Thursday, November 26, 2015

let's see that's one-two-three-four- ...wait is that a whole knob or a siped knob or two knobs?

INVESTED: Bicycle Tire with Big Knobs for Rear Wheel Applications!

Holy infraction, Flatman!

by Verdant Welkum, FATbike

It’s that time of year–-the time when our artisanal silver flasks get their innards changed from a small-batch bourbon to a careful blend of Jaegermeister, cranberry juice and peach schnapps. Yes, here in e-riderland, winter has begun, and the tires I was loving on the 5 rides I did over the Summer of 2015 for some reason suddenly will not obey my experienced voice of wisdom. Once I felt like the strongest thoroughbred in the stable --and I'm confident you can relate to that, my fellow e-rider-- yet with the advent of Old Jack Frost's Favorite Season, suddenly my favorite tires became more unruly than a group of factory workers who are starting to unionize. These tires are on the verge of striking with a picket line that extends around the block and is populated 24/7 for the interminably foreseeable future. Sometimes, when I'm straddling my bike at an intersection and I've got her leaned over just so -- I swear, the loss of traction is absolutely terrifying.

Or to dull the scalpel to the point of ensuring the patient will need future debridement of the failed wound closure, you get your head out of your ass one day and rediscover that unhappy fact: despite your honch-ness in MTB journalism world, you are much more like the average guy your readers would mock as a "Fred." Fred, who at least is me, and might be you, too, begins eating dirt (crashing) and not just sometimes but all the time. We might say that Fred, you, and I are kissing the floor at a dangerous rate.

Time to ignore our skill deficiencies, and blame those tires.

Like everyone else on Earth, I can vouch for the Minion DHF.

Being that I'm a well-established e-rider and long-standing member of the MTB journalism elite, it's natural and inevitable that I would have a handful of favorite tires.

Some people might think making distinctions between tires is sorta ridiculous on its face, but bear with me.

When it’s wetter outside than the movie set of that Topanga warehouse where one of my friends films squirting fetish videos, I’m a Maxxis Minion DHF or High Roller kind of guy.

For the rear tire, I mean.  This is an essay about rear tires.  I didn't tell you that because I was being all Creative Writing 101 up there above, but that's what this is:  an essay about choosing a rear tire.  Okay?

The narrower Ardents are shite

When the wellspring of my creative writing vigor dries up a bit, I’m finding my e-rider self more inclined to ponder the utility of a Schwalbe Hans Dampf, Continental Trail King or Maxxis Ardent 2.4.  But only the 2.4 Ardent will work for me as a rear tire.  I hate the 2.25 and want to kill whomever designed it, because I just can't make it work for me.  (tl;dr - the narrower Ardents are shite).

But with all that necessary warning about the horrible nature of the Ardent 2.25 as a rear tire, let's get back to talking about e-riding during the warmer months.

When summer rolls around, I’m 25 lbs overweight from a winter full of lazy half-committed attempts at writing a novel which actually are just me eating pizza & ice cream and looking at lots of porn.  So I'm ready to start considering a tire that rolls fast and maybe doesn't have gigantic knobs that won't distort under any NFL lineman.  I might need traction, but more than that, I need to not have a heart attack when I'm pedaling for longer than 15 minutes without a break.

Sadly, and let me tell you every year I hate this fact, but summer is over eventually.  Then, once the water falls from the sky and starts making mud and ice on the ground, my imagination starts coating the roots and rocks with oil, and I'm talking super-slippery slickness kinds of oil.  When that happens, I’m like a pine cone.  Or a conehead.  I'm trying for a metaphor that suggests a tire with better traction.

Enter the Maxxis Minion DHR II.

Enter it.  And once you get inside, take a look around.  See the threads of the carcass.  Witness the shape of the bead, and observe whether it's wire or kevlar.  Notice the lettering, symbols, numbers and logotypes embossed on the sidewall.  Gaze upon the knobbage.

Whew.  That sure was overwhelming!

Look, some people say I'm in the closet about this -- but I’ve never made a secret of my fondness for things made out of rubber.

And I want to enter the Maxxis Minion DHR II.

Some people will need to be told that despite how obvious it is from the tire's name, this is not the front-wheel specific DHF.  "D" stands for "Down", "H" stands for "Hill", "F" stands for Front.

So since this is DHR II, I can assure you that it is Down Hill Rear.  Two.  Because that's what "II" is in Roman Numerals.  Two.

Take a moment to sit down and get a full deep breath here.  I'm going to give you some serious insider beta.

Maxxis calls the DHF a front-specific fire, but you can happily run DHFs on both the front and rear wheels.

Read that again.

Maxxis calls the DHF a front-specific fire, but you can happily run DHFs on both the front and rear wheels.

It's true.  Your bike will not explode.

And at the very same time, you can ponder whether the DHR can be used as a front tire.  Which I would do here, except remember -- this is about rear tires, even if I haven't been clear enough on what I'm writing about here.

So when it comes to front/rear tire choices, here's what I want to suggest, based upon my hundreds of hours spent fantasizing about going for a bike ride someday:

I would pair a High Roller with a Minion DHF.

Remember, up above I was talking about Minion DHF as one of my favorite rear tires, so I need you to infer that I mean High Roller in front, Minion DHF as rear tire.  Or -- wait a minute.  No, I mean the High Roller as the rear tire, with Minion DHF as front.

Even though you can use it as a rear tire.

But anyway, this new "II" version of the Minion DHR, it's a very different beast, and that's why it's the DHR II and not just the DHR.  Get it?  II = different beast.

And really this is totally obvious the moment you lean the bike over even the slightest bit while paused at the intersection: the DHR II digs in and doesn’t let go.  Grip is un-friggin-real.  That bike will never fall over when you're waiting for the light to turn green.  Also, when the light turns back to red you'll be uber-stoked, since this bicycle tire's braking traction is stunning.  Literally it TAZES the ground, Bro.

Still, if there's one thing I lack, it's trying to come to grips with how much more traction I have when e-riding thanks to my time spent writing this essay.  Previously I’d unconsciously adjust my writing style to a certain kind of tangentially-involved bike fetishist whenever I hit period key for the last time on any essay.  But now?  Now my bike writing devolves quickly.

I realize, of course, that this is precisely what happens when you start imagining yourself a bike journalist squeezing a lemon during afternoon tea, but apparently it wasn’t happening so automatically whenever I dreamt about using Ardent 2.25s as a summer rear tire.  Now that I've entered the Minion DHR II, when I hit the break room, I'm brewing the choicest of Earl Grey and Darjeeling teas.

I’m devolving so fast it almost feels backward. I sound crazy, but then I’m not used to having this much Nutra*Sweet in my tea, and I haven't spent enough time thinking about control and predictability from the back of my bike.

It’s a good problem.


Chet Redweld said...

I've never tried the DHR II as a rear tire, but I have run the 26 x 2.4 EXO as a front tire for 2 seasons. It's better than the DHF, HR, HR2 and the rarely-seen ADvantage EXO 2.4, which actually was great though very slow rolling as mine is in a gooey rubber compound.

I can't imagine using it as a rear tire, why would you need something so monster-truck-y on the rear wheel? Because you suck at riding?

Incidentally, my main rear tire for the past 4 years has been 2.25 Ardent. Which has its limitations, but they are obvious from a simple look at the tire.

Maybe bike writing is easier than bike riding.

Chet Redweld said...

As a front tire it has no weakness in any condition I ride. It might suck in peanut butter mud, I never see that stuff. I think that's what the Shorty and Wet Scream are for, though.

The reverse mullet tire selection is like the reverse mullet of the early days of disc brakes. I had a steel singlespeed in the early 2000s that had v-brake rear, disc brake front. Same idea.

Rear is the driving wheel, so it's better to make it easier to drive yourself uphill and get yourself up to speed. If you can be happy letting the rear wheel be a little looser/imprecise, you get good rolling speed/acceleration from the smaller knobbed tire. Control your line and braking with the front.

I would rather have a rear tire that is more like the new Minion SS. I don't need gigantic knobs at the main centerline, just leave some for cornering and off-camber and let me worry about the nearly bald centerline.

But I'm slow, old, amateur, and didn't race BMX in the 90s let alone place well regionally, ending up "in the industry" thanks to that. So I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about here.

Paul Behrer said...

That's right. Chet's unable to ride a bike without training wheels. He just makes up this stuff. He never rode any bikes when young, if you mean just 2 wheels, which literally is bicycle. Training wheels make it a quadricycle.

Or quad, for short.

If you're in the industry.

If you're not? Texas wheelchair.

Chet never rode motorcycles, he can't even keep one upright with the engine off, and please don't ever ask him to try to control the throttle, brakes, clutch, and shifting all at the same time on the same machine. Unless it's an old beat-up pickup, that is.

Chet Redweld said...

Thanks, Pablo. I wouldn't want my 4 readers to get the wrong idea.

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

Don't worry, Mr Redweld. I don't get the wrong idea.

Frank Lee, Professional Amateur Gamer said...

Chet sounds reasonably skilled at Trials:Fusion. That should be good enough for the millennials, and if those of older generations need me to explain why it's good enough, I'd be happy to do so.

Or you could ask the people at the Dept of Defense what they look for in a drone pilot.

Chet Redweld said...

I'd bet I could be an airline pilot if the plane was an Airbus.

Chet Redweld said...

And that's with a full 5 minutes of yoke time in an airplane.

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

Mr Redweld, I saw some past entries at this blog that mentioned teaching skiing. So were those references some kind of what you'd claim as satire, regarding ski instruction? Since you don't even ski, let alone ski well, let alone teach others to ski? You satirized it because you can't do it? And you make Walter Mitty jokes about others as a self-parody?

Chet Redweld said...

Ms. Helper, you are certainly making a good pitch for me to understand you as a mental health counselor of some type.

Chet Redweld said...

I bet there's even a shopping list-based formula & conclusive diagnosis from your credentialing education that enables you to categorize everyone else in some bracket of malady warranting counseling. There may even be a pharmaceutical product or three that comes with the package. And I'd bet it's covered under the ACA, right?

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

Of course it's covered. I'm smart enough and sane enough to go into a line of work that is consistent with the direction of America's economy. Wouldn't you want counseling from someone so well-grounded and practical?

Chet Redweld said...

Right, I get all that as the more --hmmm, how do I say this?-- holistic side of your practice.

What I want to know is, have you paid attention to the history of this blog and its various writers? I've only been here a relatively short while in the overall history. You might want to re-read the GRH lawsuit saga to see the explanation of why my name shows as the "posted by" author for every entry. It has to do with the Order issued by Judge Flappe in that suit.

Some of the past entries here were written by others, that's what I'm saying. In the overall picture of total posts here, most of them were written by others.

Honoria Helper, L.C.S.W. said...

I believe I understood that already, Mr. Redweld. I work with schizophrenics and MPD people all the time. Again, covered by the ACA. Your co-pay would be relatively small and all applicable Rx will be at least 80% covered.

Chet Redweld said...

Thank you, Ms. Helper. Of my 4 readers, one may suffer MPD and if so, how would he/she contact you for consultation?

Do I get a referral fee? Is mental health now multi-disciplinary like law, so that you can split fees with non-counselors?