Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Okay, the 80's wants their meme back. That's okay though.

When I went outside a little after 5:00 this morning, all the ice had sloughed off the truck. The pavement was still slick in the parking lot, but with temperatures just barely freezing, there wasn't enough chill to make it stick.

What's that mean for my studded tires? A lot more slushy water was flung all over the place. Other than that, they worked just fine. I definitely didn't need them this morning. It's still raining, and the temperatures are supposed to drop throughout the day. With any luck, the return trip should have some ice.

Tonight, I'll probably take the wheels off of Hybridzilla and put the Kendas on that wheelset. The jury is still out on what I'm going to do, but I'm leaning strongly towards putting the wheels and new tires back on Hybridzilla and leaving my Forte Slick City ST tires in the closet for the rest of winter. If it's really nice out, I have the Trek. This time of year, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have only one bike geared up for bad weather and two bikes with slick tires.

This change would make the Diamondback Outlook no longer a hybrid in my book, and it might mean that the Outlook becomes my primary ride for winter. I'm not sure how keen I am on that yet. In sub-freezing temperatures, I do have better luck with the grip shifters on the Outlook than I do with the RapidFires on the Sorrento. I may go the other direction and put the studded tires on the Outlook, or I may just turn the Outlook upside down without wheels for winter, and swap wheelsets off of the Sorrento. I'm pretty indecisive.

This is only my second winter of bicycle commuting. I learned quite a bit last year, but my whole attitude about cycling is different this year. Last year, I rode some winter days for the challenge. This year, I am riding because that's what I do -- and there is very little that will stop me. If rain at 32 degrees Fahrenheit is a riding day, I don't know what would constitute a non-riding day.

Random Tunage:
Vertical Horizon - I'm Still Here
Depeche Mode - Precious (Misc. Crunch Mix)


Apertome said...

I'm not sure how you'd define "hybrid," really, as there are many shades of grey. I don't know if changing tires can change a hybrid to a mountain bike and back. But maybe it can. However, if you need knobbies to ride on the road during the winter, does that really make it a mountain bike? I'm really not sure.

It's neat that you made some studded tires. I've read some articles on how to do that but I haven't been convinced it'd be worthwhile. I wonder if I'll feel that way once we get some freezing rain.

I'll be curious to see how yours work.

Noah said...

Well, Hybrid-zilla has a higher-geared (more road-esque) cassette on it than it did when I got it. From the factory, it was a rigid-frame mountain bike with low gearing and knobby tires.

I upgraded the cheap brakes to some nice Jagwires. I swapped the knobbies for slicks. I upgraded the cheap freewheel to a freehub wheel, and in the process got rid of the low gearing for something that would allow me to go faster. Then I swapped the platforms out for SPDs. At this point, I'd say I hybrid-ized it. It's geared a lot like some hybrids, and rides like them. In practice, it's about as fast as my Trek for my 29 mile round trip commute. In theory, the Trek has a much higher top speed, but I rarely push those limits on my commute. Since it's not a genuine hybrid, but a mash-up of stuff, I call it Hybridzilla.

So now it will be a hybridized mountain bike with mountain bike knobby tires, SPD pedals, and hybrid-esque gearing? It will look, smell, and ride like a mountain bike. It will be sluggish like a mountain bike because of the wide, low pressure tires. It will be a mountain bike. I can't bring myself call it a hybrid.

On the studded tires: I bought the Kendas because they were cheap. Since I had these knobbies (the OEM tires from Hybridzilla, actually), I decided to try studding them. Keep in mind I felt (and still kind of do) the same was as you. I'm not sure if it's worth it. But now that I have the time and parts to SEE if it's worth it, I figured I'd see for myself what the fuss is about and write about it, so that people like you don't have to.

Apertome said...

Well, I appreciate you going the extra mile so I don't have to. That rocks.

What kind of Kendas are the new ones you got? I very much like the Nevegal and Blue Groove on my mountain bike ... but those are decidedly not cheap.

Noah said...

They're Kenda Hammers. Compared in person, they look almost identical to the WTB Velociraptor front tire tread, but they're a 1.95" tire, not 2.1"

The tires I studded are Cheng Shin brand, but are identical to Forte VersaTrac. Those came stock on the Outlook, and I will likely buy a set of VersaTracs in the future to keep around just because of the price and how well these have done so far. Through all of last winter, through all of the curb hopping, potholes, pavement miles and mild singletrack, they've perservered.

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