Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nothing beats a new pair of shoes.

And by shoes I mean tires. I have not been particularly enjoying the morning commute on the Bridgestone XO-3 - it's been slow, noisy, and heavy, and takes far too much energy to get going. The speed problem was particularly apparent when I got to hop on my Fuji during a warm spring day. I can't expect the XO to be super fast - it wasn't really designed to be - but riding it should hardly be a chore. So I started by changing the tires, from big fat knobby things that felt slow and unresponsive to the well-regarded Panaracer Pasela, in 700x35.

With the new tires I immediately noticed an increase in speed, and the bike felt much more connected to the road. The tires are still a bit on the wide side, which is what I was looking for on this bike. Before, the bike felt comfortable on backroads, but on the city streets it felt much like a heavy mountain bike would, out of its element. Having changed the tires out, I actually found myself spinning out when the speed started to pick up, so when I got back from the first shakedown, I changed out the chainring to something a little bigger. To tackle the noise issue, I adjusted the singleator and cleaned up the chain. The change in ride was drastic, from cloddy and noisy to somewhat agile and silent.

One of the things that drew me to the Bridgestone in the first place was its do-anything personality. Cantilever brakes and huge clearance assures that the bike should be able to tackle many terrains, from backwoods trails to paved city streets. Thankfully, the XO's cross-country nature hasn't been spoiled by the Paselas. It feels downright spirited bombing through the backwoods. To do the final test, I took it to my local trails and paths park, Scott Woods, near Hawk Island Park. It's a good mix of unpaved trails and nicely blacktopped walking and riding paths. You always spot a lot of squirrels scurrying through the leaves this time of year, but a careful eye reveals that squirrels and joggers aren't the only creatures about. I can't wait to try a longer jaunt.


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Dottie said...

That bike is quite a find. Good to hear that you're working out the issues to make it an enjoyable ride. Kudos for getting close enough to the snake to take a picture :)