Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Not Race Wheels"

In the past few months the Fun Machine has become very dear to me. I'm at the point were I'd rather ride it than any thing else on the road. It's pretty fun offroad too.

But it's also quite utilitarian. It is my commuter. I have it set up with fenders and fat durable tires and an array of lights that would make Starfleet proud (hopefully I can ditch the "big gun" soon).

As the weather has gotten a little nicer, I pondered the idea of making a special wheelset for it.
I had an old Record front hub and some Mavic GL 330 rims lying around for ages. I had spokes in-stock, so all I needed was a rear hub and tires.

I really wanted to use a Campagnolo Pista rear hub, but I just couldn't justify the expense (although really wanted to!), so I got a Miche Primato. Same country at least.

For tires, I'd been really enjoying the wider tires I've been commuting on. My racing bikes have 22's, which are fine, but the idea of a plumper go any where tire really appealed to me.
I thought I had been enjoying 28's, so I ordered up some Challenge Paris / Roubaix 27's.

Turns out I'd been enjoying 25's. Oops!

The Paris / Roubaix's are these beautiful handmade plump kielbasa-esqe tires. More inline with a Lithuanian kielbasa than a Polish, but super sausages non the less.
Polish kielbasa is much better for 'cross anyways.

I also had a Campagnolo Centaur crank I got off ebay for something ridiculous like $25, so while I'm at it, I guess I'll swap them for the perfectly wonderful, yet anonymous Shimano's that have been dutifully performing without complaint for years.

So now the Fun Machine is all spruced up for Spring, and the roads are dry, so at least for the weekend I'm ditching the fenders; I love them in the Winter, but I've survived 11 years of off and on commuting without them, and I do have some quick mounts if I wake up to rain.

Now to the good stuff; how does it ride?
Great. More of a good thing.
The wheels and tires are 1.3 lbs lighter than my commuter set, which is noticeable when accelerating or turning quickly.
The way they rolls though; just amazing. The combination of fresh bearing, light wheels, and those big voluptuous tires. I know the roads I'm riding are broken and cracked, but they just glide beneath me as if there is some invisible road crew doing repairs moments before I hit them.

I was contemplating lowering the pressure from the 90 psi I started with, but they handled the dirt road I threw at them with aplomb, so maybe I'll go the other way and ad more?

I probably would have been happy with 24's (if I realized my mistake), but I think these sausages will do just fine.

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