Thursday, March 4, 2010

Got 'er done

My temporary 29" tires came today. I say temporary, as the five local bike shops I checked for Bontrager 29-3's don't have any in yet. I guess they are arriving soon. I was not going to let this hold back the completion of my winter project now that the snow is just about gone. So I thought I'd check out some Hutchinson Toro tires in the mean time.

You don't realize how much bigger these hoops are until you park
it next to a 26" wheeled MTB.

The Stan's based wheels are my first set of "tubeless ready" wheels. I have three sets of UST wheels, on which I've always mounted UST tires. Never burped a tire, haven't flatted in six years. Amazing when you think about it. I do always run Stan's sealant in the tires. TubeLess Ready (TLR) rims are not UST certified and likely have a different rim bead than UST rims, as some UST tires will not seat properly on TLR rims. TLR rims give you the option of running regular tube type tires as tubeless, sometimes with mixed results. I've read that Bontrager TLR tires work well with Stan's rims. Bontrager has a couple racy models I'd like to try.  There are only a couple other companies out there making 29" TLR tires, like Hutchinson.

Carbon frame, carbon bar, carbon post, even a little carbon
in the rear derailleur. Carbon has gained my trust.

Part of the idea behind the TLR system is to make the rim sidewalls short so the bead has no where to go when bottoming out the tire against the rim. This reduces burping (when you break the rim bead seal), reduces pinch flatting, and potentially makes it easier to initially inflate the tires. This also means it can be very tough to mount the tires, as there is no deep center channel to work the bead into.  I found the Hutchinson Toro's a little stubborn to mount, but not any more so than UST tires on UST rims. I added 1.5 scoops of Stan's sealant inside each tire. Then it was time for the test: can you inflate the tire with ordinary floor pump? I could! It was no different than inflating a tubed tire. It was that easy. The beads immediately snapped into place with about 40psi.

The Toro's are spec'd at 2.15" wide. I found the widest part of the tire was the casing, which measured 1.95". So they're kind of skinny. The Toro's use Hutchinson's hardskin sidewalls to resist cuts, which probably means they ride like solid rubber tires (not very supple). We'll see.

Shimano might obsolete 9sp drivetrains soon. I was pissed when
I couldn't get 8spd setups anymore. It's like inverse Moore's Law:
Each cog added in back cuts performance and life in half while
doubling the cost.

The bike currently weighs 23.7 lbs. Not fly weight, but quite a bit lighter than my little wheeled Dean Ti hardtail (which went back to Dean for frame repair four months ago). Different tires and swapping out the Hayes rotors for Shimano Centerloc rotors could get the weight down under 23 lbs, but I'm not really a weight weenie. Either you got it or you don't. Efficient tires are far more important than 0.7 lbs.  So here's the finish build spec. 
  • Frame: Gary Fisher Superfly, large
  • Fork: Fox F29 RLC, custom offset for Superfly
  • Headset: Cane Creek ZS-3
  • Wheels: Stan's Arch rims, 32 Wheelsmith DB spokes, Shimano XTR hubs
  • Brakes: Hayes Stroker hydraulic, 160mm rotors
  • Crankset: Shimano XTR
  • Shifters: Shimano XTR rapid fire
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano XTR
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XTR Shadow, traditional rise
  • Cassette: Shimano XT, 11-34
  • Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR
  • Bar: Easton Monkey Lite XC carbon
  • Stem: Thomson Elite X4
  • Skewers: Woodman Gator Ti
  • Post: Easton EC-90 carbon
  • Saddle: Terry Ti Fly
  • Grips: ODI Rogue lock-on
  • Tires: Hutchinson Toro, 29"x2.15" tubeless ready
Assuming I can find suitable tires, this will be my ride of choice for the Ironcross race this fall. There's a downhill plummet on that course that I've yet to clean on my Ridley cross bike. The lower gearing should allow me to ride more of the final run-up too.  More importantly, this is the bike I plan to bring with me to Leadville in August. Not sure how many folks there are riding 29ers. From what I've seen in the movie, my heavy dualie would be overkill.


Matt said...

Nice looking build--HT 29er is perfect for the LT100--good luck.
For what it's worth I ran stan's tires at Leadville on my 29er--crow on the back and raven up front--lite/fast,no flats--perfect IMO.

CB2 said...

I heard the stories too, but wasn't as fortunate. Although my tires (Maxxis Ignitors) aired up easy with a compressor, I couldn't get them to air up with a floor pump, but they've never been the easiest tire to seat. But once they were seated, that bead is locked!

Jonny Bold said...

Oh the envy! 29ers are everywhere. I'd be willing to bet more than 50% at Leadville and the majority of the remaining guys will be contemplating the switch. I hope you have good luck with the sidewalls. 6 years no flats, DAMN!

I'd switch, but the economy finally caught up with me and I'm laid off temporarily. I'd already planned on a new TT rig with my tax return, so the mtb will have to wait a little longer, but thats my dream bike.....F'er.

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