Friday, April 13, 2012

Another commute, tires, testing

Last Thursday, I had to leave home late to drop off a letter to my doctor.  The letter needs signed so that I can participate in a study at Ohio University.  As I have asthma, they needed my doctor to clear me so I wouldn't die during the test, I guess.  Anyway, since I was already going in late, I decided to ride my bike to work again.  Mistake.   It was cold, upper 30's and low 40's and I was slow.  Felt like my legs were 300lbs.When I did roll into my doctor, the receptionist was afraid to open the glass door. (I must look really mean in my cycling gear.)  The total ride took me 14 minutes longer than the last time (over 24 miles).  Glad that I was meeting Shelly after work and I got a ride home with her.  Crazy thing is, on Friday I did the Wilkesville short loop (a very typical, 17 mile, fast ride for me). Did it in at my second fastest time ever (and wasn't particularly trying to).

I have also been studying tires for my mountain bike.  Mine were getting worn out and really were not the ideal type of tire for me anyway.  I was running a WTB Nanoraptor 2.1 (wire bead) rear and a WTB Exiwolf 2.3 (folding) front.  The Nano is a fast tire on hard trail.  The Exiwolf has a nice volume.  Neither are particularly sticky though and I routinely have issues with spinning the rear, particularly on hard, standing climbs and the front slides easily in turns.  After looking at tires from Bontrager, Schwalbe, Geax, Maxxis, and Continental, I settled on the new Continental X-King 29x2.2.  The Cycle Path ordered them in for me and I picked them up Weds and mounted that night.  I also got in a ride on them Thursday.  My impressions:

I weighed them on the scale at the office before heading home.  Not the lightest tire (728 and 738 grams) but still lighter than the over 800 gram Exiwolf.  Hope the weight means durability.  They mounted nicely on my Stan's beaded Sun Ringle Black Flag Expert rims, with a bit of effort to get the tire bead over the rim.  I seated them with an air compressor, but I would bet the floor pump would have done it too.  Squeezed in 2 ounces of Stan's in each wheel and did the Stan's shake.  I gave them a quick measure after I set the bead with 40psi.  They are narrow. I measured 2 inches from sidewall to sidewall.  I would image that they will stretch a bit over time and maybe Continental measures the knob profile width, but still, they are a narrow tire.  I was surprised by how little air I lost over night.

I threw the bike in the truck and grabbed my gear on the way out the door to work and then took a late lunch to hit the Athens trail network.  Out the bike path from the office the tires rode nicely.  They did not seem slow with 30psi though you could hear them a bit.  Up the connector to the Rock House Trail I could already tell I liked the tires.  Several roots and rocks on short steep climbs that typically have me loosing the rear tire, they hooked right up.  Turning was very neutral, in fact, I can't think of any moment where I slid the front out, which I did a lot on the Exiwolfs though I could tell the difference in tire volume.  By then end of the ride (about 12 miles of trial) I was pleased overall with the tire choice.  Maybe should have picked up a 2.4 for the front?  They did loose some air over the ride and by the time I got home, the front was completely flat.  I did the Stan's shake again and shall see.  I have heard that the Continental tires cane take a few days to seal up tubeless.


Speaking of the Sun Ringle wheels, I developed a rattle inside the front wheel, directly across from the valve stem, at the welded rim joint.  A message to their tech support was responded to very quickly that the sleeve guide they use when welding the rim had come loose. I can either use a ball punch to crimp the rim back into the guide (under the rim tape), spray some spray adhesive through the nearest spoke eyelets, or listen to the noise as the guide does not provide any structural support after the rim is welded.  For now, I will just listen to it.

And since I am on a roll with equipment notes, I will say that I am completely satisfied with the Shimano SLX brakes.  I would recommend them to anyone looking for a new hydraulic disc brake setup.  Power is very good (one or two fingers is all that is needed), they modulate well, quiet, and they look good.

U12 soccer on Saturday in Marietta.  Mountwood race is Sunday.  Still have not decided to race, shall see.  Either way, hope to enjoy the predicted nice weather.

Post a Comment