Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday News And Views

Looks weird, rides great.
Road Plus Experiment: Update

So, I have a few rides in on these corpulent tires in the slightly diminutive diameter and........

There is something to this.

The whole "plus" tire movement tends to make riders draw lines and get their pants all wadded up claiming it isn't anything new, the claims are false, and yada, yada, yada..... Well, like I say, there is something to it all, and if there weren't, well, don't you think that by now all those "plus sized bikes" would be sitting on dealer's floors not selling? The thing is, while maybe they are not selling like hot cakes, they are selling. The customers are voting with their dollars, and apparently the riders feel that, yes, there is a benefit here. 

So, WTB takes an age old idea, repackages it, brings modern tubeless tire technology to bear, and we have something that they call "Road Plus". Ya know, I suggest that we all just don't get hung up on the name. It is something different, (tubeless), and the format isn't well known in gravel circles. Maybe it should have been, but that was yesterday. Today, we're looking at this for gravel travel, and I have seen that these wheels and tires hold some promise. I'll have more soon.

Just like 100 years ago- Looking less "bike", more motorcycle.
Trading Fossil Fuels For Electrons:

For years now on this blog I have said that any motor + bike = motorcycle. Readers scoffed, said I was out of touch, and that this was the way to get non-cyclists out on "bicycles".

I still don't believe that, not for one minute. All you have to do is hop on Facebook, type "e-bike" in the search box, and start scrolling. You will see at least 60% of the results are going to be more "motorcycle styled" than looking anything like a bicycle. Which doesn't really say anything necessarily, that is, until you start looking a bit closer.

Then you will find things like "cruising speed of 28mph" , "thumb actuated throttle control", and you will see LOTS of videos where riders are not pedaling at all. Did I remember to write that these are motorcycles? How is it that if the vehicle in question has a gasoline powered motor, it is a motorcycle, but trade that for an electric motor, and somehow it isn't a motorcycle anymore? Who cares if you have to pedal some to make it work, there still is that pesky motor, and by the looks of the search results I am seeing, you can get something very electric, very "motorcyclish", for the same, or as in some cases, less than a "pedelec".

Ya know, if Honda, Suzuki, or Yamaha decided to go full bore into electric motorcycles they would blow these pithy "e-bikes" out of the water and it will be game over for the vehicles with those "pedal thingies" on them that were called e-bikes. Just like old 1900's era motorcycles were bicycle based, and a lot like the moped craze of the 80's, e-bikes will morph into electric motorcycles and this nonsense about getting non-cyclists to pedal via an e-bike will finally be shown to be the bovine excrement that it is. I've seen the evidence out there and that's the way this looks to be headed.

That's my take.

Sarah Cooper (L- obviously!) and me, GT

I heard some old bike racers yakking it up at my first Sea Otter years ago, and one of them mentioned a really good female rider and said that he had gotten "chicked" by her because she beat him. I'd never heard that term before then used in that manner.

Sarah Cooper has done Trans Iowa a couple of times, and she has done really well. Winning the Women's Open category this year handily, she has also won Odin's Revenge, and she's done pretty darn good at these ultra-endurance road biking gigs. This deal called Sebring is one, and by the time you've read this, Sarah Cooper will have won the overall in the Race Across The West, a 930 mile ultra-cycling race in record time for the Women's category. Yes.....she beat all the guys and gals.

Sarah is obviously a tough gal, but you won't meet a nicer person. She's the mother of four and holds down a job as well as being a wife. I tell ya, when they say, "I don't know how they do it", I think about Sarah and her accomplishments.

Hats off to ya, Sarah.

Have a great, safe, and fun weekend, y'all. Keep the rubber side down.


Phillip Cowan said...

All the ebike riders I have met are paunchy late middle age men with spider veins and gin blossom nose hinting at one too many DUI convictions. Hardly the lycra/fitbit crowd.

Bob said...

Over the last 16 yrs. I have put more than 4k on motor assist bikes, both gas and electric. All with a throttle and no PAS yet I pedaled at least 95% of the time. The trick is you have to have high enough gearing to be able to pedal with resistance at whatever speed you want to travel and I find it easier to manipulate a throttle to my cadence rather than have some "sensor" doing it for me.

All but a few miles have been on road surfaces of varying degrees. I have ridden on enough trail to know that it can be done but it doesn't interest me as I like riding my MTB on trails and going faster is not a priority for me if I am out enjoying a good trail ride. I don't like riding my MTB on roads though or any bike really because it bores me quite frankly. The assist makes it more interesting and you get there faster with the same amount of effort if you put the effort in. It is much like riding a tandem with a very fit stoker.

It is just another tool for the shed if you are so inclined.

RonDog said...

Am I correct or didn't Compass come out with their 48mm 650b tubeless before WTB? Don't get me wrong, I am super excited more companies are jumping on this bandwagon, just wondering who was first?

Guitar Ted said...

@Ron Dog: Compass/Panasonic/Panaracer tires have said that they were tubeless compatible for a long time. The thing is, WTB has a complete system you can avail yourself of which works fantastically well and is easy to set up. Compass Tires/Panasonic/Panaracer does not have rims, rim strips, sealant, and valves to go with their tires. This can cause potential issues if the tires don't play well with other components of a tubeless tire system.

It is also worth noting that the Compass Tires in particular are very fragile in rougher terrain since the supple ride is prized over toughness with their product. Not that this is an indictment of Compass Tires- far from it- it just is what it is.

RonDog said...

I have not run Compass tires tubeless, but I have run a variety of Compass tires for several years and have yet to experience any issues on lots of miles on rough Texas gravel and crappy pavement (7000 miles per year). I have done self-supported tours on Compass 650b 42s and 48s with only a few flats and no failures because of the supple sidewalls. I have run some Bruce Gordon RnRs tubeless ( panaracer tires ) and will agree tubeless didn't work so well for me - a friend is having awesome results with these tires tubeless.. It is noteworthy that the last 3 tires announced by Compass are now rated "tubeless compatible", however I have not tried them tubeless.

Curious as to why you are testing Velocity rims with WTB's tires?

Thanks for your tireless (ha) work on reviewing all these great options for us gravel riders.

Guitar Ted said...

@RonDog: That's always the case with these tires from any brand. You will have a mixed bag of results and all you can do is look for any trend that develops. One person's awesome experience can be balanced out with another person's story of failure. I've been reviewing tires for a decade now and this is what I have noted during that time.

So, it is useful to share these experiences as they tend to point to a truer value in a tire's worthiness for specific uses. However; I caution anyone to think about these reports in a more overall sense and not to take any single report as "gospel" on a tire's worth. That goes for what I say too, by the way!

My report on the Compass tire being fragile comes from the amount of feedback I have seen that points me to making that statement. That said, now that I have the wheels, I will have to try a pair of the fatter 650B examples out when this test of the WTB's is through.

Which brings me to the wheels- Velocity chose to send these wheels to Riding Gravel to facilitate this test and, obviously, get their Aileron rims into the spotlight a bit. It also is good from the standpoint of showing whether or not these rims are a good choice for WTB's Horizon tires. If they prove to be a good match up tubeless and ride well, then it presents another option to riders to consider. We already know that WTB's TCS rims would work well, so this is something more noteworthy to the readers of Riding Gravel and this site.

Hopefully that makes sense.

Thanks for reading here!

Daniel said...

How's the tire clearance?

Guitar Ted said...

@Daniel Lemke: Clearance is excellent on the Tamland Two. I've yet to switch these to another bike, so I cannot speak to anything else just yet.

Daniel said...

@GT. Ok. I can clear 40c tires with the bike I have now so was curious how that would work with a 47c tire. Thanks.