Monday, October 20, 2014


     My son, Chris, is an engineer at a radio station.  He also assiduously stays up with all the latest technology and trends in media.  Several years ago he and a friend presented at the annual convention.  One of the main points (I'm making my own point and may not be entirely precise, but you get the drift) was "you don't even know what you don't know" and then proceeded to elucidate.  His was the hit of the convention and subsequently, their presentations have been overflowing.
     I bring this up, because that was me (the clueless audience) today.  In previous posts, I acknowledge I am quite knowledgeable about changing tires/tubes, but will occasionally sacrifice a tube to the changing-god, usually due to a mis-placed tire lever.  In an effort to squeeze fewer seconds from my time-trial time, I was advised to switch to latex tubes.  I picked up a couple, breathing deeply as I noticed the price, and prepared to install.  This was last Thursday.
     In addition to the tubes, I switched out the tires.  Bear with me.  For reasons I won't go into, I had a generic non-racing tire on the back, and a racing tire on the front.  I replaced the front tube with the latex and easily slid the Vittoria Diamante Pro back on the rim, using only my hands.  In researching latex tires, I noticed numerable blog posts about never using tire levers.  For those who love their Continental 4000s tires as much as I do, you know that an old guy with arthritic thumbs wasn't going to accomplish the task without mechanical help.  Not to worry, us old guys think outside the box.  I was going out to the Driveway to watch the Bicycle Sport Shop guys race.  The organizers always have a bike shop tent there to assist the racers in their need.  While he wasn't busy, I brought up my wheel, with the last six inches of tire needing to be nudged over the rim.  After explaining it had a latex tube, the young guy huffed and puffed, but got it installed.  Eureka!
     In going over race strategy, my coach wanted me to have 90 psi in the front tire and 95 psi in the back.  I've gone as light as 80 psi on my road bike, so saw no difficulty with this.  Until I read the sidewall on the Vittoria.  It will go up to 145 psi, but the minimum is 100 psi.  Pook ding fu!  Dare I risk it?!  Nope, switch it again.  And again, I had zero problem with the back tire/tube change-out since it was now the Vittoria.  And again, the Conti gave me a problem (although in hindsight, this was probably a good thing).  While I didn't think I'd done anything wrong, the tube would not hold air.  I'd put about twenty pounds in, but when I started to insert the tire bead, the tube lost air.  Except when I closed the valve.  But the wheel is a Zipp 404 with tube extenders, so I need the valve to be open.  I've done it this way for the last five years.
     I know better than to beat my head against a wall; off to the bike shop.  Ace mechanic Marshall (who just won a 24 hour off-road two man team bike race this weekend) listened to my explanation and calmly walked over to his wall and came back with a Zipp Valve Tangente 404 kit.  Or, to the uninitiated, a high end valve extender built just for the type of situation I had.  Among other things, it eliminates the need for plumbers tape, and allows for accuracy in pumping up the tires to the proper psi.  Fortunately, at this time, I don't need it on the 808.  I don't think they are long enough, so will be more expense.  Friends, not all valve-extenders are created equal.
     I know there is so much I don't know.  But I also know there is somebody who does.  There is always room for additional knowledge.

No comments:

Post a Comment