Bike Repair in Wallingford, Delivered to your Door
Jeff’s usual ride is a ten mile loop around town, one he has completed so many times that you might expect to see a 28mm wide depression in the shoulder of the road. He bought a flat bar Jamis Coda Comp seven years ago, and hasn’t changed a thing on it. His position is upright and comfortable and other than an occasional tune up has provided him seven years of flawless performance, he absolutely loves it.
He reached out to True Cyclery because he noticed that his original tires were beginning to split at the sidewalls, and wanted to have them replaced to take advantage of our unseasoably warm weather. Some cyclists want the tires replaced no questions asked, some like to talk about options and upgrades, and others are like Jeff, consummate consumers who like to know all the options before making a decision. Tires are a wonderful product for the latter, because there are so many options. From widths, to tread patterns, to puncture resistance, to thread count, to aesthetic, there is a pair for everyone.
Vittoria Zaffiro’s were his OEM tire and served him well for the better part of a decade. These tires, which retail for about thirteen dollars a piece, would get him right back to speed in a most affordable fashion. Naturally, we discussed these as a possible option, after all they work wonderfully, and only flatted a single time. But Jeff wanted to know how a “better” or “more expensive” tire would influence his loop. He already knew exactly what a thirteen dollar tire felt like and how long it could last. He also knew that he preferred the 28mm width because he liked their sure footedness which gave him more confidence than he had on a 23mm. The only negatives he could point out was that the ride quality was a little hard, and that after looking at the specs they were heavier than some though that was not a concern.
Tires are awesome because they change the way your entire bike feels on the road. Pretty important stuff, and the difference between the lowest and highest quality is typically within a hundred dollars. Sometimes the changes are as clear as day, other times more subtle. Going from a Zaffiro to a Zaffiro Pro, would likely be subtle. Swapping from Vittoria to Schwalbe, or any other brand, would likely be more clear. Some people can tell the difference the way a sommelier can tell the difference between a 2004 cab and a 2005. Most people, at the very least, can sense general differences like feeling faster or slower, more harsh or more compliant. We talked about all of these things and determined that what Jeff wanted was a a tire as dependable as his Zaffiro’s, but more compliant, and if they were faster feeling or lighter, that’d be icing on the cake, but not critical.
I recommended a good (the same $13), better (Panaracer Pasela $27), best (Grand Bois $57). These aren’t the clear cut good, better, bests, but they are tires I am familiar with and would be comfortable recommending for his usage. At the moment, I am absolutely smitten with the tires offered by Compass, and am using the Grand Bois on my commuter now. We discussed the pros and cons of each, and in a rare moment of salesmanship talked him into the Grand Bois. It wasn’t hard, the benefits are pretty clear:
- Ride quality. He is moving from a tire that was a little harsh to the absolute cream of the crop. I am confident that the oh so plush ride of the Grand Bois will make his loop more enjoyable than he thought possible.
- Speed. New tires usually feel faster than the worn out ones they are replacing, but the Grand Bois will have him holding on the bars a little more tightly.
- Weight. Not a huge factor, but he’ll save a quarter pound.
- Aesthetics: Not a factor for Jeff in the decision, but upon seeing the skin walls on his Jamis, was impressed with how classy they looked.
When the tires arrived, I drove to his house in Wallingford, and thanks to our current heat wave, installed the tires in his garage while we discussed all things bike. We spent most of the time ooing and ahhing over the new tires, and chatting about how a $100 upgrade (roughly the difference in cost between replacing his tires with the original equipment versus the Grand Bois) could certainly be done for less, but how investing in such a high quality tire will reward him on each and every ride for years to come. He was excited to test them out and promised to give me a full report after he has logged a few miles on them.
If you are interested in discussing some replacement treads, or any other changes or upgrades, we’d love to discuss options with you as well.