Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tire Swapping

Gravel King SK 40mm tires on HED Ardennes+ tubeless
One of the most important parts of your bicycle, heck......maybe the most important part, is your tires. It is no surprise that tires, and to a smaller degree wheels, cause such a stir amongst cyclists. This point was driven home by the coverage of this past weekend's Paris-Roubaix event. I saw commentary on how riders were pretty persnickety about tire pressures, and there were various thoughts on how wide those tires needed to be as well. Get the pressures wrong, or pick the wrong sized tires, and you maybe are not going to finish that 160 mile event.

When I was with Twenty Nine Inches.com tires were a big deal. At first it was obviously because there were hardly any 29"er tires around! Then it just never quit, and tires kept coming from all over for me to review. Tubelessness took hold, and, well.......I don't mind saying, I got pretty good at figuring it all out.

Now I'm with RidingGravel.com, and things haven't changed in regard to tires. There are more and more tires coming, and I suspect I'll be checking more and more of them out. Tubeless tires are also now a thing in gravel bikes, so I have had to master the mounting of skinnier than I am used to treads. I believe I've got the hang of this now as well. Practice makes perfect, they say.

In the last few months, I've been doing lots of tire switcheroos. These tires on those rims and the tires that were there go on these wheels and those tires are done for now. It is a three ring circus of tires, wheels, and sealant getting sucked out and injected in again. I think I've seen pretty much every type of deal through the years, and the gravel tires are doing a similar dance. We've got UST based tires, kinda UST based tires, and tires that are, well.....I'm not sure! They have all worked pretty well so far though.

I bet at some point this all gets sorted out and tubeless tires will not be a big deal, but for now there are still a lot various thoughts, systems, and ways to combine things that work, most of the time, and sometimes, well.....not so much.

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