Monday Ride – new forks and shredded tyre!

Posted: May 31, 2011 in 2011, Rides

I had the opportunity of a short ride yesterday, maybe an a hour and a half so I grabbed it with both hands and sallied forth on the Swift to see how much difference the new forks had made.

First off, the front end is lower and noticeably less ‘noodly’ – roughly translated this means the front end is  stiffer than with the supplied forks. The measurement from crown race to the top of the dropout (where the axle sits) is almost 1.5cm shorter on the On Ones. The top tube was a bit shorter anyway so I was forced into a lower front end . When I started riding the Swift almost a year ago, I had the bars as low as possible but it felt all wrong so I put them up. This time round it actually felt fine, maybe something to do with the shorter legs on the forks.

As I was riding along I got to thinking ‘Isn’t new kit great? It makes you feel as though you have made a massive change to the bike whereas in reality you probably haven’t’. Well this time I think I have made a significant change. The new setup feels more purposeful, more muscular if you like and as a result the ride is transformed. As a mile muncher I think the bike, as it is set up now, will be fantastic; I think it will cope with singletrack just fine but I don’t believe it will ever be a short course speed machine. Getting up to top speed is just too slow and although you might only lose a few seconds here and there over a 26er, 3 seconds on this bend, 2 seconds on this one and in no time the pack is pulling away.   The solution would be bigger gears and a stronger, more aggressive, rider and I am neither. It is a fun bike to ride and rolls along just fine and that is what I’ll be using it for… fast, longer rides with singletrack thrown in now and then. Until or unless my legs get stronger (more explosive output as opposed to endurance stuff) my bike of choice for short course racing or trying to keep up with quicker bods will be the Santa Cruz.

Anyway, I got to the point furthest from home when I heard the sound of escaping air. My rear tyre had a big gash in it, latex was spraying all over the trail and my heart sank. Still, these tubeless tyres repair themselves don’t they? Apparently not…not this time anyway. I span the tyre several times, pumped it up and still it went down. In the end I was able to get it to hold a little air, enough to let me ride with all my weight on the front tyre. As I couldn’t get a signal on my mobile the broom wagon wasn’t an option so the only of getting home  in a reasonable time was to persevere. After a mile or so I realised that the tyre was still holding air so I stopped and gave it a good pumping session. A little fizzing and then it stayed up. Pretty much fully inflated, I was able to get back home ok.

Closer inspection revealed that the hole is right on the edge of the maximum size that the latex goo works. I had a check at lunchtime and it was still holding air albeit less than last night. I have pumped it up again and will see whether it has repaired itself properly. At £50 a tyre I can’t really afford to consign it to the bin. Next step is a tyre patch if this doesn’t work.

The lesson seems to have been – big punctures may well mend but they take a little while to do so. Maybe think of it like a cut, tiny cuts stop bleeding quite quickly but bigger, deeper gashes take a while longer. Oh yes, and make sure you have the right size inner tube with you if all else fails – I understand 26 inch tubes will work but I have never been able to inflate the in a 29er carcass that successfully..

Tune of the ride – one of the best Blues men in my opinion.

  1. James says:

    When stuck in the N. Yorks Moors last month with a tubeless tyre which refused to seal, I found that tearing a small strip of innertube and poking it into the offending hole with an allen key works a treat.

    You don’t need to completely plug the hole, just make it small enough for the latex to seal around it.

    130+ miles later and it’s still holding up!

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