Schwalbe Durano Plus
The Durano Plus is Schwalbe’s ‘maximum puncture protection for race machines’. As such Schwalbe place it at the top of their scale for protection and durability. The majority of this puncture protection comes from the SmartGuard protection strip that lies underneath the tread. This is a 5mm thick strip of natural rubber that is designed to stop anything sharp piercing the tyre. You’ll see a lot of images of drawing pins failing to pierce the SmartGuard layer; very handy if you have anti-cycling protestors on your route!
I need a fast training tyre, but more importantly, I need a reliable training tyre, something for getting the miles in during winter club runs, chilly evening chaingangs and fulfilling those long, cold winter commutes without any punctures. The last thing I need is to be stood by the side of the road, being splashed by passing cars, trying to fix a puncture in the dark, or to be the guy that is always holding up the group with yet another puncture.
While a Durano Plus does weigh more than a standard training tyre – our sample came in at 358g – they didn’t feel at all sluggish. However, with all that extra rubber under the tread the Durano Plus measured just under 23mm tall from the top of the rim. I didn’t have any problems running it under a set of Crud Road Racer 2 mud guards on my winter bike, but the clearance on the ‘good’ bike was only a couple of mm, not enough for ‘guards. Fitting them on to a set of Easton EA70 rims was no problem, but unless you have thumbs of steel, tyre levers are needed.
The Durano Plus is a confidence inspiring tyre; all that extra protection had me happily rolling through patches of gravel and broken road that I would normally veer away from and during our test period I didn’t have a single puncture.
Now we all know that the puncture fairy can be a fickle creature, putting in an appearance when we least expect it, or staying away for months, but when she does it’s always a pain. The Durano plus does have a lot going for it when it comes to keeping her at bay. As well as the SmartGuard protection layer, the Durano Plus has an extra rubber coating to protect the sidewall against damage. It also has a high density carcass, with 67 EPI (ends per inch) which are then overlapped 3 times, giving 201 EPI. This densely woven layer also helps with puncture resistance by providing another tough layer alongside the SmartGuard.
Schwalbe use a dual compound on the Durano Plus, so there’s improved grip when cornering and faster rolling when you’re upright. While a winter/training tyre isn’t going to be pushed to it’s limit like a race tyre, it’s nice to know that it isn’t a complete slouch. I found that it performed absolutely fine on the evening chaingang; it was only this reviewer’s ability that was holding us back, not the tyres!
I have read some forum pundits claiming that the Durano Plus tyres are too heavy, but this is missing the point. It comes down to what you want your tyres to do. Racing/fast riding on well made, smooth, dry roads? Then the Durano Plus is probably a bit of overkill. But riding on bumpy, flint and glass strewn roads? The Durano Plus is your boy.
Training, or commuting is where you want reliability. Unless you are a complete Strava addict, you’re generally not throwing your bike around, pushing it into every corner and trying to shave seconds are you? If you are take a look at Schwalbe’s Ultremo ZLX
After a winter of riding, the tread of the Durano Plus is still unmarked, with no scuffs or cuts; a major plus considering the state of the roads I’ve been riding them on.
The Durano Plus comes in two sizes as a folding tyre, 700×23 and 700×25. You can get more options with non-folding, including a 26″x1.35″ and 700×32. You can have any colour you want, as long as it’s black.
So to sum up: the Durano Plus is a great tyre. I’ve got to the stage where I’m almost prepared to go out without a pump! Almost. But I can’t think of a time where I haven’t taken a pump and spare tubes with me. It would be just wrong even though the Durano Plus tyres do seem to live up to the hype.
Of course if I don’t take a pump out I won’t be able to help out all those poor, puncture ridden souls that don’t have them.