April 24, 2018

By Evan Lee

Shopping for a new tire can be just as overwhelming as exploring new bike options, if not more. With so many choices how does one choose which tire to spec their bike with and where to put it?

Changing a tire on your bike can drastically change the way it rides. Whether you’re fighting for grip or going for speed there’s a tire suited for you. We’ve created a buyer’s guide to help break down the jargon and make it a little easier for the customer to tune their ride. For this guide, we want to cater to the recreational / every day rider, someone who is looking for that balance between grip and speed. To break this down let’s establish the different disciplines.

Cross-Country/Trail

For this discipline, riders are usually after a few things – reducing weight, increasing rolling speed and improving climbing traction. Examples for this type of tire include the Maxxis Ardent and Ardent Race, Specialized Fast Trak, and the Bontrager XR1.

BONTRAGER XR1

SPECIALIZED FAST TRAK

MAXXIS ARDENT

All Mountain/Enduro

In this category, riders are typically looking for more grip/cornering traction and stability. Grip and stability can work hand-in-hand and can come from a number of different factors when designing a tire – the softness of the rubber (durometer), the height of the knobs (center/side) and the tire’s width, etc. Examples include the Maxxis DHF and DHRII, Specialized Butcher, and the Bontrager SE4.

MAXXIS DHF

SPECIALZED BUTCHER

BONTRAGER SE4

Selection

Picking the right tire is all about creating a balanced combination between the front and rear that caters to your riding style or how you want to ride. For the most part, riders will spec the front of their bike with a tire that offers more grip and stability while equipping the rear with something that gives good climbing traction and faster rolling speed while maintaining good cornering traction. This is a good place to start if you’re not racing at either end of the spectrum (cross-country or gravity/downhill).

Tread Patterns/Tire Widths

Tread patterns are a huge factor in placing a tire into its respective discipline. You have your extremes, but you also have tires that meet in the middle. These patterns can be seen on the Maxxis Aggressor, Specialized Purgatory, and the Bontrager XR4. For the riders who want the best of both, fast rolling and great cornering/climbing traction, these will be what you’re shopping for. However, as this guide is for that every day, recreational rider, I would recommend these as a good option for a rear tire as you see these spec’d on stock bikes in our shop specifically

As for the front tire, you’ll see bigger knobs and wider tires for both increased traction and stability. These tires also feature softer rubber compounds that create a tackier ride feel. Softer rubber is, unfortunately, associated with faster wearing of the tire entirely, which is why you should install these on the front given the rear tire typically wears out quicker.

A wider tire can give you a more stable feeling, but consider your rim width when shopping for tires 2.5 inches and above. If you have a thinner internal width (~19-24mm) and you try to stick a 2.5 on it, it can change the tire profile and you may not actually benefit much from the increased width. Luckily, most of these tires come in different widths, so you can gain that traction and stability without jumping to a wider tire all together (e.g. Maxxis DHF 2.3, Specialized Butcher 2.3, Bontrager XR4/SE4 2.3).

Tire Casing

A tire’s casing is fabric that acts like a skeletal system beneath the outer rubber and is measured in Threads Per Inch (TPI). The most common TPI measurements you will see are 60tpi or 120tpi. A lower TPI will have a larger thread and function as a stiffer casing while a higher TPI has a smaller thread with less rubber packed between threads, making for a lighter and more supple ride feel. Note that the lower thread count isn’t going to have the ride quality of the higher TPI, but offers durability against cuts and flats. Thus, if you want a high-mileage, durable tire, look for the 60tpi marking; if you want a smoother ride feel and lighter weight, go with the 120tpi.

The number of layers for the casing can change as well. Most of the cross-country tires will be made with a single-ply casing, which helps the tire conform well to the terrain and be lightweight. All-mountain / enduro casings will have a dual-ply casing, providing added protection and stiffness to the sidewalls.

Tire Compounds

The compound of a tire is refers to the softness of the rubber, expressed as the durometer, and measured in Shore A Hardness. This measurement is seen as a number (1-100) followed by the letter “a”(48a, 50a, 61a, etc.). The lower the number, the softer the rubber compound. When shopping for a tire, though, you’ll see it as an advertised name (e.g. 3C MaxxTerra, GRIPTON, etc.). 3C MaxxTerra, MaxxGrip, and MaxxSpeed are good examples of how the compounds can be changed to get the most out of a tires desirable characteristic. MaxxTerra will have a pretty neutral durometer. The base of the rubber is hard but as you get closer to the outer surface it becomes softer. Maxxis also makes the side knobs a softer compound and the center a medium compound. The MaxxGrip and MaxxSpeed are going to have different proportions of this measurement with “Grip” having a thinner layer of hard rubber at the base, leading to a higher proportion of soft/medium compounds and “Speed” having a thicker layer leaving the softer rubber on the outer surface of the knobs.

As you can see, tire selection is a deep subject. If it seems overwhelming, don't let it be -- stop in today to discuss all your options with one of our montain bike tire experts!

April 3, 2018

By Evan Lee

WRC’s longstanding relationship with Yeti Cycles is a storied partnership based in one common pursuit: let’s ride!

When we first picked up Yeti in 1990, the upstart company was busy dominating the World Cup race circuit and relocating to Durango, Colorado.  Since then, not much has changed other than a move to Golden, Colorado –  just 10 miles from our doors – and the singular pursuit of unrelenting technological advancement.

With such a legendary contributor to mountain bike advancements, each year brings something better than the last, yet in 2018 this facet of Yeti’s personality didn’t manifest in a new frame design or a new suspension platform. Instead, it came in the form of the Lunch Ride build option.

See, every weekday at 11:30 Yeti closes up the shop and goes on a 90-minute ride.  Everybody. It’s mandatory. Tough job requirement, eh? The Lunch Ride build option was born from this weekdaily endeavor. Many on staff were outfitting the already amazing line of SBs (Super Bikes) with their own little flourishes. Most of these feature suspension and footwear, which is exactly what the LR offers you.  Yeti builds the bikes they like to ride, and this gets you that much closer to what the folks at Yeti are doing to optimize their personal rides.  The LR is not better than the standard SB, it’s different.  You get:

160-mm travel Fox 36 fork
Fox Factory DPX2 piggyback shock
800mm Yeti carbon handlebar
Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 tire up front
Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 tire out back
Wider rims too – DT Swiss XM481s

You want a bike that climbs well and descends like a dream? Look no further.  Versatility is the name of the game with the SB5 LR.  The maneuverability and response of this bike pays off in massive smile dividends.

 

 

SB5 Turq Series X01 Lunch Ride

$7,199.99
Ride first, eat later!

March 22, 2018

By Bernie Kowalski

The Vibe Pro Tail Light from Light & Motion is a real Mighty Mouse. It has many excellent features, yet comes in a small, efficient package.

When you buy this light, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with it before putting it on your bike. First off, in order to turn the light on you simply twist it 90 degrees while it’s in the base and it’s activated. Pro Tip: Don’t look directly at the light -- 50 lumens are too bright at arm’s length.

Twisting it back to its original position, the light goes out. Once it’s off, pull the light out of the base. What you’ll find is a flat appendage. This is the charger base.

To charge the light, simply plug the light into your computer’s USB port. No cords to lose, no little rubber trapdoors to worry about.

Total charge time is two hours. Run time is listed at 12 hours on a full charge. The light itself has no moving parts and is water resistant.  Rain won’t hurt it, but avoid riding in water deeper than one meter.

The Vibe also has an auto-off/auto-on feature that actually works the way it’s supposed to. My light turned off after 30 seconds of inactivity, and came back on with the lightest tap. If you’re the type who always forgets to turn their tail light off, this feature alone is worth the price.

The base is basic yet offers a couple of mounting options. The Vibe can be mounted on your seatpost or on a chainstay. When mounted on your seatpost, the light will be hanging upside down. I hesitated to do this at first, but then discovered that the light can’t fall out as long as it’s in the ON position. When mounted on a chainstay, you need to tilt it outward a bit so that it’s peeking around your seatstay. The mount for the Vibe Pro allows for a few more options.

As far as the light’s performance goes, I was surprised by how effective it is despite its diminutive size. To test the light, I found a volunteer and a straight stretch of road a half mile long. In all honesty, the light has no practical use at a half mile. Tail lights that are effective at that distance are larger and more expensive. The Vibe will likely catch a driver’s attention at a distance of about an eighth of a mile (660 feet,) and will most definitely grab their attention at half that distance. As a point of reference, a car traveling 30 miles per hour will cover 330 feet in 7.5 seconds, which strikes me as being plenty of time to react.

In a Good/Better/Best lineup, this is a good light. This is not the best choice if you’re heading out for a brevet or a randonneur. However, if you frequently find yourself in an urban/suburban setting and you’re out a little early or a little late, this light is an excellent choice.

Given the features, price, and size, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

BONUS: It's even suitable for parlor tricks in the style of Fester Addams, but you don't have to put it in your mouth:

VIBE PRO RECHARGABLE TAILLIGHT

$59.99
VIBE PRO RECHARGABLE TAILLIGHT