Monday, January 27, 2014

How To NOT Be Challenged By Challenge Tires

Now with pictures (I hope)!

Challenged by Challenge by cyclotourist

I am incredibly happy with the Challenge Eroicas I purchased last year. Great rolling tires and no punctures or defects to date. That's high praise for any such top shelf tire which often seem to skate the thin line between performance and durability.

I did have a HUGE problem mounting them. It ended up taking me several days, using successively larger tubes to form the tires.

Apparently there is a much better procedure, that was sent to me from Chris from Challenge. It follows below:

Due to the construction of our handmade open tubulars, they tend to lay flat and tight on the rim. Once installed and a tube inflated, they take their shape and stretch a little making future removal and installation easier. It’s that first installation that can be a real pain depending on the rim.

Working with the folks in our factory we found another method for installing these tires. Rather than pushing everything on from one side, as is traditional, follow these steps:

1)      Place the rim in the center of the tire

2)      Center the rest of the tire over the rim

3)      Install one side of the tire

4)      Install the tube from the other side
5)      Install the remaining side of the tire

We’ve found this to help immensely with tighter fitting tires like our handmade open tubular tires.

Doing it that way should help you hurry up and get out the door in order to start doing some of this:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Schwalbe Thunder Burts... I like 'em!

Schwalbe Thunder Burts have become my favorite tire!

They float over soft stuff

Perfect on hard-pack (Strada Rossa there, people!)

And they roll great on asphalt!

Although labeled 2.10", the 27.5"/650b/584 tires measure 49 mm wide at casing, and 50 mm at knobs on 28mm wide Velocity Blunt rims. So more like a 2.0" tire."

These are the dual-compound tires, not the EVO tires. I bought them a German retailer as they met my needs perfectly. EVO line would be nice to run tubeless, but that's the only downside to the dual compound in my opinion.

These are perfect all-around tires for my dry conditions. I ride about five miles to the trail heads on streets, so want something that does good on the road. But then I need it to dig in good in the dirt. I have been running Kenda Slant Six tires on my 29er, but will probably switch to these there as well!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Religious Conversion


That's 700C to 650B for all y'all. I recently bought a used Salsa La Cruz specifically with this project in mind. With disc brakes and a high-ish (68mm drop) bottom bracket, it looks like the perfect bike to do a quick and easy conversion on. Inspired by this, I knew I was good to go.

I found a used Velocity Blunt wheelset on Craigslist, and was able to get a pair of Vee Rubber Speedsters (I know, hard to make out the name on them) from my friend Mike. So far the entire investment is under $1000 which is where I wanted to be in this experiment.

You can see the comparison between the two wheelsets below. The 700C is about 10mm taller at the top. Five mm at the axle. Imperceptible ride height difference.

Salsa La Cruz 650B Conversion

But what a difference in ride quality! Riding off-road with the 700X31C stock tires was miserable on this bike. I don't know if it was the tire or an extremely rigid fork, but my hands and arms would ache after riding. Really disappointed about that. I might play around with some different 700C tires and see if it can be improved. Probably some SOMA C Lines in the future.

The Vee Rubber Speedsters measure 47mm, and are slower on the road, but excel in the dirt. Especially on hardpack fire road type riding that I do a lot of here in Inland Southern California. They're not so great on singletrack, but everything in life is a compromise! The hand pain I mentioned above is eliminated. The bike just flies over irregularities in the trail now.

There is a weight penalty with the 650B wheels though.  About 225grams/8oz. per wheel. That's with disc and skewers installed. The 700C does have a lighter disc. Hubs are both XT M756, 32 butted spokes, Velocity Blunt 650B and Salsa Delgado 29er rims.

I'm going to raise the bars and bring them closer, as a stretched out road position doesn't work so well in the dirt. Other than that and maybe eventually putting some knobbier tires on, this bike is a dream to ride in the dirt!

One final look:

Salsa La Cruz 650B Conversion

Monday, November 4, 2013

Travelling with friends

Travelling with friends by cyclotourist

Travelling with friends, a photo by cyclotourist on Flickr.
Just noticed that these are the stills used in this great video:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coffee Outside

Coffee Outside by rperks1
Coffee Outside, a photo by rperks1 on Flickr.

The perfect outing!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Resist Nomads - 300 miles in

Untitled by cyclotourist
Untitled, a photo by cyclotourist on Flickr.
I reported to the internet earlier on these, and stand by my very positive initial impression. These are some great tires. Actually fantastic tires when you consider the street price they go for. If your bike can fit them, go for it! The float over sand, hook up for climbing, are incredibly supple for bump absorption without slowing you down. All good!

Well, yes, almost all good I suppose. The only downsides are potential clearance issues (they are 41mm wide on 23mm rims), excessive squishiness at low pressure, and something I never experienced before, produce increased wheel flop.

The first two negatives are pretty obvious, but the third was unexpected. It wasn't awful, just a lack of stability from the extra mass or circumference (or both!). This caused some slight handling issues that I didn't really like the feeling of. I didn't have this problem with the Ritchey Zeds of the same size, so don't know why it was pronounced with these tires. Maybe because the knobbies on the Zeds change the feel so much that wheel flop isn't even noticed?

Anyway, these are great tires, go out and buy some!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ramble On!

Looking for a new bike? You could do worse than this one! Seriously, it's a damn fine bike, made in the States, designed by good people (Rob). Something to consider at least!

Why A Rambler

The Rambler is a true Cyclotouring bike, steeped in traditional French design, but brought forward to work with modern components and fittings.  It is the kind of bike that once dominated the market, but went away as racing came to the forefront.
7.25 blue GP WP-1140094
As we, the cycling tribe, move back to a cycling style that is more practical, able to function as transportation, take the load off our back, yet handle well and with a lively ride, the Rambler is there to fill that need.
The larger market is slower to move, has longer design cycles due to their economic scale, and may have generally different motivations.  I decided it was time to take my dream bike, and bring it to the market as a fully developed product and the Rambler was born.  In many ways it is unique in the market, the only production bike of its kind.  All of the details are there to build out a functional sport bicycle, that also serves as practical every day transportation.
Rambler Specs:
  •  TIG welded, double butted CroMo tubes, custom matched to the frame size for optimized performance.
  • Room for 42mm tires and fenders on all bicycle sizes
  • Designed with the provision for Paul Racer brakes, mounted with braze-on bosses.  These provide unparalleled power and modulation in a rim brake.
  • Paul Racer brakes are included in the frame set package.
  • Double eyelets for rack and fender mounts at the front and rear dropouts.
  • The fork has an investment cast crown with cast and machined rack mounting bosses, with provisions for small upper and low rider racks, & fenders.
  • Lighting wire guides on the right fork leg. Reinforced entry and exit ports for internal routing of lighting wires, from front to rear of the frame.
  • Columbine Quickchainger braze-on, for easy rear wheel changes without having to touch the chain.
  • Braze-on fender mounting points placed so installation is simple and results in even fender line.
  • 130mm rear spacing to work with modern road bike components.
  • Color options: American Blue , Orange Soda and Sunflower Yellow
Partnering with an US engineering and fabrication team, the Rambler delivers on all levels of build accuracy, quality, hand-built craftsmanship, as well as looks and performance.  Unique in the marketplace, it serves as the backbone for the custom-built bike you have been dreaming of.
7.25 Y Rambler2 WP-1100711Ocean Air Cycles is the embodiment of my passion for cycling in a form that shares what I know to be a better alternative with you.  It is my work, and my dream, to apply my skills as an engineer and an entrepreneur to deliver a bicycle that can change the way people see local transportation and recreation.  Using the Rambler as a tool for travel, transport, running errands, getting to work, etc.  Getting out and around under your own power will transform you, your family, and community.  Having the best tools available will make the transformation more lasting.  Adding to the function is color, function with flair, because color choices make thing more fun
7.18 email -1140196
Our first large production run of Ramblers is currently in the powder coating phase.  They will be going final QC and prep over the next two weeks, then distribution begins.  I need your help, spreading the word, or better yet buying a Rambler of your own.  You can start with a frame set and build up your own, or we can facilitate custom builds for your ready to roll custom dream bike.  You can click-through any of the Rambler links or photos in this post to place your deposit today, reserving you place in this batch.  The next run will not be here until next Spring, and this is your chance to get rolling before Summer passes by.
7.25 blue bch WP-1010362Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, we will make sure you are getting exactly what you want.
We are in this for the long haul, but can not do it without your support, Thank you.  We provide the tools, but you make the wheels go round and round.