Monday, September 15, 2008

Salsa Cycles Gordo: El Grande Fun!

<====The Salsa Cycles Gordo rims laced up.

I spent the weekend "blog free" but it didn't help with cycling outside much since all the trails were muddy. I did do some wheel building though! I got the Salsa Cycles Gordo rims laced to a set of Hope Pro II's with some Wheelsmith 14/15 double butted spokes and alloy nipples. I used the "Mike Curiak" method of throwing a bunch of different colored nipples in a bowl ( In this case, the colors were green, red, and gold) and blindly fishing them out at random. Whatever color I grabbed I used. It turned out pretty well, I must say! (You can click on the picture to enlarge it. That way you can see the colored nipples easier, if you care to.)

<===The red anodized Hope Pro II's are LOUD!!

The build went really smoothly. The Gordos were straight and I hardly had to make any corrections at all. The tension came up very evenly, especially on the rear wheel. All in all, they were as good if not better than say, a DT Swiss rim, which I have used before. This Gordo and those DT Swiss rims are the best I've ever built with.

The Gordo is decidedly a "trail" rim with its huge width, (35mm) and sturdy weight, (780 grams a rim). That's okay for its intended use. It isn't a cross country, weight weenie rim. I did find that it built up a set that was 100 grams lighter than a WTB rimmed stock wheel set off my Raleigh XXIX+G though! The kicker here is that the inner rim dimension of the Gordo is wider than the outer width of the WTB rim!

You may ask, "Why is the overall rim width such a big deal?". Fair enough. Consider that the wider the rim, the more it supports the tire laterally. It also spreads out the tread surface on the terrain better, offering better grip. These are both good things when traversing demanding off road terrain. Not only that, but wider rims also allow you to run low, low pressures without rolling off the tires, and getting you even more traction.

The tires I mounted onto the Gordos were the tires off those previously mentioned WTB rims. They are a WTB Weir Wolf LT 2.55" tire and a Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4" tire. Each tire measured about 56. 4mm in width on the WTB's. On the Gordos, they each measured 59.7mm in width. Big difference! You can actually see that the tread is "flatter" to the ground as well. This should garner me gobs of traction.

Now, here's the deal on the tubeless situation. Salsa says "no!" They have a sticker right around the valve hole that says, "Do not use with tubeless systems." I used tubes to start with. Let me start out with tire fit here.

The tires I used have been on and in use for almost a year with the Schwalbe, and over a year on the WTB. These tires are stretched out! The fit of them on the Gordos was about what I experience on other tubeless systems with tubeless ready tires. The last four inches of bead that needs mounting is not hard to get over the rims edge, but you have to put a little effort into it. So, nothing unusual, but with a new tire it definitely would have been harder to mount on the Gordo. I'd give the Gordo an above average grade here. Airing up the tire was no problem as the beads sat right up into the "channel" extruded into each side of the inner rim well. Again, if the tires were new, they would have "snapped" in place with an audible sound. The tires I used did do this to a very small extent. Tire mounting: Above average grade here, as well.

In my estimation, judging from how the tires mounted and by the design of the Gordo, I'm going to say that they will probably be an easy and very successful tubeless conversion. In fact, I'm betting you won't even have to do anything but put a Stan's yellow strip in, or maybe go "ghetto" and use some strapping tape. That's it. A tubeless valve stem should seal on this rim with no problems at all. In this regard, I give the Gordo another above average grade. Remember though kiddies: Salsa Cycles says you shouldn't use the Gordo tubeless. So don't go and complain to them if your tire blows off the rim while riding, okay? Okay! That's on you, my friends.

So, I threw these on the OS Bikes Blackbuck for now. Wheel weights were rear: 1160 grams, and front: 1070 grams. That may sound like a lot, but for burly, strong, and wide, you are not going to get lightweight too, unless you go to a carbon fiber rim. (Read: Rob a bank to afford!) The MSRP on the Gordo is $125.00, which again, may open a few eyes up wide, but these rims are top notch quality, technologically designed for 29"ers, (Find another rim that is), are without peer in width, (Unless you count a unicycle rim that's out there) , and are reasonably light. Really, I don't see this as outlandish for the best trail rim made for 29"ers available today.

Stay tuned for further updates on Twenty Nine Inches

No comments: