|Tight fit- Note the snow build up on the fork|
You know, when this whole gravel deal kicked into gear back about six years ago, I figured that the tires would all be, you know, not that big. I figured what we needed were good choices from 35mm to 40mm in size. That about 38mm tires would be the "normal" size.
Why wouldn't I have thought this? Previous to 2012, you couldn't get a "gravel tire". None really existed unless you counted Bruce Gordon's Rock & Road tire, which has a pretty aggressive tread, and is more "ATB" than "all-roads". Hybrid bike tires would work, width-wise, but the quality was awful. Touring tires existed in this size range, but they were heavy and had all this puncture protection stuff in them that made them ride terribly on gravel. A lot of people used Schwalbe Marathon tires previous to 2010, and those were mostly 35mm-40mm in size. It was what we had at hand to use at the time.
The widths seemed to work well. I took a survey of riders, maybe for T.I.v5 or v6, and this would have been 2009-2010, when the riders surveyed said 35mm tires were the best choice in width for them. So, what happened? Where did all the puffy, 42mm-45mm tires come from?
You may say, "Well, most tires are actually 40mm, aren't they?" Technically speaking, they should be, but in reality, they are anything but that. In years past, with 29"er tires, I got very used to finding out the newest 2.4" tire might make 2.25" in reality. Nothing, and I mean no tire, was ever the size the casing said it was for years. All narrower. Now with gravel tires, it is the complete opposite!
|Even on skinny rims these supposed 40's are actually 42mm wide.|
Maybe you are okay with that. Maybe you like getting "more" for your money. But in the case of bicycles meant to handle 40's and no larger, it can be an issue. Take my Twin Six Standard Rando, for instance. A 40mm tire is about as large as I'd run on this bike with any confidence that I would not be jamming small stones between the top of the tread and the mono-stay end on the bike. I know- Twin Six says it will fit a Rock & Road, and while you can get one under there, there ain't much room. This is really a 40mm tire bike, or smaller.
I'm going to run the 700's on here for a bit, but 650B tires are going back on real soon, and it will be interesting to see if the wider Irwin wheels I am testing allow the WTB Byway's to pass between the stays and fork legs. They worked with the narrower Velocity Aileron rims, but we will see......
|Renegade Gents Race Rig.........most likely.|
Next weekend is the Renegade Gents Race. I've often said that this is the funnest, good time bicycle ride/event I do all year. This also will mark the 8th consecutive year I've done this deal. All with the same bunch of Renegades, by the way.
It's a special event for me because I made good friends at this event that I would not have today otherwise. I marvel at what this event has become and I am sure it is a big deal now for the folks in Slater, Iowa where we will descend with about 350 riders or so. I think the first year there were way less than 100!
Anyway, I plan on riding the Raleigh Tamland with the 650B wheel set I have been testing on there. Our team captain is riding a fat bike this year and said to, "plan your pace accordingly", so I'll probably be over-biked for this, but then again- Our team captain is a very strong rider and is getting tuned up for Trans Iowa, so yeah..... We'll see about that easy pace!
So, the bike will be as seen here with the bar tape switched out. I have this new stuff which is pretty rad and I cannot wait to try it out. It is kind of rubbery-tacky, and very cushioned. It comes from a company named "Marque" so I'll be gabbing about that later on. I may also have to clean and lube the drive train. It probably needs replacing, but you know what they say not to do just before an event, right? Hopefully it holds up. I am confident that it will.
Okay, Happy Easter, if you do that, and otherwise have a great weekend!