This Space for Rent

Fat tire week

Fat tire MLCM

The main reason I switched the MLCM to Velo Orange fenders was so that I could finally use the birthday tires I got in August, and today (after discovering a slow leak in the rear tire – I was halfway to the Big Big Store when I realized that the rim was starting to bounce off the road after bumps. The tire was down to about 15psi – whoops!) I pulled the Nashbar Duros off and put the birthday tires on.

The claimed 26mm for the Duros turns out to be ~25mm (a little bit less, perhaps), but the claimed 27mm of the Parigi-Roubaix tires is actually ~30mm, so the tires are noticably huger than the old ones. They’re so huge that they rubbed against the interior nuts for the front fender staybolts, so I had to pull the fender out just a little bit to make it not rub there, and that takes the front fender noticably out of line :-( (I am going to have to fabricate a custom daruma that fits around a recessed bolt and that lets me run the fender bolt up into the steertube instead of down into the fender cavity; this will let me pull the fender up about 5mm and make the line look less unpretty.)

I took the thing out for a short loop this afternoon to see how the new tires would work, and discovered a couple of things:

  1. The Parigi-Roubaix tires, when inflated into the 95-125psi range that Challenge recommends, ride very harshly. They seem nice and fast, but they aren’t as plush as my el-cheapo Nashbar tires. Perhaps this is an artifact of me running the nashbar tires at 40-60psi most of the time?
  2. Aluminum fenders are really noisy when the wheels suck debris up into the fender well. I spent much of a hour going “oh no, the bolts are coming loose. No, it’s just a leaf. Oh no, the bolts are coming loose! Oh, another leaf. What’s that funny noise? Oh, yeah, gravel.” I’m sure I’ll get used to it sooner or later, and if I don’t, well, there’s always buying a yard or so of carbon fiber fabric and making my own fenders.
  3. The Honjo-style of attaching fender stays to the fender sucks dead bunnies through a straw. Why would anyone think that having nuts hanging out inside the fender well would be a good idea? It’s better than the SKS/Planet Bike internal stay crown (aka the magic foot-wetting mechanism,) but it’s still pretty terrible. I might be able to retrofit the fender to use more of a Berthoud style attachment if I can source some tiny stainless steel p-clamps; put the p-clamps onto the fender stay crown, then bolt them (with button-headed bolts from the inside of the fender) to the fender.
  4. I need to deflate 30mm tires before I can pull the wheels off the bike.
  5. I need to rerake the front rack a bit; it’s tipped up a little bit to keep my front bag from wiggling forward, but that reduces the already-ridiculously tiny clearance at the back of the bag to the point where I almost have to take the thing off before I can latch it closed (see also: I need to braze my own decaleur.)

The MLCM is starting to look scarily like a traditional rando bike; about the only thing that saves it from that fate now is the saddle to bar drop, the violently red porteur-randonneur bag, and the hodge-podge of parts I’ve put onto the thing.