For the last few weeks I have been thinking quite a bit about how to build a robust MtB Wheel that can handle long-distance touring and abuse. It began with buying a skinny set of tires for my 9C 2806 hubs; fine for city, but in the greater Seattle area we also have potholes. I fear tacoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ing at 25mph. Thus it began the hunt for a good solid solution both for town and for trekking. Currently I have a study on tire size here on tire width:What is your tire width?
In my search I have narrowed the rim selection down to DT Swiss F 630
, or possibly the Mavic EX 729 Disc Downhill
26" x 36mm wide; both good solid rims ready to take abuse. Then it came to me last night that although bicycle tires with rare exceptions, pretty much limit out at 2.5Ã¢â‚¬Â wide, there might be motorcycle tires in like-sizes that could resolve my durability concerns. The last thing I want when IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m satisfying my high-speed lust, WOT out in there in the open desert between Tucumcari and Timbuktu is to blow a flat or taco the tire. Know what I mean?
The wild-child crazy KF
-part of me starts to thinkin: What is the smallest motorcycle tire I can put on my MtB?
Small meaning skinny. Turns out that options begin to appear at 18Ã¢â‚¬Â, 19Ã¢â‚¬Â and 21Ã¢â‚¬Â rim diameters, though good luck finding anything narrower than 2.75Ã¢â‚¬Â tire. Calculating at that size a dual-sport tire on a 21Ã¢â‚¬Â diameter rim comes to roughly 26.5Ã¢â‚¬Â in diameter, whilst a 19Ã¢â‚¬Â rim translates to 24.5Ã¢â‚¬Â diameter. Both of these are doable. BTW - some info suggests not going larger than 3Ã¢â‚¬Â wide for any tire/rim combination due to clearance with the rear derailleur.
Pensive, I reviewed my frame and it can take 2.75Ã¢â‚¬Â wide no worries. My Marzocchi Bomber front shock though is a problem; IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll need to deflate the tire to get past the V-Brake mounting pins. I was planning on going to disc in the front anyway (er... thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another project).
OK, now to sort out the rims
: Turns out that there are few options here. Rims in this size run between 1.6Ã¢â‚¬Â to 2.15Ã¢â‚¬Â and are mostly 40-spoke. However Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in diligence I found this source offers 36-spoke rim which is exactly what we need for the 9C hub:Warp 9
. They're a little cheaper here...
Spokes are about 10-gauge; forgive me Ã¢â‚¬â€œ we really need to refer to spoke diameters in millimeters. Anything 2.3mm or larger is good.
Cost: With exception to custom-builds (spoke-cutting, rolled, laced) the costs for motorcycle wheels is on par or may be cheaper than going with the high-end downhill bike route. Throw in rim balancing; which is easier?
Conclusion: ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really quite a gray line between these two worlds. In theory I think I have researched the beefy-arse high-speed tire spec to the nits-end. But more rhetorically, are there a lot of folks out there doing something similar? If I stayed local I think I would be happy in the bike world, but my gypsy soul craves the open sky radical road tripÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ off the grid, natch.Imagine:
Road Warrior. Rebel Solar-Powered Stations linking the desert expanse! Junk yards and clandestine machine shops. Forget about oil; the warÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about water rights, tofu, and livinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on the edgeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Give me steak!
Happy FriedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢aye. KF