Monday, December 20, 2010

Flat problems and inflated solutions

As reported in the previous post, December has already been a bad month with regards to flats for me, and in the meantime it has gotten only worse. I had to get some stuff to and from campus yesterday, and when riding down our driveway I immediately noticed that Wolfgang had another flat in the rear! While waiting for my new tires (see below), I had put on the Conti Gatorskins in the back---the tire that up to now had never failed me. I fixed the flat this morning and it seems like the tire is worn down enough that a small glass piece could make its way through it. I guess I'll have to replace the Contis next season.

For the winter, however, I ordered a pair of 700x35 Vittoria Randonneur Pro tires. Requirements were:
  • 32 or 35mm wide
  • flat protection
  • some tread but not too much
  • fairly lightweight
It's more difficult than one would think to find this kind of tire. The Schwalbe Marathon series generally were too heavy (and they have a reputation for having high rolling resistance); most Conti models either had too little tread or were not available in the right size. I would have loved to test the new Top Contact Winter II, but it's not available in the US yet (and the 37mm width might have caused problems anyway). Cyclocross tires from most manufacturers failed on the flat protection requirement. The Vittoria Randonneur series finally seemed to offer what I was looking for. Ideally, I would have like to get the Randonneur Cross Pro, yet my local bike shop couldn't order it via QBP. Thus, I settled with Randonneur Pro in 700x35 which fulfills all requirements except for having potentially having not enough tread for snowy conditions. I should get the tires on Wednesday and will report how they hold up.

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