Keep the pressure on.

8 Feb

Your friendly neighborhood armadillo

We have all been snowed in for the past while. I think the worst may be over in terms of weather, but the carnage on the roads is just about to begin.

We have all been inside chomping at the bit to get out on the roads. The first sign of dry roads (or at best, roads that aren’t covered in ice) cyclists will be out on the roads and trails in force. Not too long after that we will see a plethora of flats coming in for repair, or slowing us down on group rides.

The streets are a "minefield" of small sharp objects.

This will happen… We know it will happen, but it doesn’t have to.  The most likely cause of these flats is the grit, grime, and debris on the roads after the snow and ice are gone. The roads will have this on them long into the spring, and the normal summer / fall tires that most people keep on their bikes are not equipped to handle it.

So..? How does one go about preventing these flats? The best bet is to ride tires that are appropriate for this type of road condition.

Standard tires that most area cyclists use are lightweight, with a good grippy rubber compound for cornering. Other cyclists use a very high TPI tire that offer a very supple ride. These tires lack the basic requirements for winter riding, and will almost never last long in the adverse conditions we see on the roads in the winter and early spring.

At best, the grippy and supple aspect of the tires make them prone to getting cuts in the tread and sharp rocks embedded in the rubber, therefore making them ineffective for their intended purpose. At worst a big rock or piece of salt will cut all the way through the sidewall or casing and render the tire useless.

Big slice in side wall / tread. Byebye $70

We recommend that a winter or “all condition” tire be used from the onset of the first winter storm until the threat of bad weather is gone in the spring. The Specialized Armadillo tire is just the tire for the job. With widths ranging from 700×23 up top 700×38, and features like tread compound, casing choices, and bead choices; you can surely find a tire to fit your needs.

A 700x28 Armadillo

The Armadillo tire does everything well, its siped tread blends all-weather traction with a dual radius tread. This allows the tire to perform reliably in all weather conditions. It uses an “armadillo” protection belt to prevent punctures through the tread and a bead to bead belt type protection to prevent sidewall cuts.

My All Conditions after a recent ride. No Flats.

Why should I spend $ on a tire that I use only in the winter?

Well, the answer is that it is economical, considerate, and can make you faster. Most people can get a couple of seasons out of one set of all condition tires before they finally succumb to the hazards of the road. That’s a long time. Plus if you take your “race” tires off before bad conditions arise you can save them for next year too. No one likes to have flats. Respectively, no one likes to wait for the guy on the ride that has flats all the time because they are using the wrong equipment. Winter tires tend to be heavier than the summer tires we normally use so when we do change back over our bikes feel lighter and faster.

Thanks for reading,

Branton

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