Saturday, May 4, 2019

Goddamn 28s!!

Tires.  They don't last forever.  If I'm lucky I can get a few thousand miles out of them.  I get what I pay for, literally.  First tire I fell in love with was the Tioga City Slickers.  Cheap and great rolling until that day on Ragbrai when it was apparent that I needed a new tire on the  Tandem if I did not want to walk.  Hammer Man saved us.  That day was in 1992.  Loved those Kenda Cross Pros for about 1600 miles then flat flat flat.  Great in winter and just narrow enough to squeeze onto a Cannondale roadie for a light weight wrong geared cyclocross bike.  Or Gatorskins ONCE I got the bastards on.  Fell in love with Marathon Supremes until the sidewall gash but Good Lord they roll so nice! 

Enough about names.  This rant is about sizes.  700C x 28.  Something about this  tire size that makes me want to kill.  In my never ending quest to make the bike faster without actually making myself lighter I purchased a pair of Continental 28s.  This may have been before Gatorskins became the rage but in retrospect 28 GS's would have been equally miserable.  The bastards were the most difficult tires to put on.  I think I succeeded to get them onto my touring bike.  (See, faster tire for me)  But after a flat or two and the miserable experience(s) of fixing said flats I bought another size and donated the 28's to The Collective.  I may have tried them for another bike without joy.  Lesson learned.  I do not have a bicycle for this size or tire.

Speaking of which, Mary and I have worn out many pairs of 23's and 25's.  Zero issues with mounting them except for brand new Gatorskins.  Anything larger than 28's, 32's, 35's and 38's no problems. 

Then a set of 28's returned.  This time on a new single speed.  The tires were installed before the bike was delivered.  Frankly, I loved them.  The bike rolled nice and was fast.  Then the flat at 5 am.  I could not get the tire back on.  Had to dial BIKE-1-1 (Craig) for rescue.  I purchased a set of  32 Marathons.  Over 9000 miles on them, the rear tire bald, the time for replacement is nigh.

The Swap.  My son, Joe, started commuting to work.  I wanted to upgrade the tires (flat proof) on his Mercier so I purchased from Fred's bike Shop a set of marathons, 700 x 35.  They barely fit, maybe a micrometer between the chainstays and the rubber.  But they fit as long as the wheel was true.  Somehow I knew this was not the answer.  Winter came and we lent him a wheelset with studded tires.  Now it is Spring.  My single speed has bald tires and needs a new chain.  The floods are over and Joe will be biking again to work.  SO why not order a set of narrower tires for him and take his 35's for the SS and put the new chain on as I'll have the wheel off anyway??  Good plan.  So what did I purchase for him.  Marathons of course.  And what size???  28's.

Do I really have such a short memory?  Well, these are not Connies.  I have never had an issue mounting Marathons although I have seen people and professionals struggle with them.  Guess what happened?  They went on easy!  BUT they never stayed seated when  airing the tires.  I even tried a more narrow tube.  No joy.  Then I remembered that I had a set of Gatorskins from Mary's old commuter.  700 x 32.  Put those shoes on and Joe's bike was done!!!

Now what?  I have new set and a set with prolly less than 100 miles on them.  28's and 35's  They will get used.  I'm going to try to put the 28's on my SS.  Surely I can get them to work!!

Maybe it's the brand.  Maybe it's my wheels.  Joe's wheels are mismatched thanks to his brother wrecking the front wheel on a visit to the High Trestle.  I'll find out this weekend.