24 July 2008

Heavy may be slow...

...but flat is slower. It amazes me how much importance people give to product weight- even to the extent that it compromises function. When it comes to tires, I don't mess around: I hate flats. Because I use my road bike for commuting as well as weekend riding, I tend to err on the safe side when it comes to rubber. While I'm running a heavy(ish) but bombproof Maxxis Re-Fuse (this one's holding together) on the rear wheel (which tends to see more abuse, I've been using a "race only" Vittoria Open Corsa CX on the front. The lightly used Corsas came with my current wheelset and I figured that they were worth a shot. They're light and sure ride well, but aren't particularly sturdy. As with all of my road wheels, I installed Continental removable-core inner tubes and squirted in a couple of tablespoons of NoTubes Tire Sealant.

Now the NoTubes sealant is a latex-based liquid that seems pretty similar to Tufo's sealant- though far less expensive. While many folks would balk at the added 57g of rolling weight (per wheel), I find that it's certainly worth it. Sure enough, about four miles from home yesterday (with 1500mi on the tire), I found a piece of brown glass in the bike lane (surprise!). The tire began to spray sealant almost immediately- otherwise I may not have noticed. Because the leak was slowed (and intermittently sealed) by the sealant, I was able to put my weight back and the power down and make it home before our daily 5:00 thunder storm. A smaller piece or thorn would have sealed completely and quickly.

Sealant is no substitute for a spare tube and pump, but it certainly helps. Whether or not it's worth it to you has a lot to do with your tolerance for a bit of weight. For me, 115g of sealant is far less painful than attempting to fix a flat by the side of the road, in the rain, with a hillariously inadequate mini pump.

marc

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