Sunday, October 16, 2016

Another Offering in 26 x 1 3/8 Tires (ISO 590mm) For English Bikes

I am always on the look out for new 26 inch options in tires for American (ISO 597mm or 599mm) or English three speeds (ISO 590mm).

I recently came across these: Sunlite/Kenda K103

Sunlite/Kenda K103 on Amazon

In thinking about "vintage-style" tires, I start with the original sources. In the case of English bicycles, I look at what Dunlop offered many years ago. Below is a picture of some of the different tread patterns Dunlop commonly offered.

The image above shows several variations, but a couple of commonalities. First is that none of the tires are exceedingly small or large for this particular rim size. Second, some tires are "street" treads and some are "all 'rounders". Our options today are not entirely limited. There are a few common tires

Kenda's popular K40 tires and Duro's competing offerings capture the "street" tread style of tire for English light roadsters.

At right: Kenda K40.

At left: Duro ISO 590mm tire for English light roadsters.

But let's say we want something new, cost-effective, and more akin to the "Dunlop Sports" or "Dunlop Speed" all 'rounder tires. This would mean looking for a medium-sized tire with some knob in the tread, but not an off-road tire. Such a tire might be very good for going over paved surfaces with sand, sticks, stones, acorns, and other small debris.

Panaracer Col de La Vie tires might be too big for this, though they remain an excellent, larger tire for all purposes on a 3 speed.

Recently Sunlite/Kenda began making a version of their Raleigh DL-1 sized tires for the English light roadster size. These are called Kenda/Sunlite K103 tires. These tires come in both black and white wall versions.

 The K103 tires are the same size as the K40 road tires, but have a "roadster" style tread.

At left is a tread comparison between a Duro road tread and Kenda roadster K103 tread.  That K103 tread may look familiar: it is the tread from the Kenda tires that fit the Raleigh DL-1 Tourist.
 The two tires at left are a K103 white wall and an original Dunlop White Sprite. The two tires are about the same size, though the K103 has the "all 'rounder" tread. The Dunlop has a little more white to it.

Dunlop Sprite: this was a street tread tire. I've seen Sprites with black walls and White Sprites with white walls. Some White Sprites had white stripes rather than full white walls. I actually have an old White Sprite hanging up in my garage.

This tire has a "straight" street type tread with mild interruptions in the center tread. Evidently there is a little variation compared to the Dunlop image above.

Here is a White Sprite comparison to a Schwalbe Delta Cruiser. The Delta cruiser has a more modern, automobile type tread, and is a larger tire.

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