Buying speed

May 22, 2017 § 33 Comments

Since I am cheap and especially cheap when it comes to bicycling crap, I was in a conundrum a couple of weeks ago. It had to do with the upcoming time trail for which I had sworn not to spend any money but for which I nevertheless desperately wanted to spend some money.

The first crack in my resolve was buying a new swimsuit. If I could spend money on a new swimsuit, I could spend money on anything.

Still, everything related to time trailing was too expensive, i.e., it cost more than a pair of nice socks. Naturally I looked at wheels and ruled out a $5,000.00 set of pure carbon wheels even though in their 100% carbon state they appeared to be more carbony than my existing 100% carbon, pure carbon wheels.

Rejecting the carbony option I decided to do the TTT on my tubulars, which was fine except that they are shallow climby wheels and not time traily wheels. To test them out I time trailed on the Parkway and they rolled great; I turned my fastest time over the course, completing the entire hour in exactly 60 minutes.

Next I took them to Telo and they flew through the corners. With these two conclusive checks it made sense to price out a pair of tubular TT wheels, but alas the Internet showed the same pricetag as the last time I’d checked an hour or so ago.

Finally I decided to look at racing clincher tires. These would fit on my FFWD F-4 100% carbon wheels made of full carbon, and at $64.95 each would cost less than a new wheelset. In fact, at $64.95 each, I would have to go through 38.4 sets of tires before equaling the cost of a new wheelset. And even if the tires only lasted for 300 miles, that would tote up to 11,520 miles worth of time-trailing, and since I only time trail about 25 miles a week, that would last about 460.8 weeks, or 8.86 years. If my time trailing dropped to 25 miles a month, or, more likely, 25 miles per year, then it would take about 460.8 years to equal the cost of the new wheel set.

So the 8.86-or-460.8 year payment plan was much more budgety, and I read up on racing clinchers to make sure I was getting the best ones, which were in fact the Vittoria Open Corsa SR clinchers. First, reasons this may not be the tire for you:

  • You ride a lot.
  • You ride far from home.
  • You are not good at changing flats.
  • You wear your tires until the tube is poking out through the threads.
  • You are crazy cheap.

Here are the reasons this may be the tire for you:

  • You don’t ride a lot.
  • You ride close to home.
  • You have tire-changing-hands-of-iron.
  • You don’t ride badly worn tires.
  • You want to go faster.

This last point is key. I tried the tires out at Telo last Tuesday and they are the softest, most supple thing I have been on since my earliest teenage encounters. I’d say they handle better than — gasp!! — my tubulars. They are super grippy at 100psi but at the same time very fast. I’m pretty famous for not being able to go through a turn without finding the worst line possible, and these tires made even my horrible line-finding a minor liability.

It is very difficult to tell the difference from one bike item to the next but compared to the Vredestein Training Clunkers I ride with year-round, these are a revolution and a heck of a lot cheaper than new wheels, or a fancy helmet, but not as cheap as a pair of fun underwear.


Give them a try (the tires), but don’t complain to me if you get a flat. They seem to have the durability of reinforced Kleenex, but I will do a follow-up on that later. Maybe. Meanwhile, they have a cool red logo patch that says “PRO” on it.




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§ 33 Responses to Buying speed

  • Todd Huber says:

    {whispers} latex tubes….

  • Sibex Czar says:

    Underwear that’s fun to wear.

  • dpcowboy54 says:

    You are a perfect mark, er “target” for bike racer stuff advertisers. In another life, I think you were Sinyard’s love slave.

  • YYC says:

    Not the Specialized Turbo Cotton clinchers? The Panzerwagon can’t be wrong!

  • dangerstu says:

    Them there’s some reet fancy boots, should be worth 4 watts at 40km in a lab on steel rollers, probably feels great though. I don’t think I’m cheap but because I commute by bike quite regularly I tend to go with more durable rubber. I do stop and think, when I see or hear comments like life’s to short to ride on crap tires, it’s probably rule #57 or something.

    • fsethd says:

      Life is too short to be spent bending over in gutter showing your ass to cagers while ripping the skin off your palms as you try to change the trick cotton/silk/goldspun fiber clincher that is tighter than a ____’s _____.

      • A while ago I had a flat. Instead of bending over in a gutter showing my lily white ass to cagers, I took a few steps into the high school parking lot that was right next to the street. For some reason, the giggling girl teenagers weren’t any more impressed by my rear end than the cagers would have been.

        • fsethd says:

          Studies show that teenagers think lumpy, hair-studded, commuter biker butts are really cool. Many people say that.

    • Critics of tire testing often mention that the difference in rolling resistance between two wonders tires is only something like 10 feet after 10 miles. That’s probably true, but that could be the difference between a win and a loss for a pro, AND, more importantly, it could be the difference between a fake win and a fake loss for a profamateur in a fake sprint in a fake race.

      In other words, the tire companies have the profamateurs by the short hairs, and capitalism is wonderful!

      • fsethd says:

        True profamateurs have no hairs to grab because, body waxing.

      • dangerstu says:

        Hi Mike, I take the 10 feet in 10 miles with a pinch of salt if it gives a foot in 10 miles in the real world, I would be surprised it made that much difference, perhaps the biggest being the psychological benefits especially for the pros. There’s probably better gains to be had by an extra 15 minutes in bed, or 5 minutes on the s#iter in the morning. In his book Faster by Michael Hutchinson, he spends a whole chapter discussing why in a 10 year period his TT speeds only improved by about 2 minutes when based on the claims of equipment manufacturers it should have been more than 10.
        Of course, the only true exception to this rule is carbon with extra carbon.

        • fsethd says:

          If you hadn’t added that last sentence you would have been permanently banned from this site. Thank you.

      • dangerstu says:

        Ha ha ha, damn and I was trying so hard

  • dangerstu says:

    Ha ha

    I did about 90 miles, last Saturday on Sunday morning I noticed this, pretty much all the way around.

    Happy recovery, Stuart

    On Mon, May 22, 2017, 3:00 AM Cycling in the South Bay wrote:

    > fsethd posted: “Since I am cheap and especially cheap when it comes to > bicycling crap, I was in a conundrum a couple of weeks ago. It had to do > with the upcoming time trail for which I had sworn not to spend any money > but for which I nevertheless desperately wanted to sp” >

  • Waldo says:

    27s at 90psi are suppler and grippier than even your teenage encounters. After spending $64.95 per on another pair (do you really pay retail? You don’t strike me as a retail customer, but we digress.), you’re still way ahead of your 100% carbon budget.

  • East Coast baby seal says:

    An entire paragraph devoted to… Math? Wow, this is new territory.

  • dan martin says:

    That sure was a lot of complicated math…but I did understand the PRO part.

  • Michael says:

    Vittorias are the nicest riding since my Clemente Silks in the 80’s (both the clinchers and tubulars), but they don’t last long. Race wheels only.

  • UstaBeFit says:

    Great tires are the best upgrade you can make & Vittoria’s higher end clinchers are fantastic. Only thing I like better are their tubulars glued to my Campy Bora 50’s cause you know, all fat guys who only do coffee rides need reallly light, aero, 100% carbon race wheels.

    • fsethd says:

      Actually that’s true because with coffee ride distances they last forever. Plus, you are not exactly intimidated by changing flats!

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