Tubular Wheelsets Nov07

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Tubular Wheelsets

A more respectable bike blog would pick a brand of tire, then a particular model from that brand, and they’d go ride it around and talk about its “handling” and its “grip” and the “pattern “of its “knobs”. But I don’t know what any of those words mean, because I’m not a fucking rocket scientist. And I don’t have all of your elitist media opinions about how or why tires do what they do. Where I come from, tires are made of rubber. And filled with air. And then they go flat, you sit down in the dirt and cry until Ol’ Pete from the farm next door comes over and fixes it for you. Because Ol’ Pete has a grey beard and is obviously a wizard.

I’m currently riding Vittoria Cross EVO tires, but I’m surprised I know that much. I label my tires, mentally, the way the incredible hulk would describe the ride quality of each: “Black sidewall tire make ANGRY. Tan sidewall ride GOOD.” People ask how my tires feel, and I have to reply with a binary yes or no, meaning “did I fuck up while riding on these tires or not”. If I did, obviously the tires are shit because rider error isn’t possible. With this type of refined judgement, I define a “top quality” tire as one that doesn’t go flat in the middle of race and doesn’t slip out when I’m going around a corner.

So this year I borrowed a tubular wheelset (or “tubies” if you’re the kind of jackass that calls track bikes “fixies” and attractive women “hotties”), and I’ve been excited that they haven’t caused me to do either of those things. The low pressure makes it easier to maintain control (though harder to sprint), and I’ve finally grown accustomed to paying little attention when I hear the “kang” of hot rim-on-pavement action.

Also, never – EVER -  google “hot rim on pavement action”. It’s not what you think.

I’m not the kind of rider that upgrades my shit. I replace things when they break (or get run over by coke heads with no insurance). I will rarely buy an upgrade to a part that is already working fine. But in this case, I feel like tubulars were a worthwhile upgrade.