19 August 2016

You happy for fat tires...?

Well, these are fatter...

I mentioned the 32mm Clement Strada LGG a while ago.
I wanted to try something different for mixed surface rides, and these presented themselves at a deal I couldn't pass up.
120tpi rubber, paired with Vittoria latex tubes.
And just to further irritate everyone, I mounted them on carbon wheels. Straight out of the box, they measured a true 32mm on "standard" (read - non-wide) hoops.
They're big. They're round. The volume is large. Figuring out pressures has been a bit of a faff.
First rides were a shot in the dark. I did a little math (I'm no good at math), and guessed that 70-ish psi would be okay. Nope.
At 70, the were about as supple as an armadillo. Hard on the road. Almost unrideable on the dirt.
As I was only afforded one shakedown ride prior to leaving for my #UndisclosedLocation, I would have to guess again.
I went down to 60F/65R for the rides on vacation. They rode better on the road, and were pretty good on the dirt. After about two weeks at those pressures, I came to realize that they were STILL not where I wanted them.
Yesterday, I dropped them to 55F/60R.
Results? Faster. More supple. Turned in better. Ride quality was greatly improved.
Here's what I've learned thus far...
On the road, they ride pretty similarly to a standard road tire. Listen, they're not Vittoria Corsas, so don't expect them to be. That's not their job.
They're heavier, lower TPI, and harder rubber. Speaking of heavier, there was a wide gulf between the weights of my two tires. One was 285g. The other, 325g. Kind of odd to have that big of a discrepancy.
Off road, they perform well on hard packed dirt. Never a moment of trouble, nor a near miss.
Here's the rub...
For as good as they are on hardpack, they seem to suffer a bit on loose stuff. Yeah, they're big and supple, but the roundness of the profile sort of works against them.
They don't float over loose sand. You get to find out how deep the sand pit is pretty quickly.
And they just don't like to turn on anything other than hardpack. They slide, then dig in, then catch, and shoot you off into another direction. If you aren't secure in your ability to handle a bicycle, you WILL eat shit.
Normally, I ride Clement LAS tires, which are the gold standard of file treads. Huge volume, varying knob sizes and orientations.
In the same situation (loose conditions), the LAS float over deep stuff. And once they catch, you just turn. No sliding around.
Am I comparing apples and oranges...? Maybe? But...
In the World of tires that do everything, they are comparable. Same size. Same weight. Same ease of fitment and use. Roll and turn about the same.
If I was doing a loop that was all hardpack/paved, I'd roll the Stradas. If there was a question about surface quality, LAS.
The tires themselves are tough as nails. I always look for the best lines through things. Handling ability affords this opportunity. No blindly crashing through for me. Even so, I'm not exactly "easy" on equipment. I'm 84kg. That rarely equates to "riding light".
That being said, after riding the Strada LGG 32s on sand, dirt, gravel, and Lexington County roads, they don't have a mark on them. No scuffs, scratches, nor cuts.
Want a Winter tire? Pick up some Stradas. They come in 23/25/28/32.
Be VERY aware though...
The 28mm and 32mm won't fit in your road bike. Not even close. After riding the 32s for a few weeks, they now measure 33.5mm...on "standard" wheels. On wide hoops (23-24mm wide), they'd EASILY be over 35mm.
Overall, I'd throw a 7.5 to 8 out of 10 at them. I'd be very interested to get my hands on a set of Challenge Strada Bianca tires, or even a set of the Vittoria Corsa in 30mm (coming soon), to compare.
You listening Challenge and Vittoria?

And lastly, and let's be frank here, they just look bitchin' on the bike.

Back on the Ridley this weekend...

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