The covers are one of the most important components of our bicycles and that surely less case we do since we assemble them.
In many of our outings, we agree with the people who usually ask us why they choose the cover model, as well as the maintenance of these. Given the headaches that this brings to more than one, we bring you a few useful tips on the world of covers.
Before starting, it is necessary to make clear a couple of things. What is good for you and your bike, may not be for me. It is important to emphasize that the way of driving of each one is different and the cover that works well for me, my friend or my cousin, may not work well for you and vice versa.
It happens something similar to what happens in Formula 1, why using all the same tire, some give a different performance than others. Well, the same thing happens here.
That said, the first thing you should record in your mind is that there is no polyvalent tire or the perfect tire. Many ask us for a cover that does not ballast on the plain, has a lot of traction when it goes down and also works well when it rains…
Forget, that does not exist. When a cover stands out in a feature, rest assured that it penalizes another. The ideal thing is to look for something balanced, and if you live in some area with a characteristic climate (very dry or with abundant rains), opt for a tire that suits those conditions.
What Are the Best Mtb Tire Brands?
Although we would love to answer this question, we are sorry to tell you that it has no answer. Maxxis, Schwalbe, Hutchinson, Continental, Michelin, Vittoria …There are no better or worse brands, there are only good covers, regular covers or bad covers.
Well, it would be better explained if we say that there are covers that are well used or badly used, covers that have been developed for specific uses and that depending on what situations, offer a higher or lower performance.
For example, a Schwalbe Magic Mary is an excellent cover for Enduro and DH, with an exceptional grip, but it does not make sense to use it for the XC since it would weigh us down due to its little or no rolling capacity.
Let’s take the opposite example, that of a Maxxis Ikon, a tire designed for the competition XC, where it works best. We could also use it on an Enduro bike, why not?
Is it a covered with tacos truth, but probably our physical integrity was compromised, Since the grip in extreme conditions such as we can find in this specialty, is not among its greatest virtues. Is this a bad cover?
Well no, we’re just using the wrong cover for our needs. So, as I said, the normal thing is that there are no bad covers or good covers, but badly used covers.
What Do I Have to Look for When Choosing My Mountain Bike Cover?
The main thing is that you know how to identify, or at least deduce, what type of land or use a deck is developed for. For this you should pay attention to its characteristics:
whether the blocks are large or small, how they are distributed (together or separately), the size of the cover, etc … Knowing this information, you can quickly get used to the idea, for example, if A cover will work well in mud or not.
Normally the bigger the studs are, the more the traction increases but the more they weigh us down, while the smaller they increase the speed and acceleration.
The separation of the studs is also an important fact and it will also give us information about the behavior of the roof.
If the block is very close together in the tread we will have a cover that will work well on hard and dry terrain, if on the other hand the block is separated, it will work better in loose or wet terrain, and will also evacuate the mud much better.
And Those Antics That Appear on the Flanks of the Mtb Deck?
Here we also have a very valuable source of information. We can find the size of the wheel (26 “, 27.5” or 29 “), the width of the tire, the compound, recommended pressures or the number of threads with which the tire is manufactured (also known as TPI).
The width of our cover is one of the important data, and although what I am going to say is a rule that is not written anywhere, it is usually used a wider and more dynamic tire on the front wheel and narrower and wheeler on the back.
The reason is simple, in the front wheel we need more traction while rolling the rear wheel we need to be as ballast as possible.
The issue of the width of the roof is also a delicate terrain and can lead to many confusions. We can have two wheels of different brands with the same width and yet the ball of both can be quite different.
For example, a Kenda Nevegal of 2.10 “has a lot more ball than a Maxxis Minion of 2.35”. Incredible but true. My recommendation is that in addition to comparing the widths in inches.
You also do it in a table with the ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization)measurements as they have in MTB Covers, a more reliable standard and that will surely save us some mistakes.
If we want to spin very thin, other data that can be used are the TPI (threads per inch – threads per inch)or the information about the compound.
The TPIs indicate how many threads per inch have been used in the casing during its manufacture. More threads mean less rubber and therefore less weight, but also somewhat less resistant.
As you can imagine, the competition wheels are the ones with the highest concentration of threads per inch, so if you’re not a fan of weight, something in between should come as a glove, but it’s not a topic you should obsess over.
As for the compound, the information also depends on each manufacturer, but it is normal to find a 2-digit number accompanied by a letter.
The lower that soft number will be the compound and therefore we will have a greater grip. Sometimes we will find that our cover has two or more compound numbers,
Another factor that can affect the choice of our covers is the type of ring. Currently, there are two options:
- Kevlar ring, also known as folding or folding, is the option of lighter mtb cover, rolling and easy to assemble.
- Steel ring, those of all the life, easily recognizable because they always keep their original round shape, it costs to mount them more, and their weight is superior to those of kevlar.
Tubeless or Camera?
When choosing a cover for our mountain bike, we will also have the option to decide if we want to mount a camera or tubeless. The decision will depend a lot on how you use the bike. The tubeless is a more expensive system and with more maintenance than the camera, but has many benefits.
If you have heard that the tubeless is not punctured, it is a Chinese story. It is clicked the same, that is … it is true that it is something more difficult.
The main advantages of this system are the absence of punctures by pinching by not carrying a camera and being able to carry less pressure on the wheels, with the consequent comfort and increased traction.
The only disadvantages that can be found at the tubeless are the price (the covers are more expensive) plus you have to be more aware of the pressures and the filling of the sealing liquid.
If you decide to use tubeless, you will have to use covers compatible with this system. These covers are identified by the acronym UST (Universal System Tubeless) or TLR (Tubeless Ready).
Although they serve the same purpose, each system is different. While in the UST you do not need sealing fluid for assembly, with the TLR is essential to ensure that the air does not escape through the pores of the cover and to cover the possible punctures that we may have.
If you do not want to complicate your life a lot, you can always opt for the classic camera, to which you can also add anti-puncture liquid or buy them already with it.
Types of Bicycle Tires
I already have my cover … and now what?
Well, if you have already chosen the type of mtb bicycle tires, you only have to fit it on the rim, that is, with a couple of guidelines so that the tire offers all its performance and avoid possible accidents.
We will always make sure that when mounting the cover it is with the correct direction of rotation, to check it we will only have to look at the arrow or arrows that appear on the side.
The mistake in this will mean a great loss in the performance of the tire, significantly reducing its traction in the curves and braking capacity.
The pressure of the tires is also important and can radically change the behavior of the tire. We will always pay attention to the recommendations indicated by the manufacturer on the flank of the cover, and we will try to ensure that the pressure is within the marked margins.
Therefore, it is always advisable to use a pump with a pressure gauge. If the pressure is too low, there is a danger of pinching the camera or even destroying the tire cover.
So we can only bring pressures somewhat lower than those indicated if we mount tubeless since this type of covers has reinforced the flanks and are prepared for it.
It is also dangerous for our integrity to carry excessive pressure. The deck does not sit correctly on the ground, we lose traction and in any curve, we can see ourselves on the ground.
Although many times we forget, we should always check the pressures of our wheels before leaving to make our route.
The pressure of the tires can change from one day to another, especially the tubeless models, due to possible temperature changes or because they can lose air through the pores or small holes produced during our last exit.
When you go grabbing the “trick” to the behavior of the cover, you can even play with the pressures depending on the route you are going to make.
If you have prepared an exit for tracks of hard terrain and non-technical terrain, you can give it a little more pressure than you usually have, since you will gain rolling ability.
We will do just the opposite if the route is going to develop on the land of loose soil, roots, rocks … we go what we call technical terrain.
This lowering of pressure will provide us with greater traction and safety in the descents, in addition to greater comfort during the march.
By last. If the rubber of your covers starts to crack, do not lengthen its use much. The rubber with which the covers are made lose their properties over time even if they are not used (yes, although you do not believe the covers have expiration ).
In addition, exposure to adverse weather conditions (too cold or too hot) can accelerate the loss of these properties. So if you see that your tires are not in good condition, do not arcane and think they are one of the points of the greatest safety of the bicycle. Your security is priceless!
To finish a final advice, take the time necessary to choose the covers. You may not at first find what you are looking for. Look at it for the good side, the one that makes mistakes will make you learn a lot more.