Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Now that the winter rains have started, I decided it was time to winterize my road bike.  Winterize - what does that mean?  On my car, I like to make sure the tires have plenty of tread and that my windshield wipers actually wipe instead of smear.  On my bike, I like to re-install my fenders and make sure my tires are in good shape.  

In installed these Honjo aluminum fenders a few years ago and once they are set up, they go on and come off very quick.  I could theoretically leave them on year round, but the truth is that I like the look of a stripped down bike.  In the summer, I don't need the fenders.  Sure, they might keep the bike cleaner, but I'm okay if my bike gets dirty.  It's easy to clean.  And as secure as a set of fenders is installed (and these are bomber), the bike does make more noise when they are on and I like a quiet bike.  However, in the winter, the fenders keep me dry and that's why they go on during the rainy season.  

The other task I did to my bike to winterize it was replace the rear tire.  It's been on for quite some time and it's pretty squared off from the center being worn flat.  A squared off tire poses other problem besides being thin down the middle.  A squared off tire makes descending a twisty road a bit squirrelly.  With a new rounded tire, as you transition from straight to right to left to right turns, the tire transitions like it's supposed to - effortless.  If the tire is squared off, it's more difficult to transition off the flat center into a corner and once you're cornering, the amount of tread in contact with the ground is lessened.  It might be a negligible amount, but it's real.  I like the tread of my knobby tires to be round as well.  

In the wet, it is much easier to get a tire puncture.  In the dry, you can run over all kinds of sharp objects and the tire can deform (conform) over the object without cutting (especially if you aren't running crazy stupid high pressures).  When it's wet, all that water acts like a lubricant for those sharp objects to cut your tires.  There are way more flats when it's wet and I want a fresher tire that doesn't have a thinned out tread that's more prone to punctures.

Today, on went the fenders and new rear tire.  I also check the chain for wear.  It's okay, but when it does need replacing, I'll also replace the rear shift cable.  Just a good thing to keep maintained.  


The squared off tire.  The threads of the casing were also showing themselves under the thinned out rubber.


(What's playing:  Cat Power Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again)


Exhausted_Auk said...

My practice has always been to put the new tire on the front, and move the front tire to the rear. Front tire flats may be a lot rarer, but I sure don't want to get one while riding at speed!

Anonymous said...

It took me days to mount my Honjos, a real task on bikes with low brake bridges.


Worth it though. I winterize bikes further and slip innertube pieces over seatpost collar and headset, but only on bikes with no fenders.


blackmountaincycles said...

Nice job on the custom fender mount, Tim.

retroscool said...

One thing I like to do is use those Shimano end caps with the shields on my rear derailleur cable where there's a stop on the chainstay or seatstay. I find it keeps the grime out of the cable housings especially in those dirt prone areas.

Giovanni said...

I’m one of those who keeps the fenders on all year round. I have a set of plastic Serfas polycarbonate ones and I hardly hear any noises at all. I’ve had them on for 4 years now and love em.

I also rotate my tires every so often and can get twice the life out of them doing so. My first set of tires (Vittoria Randonneur Hyper 700 x 32c) without being rotated – lasted just under 4000km with a half worn front. My second set I rotated then at intervals and squeezed out a little over 7000km. I’m on my 3rd set now.

I normally rotate the tires just as I start seeing the rear tire square up a little (around the 750km mark on these Hypers with my body weight). I then swap the rear to the front and after a few rides the front (ex-rear) starts to round off again. I end up with a more even wear rate between the 2 tires doing it this way and in return get better grip and more enjoyment from riding.

From there on I rotate the tires every 500km to 750km, bit like a routine car service.

Chris said...

Mike, are you not a fan of the Clement road tires?

blackmountaincycles said...

Chris, yes, I really like the Clement Strada LLG tires and would have thrown on a set, but the 28s out of stock at the moment.