Perfect weather for a bike ride . . .

August 7, 2008

24-hours later, however...

Ah, the difference a day makes on a tire.
The Specialized All-Condition Armadillo Elite that was on the rear wheel of the commuter bike fought a good fight. The silicone-based sealer I'd used last night to fill in the tear in the tread was completely gone by the time I reached work this morning - which wasn't too surprising. Should have used somethin glike Shoe Goo, perhaps? In any case, it's only prolonging the inevitable. Today, after the ride home in the afternoon, the flap was visibly hanging on by less material than the evening before, so it was moving around a bit during the ride - although I never felt anything, I was thinking about it. Still, no flat. The material underneath is TOUGH stuff, but once a tear started there just isn't enough there to hold things together - and the flap will continue to open and eventually fully expose the cords below. No matter how strong they are, that's just not a good way to run a tire, so I'm retiring it.

Now, obviously what I was talking about in last night's post about the Specialized's being a VERY good tire and such is still very true -- but I started re-thinking my goals as a commuter. To get something back on the bike for tomorrow's commute, I pulled out the "spares" box, and grabbed the Panaracer Pasela TourGuards that were removed when I first purchased the Specialized's back in November of last year. The look pretty good, but used. I remember at that time, that I had - per the lovely stats on BikeJournal.com - purchased these tires back in May of 2007, in preperation for my first 600K. Since that time, I think I had logged at least 1,600 miles on them, and the REAR tire (which was clear, due to the extra tread wear) was still showing the little nubs characteristic of Paselas. With a careful eye, the center casting line was also visible. This rear tire looks pretty good for only having 200 miles less than the Specialized - and this goes back to the purpose of the tire. Pasela = touring. Specialized = sport. So, again, for what the Specialized IS, it's still fantastic... but the flats-per-mile vs. feel vs. miles-per-dollar.... well, like I'd said, the Panaracers win. Plus, though I'm not a weight weenie anymore, there is a savings of 20 grams in rotating weight. Now, I've remounted them out of neccessity, and I went ahead and remounted the front one as well, which with the same mileage looks practically brand new. I'll ride them, and try to be as objective as possible tomorrow, and report back by updating this post. Thinking of my purposes for this bike, the daily pannier loads, and maximizing my commuter-dollar by keeping things as inexpensive as possible - well, the Panaracers are a terrific fit. The only personal drawback, keeping things consistent between both bikes in the stable - but, I'm not certain how great a difference it will make. Again, I'll ride with an open mind, and see how important that notion is. The Trek 450 is meant to be fast and will never have panniers or daily duty on it's resume, so a faster "sport" tire is perfectly appropriate. For the daily grind on the Kogs, however, I may be leaning back towards the Paselas again. Why not? At less than half the cost for possibly more mileage, what's the big deal about a tan sidewall and maybe one or two more flats in it's lifetime? I'll let you know. But, thinking back to the 300K in 2005, the vindication ride, which took place in the sleet, snow and rain for about 85 miles.... well, I didn't get a single flat that day. That's two better than the Specialized tire in similar conditions! But, I must be careful there; this is, again, "touring" vs. "sport", which - trite as it is to say - might as well be the classic apples and oranges discussion. Both are tires, yes... but...

Stay tuned. There is a new tire from Panaracer on the horizon, called the "RiBMo" -- which is a hoaky abbreviation for "RIde Bike MOre". Ok, fine. But, what gets me interested is not the name, but the design. Different tread than the Paselas or T-Servs, quite similar actually to a Specialized Nimbus, oddly enough. The anti-flat protection is provided by a new treatment called "ProTex" casing... which might be a Panaracer name for something similar to DuPont Vectran, which popped up to improve upon Kevlar, which is what the Pasela's use. Vectran is lighter, more compliant, but holds off supposedly 20% more flats than Kevlar... an eerily similar number to what the Armadillo Elite material boasts. Patents and copyrights aside, technology like this tends to trickle to all corners of the marketplace when it hits, so its a safe bet that this new tire is Panaracer's offering. They also have a new tread compound for this new tire attractively named "Mileage Cruncher" - and THAT is very intriguing. I'm imagining a tire that has the same flat protection as the Armadillo Elites, with the ride and profile of the Paselas, and the mileage of a Schwalbe. Hmmmm.... and, while more expensive than the Paselas (most tires are), the RiBMo is still cheaper than the Specializeds, apparently. Interesting - and if I can get my hands on a set I'll certainly let you know how they turn out.

It's a good time to be a commuter -- a lot of companies are finally listening, and the marketplace today is making for fun shopping, not just for tires. I welcome your questions!

See you on the roads....

1 comment:

WildcatAl said...

I have been looking at the same RiBMo tires and found them in stock at ebikestop. However, I waited to long and they are already sold out.