Monday, October 28, 2019

What Pressure Am I Running? I'LL NEVER TELL!!!

As I've mentioned, I'm currently working my way through a pile of awesome bike stuff, and when last we met I was swaddled in Merino finery from Pearl Izumi:

Not only had I worn the aforementioned ensemble the very day I wrote about it, but the very next day I headed out in it again without even washing it.  (Yes, I wore different shorts and socks obviously, I'm not that disgusting.)  I did so for three (3) reasons: 1) To test the miracle properties of Merino, which supposedly doesn't retain odor; II) It was a Saturday, and when you're stepping out onto 9W on a weekend day you've got to look your best; C) I headed out really early, it was dark and I'm lazy, and that's what was sitting on top of the laundry pile.

Well, I'm pleased to report that not only did I feel relatively fresh in my unwashed attire, but if I smelled nobody said anything about it, and that includes my family who I can assure you are quite forthcoming when it comes to critiquing me.  I guess what I'm saying is, sure it's expensive, but you can amortize the expense by not washing it.

Anyway, today I figured I'd start out the week by trying out yet another decadent product, so I grabbed a pair of Donnelly LCV road bicycle racing tires in the 25mm sizeway and the tan sidewall colourwhey:

With a thread count of 240 and a price of $75 per tire these are easily more supple and more expensive than any of my bedding.  The reason that I have them is because after my last experience with the Tresca I figured I owed it to the bike to see how it felt with a really nice pair of tires, so I called in a favor.  Then, in the process of calling in said favor, it occurred to me I might as well really push it by asking for two pairs of tires so I could also try a pair on my New-To-Me Titanium Forever Bike.  Incredibly, Donnelly accommodated me, and shortly thereafter I received two (2) pairs of the LCVs, one pair in tan sidewall and one pair in black sidewall.  (I asked for one of each to be especially annoying.)

As of yet I have not gotten around to installing them on the Tresca, but this morning I put the skinwall pair on my NTMTFB and headed out for a ride:

(I figured the tan sidewalls would look better with the traditional wheels, though now I'm wondering if maybe the black would have looked better, but I don't care enough to try and see.)

As I've said repeatedly, I really love this bike.  You know all that fawning crap people write about titanium?  Well, it turns out it's true.  And yet I'd never tried the bike with a really nice set of tires on it.  When I first received it from Classic Cycles it had a pair of Mavic Scaryums with Specialized Roubaix Pro tires on it:

In my experience Specialized tires are pretty good, and these seemed nice enough, though clearly they're designed for versatility and durability as opposed to Maximum Fredness.  (I mean arguably that's a good thing, but still.)

I immediately fell in love with the bike, but because the wheels were a little persnickety I wanted something a little more traditional.  So Classic Cycles were kind enough to furnish me with these:

This pair of wheels was far more in line with my sensibilities, though the tires were unremarkable: wire bead Vittoria Rubinos.  Please do not take this as a complaint--I didn't expect Classic Cycles to include any tires at all, so I was pleasantly surprised that the wheels showed up ready to ride--but at the same time once you go that far down the lineup the tires do start to get noticeably sluggish.  Nevertheless, they were brand new tires, so I figured I might as well wear them out before buying new ones.

Alas, the difference in tire quality was noticeable enough that I'd find myself switching back and forth between these wheels and the Scaryums.  However, the Scaryums were plagued by noises I have still not been able to quell (I don't even want to get into it), and while I don't mind dirt or ratty bar tape or anything like that I have zero tolerance for noises.  All of this was a disservice to both me and my beloved NTMTFB.

But now this bike has the wheel and the tires it deserves:

I expected the bike to feel nicer (according to the respective websites a Rubino is 60tpi and 320g while an LCV is 240tpi and 224g), but I was surprised by just how much nicer the ride is now.  You know when you're reading a review of a wheel or a tire or something and the reviewer says they automatically rode in a higher gear than usual and you're like, "What a load of shit"?  Well that happened; the cassette on these wheels is a 12/25, and I'd always felt like it stopped a little short on the low end, until today.  I'm certainly not saying this is unique to the LCV--I'd no doubt have felt the same sensation by switching to pretty much any high-end racing clincher--but this just happens to be the one I switched to, and the bike feels better than ever now.

As for the attributes of this particular tire, here's what the tread looks like:

And here's a closer look at the sidewall:

I'm not sure what you're supposed to glean from any of this, except that my overly long valve stem is clearly creating excessive rotating weight and wind resistance.  As for traction and all that stuff, I doubt it will surprise you to learn I don't exactly corner like Jobst Brandt:

But I will say it's fall and it rained all day yesterday which means there are wet leaves everywhere, and I felt as confident with these as I do with any road tire.

Of course, under ordinary circumstances I would not be installing a pair of brand-new high-end lightweight $75 racing tires on my bicycle in late October; heading into the winter on tires this nice is like eating ribs in a linen suit.  However, these are not normal circumstances, and the bike felt so exhilaratingly sprightly today I'm now ready to embrace being the kind of person who rides around on fancy tires all year round Just Because.

Hey, I think I've earned a little decadence.

And yes, one (1) ride of 40-ish miles tells us nothing of durability or anything like that.  Certainly I don't expect them to perform like a pair of Gatorskins in that regard but naturally I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime however I plan to enjoy them.

As for that second pair that I'd earmarked for the Tresca, I may just hoard them for the spring instead.


HDEB said...

The Litespeed looks much better with the old fashioned wheels and skinwalls.

ktache said...

Tan walled tyres look so classy.

Donatelli said...

Tan walled tires coupled with that new vest - mucho fashionista!

Il Pirata est Mort said...

I had a fancypants 170 PSI tire unseat and explode two feet from my face once and now I am impervious to stun grenades.

effemm said...

Mavic Crossride wheels; so named because the weird and untraceable creaking noises they make will make you cross. Geddit?

Anonymous said...

1. overly long valve stem + aligned sideway beta says either, "I care but I'm kludging" or "faux IDGAF attitude".
2. you haven't earned a little decadence--you DESERVE it. B/c 'Murka!
3. You have your Litespeed wife & your Specialized sidechick; you know in your heart the Tresca is "thx for the awkward toothy bj; I'll call you...maybe?". You may hope putting new shoes on her will change things, but marginal is just marginal...

Anonymous said...

re: katche @ 3:54
I think you meant "classi"?

Beck the biker said...

That picture of Jobst Brandt could readily swing the compass away from Heine's fat plushness right back to the intimate road feel and cornering zip of 21c @140PSU. Super supple tubeless tires, Zertz, carbon's innate compliance and phat bar tape will offset any negatives from the increased road vibrations. Seriously - 45c are supposedly as fast as 23c? Come on, the wool's been pulled over the heads of the gullible who've swallowed it like the lantere rouge eating grit at the back end of a rainy gravel grinder. I predict two or three more good gravel years left, until skinny tires catch back on and fixies start appearing on the horizons of mainstream bike manufacturers. The simple bike. Simple bikes with skinny tires, or else these: electric assist 29+ hydraulic componetry bikes with on-the-fly electronically dampened 0-140 mm travel full suspension, full lockout and adjustable width tires that shift on voice actuated commands filtered through a rider's smart phone, inoperable to all others. oh, and optional integrated cameras/turn/brake signal system. Actually - there's probably enough room in Trek and Specialized's product lineups to support some of each. Neither of which will appeal to the leather glove wool sweater and leather gloves crowd. The team you seem to have become affiliated with on account of your smoking gun confessions as of late, assumed middling age, seasoned crusty rider status, and penchant for 32 spoke count wheelsets.

Anonymous said...

Surly Crosscheck, fixed. 700x45 t(i/y)res. Best of both worlds if you don't give a rat's rump for racing.

Lisa Hyundai said...

Jobst has an enormous head tube.

George Krpan said...

Continental Ultra Sport II tires can be had for $15, 180 tpi.

Skidmark said...

@George Krpan 9:19am, - read Lennard Zinn on TPi,

BikeSnobNYC said...

George Krpan,

That tire isn't comparable to the Donnelly (or a Continental Grand Prix 4K or 5K or whatever they're up to now). In fact it's the same tire that came on the Tresca.


Thanks for that link! I always thought Continental Grand Prix [insert number here] felt less supple than comparable tires and puzzled over their thread count listings. (Though they also seemed more durable, which is why I always liked them.)

--Tan Tenovo

O4fuxake said...

Lisa @ 8:56:

yeahright?!? that's what I thought, looks like it's 18" long!
How tall IS that guy??

1904 Cadardi said...

The only thing wrong with 32 spoke wheels is they are 4 spokes shy of the correct number of spokes.

JLRB said...

ANON @ 5:49 for COD

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I thought the TPI was a joke - didn't know that was a bike tire stat

black tires or flesh tone - that yellow decal will ruin the look of your beautiful bike forever

Bragg said...

Eff it. next time you change the bar tape, just match it with the same tan cork coloured goodness and it'll look right. Swap out with a matching Brooks Swallow and your NTMTFB will border on hipsterclassique and Saturday morning on 9W will feel pretty okay. You might even receive an invite to enjoy an overpriced muffin with the other Freds, which you could brush off with the utmost snobbery.

bad boy of the south said...

An awkward bathroom selfie.Yikes.
Glad you're enjoying the pre-winter riding with your new to you bikecycle.

dop said...

Last one to leave please turn out the lights...