You may recall that when I bought the 2007 Jamis Supernova cyclocross bike last Thursday, I bought it to serve as my foul-weather, winter bike so I can ease up on the Miyata, which I some time ago nicknamed “Fairweather.” But the Jamis had some problems that require and required attention.
Continental Ultra Sport II
The biggest problem immediately identifiable was the low-end tires, albeit relatively new, that came with the bike – a pair of Continental Ultra Sport II wire bead tires. They’re cheap – about $15.00 each – and look a little like Gatorskins, but the information on the Internet indicates they probably won’t last more than 500 miles of hard riding. Therefore, from last Thursday through the day before yesterday, Wednesday, I’ve ridden the Supernova somewhat more gingerly (except that first day) on longer rides, and haven’t ridden as far as I normally do ride. Part of that latter is due to the hubs’ resistance, though, as well as desire to avoid flatting 17 miles from the house.
Clement X’Plor USH Adventure Tire
After thinking about the problem and looking for solutions, I decided I want a road tire that can also be used offroad. The product I liked best for this, at a price I’m willing to pay, is the Clement X’Plor USH in 60 TPI (Threads Per Inch). One of the criticisms I found regarding this tire, though, is that it may not perform well in wet conditions. Here in Southern Middle Tennessee, we get a fair amount of rain during Fall and Winter Months. The Gatorskins I’ve relied on for year-round pedaling both Miyata and Razesa grip well on wet pavement, but perform poorly in offroad conditions, wet or dry.
Continental Tour Ride
What I settled upon, or settled for, was a pair of 700 x 37 Continental Tour Ride tires, almost universally criticized for their weight and rolling resistance, yet praised for their ability to handle the lousy conditions to which I wish to subject my 2007 Jamis Supernova cyclocross bike – bad pavement, dirt roads, washed-out roads, wintry conditions, gravel, soggy fields, and so on. I figured I could just pedal harder to go faster, AND my bike’s got 18 gear combinations available with compact cyclocross crankset. I’m golden, right? Considering the tires cost about $16 apiece and if I found them unride-able, I could donate them to Goodwill and upgrade to the Clements.
The Continental Tour Ride is manufactured, according to the tire’s stuck-on label, in India. A few bike forum posts indicate users purchasing Indian manufactured Continental tires have had some that are badly sized or will not fit on their bike’s rims. But, people in India have been riding bikes since the British Raj, and are probably able to cope with the intricacies of bicycle tire manufacture. Sadly I’m not sure we’re any longer capable of that here, in the U.S., on a large-scale basis.
700 x 37 version of Continental Tour Ride on 2007 Jamis Supernova
Wednesday, I changed out the Supernova’s stem (and it looks like I installed it upside-down, although it feels fine ridden that way) and added a set of cage-pedals I bought from my mechanic for $10. I also corrected the bars’ tilt, rolling them forward for more comfortable riding position. I installed second-hand 90 mm Bontrager alloy stem for the 110 or 120 mm RaceFace stem that came with the bike.
A cheap Planet Bike computer came with the Supernova
The tires arrived Wednesday, as promised, and I had some time yesterday afternoon to install them. The most common complaint I’ve found about the Continental Tour Ride, aside from weight and rolling resistance, is that it’s a difficult tire to mount. I had no trouble, whatsoever, mounting the 37 mm version on Mavic Ksyrium Elite rims. I went with the wider version, although I could have got a pair of 32’s, for no reason at all – I gave the matter no thought and cannot now think why that was the case. After the tires had shipped, and I realized what I had done – ordering a super-fat tire for the Jamis – I worried a little that the tire, mounted, would not fit on the bike due to fork, stay, and brake dimensions. That turned out not to be a problem – the wheel tire combination fits fine. I’ve got the tires inflated to between 65 and 70 psi, the latter being the manufacturer’s stated maximum pressure.
In the late afternoon, I set out to test the tires in the same conditions to which I’ve subjected both the Miyata and Razesa and in which both bikes have proved, aside from their forgiving frame characteristics, less than adequate. Mud, washed-out roads, broken pavement, grassy fields, underbrush, alleyways, gravel – all of these things, the Supernova equipped with Continental Tour Rides handled excellently. I rode about 13 miles in one hour, but my miles per hour, around town, are typically lower (because of frequent stops and, in this case, my monkeying around on rough surface conditions necessitating a slowdown). I didn’t notice much increase in rolling resistance over the Ultra Sport treadless tires, and I think that once I’ve got the Mavic hubs sorted out, the bike will be fine to ride longer distances on the road.
A note about those Kucharik gloves pictured above –
they were already torn like that when I rode into the briar patch (formerly dirt road)