Friday, September 14, 2012

Mutant Winter III

My winter bike is becoming more run of the mill and less mutanty every year, but that "Mutant Winter" label is something I just can't walk away from. I still think those two words are just awesome together.

Anyway, I am really excited about this year's winter bike. Thanks to finding a different bike that suits Mrs. Rantwick just fine, I have re-appropriated my most excellent Devinci Oslo (2004?) Devinci is a Canadian bike manufacturer I would strongly recommend... good components and overall quality + very reasonable prices.

Can you tell I write my posts at night? All aluminum, good trigger shifters, Deore derailleurs, Truvative Isoflow cranks. Great ergo grips. All this thing needs is studded tires, a big ugly tub and some fenders... oh yeah.

This was the bike I seconded (gave to Mrs. Rantwick) when I started building fixed gears and then the Trek touring bike. One of those kind of sporty hybrids, it is a pretty nice bike by my winter bike standards, so I'll have to take extra good care to rinse the salt away and boeshield the hell out of it before the salt comes at all.

My 26" Schwalbe Snow Studs were getting pretty worn and the studs less studly after three winters of excellent service. Guess what, though? The Devinci has 700c wheels, so I got to buy tires!

I don't know why, but among all bicycle related purchases I get the most excitement out of buying quality tires. My day-to-day summer riding needs don't really warrant high-end tires, but when you start talking studded tires things change a little and there are really only a couple of choices, both of them good. I just received these beauties:

700c X 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires! I touched the studs... so sharp and new! I have smelled these tires repeatedly. Fresh rubber smell... as good as gasoline, maybe better. More studs than I've ever had at 240, and a "narrow" 35mm will be something new. My hope is that the more narrow tires will "cut through" snow and find hard surface for the studs to grip, which is a totally different approach than seeking traction from a large contact patch and the "float" provided by wider, softer tires.

Once again the UK proved to be my best source. Once again, I saved money by having stuff shipped ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN, which makes no #%^1n' sense! Chain Reaction Cycles (UK) ships free to Canada for purchases over $99 and was selling my tires for $55 each. US online retailers were charging $62 - $84 and don't ship free to Canada, without exception in my experience so far. I ended up paying Canadian tax and a $10 Canada Post "handling fee" that seemed kind of bogus, but no Duties or customs-related stuff. I don't know if Canada has free trade agreements with the UK or if some sort of Commonwealth stuff has an effect, but I got my tires for $145 all-in. Nothing from the States or Canada could touch that price. So stupid. One more time: I saved money by having stuff shipped ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. It is just plain wrong!

Sorry for getting a little manky there. Short version: I am so pumped to finish equipping this bike and try it out in the snow and ice. Woohoo!

Yer Pal,


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice rubber! Be sure to let us know how the 35mm Schwalbes work in the white stuff. Schwalbe is my favorite tire maker. Many choices for us bent riders as well as all the regular sizes.

Oldfool said...

I can buy shrimp and fish from China and countries in southeast Asia cheaper than I can buy locally. I live within 20 miles of the gulf of Mexico which I'm sure you've heard has a fishing and shrimping industry.
Apparently oil does not cost enough yet to stop that insanity. The answer is that workers here insist on getting paid to work.
The world becomes more mysterious to me everyday.

Darin said...

I had the opposite problem from yours. I had 700c studs, but no bike to put them on. I love the smell of new rubber, but I'm enjoying the new bike smell even more. Have fun with the new tires. Your videos are so much better when you stay upright.

Pondero said...

I'm looking forward to your winter adventures on the ice. I'll be watching from the comfort of a milder winter climate.

But it's a shame I'll never smell that new studded tire smell...

John Romeo Alpha said...

In Seattle I learned that they catch salmon along the coast, ship it to China to be de-boned, then ship it back to Seattle where it is sold as locally caught. It's not really clear to me where madness like that will take us.

RANTWICK said...

RCT - I haven't been disappointed by a schwalbe tire yet either. I have the regular marathons on my Trek 520.

Pondero - Mysterious is a good word.

Darin - New bike smell? You got new bike?

Pondero - I didn't get much snow or ice last winter... maybe this one will make up for it. Smell: Just smell a regular tire and imagine there is a super faint, awesome carbide smell. That's what I do.

JRA - That is messed up.

Steve A said...

Studs for the stud - or so I'm told. ;-)

RANTWICK said...

Steve - Oh, you heard right, baby. All the ladies can't stop going on about my grey hair and beer gut. They love it!

Tracy w said...

Yeah, if you put fenders on that bike, I'm betting it might just make me drool!

adventure! said...

We don't have much use for studded tires in the rainy, rainy, Pacific Northwest, but they did come in handy during Snowpocalypse '08. So I at least have one tire available just in case. It happens so rare, but when the snow/ice comes, it's nice to be able to get around. My job does not know words like "holidays" and "closed due to inclement weather", and transit almost grinds to a halt during weather emergencies.

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