Sunday, May 16, 2010

New tires and traction

This weekend was all about the new tires. I went into Mal's and got some el cheapo cross-ish tires. The brand is DURO, the model (from what I can tell) is BRAVE. So advanced that the big feature advertised on the sidewall is "NYLON". 700x40c but they look almost identical in width to the 35mm Randos that I just took off. Anyway, they are better than I could have hoped for! Lower pressure, more traction on straights and corners and under brakes... I know I was talking last week about lack of traction being a good thing, but of course I was lying.
Saturday was a ride along the firetrail at the base of Majura and Ainslie for a warm up and then some singletrack in Majura, on the Jackson and riding with Joel and Bear. The tires were tops.... fast enough on the bitumen getting there but with a little pressure released they were pretty comy on the sinlgetrack too. I was expecting a bunch of pinchflats but not a one! We even did Auto Alley, though far from clean. I'm definitely feeling better about the brakes and the forearms took a good battering against the tops as I was descending on them always. I guess it was about 2 hours of riding, and it was fun.

Today I took my singlespeed out for a spin on Stromlo, and it is glorious. I've just put some Ultimate Vs on it and the improvement from the XTs is massive! true one-finger-no-matter-what braking. I even did some nice front wheel skids in the deep sand. I did, however fail a lot on trails that I used to be master of the universe on. I couldnt even MAKE myself climb through a bunch of rocks on heartbreaker that I used to not even take notice of. Anyway, its been a while and I can only get better. A pic is attached.

During the ride I got a call from Tom and got ready to ride with him on the firetrails. He turned out on pretty much the exact bike that I'm trying to build. Nice old touring frame with external butted seat tube, unicrown fork, 42mm Ritchey tire up front and a 35 rear, near full M950 group, single digit Ti brakes. So... very nice! We rode about an hour or so, through the same firetrail that I rode last Saturday, and the bit of extra cush in the tires (maybe theyre taller in profile) made the ruts and rocks of last week feel like nothing. I was again having a ball washing outa bit in the sand pits at the bottom of hills, and having someone else there made it all the better. The great bonus was that I learned the way to ride to work on firetrail! I had a good time... good chats about all sorts of anything. So hopefully this week I can make fireroad commute happen and get in the groove. Riding trail before work always feels almost too much, too lucky to me. The day is already a great one before you even sit at your desk... something great has been achieved :) This is Tom on his rig, my legs are almost but not quite long enough to ride it.

Tom also loaned me the 1999 MBA that has a review of the Mount Cross... It does get a great review, though with a few caveats. I saw the Ibis Bow Ti in there as well and it is now the bew object of desire... ultimate retro 24hr racer? 5" of travel almost seems too long to believe.

I'm changing around the idea of the build for the Mount Cross. Currently sitting on 2x9 with Paul thumbies, XT and Ulterga mechs, DA downtube shifters, sram cassette and chain, Titec h bar, at least to start out.

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