Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday News And Views

The Soma Fab Cazadero 42mm tire
Same Song- Different Dance Partner:

Tubeless tires. Everybody wants to know about whether or not the latest tire can be set up tubeless or not. Fat bikes and gravel road going rigs that have no real good systems in place seem to be the next field where tubeless tinkering is taking off at a breakneck pace. It reminds me totally of circa 2006 29"er tubeless experimentations. Some times it worked, and other times......not so much. 

I got the Soma Fab Cazaderos recently and started the review , (here), and although I stated that since it isn't a tubeless ready tire I wouldn't be testing it this way, I am sure someone or three will say the review isn't any good without me trying them tubeless. I know this from my past experiences reviewing tires. The thing is, I cannot fairly review a tire if I use it as it is not intended.

Just like using a 23mm road slick for a cyclo cross race and then saying the tire stinks because it doesn't handle mud well is unfair, so it is with regard to "converting" any tire I am reviewing to tubeless for gravel. The Cazadero was never intended for tubeless usage, or if it was a thought during the design, Soma isn't saying so overtly. Either way, it isn't right for me to judge a tire for tubeless use and have it fail or not do well when it wasn't meant to be tested that way in the first place. Not to mention, there is no real, approved way of doing a tubeless conversion of a non-tubeless tire industry wide. Stan's No-Tubes notwithstanding, no tire manufacturer will approve of that openly.

And so it goes with the bicycle industry. We can make ridiculously light, mega-expensive bikes out of carbon fiber but we cannot have a true, standardized tubeless tire system for bicycles across the board? That's just weird. What other vehicle in existence suffers such disarray when it comes to their tires and rims? I believe a standardized tubeless system can be done, but the industry is so disconnected from what user experience is that it cannot find a way to make it happen. If the industry would come together and just make UST happen on every tire and rim, (for instance), and manufacture every tire to work tubeless, (you could always sub in a tube when you had to), then this whole dancing around with ghetto solutions to tubeless conversions and the roulette wheel riders have to negotiate to find success would not exist. But apparently what riders are doing is cheap R&D or something.........

This is just a random pic of our recently departed James in a cargo box.
End Of The Year Madness:

I'll be posting my annual "Rear View" series shortly and this has been a doozy of a year. I'll probably have to do this year in thirds, but however it comes out, look for that to start next week sometime and of course, the Holidays will bust that up some.

At the end of it all, I will make a special announcement and a few predictions for 2015. Looking ahead, there could be a lot of changes next year, or it could all just go "poof" and it could end up just being a regular year. We'll see....

Okay, that's all for today. Have a great weekend and get outside!

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