Saturday, October 29, 2011

CX0 Tubless Update

I reported converting the CX0 tires on the Superfly to a tubeless setup on October 19.  The tires finally sealed-up and have been holding air consistently.  I have 336 miles on the set and have noted some tread wear in the center on the rear tire, but they are holding-up well overall.

Today was the first chance I had to run the tubeless setup on the HD Bluff Trails.  The last run across the bluff was with tubes and 80 psi in each tire to avoid pinch flats.  They gripped and handled well at that pressure, but the back end jumped around like a pogo stick.

Today I set them at 40 psi and rode to the south hill on the road and then jumped on the trail at Hatch road.  The reduced pressure made all the difference in the handling and improved the traction both front and rear.  They still roll fast through the hard pack and have enough traction to climb the steep rocky stuff.

I think this is the right setup for what I want this time of year though it might get a little pricey having to replace the rear tire every 500 - 600 miles.

I would call the experiment a success in that the 700x38 cross tires improve the road characteristics of the Superfly while making it fast and nimble on the bluff.  The ultimate test will be next weekend with a ride planned in Riverside State Park.  I will be happy even if they do not perform well in that environment since I do not normally need to ride my bike to the park for XC riding.

I will give an update next weekend after the ride.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Version 2.0

After much deliberation, Bruce and Geoff decided that the two year old Two Wheel Transit web site needed a new look and functionality.  The newly launched reflects both where the shop is and where we are going in the future.

It is not perfect by any means and we will be tweaking and adding to it as we develop new content and features.  There will be daily Tip of the Day and you can read-up on any of the products we carry along with reviews as well.  There is also a user forum that lets people share what is on their cycling minds - though it is not specific to Two Wheel Transit.

Feel free to poke around and see what is new and let us know what you think.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tubeless CX0 Update - Day 1

In Tubeless CX0 Update I described the conversion of my conventional 700x38 cross tires to a tubeless setup.  They were still holding air this morning although at much lower pressure than I left them with last night.  I topped them off to 60 psi and headed out on the open road.

After 1/4 mile I was treated to the sound of air escaping my rear tire and Stan's sealant spraying on my right calf with each rotation.  Dang, the hole that sealed last night, lost the plug.  I got it to seal up again with enough pressure remaining to limp back home.  I added a good measure of Stans and inflated the tire again.  

The hole sealed and I went out for an 18 mile road ride on the setup.  The tires held for the entire ride without incident.  This might just work after all....

The next report will be after doing some off-road testing.

See you on the road.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tubeless CX0 Update

Pulled the tubes out of the CX0 cross tires on the Superfly tonight and reinserted the tubeless stems I had removed over a week ago.  I was very pleased that they were still in the same spot I remembered placing them - a rarity in my garage.  Next I put a generous amount of Stan's NoTubes Sealant in the rear tire and popped the bead back on the rim.  It sealed immediately when I hit it with some high-pressure air with a satisfying "Pop". Then I noticed that it found and sealed the hole from the glass puncture on my rides this past weekend. So far, so good.

I applied the same process to the front tire but noticed that there was still a lot of soapy water sloshing around in it when I removed the tube.  As a result, it had washed the old Stan's sauce off of the hooks on the rim so it was not sealed as well as the rear.  It took more sealant and a couple more shots of pressure to pop and seat itself on the rim.

Remember that these are not specifically listed as tubeless tires so this application may not work.  I pumped them up to 80 psi and will check them in the morning to see if they hold.   If so, I will do some riding with lower pressures on the bluff to make sure they remain sealed during use.  I will have a couple of tubes and lots of air with me just in case.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More CX0 Update

The cross tires work well for what I want them to do on the road and bluff trails with one exception.  There is  a lot of glass that has been ground into small bits on the road that make it hard to see.  As a result, I have had 2 flats on the rear in as many days.  The tires are designed well for what they are - off-road higher volume cross tires.  As such, they are not very resistant to glass punctures.

I think going the tubeless route is a must for the roads around here.  Doing so would provide a level of self-sealing for punctures while allowing for lower pressure for the off-road riding.

Monday, October 10, 2011

700x38 Ride Report

Last week I reported mounting 700x38 cyclocross tires on the Gary Fisher Superfly to get better roll on the road, while still maintaining enough off-road-ness to ride the HD Bluff trails occasionally.  I have about 75 miles on the set-up.

The road performance is outstanding.  These tires are light and give good traction with little rolling resistance or noise.  They make the carbon fiber mountain bike feel almost like a road bike and a lot of fun to ride on the road.  I also did a test run across the bluff on dry trails to test the off-road capabilities.

The tires performed well for climbing, stopping and maneuvering on the dry trails.  The were also fast rolling and improved the flick-ability and quickness of the bike.  I did notice that the rear would break free if I hit a berm while carrying a lot of speed, but is was nothing unmanageable. 

The big difference was the feel of the ride itself.  Going from high-volume, tubeless tires with 30 psi to low-volume 80 psi meant for a lot of chatter when riding over the rocks.  I pumped them to the maximum pressure for the road and to ensure I did not get a pinch flat over the rocks.  It was not the end of the world, but you could definitely feel the difference.

Overall, I think the ride quality is worth the trade-off for speed and noise since I mostly ride the bike on the road for now.  The wheels are still set-up for tubeless tires, so I may just find a tubeless cross tire to see how low I can go with the pressure and still keep a fast rolling tire.

Now if I could just get that trail of soap bubbles to stop following me around.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

700x38 and Change

I will admit at the beginning that it makes me a tad squeamish to take the carbon road bike out in the rain, mud, and grit.  It also seems to be a crime to strap a bunch of lights on the front and back when the available light is not sufficient for safety in the spring and fall.  These conditions just beg for the Superfly to come out and play.  It is very happy in nasty conditions and I still get a good workout.  As I stated in  Bike to work commute - the road less traveled if I could only have one bike, this would be it.

I have been running 2.25 tubeless tires on the SF with very good results since June.  But with strictly road riding now I find them to be a tad heavy and noisy.  As a matter of fact, they tip the scales at a svelte 800 grams each which is great for maintaining momentum over rocks and stuff, but not exactly ideal for bombing around the south hill.  After several rides I started thinking of switching to road tires since 29ers are actually 700C wheels on the bike.  That would take care of the road, but I still enjoy hopping on the HD Bluff trails on a regular basis so road tires would be less than ideal for those occasions.

I know some riders who switch to their cyclocross bikes for the tougher conditions this time of year.  This got me thinking about switching to cyclocross tires on the SF as a way to lose weight, reduce noise and rolling resistance while maintaining the ability to ride on dirt.  Rider 1 told me of riders on the pro mountain bike team he used to manage who trained on cross tires because it forced them to pick better lines. Sounds like a perfect fall experiment.

I chose the Bontrager CX0 Team Issue 700x38 tires for their low profile, aggressive side tread and reasonably low weight for this experiment.  A pair weighs less than a single 29-3 MTB tire so I already shed 1,000 grams.  It is curios that these are listed as cross race tires but they exceed the maximum width of 33mm listed in the USA Cyclocross Rules for 2011.

The transition was fairly easy since I just needed to remove the tubeless valve and rinse the Stans juice off the rims.  A couple of things to note with the new tires are that they are directional so you have to pay attention to their orientation and they tend to stick to the side of the rims so they don't seat all of the way at first.

This meant that I had to put a lot of soapy water on the beads to get them to pop in place.  It looked like a Disney movie where the bubble machine was out of control when I inflated the tubes but I did get some satisfying "POP" noises as the bead seated.

The visual result is a bike that looks like a burly commuter or hybrid.

A short run up the street indicates some promise for this setup.  It felt reasonably quick and fast for off-season riding.  Plan on some updates in the near future as I get some miles in on the road and trails in the coming weeks.  I'll be the one leaving a trail of bubbles in the rain.

Until then - See you on the road.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In Case You Are Looking to do Something with the Kids this Weekend

Trips for Kids (TFK) founder Marilyn Price recently sent the following
message to Bike Bits, along with a PDF link to a great story from
Canadian Cycling Magazine: "I'm writing to tell you about one of our
chapter directors, Rick McFerrin. Rick had started our TFK Twin Cities
program in 2001, and then started another TFK program in Calgary when
he moved there in 2005. Last year he and his wife cycled from Calgary
to Mexico with their three kids (ages four to ten), and then they all
cycled back to Calgary." Here's the link to the story (in PDF format)
about this amazing journey: