Blog: 2013

25 Jun 2013

Road tubeless conclusions

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If you follow my blog you’ll know road tubeless has been on my mind this season. After a brief hiccup my feelings have clarified: road tubeless is a winner. With the conclusion out of the way I want to share a few unvarnished thoughts on the pros and cons as I see them. Read more →

17 Jun 2013

Spoke tension utility update

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This week I made a small change to my spoke tension utility just for Wheel Fanatyk users.

The scoop is you can enter deflection values in different units and the software will figure out what you mean. For example, you can enter the value 0.31 as zero-point-three-one or point-three-one or as three-one. Whether the units are millimetres or tenths or hundredths is now inferred and normalized for you. This is a time saver if your decimal key is far from the number row and, like me, you’re without a numeric keypad. It’s especially helpful if you’re entering data with one hand while holding the tensiometer in the other. Existing functionality is not affected so the change can’t hurt.

This is small update but saving a keystroke or two on every entry adds up to a cumulative savings. I hope wheelbuilders (who understand a lot of tiny operations add up to something remarkable) will appreciate the change. Making things better and continuous improvement are always on my mind. If you have any comments to share, please send a message. I know there are users as far away as America, Brazil, Britain and Japan. Your feedback influences future enhancements.

For a long time it seemed standard 19mm rims were the only option for road wheels. That’s changed a lot in the last few years. Now we’re seeing very good rims 23mm and wider.

To some extent wide rims are a product of racing technology. A wider rim increases the roundness of the tire profile compared to the lightbulb shape on a narrower rim. When tire width closely matches rim width there’s an aerodynamic advantage — aerodynamics are key for pro racers.

In many cases race-oriented technologies don’t translate to the recreational market but wide rims offer benefits everyone can appreciate. You are less likely to experience pinch flats with wider rims; larger air volume allows for lower pressures, which can increase comfort; cornering is improved since tires experience less flop in response to lateral forces; and wide rims are typically stronger with better durability. There are downsides to consider too. You may require brake adjustment when switching between wide and narrow rims; and brake modulation may suffer.

04 Jun 2013

Spokes in stock and on tap

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To ensure optimal spoke lengths are always available, I’ve installed a Morizumi spoke cutting tool in the workshop. This is a precision machine, made in Japan, and a beauty to behold. It cuts and rolls spoke threads using the exact processes found in spoke manufacturing. It carries a substantial pricetag but seems worth it for the ability to deliver spoke lengths on demand.

26 May 2013

Road tubeless not so sure

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I’ve been riding my road tubeless wheels lately, playing with tire pressure. I started a little high but dropped down to 75psi on the front and 80psi on the rear. The comfort of the tubeless Ultremo ZX is beyond what I’m used to from clinchers but fast and sticky at the same time. Really nice.

Unfortunately the experiment came to a premature end today when I hit some unknown particle and sliced the rear tire. The cut was far too large to be managed with sealant and, adding insult to injury, sealant sprayed the face of the rider on my wheel. Without any loss of control I rolled to a stop and was pleased to find the tire well-seated in spite of total deflation.

The flat happened on Highway 8 east of Calgary at a spot covered with oil residue — yesterday that spot was host to a head on collision between an SUV and a semi-trailer truck. The SUV was launched 90 meters backwards; the truck caught fire and burned out. The SUV driver was killed and the truck driver was taken to hospital with injuries. There must have been some debris left behind.

It’s hard to say if another tire would have survived. The Ultremo ZX, at least in its clincher version, is known for performance but not for durability. I’ll get another and carry on.