Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Season In the Books

Well, cross season is just about over. I still have one more race next month but I've already begun the process of losing the form that I had from the fall. The feedback we've gotten from the racers on our wheels has been great so far and we saw very few problems throughout the season, despite hard use on a variety of terrain and difficult weather conditions.

Personally, I raced on the 22L's all season. This is the lightest wheelset we make and we market it as a climbing / road racing wheelset for lighter riders. When we set weight guidelines for our wheels and suggest appropriate usage, we tend to be very conservative. When it comes to testing the wheels, we try to be pretty brutal. The idea is to under-promise and over-deliver and hopefully, make everyone happy. This is why I chose to race a low spoke, sub 1300g set of clinchers this season.

Happily, they did great. I would show them no mercy and check them for signs of stress after each race. I had to give a quarter turn of a spoke wrench once or twice, but after most races, I'd put them in the stand, give them a spin and throw them right back on the bike.

One spoke was replaced in the course of the season, after Granouge. On the first lap, after going down hard on the turn before the run up, a few of the many many b-racers behind me ran over me and my rear wheel. I got up to finish the race and nothing was broken but I did notice that one spoke was bent enough to warrant replacement.

The Beacon race in Bridgeton gave me an excellent opportunity to test the bearings and hub seals. A light steady rain developed into a full on downpour by the time my race started. Throw in the sandy soil and many trips through "the beach" and the conditions were pretty epic. I assumed I'd have to take apart the hubs to clean out the grit after the race but was pleasantly surprised to see them rolling like new after hosing off the bike.

Although the wheels performed admirably (and made for a super light cross rig), they'll be staying on my road bike from now on. The ride quality of the clinchers, even running them in the low 30s, was noticeably lacking. In just about every race I did this season, the thought went through my head at some point: "I wish I had tubulars right now."

My next project will involve testing out some tubeless setups. Our clincher rims are fairly shallow from bed to hook so they should work well with a Stan's set up without having to put too many layers of sealing tape on the bed. Stay tuned.


noslo said...

any feedback on how the carbon tubulars fared for the cross season?

colin said...

found you guys through hipster nascar and i really dig your refreshing alternative to the shitty aspects of the industry. i'll be saving my pennies