Spending a chunk of money on a set of tires that probably won’t shave any weight off your bike is never going to be a popular option. But buying a set of Schwalbe Durano Plus will give you a great rolling tire and plenty of confidence from its grip and a much lower likelihood that you’ll be standing by the side of the road trying to fix a puncture in the winter chill.
High performing puncture protection
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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 tyre 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 optimise 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 on two sets of wheels; an older set of Bontrager Race Lite wheels with aluminium rims and tubeless tape, and a new pair of carbon rimmed Elitewheels Drive 50Ds.
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 providing 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
- Size: 700x25 or 28c
- Weight: 427g as tested (28c version)
- Pressure: 85-115 psi
- Type: Folding
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Rachel has been writing about and reviewing bike tech for the last 10 years. Cynical by nature, Rachel never really trusts the marketing hype and prefers to give products a mighty good testing before deciding whether they're worth buying or not.
Rachel's first riding love is mountain biking where she's been European and UK 24hr Champion on more than one occasion. She's not just confined to the trails though and regularly rides - and occasionally races - on gravel and road too.
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