Last Thursday I picked up my new rubber, and when I got home, I unrolled them and put them on right away–yes, that’s right, I bought two. I had to replace the two that I’d been using for the past couple of years. The old ones finally got too thin, full of holes and unreliable.
The new ones have been a great ride. I filled them up to their maximum hardness and they’re still comfortable after an hour of riding. There’s nothing like new rubber to put a spring back in my stroke. The only other thing that has such an immediate effect is lubing my chain.
…oh, I’m talking about my new bike tires. What were you thinking about?
It was hard…er…difficult to find replacement tires since I like to run 1 1/4″ wide tires on my 26″ mountain bike wheels. Most mountain bike tires are between 1 1/2″ and 2 1/2″, but I don’t need all that extra width for the road riding I do.
If I was on dirt at all, or if I was riding on snow as I used to do when commuting in Colorado, then the extra width would help keep me from sinking in and keep me more stable on the bike. But, here in Northern Virginia, where I’m mostly dodging potholes, old hubcaps and swerving cars, the skinny tires are faster, thanks to lower rotational weight.
I also don’t need a knobby tread because I don’t need my tires to dig into dirt to get traction. I actually get better traction from a tire that’s more slick, because a low profile or slick tread puts more rubber on the road. And when that rubber is new, fresh from the factory, it rolls even better, making my commute easier.
These particular tires seem more vertically compliant than my old (cheaper) ones, which is a fancy way of saying that they’re more squishy. But, the nice thing is that they’re fast and squishy, which means pedaling is easy and so is the ride. Other tires I’ve had have been fast or squishy, but not both at the same time, making for a rougher ride for me, since I wasn’t willing to push harder, even if it meant a softer ride.
And, at the same time, these have a puncture resistant belt under the tread, which is a necessity for me. I’ve found that without that, the glass, tacks and other debris in the road causes more flats than I’d ever want to fix. OK, one flat is more than I’d ever want to fix, but getting two or more in one commute is absurd, so that puncture resistant belt is a requirement for me.
I’ve only been on these for a little over 50 miles, but they seem good so far. Next time around, I’d like to try a similar size from my favorite tire manufacturer.
Until then, I’ll continue riding this new rubber until it wears out.