If there’s one thing that continues to baffle me it’s the cost of tires. You’d think with the cost of oil going down, tire prices would have hit a plateau and leveled off. But, not so.
And, it doesn’t matter what kind of tires they are: car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle. And, quite frankly, the more research I do the more I come to realize that the price we pay for tires in the U.S. is somewhat out of line with the cost of tires elsewhere in the world.
So, here’s the deal. As mentioned, the Calfee tandem wore through yet another Vredestein Fortezza and when I looked into my spare parts cabinet I discovered most of the tires that were taking up space were 60% worn-out 23mm racing tires, not the 25mm or 28mm tires we’ve started to use of late. So, after chucking out the dregs, I went out to do my homework on tires, hoping to find some 25mm – 28mm Vredesteins. Yeah, well… when bicycle tires are going for $50-80 a pop something’s wrong. Suffices to say, Vredestein and we have parted ways.
As part of a “what the heck” tire trial that I conducted when we bought the Triplet a few years back, I fitted a set of Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tires to both the triplet in 28mm and one of my single bikes int he 25mm size. It took a little getting used to during the tire break-in period as the Ultremo’s had a somewhat lower friction compound that didn’t hug the road like the Vredesteins. It became an acquired taste, so in the back of my mind Schwalbe tires have remained my 2nd choice. Well, that’s not entirely true: I’d really like to throw a set of the Compass 28mm folding tires on the Calfee to see how they perform, but… once again, they’re cost prohibitive at $75/ea.
So, with just one more set of 25mm Vredestein Fortezza tires left in the tire bin and Debbie’s Calfee Luna Pro needed some new skins, I went ahead and ordered up two sets of 25mm tires from my current go-to source for tires, Wiggle / Chain Reaction cycles in the UK. I feel bad because as much as I’d really like to patronize my local shops, I can’t wrap my head around paying 45% more for a set of $55 tires that will wear out in about 4-6 months. They’re tires… consumable items, not meaningful upgrades.
Now, some of this is just being bullheaded when it comes to having a desire to ride on “performance tires” as I know that there are skins out there like the Panaracer Pasela that are more affordable and will last 2x – 3x longer than my performance tires. But, there’s just something about being able to dive into a curve with a soft, grippy tire that makes the climb up that hill worth it. Sadly, it’s the climb up those hills that eat away the tire compounds and send these grippy performance tires to the trash bin prematurely.
Anyway, more to follow. Looking forward to wearing out a few more sets of tires this year than we did last year!