The tire is on the bike, and I’m officially on the dark-side now. I rode it home last night and to work this morning. I also had to make an extra run back to my house, then back to work. That makes less than 10 miles of experience so far, so obviously the jury is a long way out. But I do want to record my first impressions. It will be interesting to come back and read them after a few thousand miles.
Leaving my friends house last night was an eye opener. I thought I was ready for the difference in the ride, but I still found myself surprised. I expected the tendency to track toward the ditch on a road with excessive crown. I have no doubt I will get used to that and eventually not even notice. I also expected to have to hold it all the way through a turn. Also something I expect to adapt to.
I didn’t expect that sharp turns would be so similar to the MC tire. More precisely, I didn’t expect the break over that comes as you turn harder. You have to push harder into a turn up to a point where it suddenly gets easier. This probably happens as the tire comes off of the flat and rolls onto the edge. What ever the reason, you have to be careful to not over steer as the bike seems to suddenly jump in the direction you are going. This will take a little more getting used to than simply pushing harder.
Once on the way home last night, it felt very much like it was fishtailing as I came through some bad pavement in a construction zone. I just figured that the tire had fallen into a groove and jumped around more than I was accustomed to. But on the way home this morning I again experienced the fishtail sensation. This time the road was fairly good. There was a bad hump that I usually go around approaching an intersection. That was were I felt the fishtail. Then I realized what was happening. Both times the fishtail happened as I made a quick jog around something. Basically a short S turn. What I’m feeling is the tire rolling off of one edge onto the flat, then up on the other edge, and finally back onto the flat. I know in my head this is not dangerous, but it intuitively feels so much like the back tire squirming, that it will take some getting used to.
I’m far from discouraged. I am in fact still very excited about the tire. But any change takes some getting used to. Stay tuned for further progress reports.
－ Guy Wheatley