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Discussion Starter #1
I'm braced for being told that this is a stupid question, but here goes anyway.

I haven't been able to find any information about why motorcycle tires need to have a steel bead. I'm looking at how/why/if to carry spare tires on a long trip, and keep thinking about MTB tires and their lovely kevlar beads, which allow them to pack away as below.

I know that the carcass and tread would have to be WAY thicker than is the case for the MTB tire, but to be able to fold up the spare is pretty enticing...

 

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More plies in the tire, more weight of the tire higher loads, speeds, and forces. Years ago one of my Mazda mentors had a great line:
"There is no such thing as a stupid question...just stupid people asking questions." After the instructor got no response, he apologized. Then we laughed our a$$es off.
 

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Even if motorcycle tires had kevlar beads, I can't imagine how you'd ever fold a steel belted radial, let alone something like a Mitas E07 bias ply tire. Plus, the forces exerted on a motorcycle tire under load are orders of magnitude greater than on a bicycle tire; maybe the wire reinforced bead helps the bead to resist deformation.

I don't know why motorcycle tires have steel reinforced beads, but some bicycle tires must share the same reason. My Panaracer Paselas on my Trek 520 have wire beads, as did some other ones I've used like the Continental Grand Prix.
 

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Tire technology hasn't provided a folding replacement, that I know of but that doesn't mean that such things won't be available at some point.
That sort of product would certainly be handy.
 

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Bicycle road racing and mtb performance tires often have kevlar, but I don't think I have ever seen a touring tire with a kevalr bead. I could be totally wrong but in my experience if it's meant to be light and fast it may have kevlar but if it's meant to carry a load or last a long time or be cheap it will have a steel bead. Maybe it's actually done for the weight savings, which is the same crowd that doesn't mind paying double for a tire.
 

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drmonbowen,

Where are you riding that you feel the need to carry a spare? With the right set of tires I can cross North America twice on one set(that's about a month of riding). If I ever do a longer trip I will just order tires and ship them to a shop or dealer ahead along my route. IF you are going RTW, I would still consider shipping ahead as I don't want to have to lug a set of tire carcasses for thousands of miles, the damn things just take up too much room.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
drmonbowen,

Where are you riding that you feel the need to carry a spare? With the right set of tires I can cross North America twice on one set(that's about a month of riding). If I ever do a longer trip I will just order tires and ship them to a shop or dealer ahead along my route. IF you are going RTW, I would still consider shipping ahead as I don't want to have to lug a set of tire carcasses for thousands of miles, the damn things just take up too much room.
I'm sorry that I missed all these replies! Thank you everyone.

I was considering a trip to Tuk with as many dirt/gravel/mud sections as possible, and wanting to use soft, compliant, dirt-oriented tires. But also just liking the kevlar bead idea.

I agree about shipping ahead. Best solution!
 

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It's much more Macho to strap a tire to the bag on the back seat or wear the dang thang around your waist. I've done both.
Yah get some weird comments from Harley riders who don't seem to be prepared for anything out of the ordinary.
 
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