Monday, June 30, 2008

Latex Chronicles: Success!

<=== The Pofahl set up as a long distance gravel cruiser.

This past weekend saw the success of my tubeless experiment. I was able to get out for two short rides on each day.

The short ride on Saturday was to help seat in everything and spread the solution around in the tires evenly to seal them up. The Vulpines rolled fantastic without tubes. Can you really feel the difference? Absolutely yes. Without question you can. For instance, I ran these tires at nearly 40 psi for earlier gravel rides and while the tires felt fast, they also bounced around a lot more. They also felt harsher as far as ride quality went too. So, maybe on pavement they were okay, but off road the smaller casing and higher pressures worked against whatever rolling resistance reductions I was getting.

I tried them at lower pressures too, with tubes. Then you could feel the rolling resistance go up, even though you now would have a tire that wasn't bouncing around a lot. Of course, low pressure on a tire with this smaller casing wasn't all that low, really. Maybe the upper 20's psi was as low as I went, or dared to.

<=== WTB Vulpines on DT Swiss TK 7.1D rims laced to SS specific I-9's

Now with the tires as tubeless, you can run them at 30psi or slightly less and they roll just as well as they used to with tubes at 40 psi, but have the bump eating qualities of the same tubed set up at this same pressure. Ride quality is phenomenal. Smooth? In spades!

I also checked these all day on Saturday to see if they were leaking down. On Sunday, I found that the front had nearly gone all the way down and that the back had lost some air too. So, I just refilled to 30 psi front and rear. Then I did another short ride. This morning both tires are holding pressures just fine. Success!

With confidence in the system now quite high I will strip off a few of the "extras" on the Pofahl and do some off road testing with the Vulpines again. (Or I may simply transfer the wheels to the OS Bikes Blackbuck for a bit) Either way, it is time to try some off road with the Vulpines again, especially since we are coming into their prime off road conditions here. Dry hard pack is showing up, but you have to know where to look.

Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational Update: I put up some new information with a link to a new course on the GTDRI site. I am not going to beat myself down trying to figure out a way through roads in the originally intended area for the course. There are still frost boils, heaves, and recent flood damage that would make the first choice rather difficult to make work, if not impossible. I'm kind of bummed, but this second choice I know is, (for the most part I know it is) clear and it is a killer route from a hill and view standpoint. I'm hoping to put in a ride this Friday the 4th, or possibly Saturday, if I'm so persuaded. (If anybody wants to come along, they can. Just let me know in the next day or so.)

And again, just to be clear, GTDRI is open to all comers. Don't wait for a special invite, 'cause there ain't gonna be one. Just e-mail me beforehand and show up if you have a mind to.

This course will be single speed able, but I think I'm going to rock the gears this year and ride my Badger. It is what that bike was made for anyway. Stay tuned to the site for further updates.

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