Monday, November 23, 2015

Fizik Microtex Bar Tape: An Honest-To-Goodness, Long-Term "Wrap-Up."

November 2015.  Tape still going strong!

Letters, we actually get letters.  Well, emails, actually, but none-the-less, we do receive inquiries here at the plush Cycling Dynamics offices.  And, the latest inquiry was from reader "Happy Camper."  H.C. asked the following, very good, question: "Three years later, how is that tape?  Did it last?"

First, Mr. Camper, thank you for the inquiry.  It is indeed always nice to hear from the readership.  And, to answer your question, the tape is doing just fine, with no signs of wear, tear or fading.  Pretty cool, huh?  Try that with any other bar tape!  Three years, three sets of test bars, three applications of the same tape, and it looks as good as it did when first applied in September 2012.  That's some seriously good tape, people!  I even bought a spare box, foolishly thinking I would have to replace it when I swapped out the bars.  Nope.  The spare box is still sitting on the shelf in the garage.

With a retail price of $21.50 USD (per Fizik), this stuff is a bargin, as far as tape goes.  Yes, it can be a bit troublesome to apply, but once on, it stays put, is non-slip, cleans up easily, and looks great for years.  What's not to like about that? 

Good job, Fizik.  The tape may actually try to outlast my bike (maybe, even me!).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Happy Birthday To Me - Time To Retire, With The Schwalbe Durano HS464.

With Schwalbe committing the unfortunate sin of killing off the incredible Durano HS399, it was time to try out that models direct replacement, the HS464.  Bear in mind, I am not too happy with this.  Product-wise, all-things-new are usually an improvement, however, the progression of products does not always produce a winner.  Therefore, when something which works magnificently, like the HS399, is replaced, a dose of healthy skepticism is natural.  Think “New” Coke or Microsoft Windows (I drink Dr. Pepper, and Windows 2000 Server was still my all-time favorite). 

I have become a sworn disciple of 25C tires, as not only are the running pressures lower, air-wise, and the ride much more comfortable than 23c’s, the true crowning glory of 25’s are massively increased puncture protection due in part to the aforementioned lower tire pressures.  The fact Durano’s possess a built in feature known as “RaceGuard” (a belt under the dual-compound tread made for increased puncture protection), is just the icing on the proverbial cake (I wonder if 28’s are better still???).

To date, I have a bit over 3000-miles, on two sets of HS399’s, on two sets of wheels.  The only reason I am changing out the tires is due to some minor tread cracking, but the tires are truly far from being worn-out.  In my opinion, if I had ridden them more, thus keeping the tires up to proper pressure, versus sitting around as often as they did, the HS399’s would definitely have gone a whole lot farther.  These are some serious-good tires, folks.

I’ll put some miles on the newer Durano’s and report back with my initial, and long-term, findings.  If my hunch is correct, the HS464’s will be damn good rubber.  The new kid on the Schwalbe block has some seriously BIG shoes to fill. 
Makes a heck of a "Happy Birthday" gift to myself, too.