im - 12/11/2006 11:56:00 AM
Monday, December 11th, 2006
I've been riding an Electra 24 x 3.0 slick tire in the Big Dummy fork, with the 26 x 2.35 Schwalbe Supermoto on the back, for a week to experiment with a decrease in trail and increase in front tire volume. I did like the increased tire volume on the front for a bit more suspension and larger ground contact patch. But I still wanted more boing and more traction.
In preparation for snow (we still don't have any, but eventually it will find us), Big Dummy got another front-end mod this weekend. I swapped in a 1x1 fork (with canti bosses chopped off) and mostly-deknobbed 26 x 3.0 Nokian Gazzaloddi on a Large Marge rim. I'm using the shorter 1x1 fork (413mm vs. 425mm axle-to-crown) to keep the geometry from getting too whacked with the larger front tire. The rear tire will eventually get swapped out for a 26 x 2.5 knobby to gain a little extra traction after the snow flies. I use a Large Marge on my Instigator/Xtracycle and prefer it because of the increased lateral stability when using a high-volume tire. To me, the big roller, in front, seemed right at home on the Dummy.
After 75km of commuting, I'm pleased to find that this new set-up is as fast as...maybe faster than...the other combos I've used. I doesn't seem logical, but I attribute it to the increased suspension and the way the full front fender acts as an airfoil tucked behind the large profile of the big Nokian. The flywheel effect of the heavier hoop may also be a benefit on long stretches of road. Plus, the surefooted traction gained by a larger tire footrprint allows me to carry speed in the already-overly-sanded-and-salted-by-eager-public-servant corners where smoother tires would be more prone to slide out. In stop-and-go situations, the performance of the bigger tire and rim will likely pail in comparison to the lighter Salsa Gordo/Schwalbe Supermoto front wheel that I rode until the 24" wheel was installed last week. But I tend to find routes that avoid stop signs and stop lights, so that scenerio is the exception rather than the rule.