We left from Patagonia on Continental TravelContact tires.
Mounting these tires is easy, which can be difficult with Schwalbe tires. The tires have a smooth surface and small studs on the sides for more (some) grip.
We cycled many kilometers on rocks, gravel and large pebbles (like the famous and notorious Carretera Austral which is a very bad road; many potholes and loose rocks) with about 30 kilograms (65 lbs) of luggage. The pressure in the rear tires is between 4 and 4.5 bar and the front tires about 3 bar.
After 8500 kms (5100 miles) we changed the tires for new ones. It wasn’t really necessary, they were still good enough, but we’d been cycling with the spare ones for about 3000 kms and that extra weight is not recommended while cycling in the Andes. We estimate that the old tires would have lasted for another couple of thousand kms. We didn’t throw them away, but gave them to Argentinian cyclists who cycled home on them from Cusco.
We cycled about 6500 kms (3900 miles) on the second set of tires. By then they had worn quite a bit. We also had quite a bit of flat tires because of nails and bits of metal from blown trucktires. The shoulders in Central America are very dirty and are covered in debree. We don’t know why these tires wore faster than the others. Maybe because of the high temperatures in Central America which causes the rubber to soften.
How do the tires ride? The ride pretty light on paved surfaces, on loose sand and (loose) gravel they don’t have enough grip. On tarmac, hard sand and (hard) gravel the tires ride pretty good. They’re tires for areas where you mainly cycle on paved roads and sometimes take a detour on an unpaved road or forest pathway.
The rubber is pretty soft. Disadvantage of the smooth surface and the soft rubber is that little pebbles get stuck easily and cause small cracks in the surface. It’s important to keep checking the surface for these little pebbles to try to avoid flat tires.
Continental doesn’t make these tires as foldable tire in size 50-559 (yet), but it’s necessary that they start producing them in that size so they’re easier to bring as spares.