Monday, May 14, 2012

Grand Bois Hetre Tires Quick Review and Thoughts on Longevity

One of my favorite parts on the Hillborne are the Grand Bois Hetre tires selected for the bike. They make for a cushy but quick ride, and I don't feel every little crack, bump, dip, etc in the road. Initially, I wanted these tires because they were the only cream/white tires I could find in a 650b size tire (I'm sure this is still likely the case), but I have learned to love that they are incredibly comfortable to ride on as well. What I have noticed that I am not as pleased with is that the tires are coming apart fairly early on in their life. Although I have physically had the tires for almost two years, the ride distance they've actually experienced has been no more than 600 miles (between switching out tires, and so on) - seemingly, this would be a point I would expect to just begin to see a break in, not a break down.
Although pictures are not necessarily easy to obtain of the damage sustained thus far, I think it is possible to see that they are wearing oddly. Not only are there spaces and changes in between the tread, but they are also bulging/bowing in some places around the tire. For a $125+ set of tires, I expected they would last at least a couple thousand miles, if not more. I don't ride over very rough terrain, and with the exception of one ride since I've owned the bike it has only been ridden on pavement or asphalt.
Warping has been taking place on these tires since very early on
While these tires aren't known for their puncture protection (which I was aware of when purchasing), I have actually found them to be pretty solid. I've had a total of two punctures: one that took place on a long ride, but was a slow leak that I didn't have to deal with until I got home, and the second one happened when I got a goat head on a paved trail, and again didn't lose air until I was home to deal with it. Not bad for tires not known to prevent flats, I think.
Certainly, I am not a tire expert, and perhaps I am expecting too much of these tires, but I am disappointed that they haven't held up better. Will I buy them again? Probably.  I have simply fallen in love with the ride quality, and I honestly hope that I just happened to get a blem in the group because I know others who have had no issue with the tires. I would recommend them to others, but with the caveat that they may not last as long as might be expected. I bought them locally for the first round, but perhaps I need to try another location the next time? Regardless, having the cushy ride is worth trying them again, and I hope that they are able to sustain a longer life in the next round - whenever that may be. For now, I continue to ride on them, hoping that they don't completely fall apart too quickly.

2 comments:

  1. Hi - I just found your post while searching for info on Grand Bois Hetre longevity. The reason that I was searching is that on my ride today, my tire was punctured by a 3mm wide, 20mm long piece of plastic, probably ruining the casing. I wanted to find out how much lifetime I was losing on that tire. It already had 4,077 miles on it at the time of the puncture. That makes me think that your tires were from a bad batch. I had a pair of Greenspeed Scorchers for my folding bicycle that suffered from similar problems. It may be too late now, but if you still have them, I'd suggest contacting whoever sold them to you to inquire about a warranty replacement.

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    1. I think some of the reason behind my giving up these tires was that we have so many thorns (goatheads) on our roads that I was getting flats on every ride. It's possible that it was simply a set that had a problem from the get-go, but I did try a second set and it had similar problems for me. I do love the feel of these tires though and think if a person has roads that aren't as thorn-ridden, these are a great possibility. I hope you have success with your replacement tire. These are fine tires for a smooth ride.

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