Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday News And Views

Tires.You gotta have them. I like tires a lot too, and I've mounted thousands of them in my lifetime as a mechanic on bicycles (14 years), and as a car mechanic, (5.5 years). One thing that I've always thought was missing with regard to bicycle tires versus the car tires I used to mount was the "slippy-slide".

Slippy-slide......that's a technical term! The "real name" of the product escapes me now- if I ever knew it- but it was indispensable for mounting car tires. You slathered on this snotty-goo substance on tire beads with a brush before mounting the tires to rims. Then when you hit the tire with an air compressor, the beads would slip into place on the rim, instead of hanging up part way. Pop-pop! The tires would seat right up every time.

Well, with bicycles, you generally go dry with the tires, and because we typically use higher pressures and lighter components than automobiles, the beads set up without any extra goo involved. But sometimes they do not, and when they do not, it can be a real hassle to get them to "bead up". (Think 27" steel wheels and tires as a for instance.) Tubeless tires are another good place where I have used various substances to help the bead seating process along. All were messy and wet. Now there is Uncle Dick's Bead Slip

It's an organic blend of non-toxic ingredients that you apply with a brush to a tire's beads and it is supposed to make things go easier. I just got some samples at the shop where I work to try out. I have only used it once on a tubeless installation just yesterday. I hit the beads with the Bead Slip and mounted up the tire. A blast from a compressor and...........silence. It was eery! I've never had a bead set up so easily and quietly. More research is necessary, but first impressions are that it is good stuff.

Trek's Farley fat bike.
Fat Bike News: 

Trek's Farley is hitting shops now and with only 500 units produced, the model is hard to come by for dealers, in fact- it is impossible to get unless your dealer pre-ordered some. Unfortunately even the extra 500 that Trek authorized to be built are spoken for as well.  (Yes- that equals 1000 Farleys.)

There are frame sets out there to get though, so if you are so inclined, the blue or black colors are supposedly order-able. The frames are hydro-formed aluminum and come with a fork as well.

As confirmed by a Trek employee, Trek did do just what I theorized earlier this year and rushed this out to market just to have product out there to compete with all the others jumping in. That totally explains the Surly rims and tires on the Farley.

Word is now that Trek will have their own tires and rims for 2015, (read next Fall), and will have "several models" in the fat bike line. Interesting...... This certainly means that Bontrager branded fat bike tires are coming, and rims as well, one would think. Bontrager does a great tubeless tire and rim strip for most types of cycling. It would stand to reason that some sort of tubeless tire and rim strip may be in the offing for fat bikes from Trek. I would also predict that it will be Trek, (and very likely Specialized), that will pay for the tooling to get suspension forks for fat bikes from Rock Shox. Next Summer I would bet that much of this speculation will either be common knowledge or disproved. I'm betting it will mostly be true. We'll see......


And finally....

The big surprise for me this season is not that carbon fat bikes are of great interest to riders, but that they are actually selling. But not that they are actually selling, it's that the best ones are selling. The really expensive ones!

While I won't get into numbers here, the shop where I work is selling these things and by "selling" I mean "sold". I gotta say that surprises me a bit. I can't put my finger on it, but there must be a few reasons why this is.

Obviously, fat bikes have captured the imagination of several folks. Of them, more than a few are thinking traditional fat bikes are heavy. (Well, they are, but that isn't that big a deal for many, or to me.) Now with weight reigned in to the point that most 29"er hard tails weigh more than a fat bike of the highest caliber, you have to wonder if that is finally enticing some folks to jump in. That or folks are just all about carbon fiber anything......I don't know. 

Whatever the motivation, a sub-23 pound fat bike with a wide range drive train is pretty unbelievable.  And with regard to the Salsa, you have to believe that it could go lighter with a tubeless set up, and maybe some lighter parts,or what have you. Updated: Word has it that the actual weights of the XX1 equipped Beargrease carbon rigs has "ballooned" to over 24lbs in reality. Still- that's darn light for a fat bike, but don't go get rid of your super-light 29"er hard tails just yet!

Okay, that's a wrap. I hope you all get a bike ride in and enjoy your weekend.....


shiggy person said...

What? You do not remember Tioga Bead Wax? Or the Schwalbe Mounting Fluid?
And please, PLEASE, do not propagate the horrendous "bead up" (or variations there of) phrase. Just makes me cringe.
The lubes all help the seat the bead.

Guitar Ted said...

@shiggy person: So.....why don't you help me, (and everyone else0, by suggesting an alternative to that phrase? That might be nice.

Paul Trepanier said...


Interesting blog! Thanks for the writing. I am a gravel grinding myself, and also a custom bicycle builder here in Quebec City where we have access to an extensive network of great gravel roads. If you or your friends want a change of scenery, just ask me and I'll you as much as I can. If you want to see photos, just check my blog.

Paul Trepanier,

shiggy person said...

You seat the bead.
Get the bead to seat.

Bead up is water water does on a waxed surface.

I have seen "bead the tire" used. All clincher tires have a bead.

Guitar Ted said...

@shiggy the person: With all due respect, I think you are being a bit nit-picky, but I do see your point.

Never the less, to communicate both parties need to understand the terminology. I feel what I wrote conveys the idea of what it is we're discussing here in a widely accepted and understood way. In that I feel the statements are successful in conveying my idea.