(Link to Part 1 of this series)
Okay, so it’s been over 800 miles since I put the new, high-end tires and tubes on the bike. If you’ll recall, this was part of my “weight weenie” experiment to see what matters and what doesn’t, in terms of reducing weight and improving performance on a bike.
Well, I’m happy to report that I’m extremely satisfied with both my tire and tube choices. I’ve had no issues with flats (knock on wood), and the ride is definitely more supple than my old setup. (To refresh your memory, please click on the original post – I replaced my old setup with Continental Grand Prix 4000s tires and Vittoria latex tubes.)
The only problem is that I changed 3 variables at once. Anyone with any scientific knowledge knows that’s not a great way to conduct an experiment! But I realized that was what I was doing and I was in a hurry! Plus, I wanted to “stack the deck”, if you will. In other words, I wanted to see if I could tell any difference at all, so I changed three things that allegedly would improve my ride and performance. (went from 23mm to 25mm tire, improved the tire quality and went from butyl to latex tubes)
So, I’ll just conclude for now that tire width and/or tire quality and/or tire tube material (or all of the above) do make a noticeable difference. It’s not huge – you’re not going to suddenly feel like you bought a new bike – but it is noticeable. And it is better. The latex tubes are a bit of a pain, since they always require pumping up before a ride. But my butyl ones did as well, frankly. Now I pump 20 times instead of 10. Not a deal-breaker for me! (Neither is the 4x cost, since they seem to last much longer!)
And both the tires and tubes seem to hold up much better than what I had before. Riding after the rainy season in Tucson typically wreaks havoc on tires and tubes (monsoons cause lots of thorns and cactus to run into the road along with sand). So far, so good – I’ve had zero problems! (again, knock on wood – do I sound over superstitious? I don’t want to anger the flat gods!)
There might be a part 3 to this experiment if I can force myself to take away 2 of the 3 variables and ride a while to really judge what makes the most difference. But for now I welcome your thoughts and comments!