Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Backslide into moral turpitude...

Oh good heavens. Just last week, as I was preparing to go for a ride, I spied a flaky patch of dried mud on my rear tire. In flicking off what I thought was an amalgamation of mud and leaves, I discovered that I was actually attempting to flick off a ragged flap of my TIRE!!!


And that wasn't the ONLY spot!!!


In spots, almost the entire carcass was separating from the casing. I had made the last couple of rides (fortunately short lunch-time getaways) on not much more than the nylon casing.

Time for a new set of tires.

Since we're trying to live within our means that means cash, not credit, for stuff like this. Which also means my budget is quite a bit smaller.

So I came out of the bike shop with a pair of Continental Ultra Race tires. Okay, right? Wait for it-- They had WIRE BEADS!! *gasp*

Oh the shame!

Oh yeah, and they're 700x25. Yep. Big ol' sausages.

I guess it was the Grant Peterson in me. I was being sooo practical.

And realistic.

My road bike is 13 years old. It has downtube shifters. I don't race it. (I tried a couple of summers ago. Ugh.) I used to inflate the tires to at least 110psi (or whatever the max psi happened to be for the particular tire).

I only weigh about 150 so I decided to bring the pressure down to 95 psi and experienced a big difference in road feel and comfort (through a lack of vibration).

Grant Peterson (of Rivendell Bikes) advocates nothing narrower than 27c.

So I split the difference and went with the 25c. I also couldn't find a Kevlar bead tire for less than $25. I almost bought a pair of Panaracer tires but since I needed a new chain and some lube I decided to save some money and get the Contis that were on sale for $20. And that meant a wire bead. After all this typing it's obvious that I've got some issue with wire vs. Kevlar bead.

The only difference? (I guess) Weight. About 70 grams per tire. The Ultra Race is also available with a Kevlar bead-- but just not where I was shopping that day.

Since I don't race do I really need a Kevlar bead tire? I suppose not. One might argue that anyone would benefit from less rotational inertia. But wouldn't a slightly heavier wheel roll longer, once up to speed? And don't I sound like a complete dork?

I must have looked like one at the shop, going back and forth between the "cool" tires on one shelf and the hanging racks of wire-bead tires against the wall. Like that guy in Clerks who was taking all the eggs out of the cartons and trying to stand them on end.

Oh well. I am a bike dork.

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