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Tire tpi question...(4 posts)

Tire tpi question...DT
May 8, 2002 6:52 PM
What's the difference between, say, 60-tpi and 220-tpi? Does one give a softer ride, or does one typically last longer? I'm looking for decent-priced tires to use mostly for training that last a long time...I can't afford to pay $60 per tire only to find out they're only good for 500 miles or so. Thanks!
Axial Kevlar - $20/ea at performance (nm)mduell
May 8, 2002 7:53 PM
re: Tire tpi question...xxl
May 9, 2002 2:38 AM
The difference between 60 and 220-tpi is 160 threads, right? This means more/finer threads are used in the construction of the latter's casing. Typically, this adds to cost, but improves performance (a more supple casing "follows" the road better), yields a stronger casing, that can handle higher pressure, and is generally lighter. You might notice the better tires usually have higher thread counts.

Having said that, you should realize that "tire life," for the vast majority of us mere mortals, is mostly a function of tread compound (i.e., "rubber"), and casing construction doesn't really enter into the equation as much; compare how many flats, vs. sidewall failures, you've had. Unfortunately, there isn't a tire tread grading system for bikes (like for cars), so you're going on reputation. I do know that high-end "race" tires most definitely aren't going to last, as they're not designed for that. Their tread compounds are typically formulated to be a bit "soft," so as to grip the road better; this compromises durability, but you're not supposed to care when you're basking in the limelight of the podium. They also usually use less tread compound, to keep the weight down.

For my training tire money, I usually buy whatever top brands are being closed out by the major catalogs, usually at about the $16-25 range. I've been happy with Panaracers, Contis, and Vittorias.
Not quite rightKerry
May 9, 2002 4:49 PM
While rubber compound does influence tire wear, there is not that much difference in compounds - perhaps 10% difference in wear, which is only 250 miles out of a typical 2500 miles (rear tire, 180 lb rider). What really influences tire wear is rubber thickness. Comparing a Conti GP with a Michelin Axial Pro, the Conti has much thinner side walls and much more tread rubber, so you get roughly 2X the wear. A Conti GP3000 has a tread just as thin as a Michelin, and they get about the same mileage. And since you can get GP 3000, Axial Pro, and Vredestein Fortezza Tri Comp for about $30 from LaBicicletta, that seems a reasonable way to go vs. the $20 "beater" tires. The thing to stay away from is things like Supersonics, which are ultra-light and ultra thin. YMMV