Sunday, March 15, 2020

get fatter: why fatter tires don't suck

Yesterday, while we had an unseasonably late snowfall here in Portland, I went into the Brain Trust, plugged in the little space heater and finally did some work on MY bike.

You now how it is if you're a mechanic. Your bike is the last the get any attention. A bike mechanic's bicycle is a semi-orphan; we keep it cobbled together and plugging along well enough, putting it up in the stand only if something threatens to truly derail our ride, and if we ever get around to actually throwing some real love at it (like new parts or a change of cockpit), well that might happen once every two or three years at most.
For at least three years I'd been sitting on a used set of PB Cascadia fenders that I'd intended to put on the All-Rounder, just as soon as I scored the right tires to swap in. The tires showed up last winter. And everything sat, while I worked on a slew of refugee bikes, tuned up and overhauled family bikes and pursued my regular job as a freelance musician.

Then COVID-19 came along and shut everything down. Suddenly I had time on my hands.
So back int the Brain Trust I went, this time with the Rivvy.
In just one leisurely afternoon I swapped in the new tires and fenders, cleaned up the frame a bit and swapped in some thumbies for the stem shifters that had been on the bike for the last six years.

I'd been wanting to put wider tires on the All-Rounder for awhile, since before the newest fatty craze had become ubiquitous. What held me back was that I already had fairly wide tires on the BStone, and wanted to avoid making my two bikes too similar. The other was that the All-Rounder, while marketed as a cross between a mountain and a touring bike, was not designed to take anything much wider than a 1.9 tire. I decided to find a fairly wide 1.75 and see how that would work.
I lucked out when I scored these Continentals. They fit with room to spare, under the wider fenders I'd set aside for the purpose.

I really wish Continental still made their Top Touring tires. Even the TT2000 model, the second generation of the tire, had a great tread and delicious feel.

I replaced the stem-mount shifters with these very basic friction thumbies, which are durable and work well. The set up required me to move my bell, which I now have to stretch my thumb to reach. Good thing I have long thumbs...

The revised cockpit looks clean and still pretty wide open, in spite of the addition of longer cables for the shifting.
And now my knees won't hit the shifters on the rare occasion that I still choose to ride out of the saddle.

When I was all done, I took a short spin around the block tot est it all. It rides great! The fatter tires don't slow me down at all, and the added cushion makes for a VERY comfortable ride.

I can't wait to take it out on longer rides this week.
Tomorrow's high: 60F and sunny. I'm ready for it.

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