Entries in cyclocross tires (11)
My friend Sander, and author for Wielrennen Blog in the Netherlands, who was responsible for the article below I translated on the UCI banning the Diablo, sent me the film from Sporza on the Eindhoven ICE SKATING RINK. Ha! A couple of things to notice: Examine Sven's tire pressure on the low angle shots. More importantly, when you hear the pads squeal on his carbon Dura Ace Rims and he braking and turning, not how the wheel moves not one inch. Incredible.
Thanks to Matt Pacocha from VeloNews who forwarded me a brief article about the Dugast Diablo ban and all the hullabaloo it’s been causing since Sven’s testing of it in Eindhoven. I loosely translated this article originally found on http://wielrennen.blog.nl/. Molly Cameron also chimed in to me to state that he thinks the ban has been around for some time (still researching that….):
"Cyclocross riders may not ride with spikes or with small nails during World Cup events. The Dutch tire specialist Andre Dugast had a new tubular, called the Diabolo (Devil), made specifically for the conditions for Tabor. Dugast is no stranger to the cycling world, as most of the worlds best have ties to the company and race on their tires. In a first test of the course in Eindhoven, Sven Nys achieved a speed of up to 30 km / hour (!), Sporza reporter Marcel Wuyts says. During the World Cup broadcast next Sunday on Sporza a special segment on Sven Nys’ test of the tires in Eindhoven with be broadcast.
Nys said in an initial reaction that the tires are phenomenally good. And a phenomenon they will always remain because the UCI has thrown in a wrench. When rumors reached the UCI on the spiked tires, they quickly reacted to ban. It would distort competition because less wealthy riders on the "old" treads will not be as competitive. Well, on an old tape you have to learn it? Seriously, it is not dangerous to life with nail bands around, crossing? Imagine that you are smacked against the floor by, say, a drunken supporter. See how quickly you’ll have to have a Czech doctor to find and pull all those nails out of your body.
Moreover, the Schwalbe tire manufacturer has a much longer relationship with spikes in its product range, but unfortunately for the racers, this involves an ATP band as well":
Here's a set of my Typhoons. Have a close look. Clearly on their last leg. Glued and sealed in 2008, they are still solidly on, yet starting to peel themselves from the base tape. This is an example of how water...when it seeps in and under the sidewall sealant (AquaSeal in this case) damages the cotton and wreaks havoc on the cotton.
Note that these sidewalls were sealed after the tires were glued on. I will be applying sealant before I glue this year, trying a new product alongside AquaSeal as well to determine which works best. Much like FMB or Challenge treat their products. Dugasts are sealed, yet I'm not sure with what! It simply can not stand up to the elements.
So as geekdified as it sounds, I set this calendar reminder once a week to head on out into the car hole and go and fill my tubulars up to keep a wee bit inflated during the off season. Especially those that have Stans in them and they get a little turn on the skewer to mix the stuff up a bit...lest the Stans cause the latex tubes to get all stick together whiel sittle idle.
The rack you see here is super trick for wheel storage and inexpensive to throw together. A bunch of hardware store grade hooks staggered in two roes alternating one high and one low (so the skewers don't bump). I drill those into a piece of pine then attach that piece of pine to the studs in the wall. Insta-storage.
I'm going to run a mix of toobies next year. Some Dugast, some Challenge, some clincher...whatever the day brings. I have settled on one fact though that I am in LOVE with 34's....especially on the Colorado crap we have to endure out here.
6 more months till 'cross.
The season has ended. Sigh. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself! As I was preparing the bikes for their hyperbolic chambered rest as I switch to the fat tires, I decided to snap some photos and comment about the most excellent equipment I used this year. It is surreal the abuse this equipment takes each week from August through December and I hope it can help you with your 2009 equipment plans!
Click on the photo below to take you to my Flickr set and each photo is commented including on-photo notes.
Most of all I want to thank Paul at Rock Lobster, Shotty at SRAM, Lance at TRP, and the entire Boulder Cycle Sport crew (Brandon, Mike D, Jeremiah, Dwayne and Coleman) for all the work and support this season!
It's absolutely simple, really. That is what can appease my aching head. For me, as a kid, it was a Tamiya model or a new plastic M-16 and I'd go play. Now, I have this little black rain cloud over my head. It's all semi hilarious and trust me, I pop open the mental umbrella most days to fend it off and keep the powder dry. Now that I'm all grows dup, it's new rubber that can take the surliness right out of me. Challenge Grifo XS. 32's. File tread. White. Of course.
Kids to bed, wife with tea and book and smiling, me and my rain cloud head out to the garage dialing in the bikes. Door open. Fall coldness enveloping the room. A bit of tune-age going on...I'm vibing with Fleet Foxes these days...and it's Zen. Paradise. Bike in the stand. Gears humming up and down the cassette. Sweet smell of Tri-Flow. Everything gets polished. Dialed. Ready. Rain cloud disappears.
Being fast these days is tres difficile. The league is deeper. Way deeper. Still balanced but nothing's easy. Ever. Couple steps forward, massive steps back. A few more leaps forward, a tumultuous tumble backward. But I just clench my teeth and bring it.
Bike practice tomorrow. Shake the toxins still in me, won't you? It's hard to say no to a Delicious Beer these days. Or 3. Discipline or be disciplined. Left hand holds training and focus, right hand holds a cold beer and sensibilities.
I live in the world of product management. That is, when I am not with my wife and kids or on my bike getting in the efforts. What is that world? Well, it is like the proverbial ‘swivel chair’ situation….where you are a breed of person that are required to swing radically to face different constituencies…all with different attitudes and motivators…. in an effort to get something created, marketed and shipped. We face customers, empathize with their plight and challenges and conversely get inspired by hearing their needs….and quickly swivel that proverbial chair around to face our internal folks…likely engineers who need to translate those requirements into a realistic and actionable plans which lead to product. But all the while there is iteration….
And this is an archetypal story of iteration...and consumer/racer inspired product design. After sitting with Donn Kellogg of Challenge USA tonight and hearing the history of the making of the New 2008 Fango, Challenge's recently launched mud-specific tire, it is clearly about listening to what people want and giving them it.
First, some history that Donn walked Matt Pacocha, Technical Editor for Velonews and I through (FYI: stay tuned for Matt’s extensive testing of these new products on VeloNews.com!). Loosely documented here, The Challenge we know now is an Italian-based company which had its roots created from the historic Clement tire manufacture of yore. Roughly 8 years ago, Pirelli Tire Corporation had purchased the assets of Clement and then moved their production to Asia, where in recent times, they decided to exit themselves from this niche vertical and spun off the bicycle tire manufacturing assets. These were then acquired by the major shareholders of Challenge and Challenge USA, a combination of efforts between Mr. Alex Braun and Mr. Donn Kellogg who is based here in the US and a veteran of the industry for more than 35 years.
Once these assets were acquired and operations set up here in the US, it was very clear that Challenge saw the US market as a viable place to put a stake in the ground and fundamentally set their sights to be the premier purveyor of cyclocross rubber…but in a method that didn’t require secret handshakes, trips to Europe, and offering next of kin for the suppleness of handmade tubular tires. The rising popularity of cyclocross here in the States and the clear void of cross-specific parts and equipment was becoming increasingly frustrating for core racers. Local bike shops could not supply a demand that was clearly not going to stop as the word was out that tubulars rule the day for the cross specialist. So someone had to give the people what they wanted.
As part of this process, Donn and the Challenge team listened to their consumers. At first this was primarily hardened racers from teams like Fidea and sponsored rider and Danish National Champ, Joachim Parbo. The feedback was roughly the same: The Grifo is a timeless tread pattern, often copied and suitable for a variety of courses and conditions. But (there’s always a ‘but’), not suitable for the way cross courses were changing and becoming increasngly jmore technical. Sand (e.g. Koksijde) and relentlessly muddy fields (e.g. Hamme-Zogge) were forcing the riders to move towards other brands which offered variety in tread pattern…’stretching’ sacred contracts to the limit of what the definition of a contract's ‘exclusivity’ really means. Dugast’s Pipistrello and its Rhino were game changing for their new patterns could now help their pilots float across sand and grass with nearly zero resistance or rail the muddiest of corners with the Rhino’s new mud specific side 'paddles'.
A reaction had to occur and Challenge stepped up to the…challenge. As stated simply by Donn: “We wanted to produce the best tires in the world at the most realistic price points with the most diversity in our line-up and deliver it all in a manner that makes these products available to any racer looking for performance advantages right from their local bike shop”. That is a business plan any company can hang its hat on.
As part of this reaction, Donn leveraged his ecosystem of hardened US racers….as passionate about their sport as they come…and certainly have lots to say about product requirements for our backyard courses. Donn reached out to Katie Compton, Mark Legg, Brandon Dwight and Matt Pacocha along with Joachim Parbo while here in the States and started planning for an aggressive tread pattern, tough enough for many of the US-based ‘dirt crits’ we experience here in the US in addition to matching up with the handling characteristics of the Rhino in muddy conditions.
Iterations began like all good ideas do: Scribbling on a piece of paper, the very paper seen here.
These ideas were then circulated to the various 'team members’ during each stage. As an example from the transferring of that scribbling to true CAD designs…
...and from the CAD designs iterate into tooling/mold prototypes to begin to gauge knob size, placement etc.
From here Donn worked as pointman in all capacities....as 'field intelligence gatherer', pit crew, marketer....you name it....to learn about the needs and conditions and continued to vigorously communicate with this team of influencers until the product met its criteria and production run begun. Start to finish: Roughly less than a year. Incredible in any industry...especially manufacturing.
You have clearly seen some of those initial photos of the Fango Tubular on places like CXMagazine, however behold, I am happy to inform you all that Challenge will offer that SAME Fango tread pattern as a clincher! A Mud and Cowbells exclusive.*
So what is the moral of the story here? It is obvious to me that this is a company which wants dominance in a market...the large and still growing US cyclocross market. Further, they are doing what they need to with the unbelievably small resources they have to get it done and push towards offering the best product which will meet up to the standards of the worst conditions.
As mentioned, stay tuned for Matt P's tests of the Fango and deeper technical descriptions of the product.
It's April. I am already getting hungry.
The interesting parts beyond Lars winning though are:
a) Stybar. Another world champ (U23) and is going to do something special next year. His Kalmthout win this year was huge and next year I think he can pull a rabbit out. 5 seconds behind Boom today is insurance of the kids abilities. My man Klaas didn't follow through for me this year the way I thought he was going to but a win at Torhout and a top 10 today ensured his great season.
b) The time gaps were SO SMALL! You've all seen CyclingNews by now and the deltas between riders were nuts! the Top 25 all cam in within 1 minute behind Lars.
c) Rhinos! Who was not using them today? You'd be crazy not to especially with that 45 degree off camber grass slope and that crazy hill climb.