Thursday, August 7, 2008 I get it!

Last night was the inaugural ride of the now tubeless Leviathan. I had wondered if I could truly tell the difference. I knew that it would be slightly lighter but that factor is tough to feel seat of the pants. You can talk yourself into thinking you are climbing faster even when you are not, only the stopwatch knows for sure.

But I was after more than lightness. I really did not care too much about pinchflatting protection. I rarely pinch flat. I have had an annoying amount of thorn flats ever since I have been running 26" tubes in the 29er tires. Not sure if it is bad luck or the thinner tube wall from the extra stretch, but either way, it has been a regular occurance lately.

What I really wanted was the extra suppleness and conformity to the trail that I read about. That is really worth it. What I did not want was all the hassles like burping (not me...the tire), difficulty setting the tire bead, leaks, etc.

I hoped that running the Stan's set up on Stan's rims on a tire(s) that I knew had worked well for others would help eliminate trouble spots. They sure installed easily and when I checked pressure after sitting for 2 days post installation, the front had dropped 10psi and the rear 1 or 2. Not sure about the front leak down, but I never rode them after the install, so perhaps I will get some more solution around the inside of the tire during tonite's ride.

I set them at 20psi each and applied the calibrated thumbnail test. Seemed pretty good, even at that low setting. Then, I drove up to a local area and began riding a longish climb on a pretty smooth fireroad.

Well, the bike rolled well and climbed nicely, but the Lenz already did that. At the top, we watched the sunset from an old fire lookout tower and hit the downhill. the road surface was covered in loose rock, from hens egg to tennis ball sized, over hardpack. It was the oddest thing. The ride was amazingly supple, in fact I could see rocks that I was running over but I'll be darned if I could feel them. The bad thing was a kinda' dancy feeling like I was running on a partially flat tire. Not confidence inspiring.

Now I have always run low tire pressures and I have always liked fattish tires, even waaay back when my buddies were being all racer boy on skinny XC tires and 45psi, my riding partner and I knew better and ran no more than 35psi and the biggest rubber we could get, usually 2.2 Hardpacks. We knew that we would be better off over true mountain bike terrain on the lower pressure and wider rubber, even if we did give up some rolling resistance. Over a long day in the hills, we would be more relaxed and less beat up. But, I guess this new setup was too low, even though it felt good to the touch, it was oddly disconcerting to ride that way, having a disconnected from the earth feeling.

I stopped and added 20 pumps with the hand pump to each tire, having no idea what that equated to, and continued on. OHHHHHHhhhhh...there we go. Now I felt connected to the ground and the floaty feeling went away. But, better than that, the magic carpet ride was pretty much undiminished. It was sooooo smooooth. Really, truly.

Totally worth it so far. So far. Keep tuned in and we shall see how it goes mid term when I have covered some ground. If it plays out, I will shop for some 2.3-ish tires for the SS Monkey and Stans up those wheels. This could be good!

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