Thursday, January 27, 2011

Klondike Snow Tire Test

My friends at Kenda tires were kind enough to send me a set of studded tires to test over this winter. I have both the Klondike Wide and Skinny tires. This past weekend I got to hit the snow packed gravel roads to test the Skinny version.

Description: 100 carbide tipped studded tire, designed for long life in the harshest of conditions. Great for use as a winter cyclocross tire or for use with a trekking or commuter bicycle. Features snow shedding directional tread design. My 700 x 35 weighted in at just over 780 grams (w/studs).

Mounting: This might just have been the hardest and most dangerous tires I have ever mounted. Well I take that back. My Brother Joey and I about killed ourselves trying to remove and mount an old truck tire on one of our fleets Kenworth W900's. Sometimes a truck tire would not air up and we would have to spray starter fluid inside the tire then apply air and throw a lighted match at the same time. The results varied, but if you were good (and we were) you survived and you had an inflated/sealed tire. Back to bike tires.... the Klondikes are very solidly built. The sidewalls are very stiff and combined with very sharp studs I would strongly suggest a pair of gloves and some soapy water to help with mounting. I have to use 3 tire irons to mount them, but mounted they were. I normally try not to mount tire with irons, but sometimes you just need a helping hand. In the end you have a sweet set of snow tires ready for action.

First impressions: A quick little ride around the neighborhood streets resulted in a smile on my face. I hit all the icy sections that I could see and had no problems with slipping. The real result would be the Smithville Gravel Grinder or Snow Grinder as some have suggested. Conditions on Sunday's little snow ride were varied - snow packed ruts to deep snow. The first few miles were on snow covered roads that were very slick due to the inch or so of snow that fell overnight. No problems here, but we were not really going fast. We hit the snow covered gravel soon and the Klondikes came alive. The aggressive knobs really hooked up and provided plenty of traction. On the hills during the route I felt the weight of the tires, but on the downhills they were great and I was routinely out leading the way. There were not very many icy sections during the ride, but plenty of snow. I plan to test some more during the week, but my first impressions are very good. I would highly recommend a set of them. Now we just need a few more snow storms here so I can put them to good use.

Here are a few pics of the slick conditions and of riders who did not have the same Kenda Klondikes as I:

Here is a video of me waiting for everyone else that did not have Kenda studded tires :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yea It is Winter Time.

As a native Floridian I must tell you that for the most part winter sucks. We almost did not make the move to South Florida when I was a little kid. My dad and mom almost moved us to Michigan, but after one too many trip on the truck with holes on the floor board my Dad say F*** this and moved to the warmest place he could find - good ole sunny South Florida. On a couple of rides lately I have gotten this same feeling. Funny how the mind works when you are freezing and body aches from the cold.

Carolynn and I both tired of the cold already and looking forward to our little trip back home to Florida next month. There are some good things about snow (see below), but for the most part it sucks. Hikes like this keep me sane this time of year.

One really good thing about winter and the snow is we get some cool rides in. For some reason I really like riding in the snow. Once you get the proper equipment it can be very fun and makes the winter time go very quickly. One new item I have been wanting to get for the past several years is a set of snow tires. I finally got a two sets of Kenda Klondike tires - one for the mountain bike and one for my cross bike. Plan to break in the cross bike one tomorrow morning during the Smithville Gravel Grinder. Looks to be great conditions for them. Just check out those studs.
Speaking of equipment, I got a few new toys. One is a nice new Anthem X. She finally arrived at the Wheel Cyclery earlier this week and I can not wait to try her out. Below are some pics. Very sexy rig. This beauty is equipped with XT groupo (do you really need anything else?), Hugi wheels, Fizik saddle and Fox shock/fork. I opted for the 3 x10 set-up. You do not really need a small chain ring around here, but I am planning on some trips to the mountains and that 22 is much appreciated climbing those darn hills. With the 36 our back I will be able to climb just about anything. I will report back as soon soon with a complete report.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Between the Lakes Gravel Grinder

Brett hosted today's gravel grinder from his home town Lawrence, Kansas. We are lucky the Between the Lakes Gravel Grinder happened at all with Brett's premature celebration of his 25 birthday. But the trooper he is the ride carried on with a hangover and all.

Things started out late due to forgotten items like shoes. See above for the reason. Our first crash of the day happened before we even started rolling - Tim needs to add ice screws to his shoes. Once we got going things quickly a little sketchy when we passed through Burcham Park. The path was snow covered with some deep snow. More of the snow was encountered on the way back into town when we hit the levee. Things settled down after that with a long section of pave' until the fun started and the sweet gravel was upon us.

A good 45 mile ride with some good guys. Fun time.

Pictures below and some short movies. I will have to work on my movies. Darn camera was cutting out after a few seconds.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Speed Equaliser

I know what I am getting Carolynn for Valentines day. Now there is no need to get that new tandem (not that tandems are gay or anything). Just get a "Speed Equaliser"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Indoor MTB Park

I wonder if there is enough demand in Kansas City to build one of these parks?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gravel Grinders are in Season

The gravel grinders are in season. Time to burn off the excesses of the holiday season and put is some fun miles to get ready for a successful 2011.

January is full of gravel grinding fun with events in Riverside, Lawrence, Smithville and Belton. Check out Guru's Gravel Grinders from more information.

The fun begins on Saturday with the Riverside-Waldron Gravel Grinder. A perfect opportunity for newbies and experienced riders alike. Route is flat and fun. Notice I did not say fast. That is because these events are designed to be fun and social. You will not see the face to the right during this ride. The added benefit, besides not having to look at my face, is you will get some great base miles in and you all will thank me come race season.

Course map is below. I marked some short-cuts if you need them.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Day MTB Ride

The annual New Years Day Mountain Bike ride out at the Lawrence River Trails was well attended today with over 40 riders. The trails were in great shape and super fun. I really like the new re-routes in the back. Hats off to the LMBC trail crew for building and maintaining these fine trails.

The best news of this year is that Carolynn is back on the bike. She had no problems riding. Well, I should rephrase that. She had no back problems. The 20 degree temps did cause her some pain.

Some photos from the days ride.

New Years Day MTB