This Space for Rent


Two days ago, I rode out to Gresham and back (against a 30mph headwind, which made the trip out really fun) and averaged about 16.6mph for the 5 mile stretch from Jenne & Foster to 84th St (where I hit a nail and had my sprint for home rudely interrupted.)

Yesterday, I rode out to Gresham and back (against a 30mph headwind. Again.) and averaged about 18.5 mph for the 5 mile stretch from Jenne & Foster to 84th St.

When I rode back in two days ago, I was pushing as fast as I could go to make up for the glacially slow creep out (and to keep myself warm, because it was cold out there.) Yesterday, I was taking it a little bit more sedately because I was more interested in feeling how a pair of 1" 700c tires rode compared to the unsettlingly smooth ride of the Col de la Vies that are on the 650b wheels that were on the mlcm until yesterday morning.

Now, I’d not even start to pretend that my cheap spare tires have anywhere near the ride quality of the CdlVs, even if I didn’t inflate them up to nearly the 120psi that the tires are rated for (~95 to 100 psi; I’d inflated them to 100 psi, but my experience is that I lose 5-10psi when I’m pulling the ridiculously difficult to detach Planet Bike pump head (which is allegedly Presta & Schraeder, but only blows through the presta attachment) from the valve.) But 18.5mph vs. 16.6? When I wasn’t pushing myself as fast as I could go (I was feeling really tired yesterday afternoon, due, I suspect, to this cold that I’m coming down with)?

That’s, um, quite a difference in average speed (the compensated (for the time before the 2 day ago flat) trip speeds were 13.5mph (650b) vs 14.2mph (700c)) for two riding days where the weather was equally crappy.


After I recomended the CdV’s over the Swifties, I went back and re-read Jan’s tire test article. The CdV’s represent a 5-8% improvement over the Swifties, but the Swifties were the absolute bottom of the barrel, so the CdV’s still aren’t anyone’s idea of an efficient tire. You probably are better off switching to your 700c wheels. I’ve had good luck with the Panaracer Pasela – tough, cheap, fast, and available in whatever width you desire – but some say that the sidewalls are way too wimpy. Good luck!

Michael Wolfe Mon Dec 28 08:44:56 2009

I’ve got a Pasala on the front wheel of my Trek right now (700c×28) and it seems to be about as nice as the Ruffy Tuffy that it replaced. But the mlcm can’t use 28s (I can just barely fit 700c×25 tires + fenders onto the front wheel without toe overlap) so I’m going to stick with my cheapest of the cheap Chen Sheng tires until I’ve finished doing the round of comparison tests (which will probably include the you-know-what 200k, because I’ve got several other loops I can compare speed and exhaustion against.)

It’s a pity that good 650b tires seem to cost an arm and a leg. It wouldn’t take too long for their replacement value to make up the difference between a stock and handmade fork (a low-trail fork looks like it would cost me about $300 either to have a framebuilder make me one or to buy a cyclocross fork (+tools) and rerake it to suit. And a low trail fork would push the front wheel further away from me, which means I could fit fatter tires under the bicycle for winter and expansion joint riding.)

David Parsons Wed Dec 30 00:17:44 2009

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