Friday, January 30, 2009

Can't Get Enough

We rode the river trails again last night. Rather than just blab about it, I'm going to do a bit of a product review! Legit!

This past summer, I finally felt how my tires gripped the ground while taking a corner. Not a big deal for most, but before that I couldn't really tell the difference between tires. It was a big step for me. Snow biking makes it easier to tell the difference between tires, too, because the snow is pretty slippery. (No way! Snow is slippery!) The snow really highlights the good and bad qualities of the different treads. I'm also pretty promiscuous when it comes to bikes; I've ridden Andy's, Gunnar's, Cale's and my own snow bike.

Last night I was on Gunnar's bike, which had WTB Weirwolf tires on front and back. They're on a set of wide rims (afraid I can't recall which) and are nice and fat.

Gunnar's Bike

The story behind these is that Mark Weir designed them for WTB. I noticed that while upright, the grip was OK. (I think they'd do exceptionally well in some nice, slightly loose Kettle dirt.) They weren't great going up hills in the packed-down snow, though- you really have to sit back over the rear tire. I was fine with cornering as long as I didn't lean the bike over at all. For me, they were really slippery on the sides because I don't lay the bike down on corners like Wier does. Cale informs this blogger that when you lay down the bike in corners, the tread really performs.

My favorite tires to ride thus far have been on Cale's Surly 1x1. He's got a set of WTB Timberwolf tires on Surly's Large Marge rims.

WTB Timberwolf

They've got a nice sharp, deep tread, with some space between the knobbies (should have looked up some tire tread terms, eh?) to dig into the snow, no matter how packed it may be. Rather than slipping up a hill like a smaller tread might, they get more traction. The other cool thing, and you can see this in the image, is that the tread is kind of squared over the tire. If I started fishtailing on the Weirwolves, I had to use my superb sense of balance to get it back under control, as the side of the tires would slip around. On the Timberwolves, you can put a hard pedal stroke down and the deep tread on the side will grip into the snow. They might not do very well in cornering because of the lush tread on the sides, but I wouldn't know because when it's snowy out I don't really lay the bike down. Nor do I when it's summer and nice out. Huh, I need to practice at that.

Well, that's what I've got. I think if I learn some tire tread terms (say that ten times fast) I could make quite the mediocre product reviewer!

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