Monday, January 02, 2017

Wide White Walls And Bling

Not that there was anything wrong with this....
Way back in early December I was told about a special deal Bontrager had on some wide white wall 26 inch tires that were on close out. The price was amazing for a folding bead, top construction non-tubeless tire. However; I didn't get very excited about this until I saw an image of this tire, dubbed the "G-Zero". The tread looked amazingly familiar. I thought it was an exact knock off of the old XR-1 pattern of which I was very fond of.

The width of these was right up my alley for my Big Dummy at 2.4"s. Those coupled with my 47mm wide Northpaw rims would be a great combination. I knew this since I had a 2.4" XR-1 blackwall 26" tire on the front of my bike already. The original owner had installed a 2.1 XR-1 in the rear to clear a rear fender. I have no intentions of putting a fender on this bike, so I figured the 2.4"er in the back would be a good upgrade. Cue the order process for two G-Zero whitewalls in 2.4" width and within days I had them in hand.

The old Surly rim strips had stretched dangerously thin. Time for a change.
I had a lot going on in December, so the swap didn't happen right away, but when I got to it I found out that I was going to need some new rim strips. The old Surly ones had blistered out from the Northpaw rim cut outs so badly that they were about half as thick as they should have been. That wasn't going to last very much longer so I had to make a change before reinstalling tires on these rims.

I had done a rim strip on my fat bike to replace some "chrome" colored duct tape that had flaked away to a dull gray. I wanted that shiny, silver look, and I found some aluminum duct tape, (read real duct tape), that is super sticky on the back and actually an aluminum foil type front so it would stay shiny for a longer time. It worked really well, despite it being a bit stiff when installed. I thought I'd give it a shot for the Big Dummy wheels, as a shiny rim strip would work well against the black of the frame and fork and still look good with the ano red stuff on the bike.

As  I said, the tape was a bit stiff, and the inner rim well of the Northpaw rim is pretty "U" shaped. I wasn't sure if the tape would lay down in there correctly. Fortunately the width was spot on, and although the tape was a bit wrinkled in spots, after a tube was pressed against it when the tire was installed it seemed to straighten out to look just fine.

The tape straightened out to look just great after the tires were inflated to pressure.
 There was a bit of an issue though. The lowest gears in the granny ring caused the chain to rub on the tire's sidewall a bit. That wasn't going to fly, since if I run a heavy load, I'll be running those lower gears. I found a Third Eye Chain Watcher that I installed on the downward sloping "boom" tube that deflects the upper run of the chain for now, but I have to devise a chain re-router for the lower run of the chain. I have a plan for that, but for now, I am okay.

First ride of 2017. Grocery getting......
The ride is really cushy with the wider rear tire. I have been running something in the 20's psi to lower 30's. Hard to tell with the cold since that affects things and I don't care enough to check it thoroughly. I just ride. So far, so good on that front. What really improved was the looks.

I think the rig has that "long black Cadillac" look to it now, and by the reactions I've gotten to it on the street so far, I think others agree. The XR-1-ish tread is perfect for pavement to dirt, and I even got across some crusty snow okay, so there is a bit more flotation with this rear tire than with the 2.1"er that I had before. I am pretty happy with the way it all worked out. Now for a chain deflection solution, which I have a good idea for what I will do there, and I'll be good to go.


Tyler Loewens said...

That looks sweet!! I also miss the old XR1 tire pattern - too bad those are not TLR and 29er.

Ari said...

That looks cool!

Nick Templeton said...

Our ideas on what is aesthetically pleasing differ greatly ;).

I'm very curious to see what you come up with to deal with the chain rub. I have 2.5" ExtraTerrestrials with 45mm rims on my Big Dummy and the chain rubs my fender/tire in my low gears.

MG said...

That thing looks great... Nice work!

Happy New Year, Brother!