In strict fairness, this is a bit more than a first look. The Schwalbe Durano Plus (in 25mm) arrived just before I rode the Coast to Coast in September and they were put straight to the test with that ride. It was mostly on road but some featured sections of gravel here and there too.
Since then they’ve been used on a 90km ride around a loop that is a good local test with plenty of differing road surfaces and conditions, just like you get in most places in the UK.
There’s no question for me that the Durano Plus is here as a winter tyre, although it’s probably make a good commuter tyre too.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Durano S during this year (http://girodilento.com/schwalbe-durano-s-tyre-review/) but for winter duties I wanted something tougher and in 25mm. Schwalbe suggested the Durano Plus over the standard Durano for the extra puncture belt (Smartguard) that adds near Marathon Plus puncture protection …. Supposedly. They’re available in 23 and 25mm and are folding tyre. And here they are….
In the Schwalbe brochure the Durano plus is rated:
Speed 3 out of 6
Grip 4 out of 6
Protection 6 out of 6
(Protection includes Puncture 6 out 6, Snakebite 6 out of 6 and Sidewall 6 out of 6)
Durability 6 out of 6
From my point of view I would say that seems quite fair based on my first few rides. For a 700c training and winter tyre, with some speed about it, I’d be surprised if you can find anything tougher – it’s seems to be thicker and stronger than any other tyre I’ve owned to date.
My rides to date on the Durano Plus have been totally uneventful, with no problems or anything else that starts with “p”. In fact after about 350kms, they look as new, which isn’t a surprise given there positioning.
What I will say though is that to me they feel a bit sluggish and heavy. They are pretty heavy at around 400gms a tyre which is a good 150+ a tyre more than my summer tyres. You can feel that on the bike compared to race tyres and given the thickness of the rubber, they don’t feel as lively as a race tyre.
However, it’s only fair to point out that they’re not a race tyre – so they’re not going to feel like one. These are tyres to put on if you don’t fancy the idea of fixing a puncture in the winter wet and cold. It’s why they’re on my bike.
Yes, so far they don’t feel as fast or as nimble as my best tyres and they seem to affect the feel and ride thanks to their extra weight. But even after only a few hundred kilometres, they feel like a tyre you can depend on. I’ve had one moment on the Coast to Coast when I went too fast into a slippery corner on a descent and I lock the rear wheel and slid nearly off the road. Other than that, which was my fault, they’ve been as dependable as you’d imagine. They have a small tread on them as you can see in the photos, but I’m not especially convinced the tread is enormously important.
To be honest, I’m not looking to ride as fast in the winter (mostly) than the rest of the year, it’s a different kind of riding. Slower, more contemplative, more social and more exploring, so the “sacrifice” in speed isn’t really a factor. Puncture protection, toughness and durability are far more important at this time of the year.
I’ll keep riding them through the winter and report back in due course.
If you’d like to check them out, read some customer reviews and even buy some, you can check out these links:
Evans Cycles: http://tidd.ly/b449a104
Thanks for reading