Monday, April 5, 2010

The King of the Mountain

My utmost apologies on reneging on my promise for a product review last Wednesday. A combination of a term paper needing to be done and chronic (many of my friends say possibly terminal) forgetfulness.  Now that apologies are over, to the review!

My Giant Anthem was bought with two sets of wheels, one set of Mavic Crossmaxs, and one of Mavic 717 rims and DT Swiss hubs. The Mavics were shod with Specialized 2Bliss FastTrak LT tires and the other wheels with Michelin XC Dry 2.0," both sets of wheels were set up tubeless with Stan's. The Mavics were my "go fast" wheels for the simple fact that with those wheels my bike was 1.5 pounds lighter. The other wheels were a good bit stiffer but the tires were so similar in performance I always defaulted to the lighter wheels. In January I sliced the already ragged out rear tire on one of the fiendishly rocky trails in the GWNF. I soon realized that I really needed a new set of tires. I decided that I would switch the Michelin's to my Mavic wheels and get a new more aggressive set of tires for my heavy duty wheelset. I looked all over the internet and I came across Continental tires. I didn't even know that they made anything else than car tires but when I asked the local tire shop they highly recommended them. I then ordered a 2.2 Supersonic Mountain King for the rear and a 2.4 for the front. (Yes that is fairly big tires for an XC bike but Contis run on the small size for the most part.)  When the tires came I didn't have the time to set them up tubeless so I just slapped in some tubes and went riding.  My first experience with these tires was less than stellar. A combination of rain and partially blown out legs made my first ride seem like I was dragging a house trailer up the hill with me.  The next day I could find the time I converted the wheels to tubeless, and took them on a ride.  Maybe I just felt better that day or it was the placebo affect but , wow what a difference!  Yes the tires don't roll as well as the FastTraks but the grip was incredible! As long as my legs didn't fail me I had no trouble motoring up climbs that before I had to push because I lost traction and momentum.  Bombing down descents that I normally had to take slowly so I didn't wash out, I was able to push the cornering traction as far as I could until I chickened out and the tires never broke loose unless I was on sand or loose pebbles. This tractions is the product of a rubber compound that Continental calls Black Chili and a very unique tread pattern.  With Black Chili, Continental somehow changes the molecular structure of the rubber so that grip and tread life is increased while rolling resistance is reduced.

I am so impressed with the Continental's combination of low rolling resistance for such a grippy tire, as well as low weight that I have a pair of Race Kings on order for my "go fast" wheelset. 

Since the weather has moderated and the snow is finally gone from the mountains I have been able to get my friends to accompany me on a ride or two. Gabriel, a former cyclist that is trying to get back into shape, came with me last week on a short loop of Trimble Mt Trail.

I also have some friends that like riding horses so last Saturday Jess and Conrad accompanied me on a short 10 mile loop to get themselves and their horses back into shape after months of no riding.

I constantly try to convince Jess that bikes are a much better form of transportation but she turns a deaf ear to even my most convincing pleas.  Each to his or her own but I still stand fast on my opinion.

Whether you ride horses or like me prefer human-propelled two wheeled transportation, get outside and have some fun this week!

Till next time,

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