Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bontrager Race Lite Hard Case - Goodbye, Good Tire

Exactly one year ago I posted something about cuts in my rear tire. I received many fine comments about how I might extend the life of the tires with internal patches, krazy glue, all kinds of stuff. I told my readers that I would try some of those things and see how it went. I was a stinking liar. I didn't try any of it. I just kept riding on it. I didn't even check on it once in a while and since I rarely flip my bike upside down the full fender hid it from view. It was a simple case of out of sight, out of mind.

Yesterday morning while riding in the wet my rear wheel was making a peculiar noise. I stopped and checked things out and could not believe how far gone the outer rubber was, but the fabric / anti-puncture layer was still intact and containing the tube. I rode it home after work, waiting for the flat. It never came. The following video clip will remain an online testament to my deep cluelessness and laziness in terms of bicycle maintenance, but that's OK. Here's how it looked when I got home: 

I am tempted to continue riding it until it flaps off like truck trailer rubber does sometimes, leaving behind a "road gator":

As much as I kind of want to see how far I can go in abusing this tire, it is on my commuter bike and getting to work and back in a timely fashion trumps my curiosity. For the record, that tire doesn't owe me a thing and has never been punctured in over 4+ years of daily city commuting. I don't track my miles the way many do, but I can attest to the fact that this thing went pretty damn far before giving up. Just spitballing it based on my commute length and months of the year I'm on this bike, I would put it at about 7200 km or 4473 miles. Not having to deal with the brunt of my  considerable weight, the front tire may last me a couple more years... I like these tires. Goodbye, good tire.

Yer Pal,


katsbestfriend said...

The thing which keeps your tube in is the fabric of the tyre, as long as that's intact it won't blow. It'll rapidly wear out without any rubber to protect it of course, so you did the right thing replacing it.

limom said...

That was flappy.

christopheru said...

Good grief.

I toss tires when they show signs of cracking. That tire is so far gone as to be epic:) Impressive!

Trails in London must be better than those in Kitchener/Waterloo as my Specialized flak jacket tires lasted about 6 months (2k km) before becoming hopeless tube eaters (the front one - the back cracked on the sidewalls). I don't recommend them. The Schwalbe Marathons on my cyclocross bike show every sign of being insanely tough - after several hundred km of gravel path and city trails they show no signs that they have been on anything but glass smooth asphalt. Me thinks that a set of 700x38s will hit the commuter bike next spring (and a set of same sized studded Schwalbes for the winter...)

Great vid of the flappy.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that tire would win some sort of contest!

Steve A said...

Looking at that first video, I think there's nothing there that can't be fixed with some "Dipit" as long as the commute isn't too long. If worst comes to worst, all it means is a walk partway home and ingredients for a juicy, heartrending blog post. What size is that tire? Actually, reading this comment, I'm amazed at how my commute attitude has shifted with the shorter commute. Tires? Anything that'll hold air will do!

RANTWICK said...

kats - thanks!

limom - indeed.

chrisu - I always impress in the wrong ways.

PA - Find me that contest. I mean it.

Steve - What is "Dipit"? Tire is 700 X 28C. A heartrending story after showing this would just mark me as an even bigger doofus.

Big Oak said...

If you peal the rest of the outer tread off, like Anthony Hopkins did in "The World's Fastest Indian", you may dramatically increase your speed.

Although you make yourself vulnerable to punctures. But probably not much more vulnerable than your tire already was. That gut wrenching speed, if only momentary, might be worth it!

RANTWICK said...

Big Oak - Salt Flats here I come! I plan on achieving a blistering 10 MPH.

lifein360 said...

I am in shock you haven't blown that tube out before this. I will send you a new tire for gods sake. That can't be safe.

RANTWICK said...

360 - No worries, tire is already replaced. Not safe, I agree, but much more safe on the rear than the front!

Graham said...

Awesome! ==> What are you replacing them with?

RANTWICK said...

Graham - I'm leaving the front alone because it is still good. I'm replacing that rear with the cheapest canadian tire I can find. Maybe when it goes the front hard case will also be ready to die and I'll replace 'em both.

My next "good" tire buy will either be the same again or schwalbe's of some kind. They have served me very well on other bikes.

RANTWICK said...

That should have read "Canadian Tire tire"

Apertome said...

Yeow! I'd say those held up well. I subscribe to Rantwick's Bicycle Maintenance Philosophy (the "do-nothing" approach).

Ibrahim Sargin said...

Same thing happened to my Race Lite Hard Case recently after a ride on a trail with gravel/sharp stones. The case itself didn't come lose, it was just the outer rubber.

I've had Race Lite Hard Case for several years and have ridden previous tyres on some stony country roads in Belgium before without anything similar happening, except for a little flap loosening where a stone had cut, so I wonder if the quality has fallen?

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