Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Cursing Tires And Other First World Issues

Note the distinct lack of snow. You'd never guess this is a January day.
I rode the Snow Dog to work Tuesday for the first time as I had Monday off. The weather was going downhill fast as I left for the shop. The wind was roaring out of the Northwest and the temperature was sliding down from its peak in the upper 30's and was headed for the single digits. We had seen some rain on Monday, so there was a lot less snow and a lot more ice than you'd like to see in January.

The Snow Dog is shod with tires I got from Fatback Cycles dubbed "Snowshoe" and they are supposed to be 4.25" in width. Yeah....... Well, they are neither very "snowshoe-like" nor are they even four inches wide. But they can be nice tires in one area, and that is on ice. These tires have an uncanny ability to grip ice, and while it isn't "studded tire" grip, it is far better than the "here one moment-gone the next" that Surly tires have on ice. Maybe with the possible exception of my Lous on the Clown Shoe rims. That is a pretty solid set up for riding on ice .

So, there was ice for sure that I had to travel over. It was either that or go around another 3/4's of a mile out of my way to avoid it. Other than that, I really did not need these tires. On paved surfaces, especially, I did not enjoy the Snowshoes. They have an awful tendency for self-steer. That's when your tire feels like a head set that is too tight. Or like a chopper when you turn the bars too far. Anyway, it is not a fun sensation. That coupled with the very high rolling resistance of these tires, and you just feel frustrated. But then again.......I kind of feel bad about complaining. 

Surly Lou 4.8's. No self-steer, good on ice, and far lower rolling resistance.
 I mean, I have three fat bikes! Four if you count my son's, which can work for me, since he is bigger now. I have choices, I have the capability to just shut up and buy another set of tires. I even think, "What if the Snow Dog was my only fat bike? I still would be so blessed! "

So, ya know....... First World problems and all, right? Then there is tubeless.

I once set up the Snowshoe tires tubeless on these very rims. It was revelatory in as far as how much difference it made. The rolling resistance went waaaay down, and the tires had far less self-steer effects as well. Then I got to try them tubeless on a set of Velocity USA Duallys laced to fat bike hubs.


They were awesome on that set of wheels. Nothing like running them tubed on my Fatback Uma II 70mm rims. So......get another set of Duallys, right? Well, not so fast! I mean, maybe I should try these on the Uma II's tubeless again, no? They were a lot better on these rims tubeless as well, and that would cost a whole lot less money than buying Duallys and setting up these wheels that way. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I guess it is time I went to the craft store, bought another tub of Latex Mold Builder, and set to mixing up a batch of sealant. Stay tuned........

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