It’s re-tired now. I received the second tire last night and left them both to stand slack overnight. Foldable tires, when stretched out normal, will tend to hold the beads fully expanded outward. Unfortunately they didn’t relax much, which made them very tricky to mount properly. Once again, these are Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428 Double Defense tires. They contain at couple of puncture resistant layers built into the tread, so it makes the tread very stiff already, so once these tires get squeezed into some shape, they tend to keep it and resist reshaping.
It was warm enough for a decent ride. The trick is to use a very familiar route with familiar conditions so you can pay more attention to how the bike performs with different equipment. I took the old ride north up Midwest Boulevard, across the North Canadian River and up to Wilshire and the gravel stub west to the river bank again. Shaded areas of the river are still frozen over, despite ambient air temperatures above 40°F (4.4C) and rising to 60°F (15.5C).
The first thing you notice is that they are both slightly narrower and lower profile than the big knobbies. They are still wide enough to give good handling on rough surfaces, but harder and smoother. So the second thing I noticed was the lack of road noise. The knobbies would buzz and hum loudly; these things are almost sneaky. There is still enough tread to feel a subtle vibration transmitted through the frame, but the stiff tread face also meant feeling a lot more of the little variations in the road surface. Yet it rode just fine on the gravel road where I took the picture of the bike.
The real matter of interest is roll resistance while riding. While you can be sure that a the smaller total diameter of the tires made for a slight change in effective gear ratio for pedaling, all that means is riding in a somewhat higher gear most of the time. The real issue is whether it reduced the energy required to keep it going. Riding long distance against a high rolling resistance means having to stop more often on top of already taking longer to get anywhere. So the real test is riding uphill and with a headwind, and I got that today. I can assure you that I was able to face all of that in a higher gear, but once I got to the top I wasn’t nearly so tired. That means I’m creating less of a deficit in climbing and can maintain a stronger pace over longer rides.
At any rate, it was a very pleasant ride. The river off the end of Wilshire shows the effects of extended drought with a very wide sand bank inside the curve. OKC municipal work crews were out moving dirt along the margins of the road and I stopped at their digging site. The cedars along the fence called out, inviting me to use them for framing a look at the exposed red soil.
I’ll be making that ride to Hefner Lake soon.