By Jeff Britton, PCI #1205
Central Point (OR) Police Department
While at Interbike last September, I stopped by the Duro Tire booth and was introduced to Duro representative Rick Emmert. Rick and I discussed different tires made by Duro that would work on public safety bicycles.
Rick showed me several suitable tires and recommended the “Berm Master”. Although this tire is advertised on their website as a gravity tire, the low tread pattern and 2.3 size made it a tire that could stand up to the abuse and different terrain typically encountered while on patrol. The tire is also marketed to commuters, BMX, and urban street jumpers, so it must be a solid tire on pavement and concrete. It has a wire bead and is a little heavier than the Continental Town and Country tires that our patrol bikes run.
I received the “Berm Master” in December, just in time for the ice and snow. I mounted the 26 x 2.3 tire onto the rim with a little difficulty. Because of the stiff wire bead, I had to use a little dish soap to get the tire onto the rim. Once the tires were mounted, they were ready to take my Volcanic out on patrol during our annual Christmas Parade.
There was a ½ inch to an inch of ice and frozen snow on the streets and sidewalks of the parade route. I was nervous riding in front of a large crowd with the fear of going face first a realistic one. I dropped the tire pressure to about 25psi and set out on patrol. I was amazed how comfortable I felt while turning, braking, and accelerating, all with little or no slippage. I wasn’t able to ride like I normally can, but considering the conditions, I was pretty darn good.
Now that the weather is warm and dry, I am even more impressed by this tire. The tread has a low knob pattern and looks like a semi-slick designed for hard-packed dirt. I can roll over uneven roads, rocks, cracks in the pavement, grooves in poorly-poured concrete, granite alleys, and dirt pathways. I am very confident riding with these tires. They run quietly and smoothly on the pavement.
The first thing I did before my shift started was run the tire through some IPMBA basic class drills. I did some maximum braking on pavement and some cone drills in parking lots with gravelly old pavement as well as sand and gravel. I had no issues with the tire slipping or washing out.
The straight line stopping did not seem to be affected by the low tread knobs.
The negative issues with the tire are few, but they are worth noting. They do well on wet pavement because of the grooves, but they were a little squirrelly when I hit heavy standing water or mud. This is to be expected from a tire built for hard-pack conditions. Also, the tire is a little heavy, but in the world of public safety cycling, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The price of the tire is very reasonable, running anywhere from $20 to $30.
In short, I would have no problem recommending this tire for public safety cycling.
Jeff is a 24-year veteran with the Central Point Police Department (OR). He has been a member of the bike patrol team since 2004. He was certified as an IPMBA Instructor in 2010. Jeff loves downhill and cross country riding in Southern Oregon, Lake Tahoe and Whistler. He can be reached at 541-210-7251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c)2014 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of IPMBA News.