The best tires for riding on Egyptian trails

We get this question a lot: what are the tires best suited for riding in Egypt? The general short answer is that tires designed for dry, loose conditions work best, but there is lot of tires on the market fitting this description and it could be difficult to choose. Here are the top 5 tires we found to work best on Egyptian trails.

WTB Motoraptor

This tire has a long-wearing compound that lasts a long time, which is great for the abrasive limestone trails of a place like Wadi Degla. We’ve had the same tire on two bikes for a year of riding and there is plenty of life left in it. Has a good volume and a round, baloonish profile that floats well over rocky and sandy trails (we have the 2.4 version) and strong sidewalls. One weakness is that it doesn’t bite too well when cornering fast in loose gravel or sand.

Continental Mountain King

The Mountain King offers a good balance between good traction and low rolling-resistance. Works best  when run with lower pressures. The knobs are a bit soft, but the 2011 version have a redesigned tread pattern and more aggressive knobs.

Schwalbe Wicked Will 2.35 FR

More aggressive riders will like this monster of a tire. Large volume tire with a soild, squared out profile. Very good puncture resistance, great traction and rolls relatively well. At 890 grams this is not a light tire, though. If you don’t mind the extra weight and want a tire that can take some serious abuse, the Wicked Will FR would be the way to go. On the super steep goat trails of Sinai this tire offered excellent traction and stability (I ran it on the rear). The Schwalbe Wicked Will is one of the more expensive tires on the market.

WTB Velociraptor (rear)

The WTB Velociraptors come in front and rear specific tread patterns. We have had experience with the rear, which offers a great mix of traction (one of the best on technical and loose climbs), low rolling resistance and weight. The wide, off-center middle treads work like tank tracks, hooking up very well in loose conditions despite the smaller volume of the tire. Big side knobs provide good cornering grip. Not the most puncture-resistant tire, though, so you might want to run a higher pressure or choose smoother lines. The Velociraptor is one of the cheaper tires and offers good value for money.

Kenda Nevegal

Great all-conditions tire and very popular worldwide. Large knobs and very durable. Works best when run on the front. Higher-than-average rolling resistance, so if you want something that rolls faster, checkout Kenda’s Small Block 8 tire.

Five small items that can save your ride

We all know the importance of having your basic riding kit on every ride. Sometimes, though, it is the little things that make the difference between struggling with a mechanical problem for 15 minutes or getting things fixed in 5 minutes. here is a list of five small items that can save your ride and give you peace of mind on the trail.

1. SRAM Powerlinks: These are “quick release” chain links that could be connected and disconnected by hand (i.e. without a chaintool). They are claimed to be only compatible only SRAM chains but work fine with chins by Shimano (I have been using them with Shimano 9-Speed chains for as far as I can remember without any issues. KMC also makes its own version, the “Missing Link”. Break a chain or twist a link on the trail? No problem, just use one of those to fix your chain. Also very useful for removing the chain completely for a clean-up without using popping pins in and out.

2. Spare derailleur hanger: It happens. You are zooming in, around and over rocks then you hear that awful sound of metal breaking on impact with a trail obstacle. Derailleur hangers break. they are designed to do so to protect your frame from damage. But when they break and you are far away from assistance with no spare, you might be looking at a very long walk back home or a very crippled bike (it happened to our guide on the Sinai MTB Epic last December, and I broke one on my hardtail last year). On particularly long rides, you should carry a spare derailleur hanger. Derailleur hangers are bike-specific, so find out which one you need from your bike’s manufacturer. They also make universal emergency hangers that can fit most bikes in an emergency.

3. Presta to Schrader valve converter: Going on an epic ride away from civilization with rims drilled for Presta valves only (most modern cross country wheels are)? Put one of those in your kit. If you get a flat and need to use a car tire air compressor (if you use tubeless tires, for example), this little thing can save your ride.

4. Emergency tire boot: Cuts to your tires’ sidewalls can happen, especially if you ride aggressively and/or on rough terrain. In such an emergency, one of those tire boots will patch things up nicely until you can get home and replace it with a new tire.

5. Electrolyte pills: No body likes cramps. You should hydrate often while riding and take extra care to pace yourself on long rides, but an electrolyte supplement is also a good hedge against cramping. Hammer’s Endurolytes and Nuun tablets are some highly effective electrolyte supplements.

Tour d’Afrique: Team Egypt

This week, a team of seven Egyptian amateur cyclists fly to Nairobi, Kenya to take part in one of the stages of the famous annual cycling event, Tour d’Afrique.

Riding in the Wadi over the past several weekends, I bumped into these guys on their weekly training session. Their excitement is contagious. We’re rooting for you, Team Egypt! Bring us back great stories of epic cycling adventures, and take lots of pics!

The team is also making use of their expedition to raise funds for the injured demonstrators of Egypt’s January 25th Revolution. For more information on how you can contribute to this great cause, see their facebook page.