You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks, But You Can Give An Old Bike New Tires

Further to Friday’s post, it turns out people have strong feelings about The Pando, who knew? Don’t worry, I’m not going to discuss it anymore today…EXCEPT, by way of an epilogue, I would like to relate the following short anecdote. Here it goes:

Okay, so you know how some people wear a scarf or some other form of schmatta around their neck while they’re running or cycling, and then when they pass you they put it up over their mouth? Well, this morning a runner did that to me on a narrow street. But here’s the thing: I was driving my car at the time.

Actually, now that I think about it, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do when a car passes you, given the exhaust and all, but I don’t think that’s what was going on here.

All I’m saying is that we’re living in strange times.

Okay, so enough about all that. Let’s talk about the American M-16 I’ve been riding–which, as I mentioned, has something of a tire clearance issue:

Well, lest my own tire eventually eat through the chainstay like a termite or a really weak buzz saw or some unholy hybrid of the two, I ordered some new tires. Today I took delivery of said tires, and installed them on the bike immediately. Here is the bicycle before being re-shod:

And here are the tires I ordered:

Paul at Classic Cycle mentioned that he liked these as an all-around tire. I was going to go with Panaracer GravelKings because I like them so much on my Rivendell, but as far as I can tell the only width you can get the 26-inch version in is 2.1–which, as you can see, the M-16 can barely clear. So these seemed like a safer bet, and are less expensive to boot.

Here’s how WTB describes them:

Interestingly, every one of those things is also true about me, except for most of them.

I am always up for some “light-duty offroading” though.

Here’s the tread:

I thought it looked familiar, then I realized it’s because I used to have this bike, and it came with the very same tires, though apparently back then they were called All Terrainasaurus:

I guess they dropped the dinosaur suffix to appeal to a mature demographic. Well, mission accomplished, because my old ass bought them.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a 26-inch mountain bike. In fact, the Bianchi above was the last one I owned. So the first thing that struck me when changing the tires on the M-16 was how damn easy it was. Remember when you got your first 29er, and you put the tires on, and you were like, “Holy shit these things are huge”? Then came tubeless, and the tires got tighter, and you had to seat the beads and all the rest of it? By the time you get to a bike with 29-inch plus tires like the Jones, putting on the tires makes you feel like you’re a toddler in a tire swing. Yes, of course we’ve gained a lot in terms of traction and puncture resistance by going to larger tubeless tires. Sill, in comparison, changing the tires on the M-16 felt like playing with Legos, and it was a welcome change of pace.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, those tires really were wearing away the chainstay:

This means I’ve officially saved the bike’s life. Someone should give me some sort of award.

Pending that, here’s the M-16 with the new tires:

Which fit quite nicely:

As a semi-professional bike blogger, I naturally have a short gravel test track just a few pedal strokes from my home, so once I’d aired up I headed straight there to test them out:

The bike felt quite pleasant on the pavement without the crazy thrumming of those aggressively knobby Velociraptors, yet I still had plenty of rubber for the gravel. They should serve me well for my be-jorted ramblings, and I’m sure my wife will enjoy the bike that much more when we embark on Vacation Part Deux later this summer. (She was very pleased with the bike, but did note how loud the tires were.)

I then swung by the newly-paved Old Putnam Trail, which should be opening imminently:

In fact people are already riding it, and once again I helped someone hoist their bike over the fence so they wouldn’t have to backtrack. (Fortunately it was a road bike this time and not a 50-pound ebike.)

I’m looking forward to the official opening. It will greatly facilitate my All Terrainasaurusing.

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