tubes? Anybody noticed a higher than average amount of tubes blowing out just outside of the reinforced part by the valve stem.

  9. Go Blackhawks

    I’ve moved onto Mavic from Continental’s, primarily for cost. I dont have a ton of miles on them yet, but so far so good.

    Jon, Im having a greater problem with tubes not inflating evenly, and adding to strange tire wear. I noticed the wobble and it turned out I had the tube tearing through the side of the tire. Im thankful it held and did not completely blow out.

  10. KU

    Bontrager tires just don’t ride or wear all that well. I change tires all day and they are better than years past, tubes included. Price inflation is a result of rubber prices increasing.

  11. Kimberly Coats

    Team Rwanda has been riding Vittoria tires for years. They are by far the best! In the Tour of Congo, 8 stages, 900km of really bad roads we had ZERO flats on the 4 person team. Also tested some new Vittoria’s in Sardinia in April….25’s not yet on the market but the best tires I’ve ever ridden. Stick with Vittoria and it will be a non issue with race flats. If they’re strong enough for African racing it’s strong enough for US roads.

  12. Devin

    I’ve actually noticed a reverse trend in my tire wear, but I attribute it to wider rims and lower tire pressure. My hypothesis is that the lower rolling resistance and therefore less bouncing over all the micro-bumps in the road keeps the tread from wearing away from friction like a high pressure tire. Also, it widens the contact patch so the wear is less noticeable. All this with those paper thin Schwalbe ZX slicks. For the record, I use a 23 on the front, 25 on the back and around 65 psi in both; I weigh about 150. High volume tires- cats meow as far as I’m concerned.

  13. peter k


    Have a look at Schwalbe Durano’s for training and Ultremo’s for racing. Most of the other tires are being made 1ml smaller to cut down the weight and with newer rims having taller sidewalls, this will contribute to making the tire harder to get on the rim.

  14. Neal

    I agree, tried out the new Michelin Pro 4 Comp’s and they roll great and ride really well, however after about 2,500 miles they seem to be nearly worn out, front tire is getting down to threads. I like them put will likely just keep them on the race wheels. I can remember getting 5-6k out of a pair of pro 3’s.


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