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Saturday, April 30, 2011

the big apple, a tire tale

In the beginning of October of last year I blew-out the rear tire on the Mule. It was a bummer because it was a great tire and expensive and it was so almost reusable but the slash was just large and irregularly shaped (star-ish) enough that I couldn’t really trust it to ferry me along the outer ranges of my rides.

The tire that blew was a Schwalbe XR. Really a super tire that is nearly indestructible. But no tire is without its Achilles Heel. So kablamo it went with several thousand unused miles of tread.

But I didn’t want to replace it. I was feeling cheap. Actually, I tried to find another one for a while but they apparently don’t make them anymore. And they’re become increasingly rare. So I took the healthy XR from the front and moved it to the rear and found an old spare in the shed and threw it on the front. Thinking to myself, This will just be a temporary fix until I figure something out.

Well, temporary turned into permanent as it often will and I’ve been riding that mediocre tire for half a year. I guess it couldn’t really be called mediocre as it’s performed okay, almost well. I’ve had a ton of great rides with it but it’s just not quite rad enough for me. The primary problem being that it’s got sort of a sharp edge on it. It’s like squared off in its profile rather than rounded so that when I’m bombing around corners it’s a little unstable and potentially unsafe. Plus it’s a little narrower and shorter and, well, I gave it its fair temporary-into-permanent re-useful life but now I’m finally excited to report that I’ve ordered a new tire.

The new tire on the way is another Schwalbe – the model they call the Big Apple. That should restore proper geometry and awesomeness to the Mule. Why do they call it the Big Apple? I guess because it’s big and round (profile) and has a lot of air volume in it so it sorta cushes along and absorbs a lot of shock and vibration. And it should take abuse from all manner of urban road debris (as well as the XR anyway). An appropriate tire to ride the streets of New York.

I spend so much time on that Mule that I figure I might as well make it just right for full enjoyment as well as functionality – it really is a race mule after all. It’s funny though – this is such a big deal (a big apple) to me and I want to go out and tell it on the mountain but somehow the world I live in seems not to understand how a kid (1973) could be so excited about “a new tire!” So it gets repressed except for this blog with its few readers that might understand. So, thanks for being there for me to tell my tale. I might even take a picture…


jaymes said...

Wow I learned quite a bit about tires from this post!! For me it is exciting to see you so excited about a new tire!! Why should the kids have all the fun of being excited over something like that!!
Good to see "little Jonah " is still alive and kicking inside you.I try and let "little Jaymes" come out whenever I can!! It makes life a more fun place to be! lol Enjoy this great weather!

mindful mule said...

Thanks for dropping by, Jaymes. I think you’re right, it’s good to be an old kid or a kid at heart or whatever – it feels healthy.