Monday, November 08, 2010

Weekend Monstercross Project Uncovered...

It's amazing the difference a set of tires can make...

I've been mulling over a tire change for the Vaya for a while now and this weekend it finally happened. From Bontrager, I had Cycle Works order me one of the 1.8 (44/46) Jones XR front tires and 1.75 (42/44) XDX tires for the rear. Both are available with the company's excellent tubeless-ready casing, which requires the use of sealant to run tubeless and uses a tubeless-ready bead.

So I mounted the new tires up Friday night and rode them for the first time Saturday. And let me tell you, my Vaya has taken on a totally new character. It's one I'm entirely smitten by too! It's gnarlier, faster, better handling and eminently more capable, both on singletrack and ironically, on gravel as well. These tires rule!!

I took the Vaya out again on Sunday, this time with a pretty big local group. I wanted to see if the magic I felt when riding alone would transfer to a group ride situation. And sure enough, it did. In fact, it might've fared even better in that realm, as the advantages of the burly, bouncy, yet fast rolling tires were even more pronounced when compared to skinnier, sketchier, or fatter, slower options. For days like these, they seem like the perfect choice...

So that's the latest from here. Hope your rides are revealing new discoveries as well.

Cheers,
MG

8 comments:

Steve Fuller said...

I'll have to see how those stack up against the Marathon Extremes I have on the La Cruz. There are times when it feels like something a bit skinnier would be the ticket.

Kevin said...

How is the tire clearance with those tires?

MG said...

You know Steve... Marathon Extremes are what came off of the Vaya, and I have to tell you, these are not only lighter, but they're better in corners, faster on gravel and have more volume, so I can run them at lower pressure for a better ride.

Unfortunately, I don't think they would fit on your La Cruz... One of the things Salsa did was to increase the clearance of the Vaya slightly when compared to the La Cruz and that likely made the difference in its ability to roll with these fatties.

Because Kevin, to answer your question, the clearance is good... At least 5mm everywhere, and I bet there's a good 10mm on each side at the chainstays. At the chainstay bridge it was probably the tightest, and I actually replaced the bolt with one with a rounded head to give it a little more clearance.

To say I'm satisfied with the switch would be an understatement. I'm STOKED!

CJ said...

So, did you mount them tubeless as well??

MG said...

of course... is there any other way? ;-)

RC said...

Why not go with the XDX on both front and rear? I'm new to this gravel riding phenomenom. Thanks!

MG said...

Good question RC -- Thanks for asking. The Jones XR has a little more aggressive side knobs, so as a cornering/front tire, it offers a little more control in a wider variety of conditions. If I were going to do a F/R pair, I'd probably rather run two front-version Jones XRs, with the rear tire running backwards. That's a good, fast rolling setup too, from my experience.

kevin said...

I'll be running XR1 Teams (tubeless)once I finish building up my Vaya. I was trying to find Marathon Extremes in 40c but they're a rare commodity; hearing this I'm glad I went with the Bontragers.