A Follow Up To My High Tech Road Bike – The 2021 Edition

When I last wrote about my high tech road bike, I had gotten a significant upgrade in terms of electronic shifting. I’m happy to report that it’s been smooth sailing on that front and my riding experience has never been better. Having the ability to shift in almost any condition is brilliant and I feel that it combined with my fitness has made me faster overall.

What hasn’t been as fun are flat tires. A year after I got this bike, I upgraded the wheels to ones that are tubeless compatible. Meaning that instead of having inner tubes, they have some liquid sealant to seal punctures. That’s worked brilliantly until this year. My first ride out I got a puncture and the puncture was too big to fully seal. So while I was able to ride another 25 KM’s of a 55 KM ride, the tire finally went flat with 6 KM to go. That required me to phone my wife to pick me up, and I had to buy a new tire the next day. A week later, I got a puncture on another ride, but it sealed. Unfortunately the tire when I examined it later wasn’t safe to ride as the carcass was damaged in a way that the tire could give way at any time. So I had to get another new tire. Three days after that I got another puncture. But it sealed and I was able to keep going. By that point I was kind of fed up with tubeless tire systems. So I instead decided to go back to clincher tires. AKA tires and tubes. After some research, I settled on going with Goodyear tires. Specifically the Goodyear Eagle All Seasons.

So, why Goodyear Eagle All Seasons? Well, they balance durability (aka puncture resistance), wet grip, speed and cornering grip to make this a tire for all conditions. That includes riding them in the spring and fall where the weather is colder which can pose a challenge for some tires. Another thing that is great is that they work with tubes, but can also be set up tubeless. That way if I decide to give tubeless another shot, I don’t have to spring for another set of tires to do that. I’ve been riding them for a couple of months now and they’ve not only performed brilliantly, but I haven’t had one single flat on them. I’ve paired with these tires are Specialized Turbo tubes. These tubes which are made with butyl are roughly 40g lighter than regular tubes. That translates into reducing drag by about 13%. I was skeptical of that until I ran these back to back with regular tubes on the same loop. They are noticeably faster. Are they 13% faster? Well, my Shimano power meter suggests that I save about 4 watts of power coming from my legs with the Turbo tubes factoring in that I was using the same wheels and the same tires during this test. So clearly there’s something there. The only way to get even more performance is to use latex tubes which are even lighter. But the downside is that air retention is a problem. You have to pump them up every day. I don’t have do that with the Specialized Turbo tubes as butyl is great for air retention. So that’s another win. What’s the downside of this setup? These Goodyear tires are an absolute pain to get on as they are super tight to mount onto my wheels. I outsourced that task to Chain Reaction Bicycles as they’re experts at this sort of thing. I am hoping that I don’t have to do anything to these tires going forward for that reason.

I did get a question from a reader about why I have two sets of wheels that are completely different than each other. He pointed that out after reading about our last road trip to PEI where I switched wheels for a ride on the east point of the island due to it being windy. Let me explain. I have two wheels for two completely different purposes:

Here’s my bike with my Giant SLR1 55mm wheels. This is what is called a mid depth wheels. Meaning that if you factor in that carbon wheels start at 30mm in depth and go up as much as 100mm, 55mm is the middle of that range. That size makes it great to get aero gains, especially on a flat road, and still be useful in rolling hills where the fact that they are 1670g a pair (minus tires, tubes, and gears) aren’t too much of a liability. The only catch is that besides weight, they can be a bit of a challenge to control on really windy days.

Now over to the Giant SLR1 30mm wheels. At 1380g a pair, they are super light. Which means that if you want to take on a legendary climbs from the Tour De France such as Luz Ardiden, Mount Ventoux, or Alpe D’Huez, you want these wheels on your bike as climbing steep mountains or hills is all about having the best power (as much as you can put out) to weight (as little as you can get away with) ratio. In my case, getting rid of 290g doesn’t sound like a lot. But it’s rotational mass which the less of it that you have to overcome, the faster that you will go. Especially uphill. What’s the downside to these wheels? There’s minimal aero gains to be found here. So once the road goes flat, people with more aero wheels will have a theoretical advantage over me.

Finally, I’ve had a couple other questions about some other things on my bike. Starting with the handlebar tape. A reader noticed that it was very unique. So here’s a closer look:

This tape is made by a company called SupaCaz and this is their Sticky Kush Galaxy Red bar tape. I saw it at Chain Reaction and I knew that I had to have it on my bike as it is a subtle way to personalize my bike.

Another reader noted that I had a unique way to mount my Garmin Edge 830 Cyclocomputer to my bike:

This is the JRC Components Out Front Mount which does double duty. The top allows me to lock my Garmin Edge 830 into place. The bottom allows me to lock my front light into place. Though I had to find those parts elsewhere. The net result is that everything looks clean and professional.

So that’s the follow up. If you have any questions, drop me a note or leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them.

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