Saturday, December 6, 2014

It Might Be Done, Part 2: '79 Ross Gran Tour

A little over a week ago, I finished adding the components to my road bike and took it for a ride.  Everything worked very nicely for what it was.  I knew that even though the bike was now fully functional, it was not done yet.  I still had to work out the issue with the winter tires.  


So, days after the ride, or maybe even the morning after, I saw that the rear summer tire was about to let go in multiple places.  Alrighty, then ...


Last Saturday, I finally stopped putting it off and trimmed the rest of the tire.  The process went a lot quicker this time; it took me not even three hours to finish the other half of one side and then the entire other side.  The 700 x 38c tires were such a tight fit even after trimming the sides.  Since the tire and wheel weren't completely, exactly, perfectly 100% round, it was super hard to get it not to touch the frame at least once every revolution.  It was fine at first, but there was enough play in the bearings to pull the wheel to one side while I pedaled so I gave up and bought narrower tires.


After much research (Google images, since the letters on the summer tire had rubbed off) and consideration of the current rim width, I decided to get 700 x 28c tires.  I figured that since I had trimmed off so much of the 38s and still had issues, 32 mm might still be a little wide.  These tires arrived yesterday and were so narrow and stiff that I could not wrestle them onto the wheel for the life of me, even with tire levers.  I gave up and walked across the street to the bike shop to ask for help.  Even the shop owner had trouble getting them on, but it eventually happened. The photo on the right shows the 28 next to the 38 mm tire.


The 28 mm tires are so narrow! There's so much space! I'm nervous, though.  I might not be able to just go anywhere anymore with these tires and if I do get a puncture, they might have to be cut off.  I now know that 32 mm tires might have been a better choice, but hey, we're all learning here.  The fat fenders look so goofy now that they're no longer full and the rims are also almost too wide.


I meant to take this out for a test ride at 9 PM after a 30-minute nap, but I woke up 3 hours later.  Alrighty, then! I left at 1 in the morning and rode all over the city for about three hours.  In the distance I covered, I could have easily gone home to see my parents.


Speaking of which, I just recently started using the Ride with GPS app, which is free in basic form.  One of my friends had been using it for a while and recommended it.  I like to see how much distance I cover in a day or week or whatever so I have both this bike and the Raleigh Sports registered on the app.  I have covered about 60 miles since Monday.

Apparently, I regularly exceed 30 mph going down the hill on Glen with the Ross, which surprised me since the traffic usually speeds and makes me feel slower. I usually get close to 30 on the Raleigh, thanks to the super wide SW hub ratio.  I also found out the hill I live on top of is a 6-8% grade the whole way, for almost half a mile.  This is one of the bigger reasons why I'm moving to the bottom of the hill, south of the architecture school next year.


Anyway, during the three-hour test ride, I went to places more unfamiliar, more sketchy, and further to the east and west than ever.  I seem to do all of my exploration after midnight, probably because I'm always going to class and doing homework during the daytime.  I think these new tires took quite a beating, having to go over grass and stones and even crashing over pot holes at 20 mph at one point because I didn't see them.  Of course, this was all accidental but I think these tires should hold up for at least a year.  Fingers crossed that I don't get a flat before then.


This is what my 38 mm tire looked like at the end of the day (before the ride).  I'll leave it to you to guess what's coming up.