“We’re bringing a tire brand to market in a month,” read the PR agency’s email. “I have 700 x 50 mm tires available. Would you have any interest in getting on a set?” As a self-described tire nerd, I replied immediately with an emphatic, “Hell, yes!” Opening the package from the aforementioned PR agency, I was more than a little surprised by the sight of the Goodyear winged-foot logo on the tires’ sidewalls. Yes, that Goodyear.
If you’ve never seen a Goodyear bicycle tire, you’re probably not alone. Although the company began producing bicycle and carriage tires in 1898, Goodyear stopped bicycle tire production in 1976. But now, the company known for automobile tires and its eponymous blimp has returned to the bike market with a lineup that includes all-terrain, mountain, and road models. Positioned in the company’s road sector, Goodyear’s Transit Tour is available in 700 x 35, 40, and 50 sizes. Riders can choose from three construction/protection options:
- S3 ($40 MSRP, wire bead, 3 mm puncture belt)
- S5 ($50 MSRP, wire bead, 5 mm puncture belt, nylon sidewall reinforcement)
- Tubeless Complete ($60 MSRP, folding tubeless bead, bead-to-bead protective breaker)
Mounted on SRAM Roam 50 wheels (i25 mm width), my tubeless 700 x 50 sample tires measured exactly 50 mm at the tread and 48.5 mm at the casing (after 72 hours inflated to 50 psi). As with all tubeless tires that I test, the Goodyear tires were first installed with inner tubes, and left for 24 hours to allow the beads to settle in. With the tubes removed, seating the Transits required only a floor pump (although it did take approximately 40 psi). Goodyear recommends an i21 mm rim for the Transit Tour tires, but I didn’t experience any difficulties installing the tires on my test bike’s wider rims. Air loss was minimal before adding sealant, and 2.5 ounces (per-tire) of Orange Seal Endurance formula has kept the tires puncture-free for several weeks. Weight wise, my 700×50 samples came in at 710 and 714 grams; well under Goodyear’s claimed weight of 769 grams.
All Transit Tour models share the same siped, directional tread (and reflective sidewall tape), regardless of size or construction. It’s no coincidence that the tread pattern is similar to what you’d find on a car tire, as Goodyear took inspiration from their Assurance All-Season automobile tire. According to the company, the Transit’s tread pattern, combined with Goodyear’s exclusive rubber compound, provides unsurpassed all-weather traction. Most of my testing took place on dry roads and trails, but Mother Nature did manage to deliver some precipitation during the tires’ evaluation period. I can’t say that I noticed more grip on wet surfaces, but the Transits’ directional tread did offer more traction on loose surfaces compared to competitors’ herringbone or file treads (although obviously not on par with a knobby or cross-type tire).
On paved roads the Transit Tours were relatively noise free. That is, once the tires’ mold release wore off. I spent the first 10-15 miles listening to countless tiny pebbles flinging off the tires and onto my bike’s frame. Thanks to the slightly peaked profile, the Transit Tour cornered predictably, exhibiting no alarming transitions between the various tread elements. For a tire of this size and weight, the Transit Tour’s ride quality is quite good. While I wouldn’t place the Goodyear’s performance in the same league as, say, the Schwalbe G-One Speed, the Transit Tour is a better choice if you plan on riding where sidewall wear–and durability–is a concern. Goodyear recommends a range of 35-70 psi, but I never found it necessary to inflate the Transits over 40 psi. And although I weigh 200 pounds, I comfortably ran the Transits at 22-25 psi in front and 35 psi in back. Even at those low pressures, however, I never experienced any burping or excessive sidewall flex during cornering and braking. If you’re running inner tubes, you’ll most likely want to run higher pressures to avoid snakebite punctures (aka, pinch flats).
With its multiple construction/protection options and real-world sizing, Goodyear’s Transit is ideal for touring and commuting. The Transit Tour’s easy tubeless setup and predictable handling on mixed surfaces also make the tire a smart choice for gravel and backroad exploration. While it’s too soon to comment on the Transits’ long-term durability, I’m planning on publishing a follow-up article this summer. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to trying Goodyear’s mountain and all-terrain tires.
Disclosure: Goodyear provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.