Note: Photos of My Schwalbe Durano Tires Below
This is less of a review and more of a preview as I have not ridden these tires. I just purchased the Schwalbe Durano's to replace my Specialized Fatboys. I considered the Continental Ultra Gatorskins, the Specialized All Condition II Pro's, and Michelin WildRun'R Advance.
Why Durano? Well for starters Schwalbe seems to have a great reputation in the Recumbent World. I read as many reviews as I could find on 559 Slicks. Over and over Schwalbe kept coming up. Continental had only the one option in a lightweight slick with puncture protection. Unfortunately in the 559 size the Ultra Gator Skins are only available in wire bead. I read way too many reviews of how hard the Ultra Gator Skins are to mount and how stiff they ride. The Michelin WildRun'R Advance is new for 2010 so there were virtually no reviews. Michelin also provides very little information on the tire - I suppose they expect you to buy into their Brand Identity. Plus at this time they appear to only be available in France. And while I've had a decent experience with Specialize Tires in the past I've never had a set last very long. They seem to start falling apart around 1,000 miles. There were plenty of online reviews to support this observation.
So after evaluation this left the Schwalbe Kojak and the Schwalbe Durano. I chose the 559 28 (26x 1 1/8) folding tire because of the weight and claims of durability. Schwalbe states that in circumstances where the tires are not under load and ridden normally you may get up to 6,500 miles! (This is stated right on the Schwalbe Site). So I figured if I was going to spend $45 on a tire it might as well last! Plus the tires are only 260 grams so I can still run liners and be light enough for the style of riding I do. I dread flats as it is such a pain to change flat tube out on the road. I read some great things about the Kojak, but I wanted to go with a narrower tire without a wire bead at a higher PSI to get the rolling resistance down a bit. The trade off will probably be a bit harsher ride, but my bike is suspended and I have a very thick foam seat cushion so I believe it will work out well for me. If I had a non-suspended bike I would have bought the Kojak's.
The only downside to my purchase is that I had to order the Schwalbe Durano tires online and wait about a week for the tires to show up. I visited about a half dozen local bike shops and none of them had Schwalbe. Everyone was pushing Continental or Specialized.
When my tires arrived they were stamped Made in Indonesia. While Schwalbe is a German Company like most companies they take advantage of low labor rates in Asian Countries. I have posted a video in the Parts Section about how Schwalbe Tires are made.
My first impression upon taking the tires out of the box are they are manufactred to a very high standard. The Tread itself feels about the same thickness as the Specialized Fatboy's they replace. The materials in the Durano Tires just feel different, they feel "softer". One thing I noticed is that after mouting on my bike and spinning the tires they seem to be very true! I hope this helps any of you looking for 26" 559 tires for your recumbent. I'll probably add a bit more informaiton as I begin to pile up miles!
----------------------------------------------- Update -----------------------------------------------------
I've had a chance to put a few miles on the Duranos now. In comparison to the Fatboys they don't ride as smoothly, but it's pretty close. I don't know how much better the ride would be with a 1.35 version. The added PSI 115/8 Bar doesn't seem to make them roll any better than the Fatboys. Because of the narrower profile and the higher PSI I had hoped for a little less rolling resistance.
The Duranos are more "sticky" than the Fatboys and in my opinion grip the road better and corner better. They feel very solid underneath me and I'm not afraid to corner. I have not tired them on wet pavement as I don't like to ride in the rain.
As far as speed goes I haven't really taken a hit per se... seem to ride about the same speed. It's pretty subjective at this point as there was a lot of wind today on my usual route and as you know when you are riding in wind it seems to be into a headwind both ways! Actually lots of gusty crosswinds today made it hard for me to get up to my usual speeds. So while not disappointed with the speed, but I had hoped to pick up maybe 1-2mph.
So should you buy the Schwalbe Durano or the Kojak? That's a tough one to answer. In 559 the Kojak are only available in wire bead. They weigh an additional 35 grams, but I would bet they do roll better. But I doubt the will last nearly as long and they are about the same price.
FYI: I'm running tire liners in the Duranos right now. Kind of self defeating one might suggest to run such a light tire with a liner. I considered the Durano Plus but then I wouldn't have the option to pull the liner.
It's 6's really. I'd bet the Durano is a great Trike Tire as it is grippy and offers a better than expected ride.
Update 2: I now have about 900 miles on the Durano Tires and they look almost brand new. The sidewall is supple and the tread hardly worn. At this same point (900 miles) the sidewalls on the Fatboy Tires were starting to separate and small chunks or holes were forming in places on the tread. Durano really does appear to be a durable tire!
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