Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Triple D 2014: Modifications Part 2

Wheels go roundy-round, but not all are created equal.
As promised yesterday, I did get something else in to modify my set up on By-Tor for this weekend's Triple D attempt. A bit of an opportunity to try out a wheel set temporarily from the good gents over at Velocity USA presented itself, and I availed myself of the chance.

They sent over a set of Dually 26 inch rims laced with DT Swiss Competition spokes and brass nipples to Hope "Fatsno" hubs for me to race on Sunday. I had decided to retain my Fatback Sterling tires and stay tubeless with these wheels, and I am happy to report that the swap over was easy. The tires actually fit more snug to these rims than they do on the Fatback Uma II rims I have.

Two things were affected by this swap, and both for the good, at least I think, considering what the conditions should be like. First of all, the 45mm wide Dually rims are 25mm narrower than what I was using. The Fatsno hubs are lighter as well. This significantly affected weight. I lost almost 3lbs switching over to these wheels!

Secondly, those narrower rims did affect the tire's width. Here's the thing: First of all, most of the width lost was in the casing as it is being pulled in at a more acute angle from the tread area on the Dually. Note- the side of the casing doesn't hit the trail, so that width is superfluous, really. The tread area did "crown" up a wee bit, which makes the tires have less self-steer, as predicted by my friend, MG.

Looks like a 29"er tire and rim!
Two odd things I noticed: One was that these tires seated into their bead seats very easily and very evenly on the Dually rims. I had issues with this on the Fatback rims. I credit the slightly tighter fit for this.

Secondly, I noticed that the tires felt great at a lower pressure. I started out on my initial test ride at 10psi, and the tires felt wonderful at that pressure with these rims. Again, the more crowned profile of the tread area is probably helping here, as is the narrower rim, which is making these tires work differently now.

Those are initial impressions. I will refine my thoughts after today's longer test ride. I need to shake everything down and as long as I do not have any issues, this should be the set up for the event Sunday. I think it will be spot on for a few reasons.

The snow around here has taken a major hit with over two days worth of temperatures over the freezing mark with no dips to re-freeze. This has made for some slicker, harder snow and really crusty snow where it is deeper. Wider rims and tires are of no real benefit with these conditions. Added to this, we got a spritzing of freezing rain recently, and that has only added to the slick, icy factor. Skinny tires, (as in 29"er rubber), isn't the greatest idea then either. The stability of a "mid-fat" set up makes more sense. You might say, "Well then, what about a 29+?" makes sense, if... The big issue here is that currently there is one tire, and it is a highly crowned tire on a 50mm rim and has shallow, squarish knobs tightly packed on the casing. Not at all ideal for these conditions. A better tire, or a wider rim, or both, would necessarily have to be available to outdo the 26" fat tires out now.

Pay no mind to that measurement on the tire!
Another reason I think this set up will be good is not only for the high possibility of seeing some icy sections, but for the high possibility of seeing some sloppy conditions as well. The latest report on the Heritage Trail was that it had very hard packed, slicker snow on it and that it was fast. With temperatures slated to remain cold for a while, that should not change, but on race day, it is supposed to warm up.

They are talking something like mid to upper 30's for the daytime, which may increase the chances for some softer snow, and it definitely will produce some softer sections off the trail in the afternoon coming back into Dubuque. A wider than 29, voluminous, tractable tire may win the day, and if things remain solidified, no harm, no foul.

Finally, comfort. I will have a very comfortable set up for the several acres of farm fields we will be traversing within the first 25 miles of the event. Those fields are sure to be bumpy with a thin coating of snow and ice on them.

So, that's the story and I am sticking to it! I will now refine my food and water set up, and then hope that I am more fully recovered for this weekend's 65 miles of Triple D fun. That's really the bottom line, isn't it? Ride a bicycle, have fun doing it. No matter what the conditions, it should prove to be another memorable time in Dubuque with a slew of like-minded individuals who all will be shooting to have fun as well.

Now, off to make a few minor last minute adjustments!


MG said...

Very good... Those wheels are super cool! Glad it's all working out for you. There are a lot of similarities in the setups we'll be bringing to Triple D, and it'll be fun to see the equipment/gear choices everyone else makes as well.

I can't believe we won't even need the Bar Mitts this year!!

See you soon,

coastkid said...

Great observations on conditions and tyre choices.

When you mentioned 29+ i sat up as i have voiced my thumbs up on this often ideal fatbike tyre size!, and it`s potential for many applications.
Said it a zillion times that a 29x3" Nate tyre is much needed here in the UK for trail conditions.
With the possibility of a studded version then it would be a great set up for ice conditions.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG: I know- Triple D will feel almost like cheating this year if the forecast hold up. (Almost!)

@coastkid: Thanks! Yes- I like 29+ a lot as well. I think it needs a lot of variants to really come into its own here, and as you say, in the UK. The Knard is just too limiting, yet it gives us a taste of what could be, which is frustratingly tantalizing.