What features should I look for in 2" tires to maximize comfort on my Cannondale Adventure 1 with 27.5 wheels? I know that higher tpi/epi is considered softer. However, would a 67 tpi/epi Schwalbe Green Marathon be significantly more comfortable than the 60 tpi/epi Kenda Kwick Drumlin? I can't find a tpi/epi spec on the stock, 2", Goodyear Transit Tour tires.

I do plan to get the widest tire possible. After some measurements and manual reading, I found I have clearance for 2" tires in the front and rear. Maybe 2.2" in the rear if I'm willing to risk only having 2.5mm of clearance instead of the 3mm minimum I found on the web.

edit: Based on the responses, I was debating between the Schwable Super Moto X and the Schwable Marathon Efficiency. I ended up getting the Marathon Efficiency because I figured the decreased rolling resistance would be important for a bike as heavy as the Cannondale Adventure. Thanks to all who answered and commented!

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    I'm no expert on this topic (hence, only a comment) but isn't pressure a far more contributing factor than tire choice, at least when staying with the same dimension? So finding a setup that you can run with lower pressure is more important than the tire structure (and details such as tpi) itself. I notice a big difference on rough terrain with my road bike when I just add 0,5 bar more than usual...
    – DoNuT
    Sep 15 at 8:20

2 Answers 2


I'm afraid there's no single specs that can be used to know what can make a tire comfortable. The main criteria is suppleness (besides pressure, obviously), that allows a tire to easily deform to absorb asperities in the road (provided that the pressure is low enough to allow the derformation), but it's not a "metric" per se. By contrast, a rigid tire will deform less and transmit more energy to the wheel axle, with results in comforting.

About TPI, I understood that it can be used as a red flag, 60TPI is the minimum, less reveals a low quality tire ...but that is not per se a sufficient, as the construction of the tire also plays a role and is not always described in the spec. To give an example, the legendary stiff Schwalbe Marathon Plus has the same number of TPI than the Schwalbe G-One R, a tire that is considered to supple. Terravail also sells tires in two versions: light&supple vs durable, and same number of TPIs for both of them.

Suppleness is usually a feature that is found in performance/premium tires, as supple tires typically have lower rolling resistance. Theoretically, I have the impression there's a correlation between rolling resistance and comfort: one of the factors that causes rolling resistance the energy required to deform the tire. But rolling resistance is rarely mentioned by manufacturers, and if it is, they don't explain how it is measured. But to compare tires of the same maufacturer of the same family it can be a proxy. There is also this website: https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/ but it's a lab testing that may not be representative in real situations.

Features like puncture protection layers for example influence rigidity, as well as using a tube. So it's also compromise.

In the segment you mention, I have the impression there are mostly "cheap" or "puncture resistant" tires. The comfort offering exists but is very limited, but is growing. When I did this research last year for tires of this kind of size - for a commuter that should be comfortable on cobblestones, I settled up for the Schwalbe Marathon Almotion (or Efficiency if riding mostly on tarmac). Schwalbe has the "balloon tire" label for largish tires meant to be ridden at low pressure (with tubes) - Big Apple and Big Ben, that are to my knowledge, the only "non performance" supple tires. There might be other tires available in other regions and from other brands, so it's not an endorsement.

  • My favourite, Marathon Supreme, is a bit of an odd one. It's a touring slick (minimum 32mm) with really quite supple sidewalls but good puncture protection on the tread. Sadly it seems to be in very short supply these days
    – Chris H
    Sep 15 at 9:54
  • @ChrisH I don't see the Supreme anymore on the Schwalbe website. A Belgian webshop presents the Efficiency as its replacement, but it's the only case where I saw such explicit mention.
    – Renaud
    Sep 15 at 10:35
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    +1. I’d add that using low pressure kind of requires supple tyres. Stiff tyres tend to form cracks when run at low pressure and they have high rolling resistance. Of course it’s all a trade-off between suppleness (rolling resistance), puncture resistance, longevity, grip and price.
    – Michael
    Sep 15 at 13:21
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    For those, like me, who liked the Marathon Supreme in the smaller sizes, the official replacements are the Marathon Racer and several models from the One series.
    – Chris H
    Sep 15 at 20:31
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    There are probably diminishing returns to TPI. Most performance road tires probably ceiling at 120. The Vittoria Corsa Pro has 320, but it isn’t 2.9x as comfy as the GP 5000 with 110 TPI.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Sep 15 at 21:57

I'm with DoNuT in the comments. Tire pressure is more important than tire type.

Use the recommended inflation as a starting point and then experiment with tire pressure. You'll find that different pressures work better in different situations and you'll find your max / min pressure. Carry a frame pump and a gauge and experiment.

Describing the two extremes:
Smoothing out rough roads require less pressure. You are looking for the lowest pressure you can ride without bottoming out or spinning the tire. Bottoming out the tire on a hole or bump causes tire/rim/tube damage. Spinning the tire causes the tire to slip on the rim while the valve stem stays in one place and gets cut by the rim.
You'll select a test pressure, maybe 5 pounds less than recommended, ride normally a short distance and observe tire behavior and ride feel. If it still feels rough and the tire is nowhere near bottoming out or slipping take out a little more.

On totally smooth streets you might try going a little higher than the recommended pressure. The key is to find a higher pressure that is still comfortable and will not blow the tire off the rim. Finding max pressure is a little harder than finding minimum pressure. I don't like to go higher than 10 psi over recommended, other people are braver.

Most of the time people are somewhere in the middle between the roughest and the smoothest. How it feels to you is what matters and it takes some experimentation.

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    Playing with pressure is certainly something to do first: no additional equipment required. However the type of tire changes the level of the sweet spot between comfort and rolling resistance. The Almotion mentioned in my reply replaced a pair Marathon Plus (the OP's tires are also in the rigid puncture proof category), and allowed to drop the pressure by 1.5 bars/20 psi, that makes a huge difference in comfort, and in traction on gravel roads (tread pattern is different though). The loss in the compromise is puncture protection (going from best to good, so not a disaster).
    – Renaud
    Sep 15 at 14:18
  • Underinflated tires can cause great discomfort when they come off the wheel in a high speed corner. Better to just select tires that are designed to be comfortable for certain requirements at their default pressure. Think the tire industry is hip to that - their sales reps can certainly advise. Sep 15 at 17:18
  • @DominicCerisano Tire pressure for both performance and comfort is determined by rider weight, riding style and terrain. No one number for any tire can account for the variables. Good experimentation prevents the awful experience you describe.
    – David D
    Sep 15 at 17:23
  • @DavidD Consumer experimentation with tire pressure is ill advised. My point is that the tire industry already runs those experiments exhaustively. That is why there is such a vast selection of tires - so you don't have to risk your neck with dangerous experiments. The industry is always looking for special use cases to design new tires for. At this point if the perfect tire for your special requirements does not exist, there is probably a very good reason. If there is not, I suggest you pursue a patent for your discovery of a new tire design, because you just reinvented the wheel. Sep 15 at 17:46
  • In that case, I will take my bike to a local bike shop so that they can more precisely measure the available clearance, so that I have more room to experiment with low pressures.
    – Peachy
    Sep 15 at 23:09

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