I have loads of tyres. I swap them on and off every now and then whenever I fancy a change. Yesterday I swapped out the bulletproof Marathon Tours for the super light and supple Compass Barlow Pass. I have had both on and off the bike at various times in the last five years. I’ve been riding on the Tours since the start of this year. Solely for the robust puncture protection they provide. I had a rash of flats and got fed up mending them. Thing is the Tours are very heavy and stiff.
The Barlow Pass tyres are the opposite. No sense in comparing them with the Tours. Different league completely. They’re lovely tyres. Really comfy and fast-rolling. They look great too. If the Tours are bulletproof the Barlow Pass is defenceless. The tyre was flat before I left the house. Couldn’t blame that one on the tyres. I think it was the inner tube being scared and wimping out of their new casings. A small section of the centre seam had split.
I sorted through a load of tubes in my bag of bike stuff. Four were good. Five needed patching up and three were beyond redemption. I replaced the tube and all was good.
Went out. I was really enjoying the ride on the Compass tyres. So comfortable. They absorb the bumps and vibrations brilliantly. The possibility of a flat was though not far from mind. Things were though going well. I decided to extend the regular 40 and go for 100km. It was all good for 60 km. Then came the telltale bounce. I pulled up. Removed the wheel. Pulled a half-inch metal staple out from the back tyre. Shook out my tools. Oh shit. Left the puncture repair kit at home on the kitchen side. Bollocks. That was the end of the ride.
A phone call home. The lovely wife was with me in the sag wagon 40 minutes later. Ahh well. As much as I like the Barlow Pass they’re simply not up to the roads I ride on never mind risking trails and towpaths I’ve decided to get a couple of Panaracer Gravelking SK folding tyres. 38mm. Black and brown. Not sure if the best of both worlds can ever be a reality with bike tyres but the reviews look good. I am reluctant to go tubeless for a few reasons. I shall see how I get on with them with a new tube in each.