I have tomorrow off, as a present to myself, and today felt like Friday. I do love my work, but when I can taste the finish I find it hard not to focus. Nonetheless managed some good teaching-by-not-answering questions. It’s hard to explain political parties to anyone, I remember my dad trying to do so to me when we went and saw Mike Dukakis speak in ’88, and he was an economics professor ( though I was 7). Even moreso is not yelling at poor kids from ignorant parents who think abortion is evil. An idea I cannot REALLY understand, which is something I want to work on. Moderation aside, these are girls who should not be having kids, and should be open minded to readily available abortions. It’s a mark of solipsism and the confines of one’s upbringing that they cannot see that they’re the central reason for this debate. My intolerance is another, mark that is. I recall the excellent Laura Dern in Citizen Ruth.
On another birthday note, I got myself some fine Thai Papaya salad for dinner while M was off at school. Enjoyed a nice hour cruise round trip to get it with the 30:20, as Julie is set up for SSAZ. After another twist of the wrench, the saddle is really rounding into shape, and is quite good without bike shorts, which I’ve always hated. Tara Thai II (the 1st is in Phoenix, I believe) takes their spice seriously, and a 4 (on a 0-4 scale) had me pounds a brace of 1554s to avoid reaching for the milk. Like good sushi, its the kind of fresh and tasty on could live on almost exclusively.
Interlude: the nature show on PBS right now has a King Cobra struggling to the death with a Python. Awesome! On to the bike stuff…
Surly has beta on their Mr. Whirly cranks up now.
They’re an adaptable spider model, running on outboard bearings. Most interesting, all bcds (94, 104, 110) have a 58 bcd granny, allowing a non-custom 20t ring. A 100mm, interchangable spindle is also available, so the same crankset could be switched from Monkey to Pugsley to Cross Check. They look like a clean, versatile rig. I’m skeptical of the bearings versus square taper based on my experience, but Phil Wood has gotten into the act, so I reckon the evolving standard will work itself out. The complete cranks bearings, bolts, rings, etc) have been quoted, I think, north of $300. Quite expensive, but Surly is NOT a bargain brand, though they’re changing that somewhat with more complete bikes. Rather, even a “cheap” and “heavy” Surly frame is quite expensive when moderately kitted out. It’s an indie rock, utilitarian image that many including myself are buying. And a great bike.
Finally, a brief tire review:
I’ve had a set of Weirwolf 2.55 LT 29er tires since I got ’em from the first shipment, back in early November. They’ve become my favorite tire, about as close to perfect as I could ask, and have changed a lot of my beliefs regarding traction in the dirt.
While they don’t measure at 2.5″, the number 2.55 is internally consistent within the WTB tire line, and the metric number (58mm) is dead on. It’s a fat tire with tiny knobs, that grips gradually and hugs the terrain, gaining much of it’s handling abilities from being intimate with the ground. It doesn’t take to especially aggressive handling, plowing through rocks or huge handfuls of brake, unlike the 26″ Timberwolf 2.5 tire I’ve used. It will stop very effectively if a small degree of care is taken, and handled rocks provided a modicum of line-selection takes place.
Interlude #2: Crocodiles eating Wildebeasts is also awesome!
The tread pattern and tire width combine to produce a unique (in my experience) cornering experience. The Timberwolf sets into a corner in a very predictable way, as do tires like the Motoraptor or Jones XR top a lesser extent. Much has been said about the Weirwolf’s wanting to be “slammed” abruptly into a corner, and this is true in my experience. A certain amount of aggressive finesse is rewarded with exceptional flow in the corners.
Not surprisingly, the added volume and reasonably stout casing have allowed me to get excellent cush and durability at low pressure, typically a bit more than 20 psi rear and a bit less in front. I’ve had one rear pinch flat, the cause of which is still a mystery.
After some experimentation, I found using the rear “backwards” improves both braking and climbing, the latter more decisively than the former.
It’s great in snow, just as on dirt the tread pattern seems to have a great marriage of speed and traction.
The compound is WTB’s DNA, a good balance of sticky and durability. The rear knobs are showing signs of wear, but none have yet parted company or done anything else untoward.
Disclaimer; all this data is operative for Arizona and Southern Utah riding. Loose dirt and gravel, rocks of many sizes and persuasions.