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Double-metric mtb man
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A folding tire is one where the bead is made of kevlar or other material that can be folded up, stored, unfolded and put on the rim without any kinks or loss of bead seal. A non-folding tire generally has a wire bead...fold it and it is permanently kinked and may not stay on your rim, if you can even get it on in the first place.
 

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local trails rider
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Folding tyres are usually lighter than otherwise similar steel bead tyres. Lighter is good for acceleration and climbing.
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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45,045 Posts
Simple train of thought would be:
Kevlar Bead = Folding
Wire Bead = Non Folding


Kevlar beaded tires are lighter and easier to take on and off the rim due to the easy flexing bead. And they can also be folded into a small ball for easy transport. They are also more expensive but IMO worth the extra coin due to the pros vs. cons between the two types.
 

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Five is right out
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DIRTJUNKIE said:
Simple train of thought would be:
Kevlar Bead = Folding
Wire Bead = Non Folding

Kevlar beaded tires are lighter and easier to take on and off the rim due to the easy flexing bead. And they can also be folded into a small ball for easy transport. They are also more expensive but IMO worth the extra coin due to the pros vs. cons between the two types.
I thought this was the other way around- wire beads are easier to mount, as the kevlar beaded ones are generally 'tighter'.
 

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local trails rider
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12,300 Posts
I have always managed to mount and dismount folding tyres without tyre levers. Steel bead tyres have been tougher.

-- except the wire bead Continental Diesel that spent almost a year hanging from a nail outside the house. At least I got it on the rim without tyre levers --
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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womble said:
I thought this was the other way around- wire beads are easier to mount, as the kevlar beaded ones are generally 'tighter'.
No actually in my experience wire beads are much harder to mount than Kevlar. I will only use Kevlar now because of the better qualities they possess, that I mentioned earlier.
 

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womble said:
I thought this was the other way around- wire beads are easier to mount, as the kevlar beaded ones are generally 'tighter'.
It varies from tyre to tyre, but so far I have found the kevlar to be much easier. They almost drop on.

Nick
 

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No. Just No.
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DIRTJUNKIE said:
No actually in my experience wire beads are much harder to mount than Kevlar. I will only use Kevlar now because of the better qualities they possess, that I mentioned earlier.
"Better" is a subjective term depending on what your requirements are and the type of riding you do. Heavy duty downhill and freeride tires use wire beads for a reason, which is to keep them securely on the rim bead during extreme use. In general that does support your statement about wire bead tires usually being tougher to mount / dismount from the rim.
 
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