Can you really combine a low rolling resistance, excellent good grip, hard wearing rubber and puncture resistance into a single tire that doesn’t weigh a tonne? Certainly Schwalbe thinks it can with the Durano Plus.
We set off in the cold to try and verify these claims and see how it compared to the rest of the best winter tires for road cycling.
Schwalbe Durano Plus tire: Construction
Recommended for all round use the Durango Plus is described by Schwalbe as “the most puncture resistant tire available”. It is available in 700 diameter with a choice of 25 or 28c widths as the folded version and 23, 25 or 28c with a wired bead. We tested the 28mm folding version. There’s also the Durango DD tire available which has a little less puncture protection and a 100g weight saving over the Plus.
Understanding all the different compounds and attributes of Schwalbe’s tires can be a bit of a challenge, a comprehensive glossary would certainly help. In its absence I’ll do my best to translate.
The tire is made from Schwalbe’s Addix Performance Compound rubber which has been designed to optimize both grip and durability. In other words, it’s a combination of softer rubber which gives good grip but wears easily with tougher rubber which gives good durability but lacks grip. Between the inner carcass and outer rubber layer is sandwiched a 5mm strip of ‘Smartguard’ elastic rubber which is difficult to penetrate and therefore gives the tire puncture protection.
Schwalbe Durano Plus tire: Fitting
I fitted and ran the Durano tubelessly on two sets of wheels; an older set of Bontrager Race Lite wheels with aluminum rims and tubeless tape, and a new pair of carbon rimmed Elitewheels Drive 50Ds.
The tires were nice, tight fit on both sets of wheels. On the Bontys they inflated easily with a track pump and a satisfying click into the bead and without the need for sealant. They were a bit harder to seat on the Drives and needed my high pressure pump and the sealant to stop leaks at the edges. I suspect this is more due to the beadless design of this rim as I also had the same issue seating some Bontrager R3s on these wheels. Once inflated and seated, there was no leaking on either rim.
One of the first two tires that Schwalbe sent out for testing developed a number of blisters when it was first inflated. These were confirmed by Schwalbe as areas of delamination (separation of the layers of the tire), likely due to the layers not being completely aligned during manufacture (tire layers are lined up and vulcanised in a press akin to a hot sandwich press). I’ve had this once before with a road tire (not Schwalbe), on both occasions the manufacturer identified a production fault and warranty replaced the tire.
Schwalbe Durano Plus tire: The ride
Instantaneously the Durano changed the feel of my bike, simultaneously provide brilliant grip alongside a nice and quick roll. The more I rode and trusted the grip of the tire, the more confidence the tire gave back. It’s been a long time since a single change in a component has made such a difference to the feel of my bike.
Admittedly it’s hard to objectively test puncture protected just by riding. What I can say is that I’ve ridden a good few hundred kms on these tires (including debris-strewn city streets and some inappropriate gravel trails) and haven’t suffered a single puncture despite pulling some small flints out the rubber. In my view the SmartGuard puncture protection strip does the job it’s supposed to and stops these shards penetrating.
The weight of the tire is certainly its downside (427g on our scales). But, of course, it’s heavy for a reason. Personally I’m happy to accept a bit more rotating weight in the winter knowing it is likely to save me a puncture repair or two.
Schwalbe Durano Plus tire: Value and conclusion
At $52.50 / £43.50 the Durano is one of the more expensive winter tires we’ve tested of late but it’s not its own in the price bracket. the Challenge Elite ($55 / £46) and Pirelli Cinturato Velo ($80 / £63) will cost you a similar amount or even more.
The Schwalbe Durano Plus might not be the lightest tire on the market but its quick rolling, nicely grippy and has great puncture protection which is a pretty good combination for the winter and beyond.
Schwalbe Durano Plus tire: Specs
- Schwalbe Durano Plus tire: Specification
- Size: 700×25 or 28c
- Weight: 427g as tested (28c version)
- Pressure: 85-115psi
- Type: folding