Yesterday’s ride report: first ride in Lycra, first ride with new tires.
Yesterday I did a short ride with Mike Simmons at Mt. Dora. We didn’t loaf, but we didn’t drop the hammer, either. I just wanted to get another fairly hard, but short, ride in before our 42-mile ride at Santos tomorrow. My legs and cardio are still not back to 100%, but I think I’m up to tomorrow’s challenge.
I wore my Lycra for the first time ever on yesterday’s ride. As many of you know, I’ve been resisting the de facto standard XC MTB/roadie riding attire for a very long time. Well, now that I’ve finally made the leap, I get it. I really do. I found the tight Lycra to be extremely light, far cooler than my usual riding clothing and infinitely more comfortable than my baggy shorts/shirts–especially once I was drenched in sweat. I also love the pockets on the back of the jersey, which makes grabbing a pack of Sport Beans or a Clif Bar effortless.
Even though tight Lycra is something I would’ve swore you’d never see me in, I’m really glad I put practicality over my personal style preferences. In fact, I was so impressed after just one ride that I have a feeling I’m going to be riding in Lycra most of the time now. I guess I’m going to need more jerseys.
The other big test yesterday was my new tires. I talked about why I had to do another tire swap on Facebook, but I don’t think I mentioned it in my blog so I’ll bring everyone up to speed.
Back in March I put a pair of 2012 Continental Mountain King 2 Protection tires on my Fuel. They sucked. Bad. With less than 100 miles on the Contis, I pulled them off and put my trusty old WTB Velociraptors back on. The WTB ‘raptors are very aggressive and grippy, but also extremely slow rolling and super heavy. I hated adding all that rotational weight back on to my bike after working so hard to get it as light as possible, but anything was better than the Contis. I figured I’d ride on the WTB tires as I researched something better…
Months went by, and I sort of put the tire research on the back burner. I still kept my eyes open, however, and over the past few months I looked at all kinds of tires from Kenda, Maxxis, Schwalbe and many other manufactures. I had narrowed my choices down to a couple of tires from Maxxis and Schwalbe, but I was having trouble deciding. With Sunday’s 42-mile IMBA Epic ride coming up, I really wanted to get something lighter on my bike before then.
Last week I decided to put the Mountain Kings back on my bike to give them another try. I was unable to get the front tire to seal up: Stan’s sealant was coming out of micro-holes all along the sidewall. I spent about 2 hours shaking and rotating, and the tire simply would not seal (this did not happen the first time I sealed them back in March). I did a search, and found others having the exact same issue with this tire. Also, with less than 100 miles on them, I noticed a lug was ripped off–and I’d not even done any rocky riding! JSF member “craigstr” (Craig) told me that he had several lugs ripped off his MK2s on his very first ride, and my friend Mike Simmons told me that tons of lugs were torn off his Continental Trail Kings!
Bottom line: Continental mountain bike tires SUCK. My advice is do not use them. Ever. As far as I’m concerned Continental stole a hundred bucks from me.
So, I had a choice: decide on some new tires real quick, or ride Sunday’s Epic on the really heavy and slow-rolling ‘raptors. Trying to keep up with Simmons is hard enough under the best of circumstances, so I decided I had to get something lighter on my bike.
Craig replaced his crappy MK2s with the 2012 Michelin Wild Grip’r Advanced tires. He loves the Grip’rs, and highly recommend them to me. I decided to take a chance and pick up a pair of 26×2.25″ 2012 Michelin Wild Grip’r Advanced tires. The Grip’rs came in at just 560g each (actual), and that shaves off more than 1.5 pounds of rotational weight over the WTB tires. Thanks to these tires my Fuel is down to a new low of 26.13 pounds! I’m running the tires tubeless, and I had no problem at all getting them to bead and seal.
Yesterday I rode on the tires for the first time, and I was extremely impressed with their performance. The huge difference in rotational weight was felt immediately, and the decreased rolling resistance was also very noticeable. I literally kept pulling the front tire off the ground until I started to get used to the new lighter weight of my front end! The tires gripped every bit as well as the heavy ‘raptors, and allowed me to corner with confidence. I’ll be giving them a more thorough test on tomorrow’s 42-mile ride, but I can say that heading into the ride I’m feeling really good about the tires.