Sunday, July 19

Armadillos are More than Hype

ChipSeal swears by Specialized Armadillo bike tires. I've got the "All Condition" tire on Frankenbike and on my wife's bike. They're not cheap, but I've found them to be worth every penny and a solid candidate for transportational use.

The only negatives I've found:
  • The tires aren't lightweight (the Elites are lighter, though not as bulletproof).
  • Their stickiness and rolling resistance aren't particularly performance oriented.
  • They're a little touchy to mount on old-fashioned "non hook bead" rims. I lost two tubes before rereading Effective Cycling about rim details. Otherwise, never had a flat on them.
  • Worse than either of the above for a commuter tire - wet road traction is a weak point and the UV/heat resistance of the red sidewall seems low. They gradually turn to an almost tan color (photo here, though the new one is actually a 2008 tire) despite being kept inside except when being ridden. I've even had a few bare kevlar fibers show up on the sidewall of my oldest one. The casing is still solid, however.


ChipSeal said...

I am wearing 700x23c size Armadillo Elites.

I did take a performance hit from my previous tires which were a "training/racing" tire before Armadillos were available to me. But it has been a happy trade off, in my estimation.

I have not noted the sidewall damage you had experienced, must be all that Fort Worth air!

Rantwick said...

Never tried the Armadillos, but I have had great success with Bontrager Race Lite HardCase tires... 28c on my commuter. Nary a flat in over two seasons on 'em.

ChipSeal said...

Hah. I expected a particular comment from you about my bike as seen over at Beginning Bicycle Commuting, seeing how sharp eyed you are.

I am wondering what some of your other questions are, perhaps I have some splain'in to do?

Steve A said...

What, are you trying to break a Rantwick record over there? There're already 10 comments.

It would be interesting to hear, however, why a weight weenie puts 10lb of reflective tape on his bike, mostly facing towards the side, as well as those double side reflectors on the front wheel. Not to mention why he carries three tire irons when two is plenty and a key would serve the same function in a pinch.

I took a different pump approach as well, carrying only a single CO2 cylinder, along with a conventional pump. Does, somewhere in that kit, ChipSeal carry a Schraeder-Presta adaptor so he has the option of using gas station air?

ChipSeal said...

"Why does he carry three tire irons when two is plenty and a key would serve the same function in a pinch."

Having rotated and fixed flats on both bikes, I now know I have no need of the plastic tire "irons". I have basically been too lazy to remove them! But now that you mention it, they probably weigh as much as the reflective tape!

I carry no keys unless I have a U-lock with me.

"Does, somewhere in that kit, ChipSeal carry a Schraeder-Presta adapter so he has the option of using gas station air?"

No. In order to access gas station air, I would need to carry some quarters. Do you know how much quarters weigh?

In all seriousness, if I use two of my CO2's and I am still flat, I'm thumbing it.

One time coming home at night before I had Armadillos, I flatted. I then discovered my spare tube had a leak at the valve stem. Then I couldn't find the hole in the old tube in the dark.

So I removed my shoes, slung my bike over my shoulder and started walking the four miles left to home. I had only traversed about 100 yards when a guy in a pick-up offered me ride without me even asking.

Your other question will be a future post with pics.

ChipSeal said...

"What, are you trying to break a Rantwick record over there? there is already 10 comments."

No! I want to break the comment record of Commute Orlando! It's what, 47?

That Rantwick is a comment piker!

So Steve, when are you going to join in with a picture of your dog? (Your feet don't count!)

Steve A said...

ChipSeal raises many points:

If ChipSeal carries no key, how might he get back into his house upon his return? Even without keys, if he were desperate (and careful) to get an uncooperative tire off the rim, he could his wrenches as tire irons.

Air is free at Quicktrip, at least at some of them. Failing any quarters, he might be able to use whatever he normally uses at the store, getting quarters in change. An adapter is light and takes up little space.

Sharing ChipSeal's attitude towards thumbing it is what got me stuck with a cell phone again for the first time in over four years. Being "cell free" is better than being "car free" in my estimation. Lesson - if your bike breaks down and you can't fix it, NEVER call home. On the plus side, I get to ramp up the technology war as I learn to use the video. I just haven't figured out how to use the other neat doodads without the phone being on.

Any Commute Orlando count is irrelevant. What would you expect from the land of Disney World?

Inky is getting his nose all moist...

ChipSeal said...

In the spirit of increasing your comment count on this thread; Does ChipSeal leave the house unlocked, trusting in the fierceness of Shawlee to thwart anyone bent on mischief, or does he hide a key somewhere on the premises?

I have had nothing to do with filling stations since September 2006, and I have not purchased fuel for my own vehicle since July 2004, so I really have no idea what stations in my area offer air, free or otherwise, to their customers. It would seem unlikely that I would be stranded and needing air near a filling station in any event, but having one along is a good idea. I think I will pick one up. (THAT should ensure that when stranded, I will definitely be nowhere near a filling station!)

I am also cell-free, but I am never far from one that I could use. Throw your hand in the air and ask in a loud voice if someone would lend you their cell phone, and you will have three offered to you in moments.

Yeah, I'm jealous of Commute Orlando's traffic too.

Steve A said...

Not jealous of Commute Orlando, just wishing their bloggers were all based in North Tarrant County.

The iphone is pretty cool. Other than the "phone" part, anyway. I can now stream Christmas music on those 100+ days. Let it snow...

Steve A said...

WRT ChipSeal's comments about filling stations:

How can one resist the prospect of 2 for a buck peanuts, inexpensive coffee, and 2 for 2 bucks hot dogs, along with "not a word to the contrary" when the bike comes in along with the guy with a small amount of cash?

I LOVE Quicktrip! It's not a filling station, it's almost a destination resort for cyclists!

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