Dec 28, 2014


28.12.2014: Montserrat as seen from Carena del Cellers
It has been more than 5 months since my last post. Regarding excursions worth mentioning, nothing really exciting has happened. On a more personal level, however, the birth of our son, last September, certainly marks a before and after in Elisabet's life and mine. The fortunate event also asks for a bit of commitment, which in turn results in rather few opportunities to leave home for a day or two or even six hours at a stretch.
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Every now and then I ride my bike though, trying to maintain a monthly average of about 100km, but since the trips are short, rarely exceeding a distance of 25km, they don't bring me to the white areas on my personal map of exploration, hence are not really worth writing about. 

However, I recently changed the pedals of my bike and after 1300km also substituted the rear tyre as well as the brake pads, a truly exciting event of historic reach, I want to report about. I'm also going to spread in some photos taken on rides during the last months.
08.11.2014: Collapsed roof of Sta. Creu de Palou  
My bike is the orange version of the Cube LTD Pro 29. I believe, it comes without pedals when new, but the shop I bought it from had fitted it out with a pair of extremely rough-running pedals first, which they changed for smoother ones later on. I rode those for more than 1000km, but wasn't actually happy with them either, for they were quite slippery. An internet search revealed that with flat pedals I wouldn't slip any longer, so I decided to purchase a pair of "Moove's" rotary cut aluminium flat pedals in orange. Since then, I haven't slipped off once! But there's something negative about them too: firstly, the metal pins very efficiently wear off the soles of my shoes, which was foreseeable, and secondly they are as rough-running as the pedals I had in the first place. I guess I will try to fix that by means of some grease .... some day.
08.11.2014: Reservoir at Sta. Creu de Palou
As regards the rear tyre: Did you know that there actually is a science known as bicycle tyrelogy?? I'd never guessed! There are at least myriads of different tyres from a whole bunch of different brands and comparison of models of different make is little less than virtually impossible. After consultation of the main manufacturers websites, I decided to stick to Schwalbe, mainly because the Schwalbe site at least was of some help when it came to comparing their different models. I only took into account foldable* tyres suitable for a certain degree of off road biking and the website offered me five different tread patterns (Nobby Nic, Racing Ralph, Hans Dampf, Magic Mary and Rock Razor). Sounds easy? It's not: within these tread patterns Schwalbe produces tyres of various material mixtures, production technologies or whatever, and the overall portfolio still is exorbitant.
29.11.2014: E9 highway from the bridge close to El Grauet
At least, the company offers an internal classification methodology, based on 0 to 6 stars for 9 different criteria, one of which being puncture safety - the one issue I was particularly interested in. By screening their array of (off road suitable, foldable) tyres for those with at least 3 stars for puncture safety, I was able to narrow them down to 22 different models. Within these, there are Pace Star and Trail Star tyres. The latter are made of softer rubber which results in better grip, but on the other hand they are specially prone to wear. Trail Star tyres are therefore better used on the front wheel, whereas Pace Star makes a reasonable rubber for rear tyres: 16 models left.

Next, I prepared an Excel sheet so to better compare the 16 surviving tyres. Not only did I count the Schwalbe-Stars of the 9 different criteria each tyre comes with, but I actually included my personal preferences by assessing the criteria one by one. For example did I assess Puncture Safety highest (18%), followed by Rolling Friction (16%), Snake Bite Resistance**, Sidewall Protection and Loose Ground Performance (13% each), less importance was being given to Performance on Hard Pack (9%), even less so on Width, Service Life and Weight (5% each). The least important criteria for me was Soft Ground (mudPerformance (3%). 
30.11.2014 Llobregat River at St Vicenç after days of rain
Conclusion: the perfect Schwalbe tyre for me is one with Rock Razor pattern, which turned out to not being available yet, since it's a year 2015 model. The second winner is a Racing Ralph. I was able to find it at an internet retailer's store called, where I immediately tried to order one, but once again there where problems with availability.... so comes, I finally purchased the third winner - a Racing Ralph, too (Schwalbe Racing Ralph Pace Star Snake Skin TL Easy 29x2.35, article number: 11600613.01).

In the meantime I had the honor to talk to a bike mechanic who advised me better not to buy Schwalbe tyres for Mountain Bikes. According to him there's nothing better than Maxxis... but who knows? 
26.12.2014: My buddy Xavi in the background and Josep, his brother, in front
After some maybe 150km with the new rubber, one thing I notice is that it's slightly wider than my previous tyre: when pedaling on the small chain ring, it slightly contacts the derailleur. I suspect this is due to a run-out of the supporting rim.

*To my understanding, foldable tyres lack a circumferential metal wiring, which is substituted by synthetic material such as Aramid fibres. These weigh less and allow the tyre being folded for transport and better stocking. 

** Snake Bite appears to be a special form of puncture caused by the rim rather than by any strange object. It commonly occurs when poorly inflated tyres hit hard obstacles like rocks or curb stone edges.  

28.11.2014: taken from the same location as the opening photo, I couldn't decide which one to choose

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