Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"You can put road tires on a cyclocross bike, but you can't put cyclocross tires on a road bike."

So about a week ago I came across a ridiculous deal on some Hutchinson Piranha "tubeless-ready" cyclocross tires. I had looked at these with a bit of curiosity before. Tubeless mountain bike tires continue to get better, while I have no idea of why you would really want tubeless road tires (yet), but the benefits looked like they just might work for cyclocross. Of course, this is if you weren't willing or able to just go the tubular route, which does admittedly make quite a bit more sense. But like I said, a ridiculous deal... so I figured, why not try some experimenting?

Of course, I have standard, non-tubeless-ready wheels, so I decided to go with Stan's NoTubes set-up. They do have a new cyclocross kit that you can buy, and lots of information on most of the setups, but was lacking a bit in what I wanted to do. I don't really get the cyclocross "kit"... I mean, with all the crap you are adding to the wheels to make them tubeless, you've gone a good deal past the weight of running a standard tire and tube. I opted to try out a modified road set-up, which should work, or work "better" since I was using a true tubeless tire.

I ran a couple layers of Stan's yellow tape to seal up the rim all airtight. After a bit of experimenting, I decided to add a plastic rim strip I had, which tightened up the fit a bit more on the tire. I also opted for Stan's stand-alone 44mm valve stem. After a little bit more experimenting, I managed to get air into the tire and to seat up without much issue, even using my floor pump.

Yesterday I finally got a chance to get out and test them a bit. I had forgotten my pump like a moron, so it was a bit hard to do "scientific testing" on the air pressure. So I pumped them up to something that felt reasonable, and took off. I was a bit worried, because I was hoping for a slightly more round shape to the tires. And I was worried about making the tires "burp", so I took them over to the Research Park, since it's usually quit rocky, and I can hit the jumps as well. I have to say, for a first test, I was pleasantly surprised. They rolled very quick, and seem to soak up the bumps well. I did get a few burps, but again, I was jumping the bike, and hitting the bump sections hard, trying to push the tires. When I got home, I checked the pressure, and I was a good bit lower than I had thought, so I definitely think I could run a bit more pressure, be nearly as smooth and comfy, and have a bit more protection (they were at about 35psi).

They still worry me a bit, throwing them into a race, since it's my one "real" set of wheels for the single speed, and the set-up makes it harder to just swap tires for different courses. But hopefully with more time on them, they'll gain more of my confidence. I also have a few ideas that I came up with for tweaking the Stan's set-up as well, that should give as much or more security, but run you a lot less.

In other news;

Random picture I had forgotten about from Saturday's party... Jake gets to have his very first beer.

Look, I know it's cold out, (I mean I passed a dude on the bike path wearing big wooly socks with his SPD sandals - not surprisingly he was on a recumbent with a wind screen) and I know you're just going the supermarket, but come on! Hiked-up sweatpants, knee-high socks and Chacos!? Have some decency!

No comments: