Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hey Nick, you forgot to include...

Granted, I'm far off Nick's radar, but it's really not so difficult to find road frames with clearances for fatter tires. I've got a stack of them. And they can take up to a 33 tire, easily. I enjoy Nick Legan's column in Velo News, although some of the questions are becoming a little mundane. In the "not mundane" category is one of today's questions: "Where can I get a road frame with clearance for fatter tires that I can race?"

Part of the issue may lie in the belief that in the year 2011, a "race" bike is assumed to be carbon fiber. And once someone has it in their mind that in order to be competitive, one needs to have the lightest machine and that machine has to have a carbon fiber frame. Heck, just this week Cannondale unveiled their new race frame that weighs in at 685 grams! Holy Frack! I remember when a light carbon road frame was one that weighed under 1 kilo. Why design something that then needs to have weights dropped down the seat tube to bring it up to the UCI minimum weight? Oh well, not going to go there.

The writer of the question about tire clearances pointed out an important feature that manufacturers do no take advantage of to offer more tire size versatility in their frames (and forks). Too many road frames and forks are designed around short reach (39mm - 49mm) that do not take advantage of designing so that the brake pads get mounted at the bottom of the slot. If they did this, all of these frames could easily take a 25 - 28 tire. But no, the brake pads are invariably positioned at the top of the slot making even a 25 a tight fit.

So, to answer the question "where can I get a road bike that I can race that has clearance for 28 tires," I can answer "at Black Mountain Cycles." A steel road bike is just as raceable as a carbon bike. It's not the machine. It's the engine. And I guarantee that if you show up at a road race with a steel bike, you will be seen as a bad-ass, bucking the trend. Just make sure your engine is tuned properly.

These photos are in the previous post, but they do show off the clearance of my frames nicely.

That's a 33.333 tire in there.
BMC 017

The brake is a standard reach caliper (47mm - 57mm) with the pads at the bottom of the slot. Lots of clearance with a 33.3mm tire.
BMC 027

(What's playing: KWMR Morning Glory)

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