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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Continental Mountain King 2.2 Supersonic tested!

After my last little trail ride on semi-slicks in the mud, I decided I needed something with a bit more bite. After reviewing some catalogs and getting some suggestions, I placed an order for some Conti Mountain King 2.2 Supersonics.

Out of the box they were weighing in at a hair over 500g each. Not the lightest tire out there, but in line with other tires. The rubber also seemed really thin-walled, but nothing that some Stan's sealant won't take care of.

Now, 2.2 isn't normally my style. But these things measured under a caliper at 1.96 at the outer-most part of the casing. I was surprised, but that's what I was looking for.

Installing them wasn't as east as my Stan's The Crows, they didn't want to seat very easily. But, after throwing a tube in, getting one side into the bead and removing the tube, I was able to get them mounted. They did seem to leak air until the ride was actually under way, so I must have not gotten the Stan's Sealant to fully cover the inside of the tire. But once underway they held air just like they should.

More prepared this time with Matt (spare tubes, CO2, etc) we set out on the same loop as Sunday. Today was just as muddy as Sunday, maybe more so since we had some rain yesterday. Out on the road the Continentals didn't roll quite as fast but they were a long way from slow.

Once we hit the trail I saw the advantage to carrying the extra weight and suffering through slightly more rolling resistance. I was really able to lean in the bike and was really surprised with the grip climbing the small, muddy climbs we have here in the Midwest.

The Mountain Kings didn't seem to shed mud as quickly as I was hoping for, but then again I didn't get to ride far without plowing through more mud.

I won't go too far with this review since I only have about 2 hours on the tires on the trail, but initial impressions are good. I'll keep rolling these tires for a few more weeks and see what happens.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stan's Notubes ZTR Race wheelset

I'd rather not write a full review on one ride, so I'll give you a basic rundown with specs and initial impressions:

First, out of the box my wheelset came in at 1,180 grams. Yes, 1,180. That includes valves and rim tape. I couldn't really wrap my head around it either, so you're not alone. I got them built in standard form, with black DT Swiss spokes (I think Revolutions), red alloy nipples, and American classic hubs.

This is my first experience with American Classic disc hubs, and so far I like them. I have heard a number of stories about older models from AC having bearing trouble, but from what I understand those issues have long-since been worked out.

Back to the wheels. Out of the box they were perfectly true vertically and laterally. Not a single nipple needed to be turned which is nice. Matt has gotten me used to building wheels, so grabbing a pair out of a box was nice.

After a quick shot of air from the compressor the tire bead set in. I decided to give the Notubes The Crow a shot since I liked them some much last season on my 29er. Once the bead was a filled the tires with some Notubes sealant and was on my way.

Today's ride started out with about 20 min on the road to warm up. I was shocked on fast those wheels spun up. A hard burst of power and I was rolling down the road at 27-28mph!

Once Matt and I hit Labaugh Woods since it was the only thing that wasn't closed because of mud. We dropped in from the road and tore through the first mile or two of single track. This was my first ride offroad in months now and my training has really been lacking, so I happy to have some super light wheels and my new ride.

Matt ended up flatting just a few miles in, so our ride was cut short, but the ZTR Race wheelset held air that was put in last night without losing pressure, which is something I noticed on previous Stan's wheelsets. Left overnight, I always saw a couple PSI lost.

I'm going to be spending as much time on these wheels as possible to see how they hold up. Any light wheelset can spin up fast and impress off the bat, but how will they do after months or even a year of riding under me? My technical skills are not going to impress anyone, I hit things hard and I'm not super smooth. We'll see how they do!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


This will be the new spot to catch up on everything bicycle related in Chicago. We plan to have reviews of new drive trains, components, frames, clothing, and anything else we can get our grubby hands on.

So far we've played with a Campagnolo Super Record 11 kit, the new Lynksey Cooper and Ridgeline 29 models, the DT Swiss XRC100 fork and XR Carbon shock, some white Nokons, Zero Gravity cyclocross brakes, and Scrub Components brake rotors to name just a few.

Now, don't get the idea we'll only cover super-high-end parts. We'll cover some Endura clothing made with the commuter in mind, some tires made to last longer than your legs ever will, and everything in between.

Finally, we'll be posting some good info on bike fit. As I write our WAterford Fitmaster is on it's way to the shop. In about 60 minutes we'll be ready to fit anyone to anything and we'll be sharing those experiences and some good tips as we go.

Please follow along with us through the trials of opening a new shop dedicated to everything that cycling and triathlon has to offer. We've takenour passion and (hopefully) turned it into a business so we can share what we love with others, and if we're lucky learn a few things along the way.

Stop in at see us at 2860 W Montrose in Chicago. Maybe you'll be geeked over bike stuff just like us!