Monday, February 21, 2011

Twenty Three Millimeter Blues

Not to be confused with 18mm Blues, a book by Gerald A. Browne, which is all about pearls and stuff.
Not a bad read, if you are into that sort of thing.
No, this is about tires.
My recurring nightmare.
I got like Goodyears on my car, so when it's time for new car tires, I'll just go back to Goodyear and be all happy-happy.
Not so with bicycle tires.
Oh my goodness!
There's like a GAGILLION different bicycle tires to choose from.
Okay, not really.
Maybe more like half a GALLION, but you get my drift.
So many tires, so little time.
I could fill my evil eBay watch list with all kinds of different road bike tires!
Well okay, it's already filled up with all kinds of different road bike tires.
So I narrowed them down to four.
The consensus bullet proof tire seems to the Continental Gatorskins.
Easy short list addition.
Then it became sort of confusing.
Conti also makes the GP4000s and that's well liked too.
Then I looked at Vittoria, for I got Zaffiro Pros now, and Rubino Pros looked good.
So did the Michelin Krylions.
I admit though, I always wanted to try me some Schwalbes.
German tire goodness now manufactured in Indonesia.
At least the Gatorskins are still made in the Fatherland.
The Michelins and the Vittorias I don't know, not that it really matters but the Zaffiros I got were made in Thailand.
Vittoria gets a point just because they are like Italian and all.
I have to wonder though, just who makes up all these tire names and why are they so important?
Gatorskins is at least a real word, sort of.
I mean it makes sense and all, if you really think about it, although I have no idea how tough an alligator's skin really is.
I know they make shoes out of them.
The skins I mean.
Specialized has those Armadillos, which is easier to viualize, but don't armadillos get run over all the time?
Not quite sure what Schwalbe was thinking when they went with Snakeskins, I wouldn't want to be slithering all over the road.
If it was me, I'd go with something like Elephantskin or Rhinoskin, that's some toughness right there.
Buffaloskin sounds good too.
Though folks might think that they're buying tangy zesty barbecue tires.
I Googled Zaffiro and it seems it's the name of some pizza place in Milwaukee, so I guess that's sort of Italian.
Rubino's is also a pizzeria though this one is in Virginia.
I did the same for Krylion and that's proprietary to Michelin so I guess they got some dude in the marketing department making all that stuff up.
The Schwalbe guys seems to try and name their tires to make them sound Italian.
Sounds like something from a Steely Dan song.
Or maybe it's Spanish:
Hola! dos Ultremos por favor!
I don't know about you, the reader, but I find it all very difficult to wade through.
I mean all I need is two tires.
Two bicycle tires.
This shouldn't be that hard.
Then it occurred to me, all the marketing and hype that goes into this whole tire thing.
Folks are getting paid to think this stuff up!
Sounds very much like something someone creative like me could do.
I would give my tires names like Longestlasting, or Stupidlight and maybe Bazookaproof.
Bazookaproof being better than bullet proof don't you know.
Then there would be the top of the line tire that I'd just call Themostexpensivetireevermade.
How'd you like that on your sidewall?
Just think of how it would look while it's spinning around and around!
Oh the tire envy it would create!
I'd buy it for everyone knows, Themostexpensivetireevermade has got to be thebesttireevermade.
I bet we'd have a hard time keepingitontheshelves!
Maybe I could get Schwalbe to buy into this.
Then I couldgetanewsetoftiresforfree.
Anyways, all this was a bit overwhelming, and it was getting sort of late and I sort of need some new tires like soon, so I went ahead got me some-
Oh no! You aren't doing this again Mr. Flat Tire!
Oh yes I am.


Big Oak said...

Those Conti Grand Prix 4000 and 4000s tires are supposed to have better flat protection and are lighter than the Gatorskins. But, they are $25 more per tire.

Steve A said...

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season is all you need to remember. What could be simpler? I have 6000 miles on my rear tire now and they are half the weight of Armadillos. They are expensive except on a per mile basis.

John Romeo Alpha said...

The size is also marketing hype: 23mm is for racing. I think you would be happier all around with 28mm or larger touring tires. Which may not fit. Which calls into question the whole enterprise.

Steve A said...

My Contis are 28c and I've run them on gravel roads. I lose 5 minutes to 23c tires over 20 miles.

Apertome said...

I also prefer something wider, 25mm or 28mm for a road bike. Also, if you go to a wider width, you'll notice your choices/frustration decrease drastically.

limom said...

Tires, tires, tires.
Can't live without em, can't live without em.
I succumbed to roadie pressure and got some 23cs.
I was blinded by the celesteness in front of me.
I'm riding 25s now and like them and like Apertome says, choices are reduced.
I have seen the light!
Back to the evilness.