If you ride as a commuter, there are things that the bike requires. Sacrifices that must be made. The Velogods demand their pound of flesh. Or well rubber, so get ready for tires, tubes, and get a grip… you will need them regardless.
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro
One of my great loves for the bike are high end tires. Good tires will set you free. Not having to worry about flats, punctures, nor a lack of grip is imperative for any format of cycling. Especially commuter cycling.
As it turns out tread isn’t particularly important when less than 2 inches of tire are coming into contact. In some cases tread makes matters worse by lessening the amount of surface area available for grip with the road. Hell, heavy, tread covered tires can be expensive as well as further slow the bike making it tougher than it should be to travel.
That is what makes some of the nicer road tires enjoyable. The problem tends to be a matter of cost, and to some point style. It is part of the reason why I happen to like the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro’s. They come in quite a range of colors and stands up fairly well. I ran a set of these prior to this. The Vittoria Rubino Pro (or what is available now, the Pro G,) is a fantastic set of tires. The Zaffiro’s are a step down, but the price is pretty hard to pass up.
At $20 they aren’t going to break the bank at all. Hell, the Rubino’s tend to run about $45. They last quite a while and I recommend riding until the first flat… That normally says that they are about done for. For myself, that is about 1500 miles. The lack of tread seems a little daunting to me. I love the idea, yet I don’t know how they handle yet in the rain. I will be throwing a set on the bike soon enough. So I will let you know.
I really recommend going down to your local bike shop and ordering a box of tubes. No really, I treat inner tubes like some form of weird thing you must have. I guess, I treat the tubes like I treat condoms. At least,always carry one. It is just a smart thing to do. Seeing how, if you wash them you can carry water in them. They can be useful for other things. The rubber can be used in case you need it… The bike tire, or well… I guess the condom too.
And the cool thing is, typically if you order a box of tubes you get a nice discount. Hell, sometimes the bike shops will be running sales or promos on the tubes. That is the best time to stock up. It will save you so much trouble it is crazy. Nothing is worse than having to make a trip down to the shop to pick up the thing you need in order to get down to the shop in the first place. I have had to walk 12 miles thanks to poor decision making in this regard.
One additional note: Patch kits aren’t as useful as you have been led to believe. No really. Having to patch a tube mid ride is at least a 10 minute loss overall in your time. Not to mention finding the hole can be a nightmare. Whereas, pulling off the wheel, slipping out the old tube, then replacing it is about a 3 minute process. That is including checking the tire for the puncture and refilling the tube.
Grip tape is something that I tend to replace about once every 5 to 6 months. Unless I really cram it on the bike, then it can be like just a short week or so… It is a pain in the ass to do, however it also tends to save my hands. I have used most of the different tapes out there and have been considering which one I liked most.
If I had to take a stab at it, I would have to say that the Fi’zi:k performance soft tapes… It was one of the easier ones to put on the bike. It felt nice, plenty of grip without being sticky. It also handled well considering how quickly I trashed it. Before long it was torn, bloody, and relatively ruined. Still, for the price it was a hard deal to pass up for something I do twice a year.
Anyways, until next week. Ride safe and take it easy.