Greetings, Fellow minivan afficionados. Here at Team Seagal HQ, we are all extremely pumped about the upcoming Jerkduro Series. We are more pumped than a tire on a Surly Moonlander pumped to 25 psi - you know, for road use. And this isn't just because the door prize may or may not be a "ZJ" from Tom Marsh. (Those are easy to get anyway.)
No, it is exciting because there is a chance to have some non-climbing skill playing a large part in bicycle "race" held in Missouri. And believe me when I say that as a dude who recently had to meet his physician at a nearby interstate weigh station in order to get my current weight recorded, I can appreciate gravity being on my side for once.
So how does a child of the '80's go about training for some hardened, winter riding competition? By going out plodding through Siberian-like St. Louis snow, much like he was taught after watching Rocky IV dozens of times:
Having teamed up with a Wisconsin-trained ally of the Team, we pulled a John Candy and headed East, towards the River. And despite not having a cool snow bike on one of the few days where it might make sense this far south, we still were able to slog through the gusting winds, knee-deep snow, and make it to the river, coming to rest just above Sister Marie You're-Alright-Charles Park, and gazing out:
Said the lady smoking a cigarette in knee-high boots and a skirt under the bridge, "You guys are absolutely fucking crazy." To which I thought to myself, "at least I'm not the one whose about to get double-teamed under a bridge by two frozen cyclists."
Onward, we came across moar than one vehicle stuck in the snow, which we helped dislodge, only to see them get stuck once again 1/2 block down. Poor bastards. We were headed back in a westerly direction at this point, which had the wind directly at our faces. The poor mountain bike, with piddly little 2.2" wide tires which certainly weren't fat enough to be cool, kept me rolling further. I could feel Siberian strength coursing through my muscle fibers. I may put the "ale" into "clydesdale," but this clydesdale crushed tons of snow beneath my un-hip standard-width mountain bike tires. Fortunately, having dressed properly for the ride, neither of us had to resort to cutting open and then climbing inside our mountain bikes as if they were ton-tons in order to stay warm.
We arrived back at Crotch's Base Camp, where I had to melt my beard:
Great thing about an ice-beard is that wind doesn't penetrate it.
All the time spent out on the frozen Siberian Plains of South StL had me thinking about tires, and which ones work the best. I had come across an interesting article wherein the German cycle magazine, Tour, tested a number of tires as objectively tests. See the test here. However, I thought I could summarize it all for you, because we are a team that is about education, if nothing else.
One not-very-surprising result that I noticed, was that the Crank
Brothers tire with the cool anodization just fell apart and had to be
warrantied after two test-runs - frustrating, given it's high pricetag.
The Campagnolo tire, regarded as
the most beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing tire, seemed to develop a better, more-supple,
worn-in feel as the test went on - and it was also the only tire to have
a user-replaceable bead and tread.
The Thomson Masterpiece tire
showed absolutely no wear whatsoever, with the test-rider Friedrich
noting that he expected that tire to outlast several wheels, brake pads and frames.
newcomer to the market, the Rivendell tire, a gumwall, was the only
tire to actually utilize full steel-belting, despite weighing 13 pounds
per tire. But as Grant Peterson said, "Steel is the only real material,"
and that only those racers on carbon race bikes need tires with cotton
or nylon casings. The Rivendell tire was also the only tire to make it
all the way to the "AR-15 rifle" stage of the puncture-resistance test,
however the results are somewhat skewed as it is only available in a
650b size and therefore doesn't compare equally to the 700c size of the
rest of the test tires. Mr. Peterson, in response to complaints about
the extra weight of the steel belting, said he is considering producing a
tire with a wool or even a tweed casing. It must also be noted that the Rivendell tires were the only ones that specifically stated that they are incompatible with carbon rims.
Cervelo's tire was
unable to be tested, as it was delivered with severe cracking due to
premature dry-rot, thus rendering it unsafe to ride.We are currently waiting for a replacement to be shipped from the Canadian warehouse.
from Cannondale showcased a revolutionary and proprietary design that
utilized a series of integrated needle bearings all around the tread,
and actually surpassed all other tires in rolling resistance, however it
only worked on Cannondale-branded rims, and the process to change the
tire proved to be needlessly complex, requiring a proprietary tools and a
Cannondale dealer to do the work.
Trek re-entered the tire market under their own name once again, and, despite having the largest R&D budget than the rest of the manufacturers combined, was unanimously considered to be the most boring of all the tires tested. Said one tester, "It would be a pretty great tire, if I've never ridden any other tires. However, in order to keep up my image as an in-the-know, cutting edge bike guy, I am required to ride something that is more boutique, like the Lynskey tire."
Pinarello showed up to the test with a tire that has been in the works for a long time, and has developed a huge pedigree list of race results, having been ridden under some top racers. It had a very unique and instantly-recognizable cross-section as well. It performed admirably, however later in the day one of our test riders had been searching the internet and found an identical Asian knock-off tire for sale at 1/10th the price, making it hard to justify recommending the Pinarello tire.
Quintana Roo's tire seemed to
provide better performance in wet conditions, specifically if those wet
conditions were as a result of puddles of urine - so for the QR test,
they set the test track up in the men's urine-trough at the nearby
Neither the THM or Cipollini tires were able to be
tested. The magazine couldn't afford to get a hold of the THM tires for
the test, and testers all agreed that they weren't cool enough to even
get close to the Cipollini tires.
The highly anticipated Sram tire was unfortunately recalled 45 seconds into our test run. Fortunately, tester Friedrich survived long enough to bring the bike to a complete stop - surprising, considering that the bike was equipped with the recalled Red 22 Hydro discs that we had been too lazy to send back to Sram.
In the end, the Shimano tire was chosen as the best performing, most reliable, most straightforward tire out there, some people using the phrase "the gold standard."
We here at Team Seagal HQ hope that this has been educational for you, and that you can go forward and make educated purchasing decisions next time you buy a tire.
Looks like this snow will be around for a while, so you still have time to do some Rocky IV style training for the Jerkduro.
-Casey F. Ryback