For riders of small-wheel bikes... - CycleBlaze

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For riders of small-wheel bikes...

Keith Adams

Do you carry a spare tire?  Tubes, yeah obviously, of course.  But a tire?

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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith Adams

Is 20” small enough to qualify?  No, we’ve never carried spare tires, nor had cause to wish we had.  Why the question?  Do you think the answer might be different for larger wheels?

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4 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Scott Anderson

Yes 20 inch counts.  That's what is on my New World Tourist.

While I would expect any bike shop to have 700C tires, it seems to me that finding 20 inch ones may not be so easy, especially in the hinterlands.

I an trying to assess whether carrying a spare may be worth the bother.

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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith Adams

I wouldn’t recommend it.  We’ve both ridden New World Tourists for all of our longer tours for years and never needed them; however we tend to replace them before they get so worn that it seems a risk.  We’ve needed to replace them a few times while on tour and haven’t had any real problem finding replacements.  
Tubes are a different matter though, especially overseas where it’s been hard to find 20” tubes with a Schrader valve.  I’ve started carrying grommets that you can insert into the rim hole to take up the slack if you need to use presta valves - you can order them from Bike Friday.

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4 weeks ago
Mark BoydTo Keith Adams

Walmart carries 20" BMX  tires as well as 26" and 700c tires that are not great but are  usable for touring. They also carry tubes for all of the above. In Europe I carry spares. 

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4 weeks ago
Rich FrasierTo Keith Adams

Hi Keith -

Yes, we do carry a spare tire for our 20 inch (406) tires when touring.  We ride a Bike Friday tandem and I’ve had problems before trying to source a tire after a blowout.  Even in a reasonably-sized town in France, all I could find were low pressure BMX tires.  We had to abandon the trip in the end.  

A Schwalbe Marathon folds down small enough to fit in the bottom of a pannier, so that’s what we carry.  For me it’s worth the peace of mind.

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4 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Scott Anderson

Thanks.

My rims came with the Presta "grommets" already installed so I've only ever needed / used Presta tubes.

I've ruined a brand new tire when I didn't see and hit a large screw, which dragged some of the internal wires into the inside of the casing, resulting in a string of flats.  The eventual solution was to replace a tire that had less than 250 miles on it, after which all was again well.  

It was this sort of scenario that prompted me to pose the question about carrying a spare.

I'll be mounting fresh new Marathons shortly before departure and expect them to last until I get home.  If they wear faster than that I may contact my preferred source (The Hostel Shoppe) and have replacements sent to some place down the road from where I happen to be, then collect and mount them when I arrive.  That will be driven by circumstance, though.  Time alone will tell if that's needed.

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4 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Rich Frasier

Thanks Rich.

When on our European tours I've always packed a spare and left it in the support / luggage van (we don't do self-contained tandem tours, it's not my wife's thing) to be mounted if needed.  Once or twice I've had to do so, but most often they come home with the rest of the luggage and not on the bike.

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4 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Mark Boyd

Thanks Mark.  I hadn't considered Wally World as a possible source of almost anything... it's good to be reminded that flexible thinking and adaptation are assets when on the road.  I tend to get locked into a single trajectory of thought and overlook alternatives.

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4 weeks ago
Ray SwartzTo Keith Adams

I have a New World Tourist and have done some 1 month tours on it in Europe. I carry a folding Marathon tire. It folds down to a smallish package (about the size of a 16oz package of spaghetti). I've never had to use it, but, in my experience, tire wear on the NWT is greater than on my full-sized touring bike.

I've tried to source 20-inch tires from local bike shops and found that the BMX-style tires that they tend to carry either are too fat for my forks or are very knobby and not something I want to ride on.

I carry all my gear on the back of my NWT and have found that the rear tire wears much more quickly than the front. I haven't had to replace my  current set of Marathons (no touring since Covid) but did "rotate" them to try and get some more even wear.

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4 weeks ago