A Case for the Hardcase


This tire protected the tube and maintained its integrity.


A year and a half ago, on my way home from work, I heard a thumping sound coming from my bike. I pulled over, stepped off the bike and BAAM! The tube in my back tire exploded and shredded the tire. Fortunately, I was only a few blocks from a bike shop. A few miles farther into my commute, I would have had to call someone for a ride (at the time, my commute was 10 miles each way).

I was using a road bike for my commute. The tires were Specialized All-Condition Sport. They’d provided reasonable puncture resistance for several thousand miles. I had one puncture flat with them before the blowout. I have no idea what I ran over that day to compromise the tire that badly.

I asked for the toughest road bike tires they had to replaced both tires. They presented Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase. As I struggled to get them on the rims, I thought, “These things better be tough as nails! I don’t want to change a tube when I’m in a hurry.” They were tough. Those tires have seen many miles since then without a single flat.

dingdarlingI ran over something (probably a sharp shell embedded in the rocky pavement at Ding Darling) that took a deep chunk out of the tire. I rode it another 8 miles without noticing — the tube was safe and the tire didn’t even have the slightest bulge.

I suspect that kind of damage to a lesser tire would have resulted in instant destruction… and having to call someone to pick me up.

11 replies
  1. Rantwick
    Rantwick says:

    +1 for these tires – I’ve been using them trouble-free for almost three summer seasons now. Same experience getting these suckers mounted though.

  2. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    My Pashley came with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres as standard equipment. I’ve never, ever had a puncture. I love them!

    In recent years I’ve stopped doing things like mounting my own tires. When I was a younger man I did all my own bike maintenance. Now it is so much easier and convenient to let a bike shop do it. It also helps to have a low-maintenance bike like the Pashley.

    • Lovely Bicycle!
      Lovely Bicycle! says:

      Kevin – My husband and I have the Marathon Plus tires on our Pashleys as well, but we would not dream of putting them on a road or touring bike. They are extremely heavy and slow, which makes them work for a transport bike such as the Pashley, but not in other contexts. Even for city cycling I prefer Delta Cruisers, which also have great puncture-protection, but are zippier than the Marathon Plus.

  3. fred_dot_u
    fred_dot_u says:

    If only those hardcase tires would be available in 406×28 (20″x1.10″), I’d be on them in a flash. I’m running Schwalbe Durons, nice and grippy, fast and light and fragile as a butterfly wings.

    Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires lasted me 7500 miles with zero punctures, but heavy as lead compared to the Durons and the smallest was 1.35 and they rub in my wheel wells.

    Nice photo, Keri, I’d be just as happy as you to see that sort of thing after a ride.

  4. eddie
    eddie says:

    I use Hook worms on my pedicabs and they run from 830 am until 4 am, so they hold up. I had them on my peugoutcrazyhorse/xtracycle and I felt like a monstertruck.
    great during hurricanes.

    now I run pasela tg or the new ribmos.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      I’ve never used the Gatorskins. I’d be most interested in reports from other readers who have.

      I’ve had Panaracer RiBMo tires on my Surly since I bought it and have been puncture-free so far. I don’t have a computer on that bike so I don’t know the mileage, but it is my primary transport bike and carried me on the tour from Richmond to Philly last summer.

      • Lovely Bicycle!
        Lovely Bicycle! says:

        Thanks. We have the Gatorskins on one of our vintage Motobecane roadbikes and Panaracer Tour Guards on the other, both 27″ x 32mm. We have ridden them through the summer and fall 2009 in pretty diverse conditions (city, sand trails, gravel paths, marsh roads strewn with shell fragments, shipyards with metal shards all over, etc.) and they are just fine. The Gatorskins are a tad faster than the Tourguards, but the Tourguards feel a bit cushier and more stable for beginners. I am building up a custom mixte for spring, and am still thinking about the tires (700 x 32c), hence the interest.

  5. Chandra
    Chandra says:

    i have vittoria rando pro on my co-motion americano and Continental Top Touring 700 x 35c on my cannondale t-800. knock-on-toptube, no puncture in over two years on the contis and none in over 1 year on the vittorias.

Comments are closed.