Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tire Test Distracted by Convenient Rack and Chocolate


New slightly wider tires for the fixed gear commuter / grocery-getter

I've opted for slightly wider tires for my fixed-gear commuter, and in a bold experiment for me, no slime sealant in the tubes. These are 32mm Continentals, which have a recommended pressure of 70 psi, and are supposed to have good puncture resistance. Since I am heavier than average I will try running them in the 75-80 psi range, and adjust for comfort. Tubes came from the recent bike swap in Tucson.


Still plenty of clearance on this frame and fork for running even wider tires. Love the noobie spikes.

I'm no longer sure of any reason a non-racer would ride on 23 or 25mm (or narrower) tires, or why most road bike frames currently sold only have clearance for such narrow tires. Notice I said "reason," I'm aware of the cultural and marketing influences that have led to it, but if you ask a non-racer why they have frames that are restricted to such skinny tires, I'm not sure they'll be able to come up with an actual reason they prefer them over wider tires. It's more likely they're stuck with them because that's all their frame will admit. In any case, I like having the freedom to experiment with different widths and pressures to see what works best for me.

All set to go for a test ride on the new tires, I looked up and found myself near a grocery store at a hungry time of the afternoon, and what looked like a shiny new bike rack. As I was locking up, a store employee said, "Well, I believe that's the first bike I've see parked in that rack." So I don't know for certain, but anyway, it seemed like a good enough reason to pick up some groceries in mid-test.



Super convenient

Spontaneous grocery acquisition and transport
One of the items I picked up was some dark chocolate. Which I think I shall go and consume now. Wait, was I talking about tire pressure theory in there somewhere? I'll get back to the rolling resistance and wide tires with supple casings, and bump absorption vs. rider energy expenditure, with opportunity for reviewing the excellent real-world tests and recommendations on tire drop* done by Jan Heine and Bicycle Quarterly, but for now, into the dark.  


*I see that he recommends a lower pressure in front than rear for me on my bike with 32mm tires, I will give that a try
 

8 comments:

  1. Ah, a man after my own heart. Chocolate will easily distract me too! My husband knows I am addicted.

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    1. They have an excellent selection, too, right by the checkout area. Belgian, Swiss, French...

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  2. That bike rack has been at the Town & Country Trader Joe's for as long as I can remember, but until last week it was located next to the cart return area in the parking lot. The new site makes it far more prominent and sends a welcoming message to bicyclists who enjoy dark chocolate.

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    1. I wondered. A dim distant memory of locking up actually to the cart return cage rather than the rack for some reason was working at my brain. I wonder what caused them to move it to this much better location.

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  3. That 15% drop tire inflation chart/article is very interesting. I may need to lower my front pressure - rear seems about right as is. I'll experiment with losing a few psi. Thanks.

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  4. Great commuter steed. I've got a yellow steel Peugeot as my winter training bike - best bike colour ever ;-)

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  5. I'm no longer sure of any reason a non-racer would ride on 23 or 25mm (or narrower) tires, or why most road bike frames currently sold only have clearance for such narrow tires.

    Amen.

    In addition to fitting bigger tires—which have so many advantages in and of themselves—wide tire clearance also allows for fenders, which are useful even in a desert city such as Phoenix.

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    1. Fenders come in handy, too, offer additional surfaces for reflective (and possibly light-up) things, and look cool to me. Water runs in the streets more often from irrigation floods and construction dust suppression spraying than rain, but still it runs, and fenders help!

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