The season has begun. My head is a boiling cauldron, overflowing with sacrificed goats, scabs and equipment failures. And yet, standing atop Mt. Fuck You’s 80 inches of atmosphere challenging majesty, all is quiet. Why?
I am easily overwhelmed. To it!
Tires. Yup, still gluing them. And doing a really, really poor job of it. Them shit’s is ugly.
I left last year’s glue on two sets of Major Toms, and some tape that survived on another set I liberated from teammate Bryan Carbone.
Bryan Carbone, separated at birth from Jeremiah Johnson? (BC photo stolen from Dominique Verlaan)
I gather there are two schools of thought on extant glue. And one building of thought that may have been a school once. Or a shed. Lets call it Old School.
First school: clean the rim after the old tire has been removed. Acetone, grinders, sharp things, sweat.
Second school: leave most of it. It doesn’t WANT to come off. That’s a good thing, right? Trim down the bumpy, suspect looking bits, get it mostly even, and glue away.
Old school: take old, used tires, with lumpy bits of glue on them, and then glue ’em up to old, lumpy, uncleaned rims.
I went Old School. The PDXs forgave everything. The new Challenges look a bit like a sea serpent coursing through the swells, back rising and falling as it pursues an afrighted crew into the dread Horse Latitudes… I digress.
A point in favor of the Clement line up? They line up. Beautifully. They seem to want to center themselves on the rim. Aligning a PDX while the glue is still wet is easy-peasy. It makes you feel like you know what you’re doing. Which is why FOLLOWING that with a Challenge is, um, a challenge. Reluctant to ASK someone what I’m doing wrong, I have interwebularly found that there is a better way to line ’em up. What I’ve been doing-making sure the tire is lit from both sides to better see where the tread is (tougher than you might think in a basement), slapping them on the rim and trying to tame the wandering snake that’s where my tire should be-is the bare minimum. For the last set of hoops, finding the right “track” for the tire BEFORE the glue goes on may help. (Thinking about markering it in red, with a water based pen…) Using the base tape where it comes over the rim as a guide may also aid in de-fuglifying the process. We’ll see.
I’m using too much glue, methinks, on the final pass. Great sweaty gobs of glue come bubbling out from beneath the tire when I inflate it to 50psi for the day of rest.
These pustules chew brake pads like parmesan getting murdered at an Olive Garden and sound like cards in the spokes. #notpro
The End Result:
Challenge Chicane, as interpreted by a hack
Clement PDX, hack-proof
The Chicane rear Grifo front combo has held through more’n a few Wednesday Worlds, Nittany 1 & 2, and Independence (he says, knowing he’s just doomed himself.) The PDXs haven’t been ridden more’n a coupla times at WW’s and the high school field next to our place. My glue technique, like my dismounts, is ungainly and tough to look at, but it’s getting the job done. I brought this same lack-of-skillset to the wheels last year and 19 races later had to pull the tires off with a pair of pliers. So lots of glue is kinda good, right?
In other wheel-related news, I found a Park TS2, which has made truing and gluing a lot more fun. Not flipping the wheel every time I want to check the dish is a HUGE improvement.