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This week is Tire Review Week. For our second review, we have the ITS System 29 Cross Country Tire:

ITS Intense Tire Systems system 29er

Intense Tire Systems gave me a set of their moderately new System 29 tires to test out. These are 29’er cross country tires that come in at 2.25″, and weigh about 700g a piece. (Site says 698g) Their bulbous size, and moderately low tread are interesting, but how did they hold up?

First of all, the weight was noticable coming from a pair of weight weenie 2.0″ race tires, but luckily the center tread is slightly curved to lower rolling resistance. This profile being about 3mm high off of the carcass makes it a bit difficult to handle in poorly groomed terrain or mud, but does great on grass, road, and hardpack dirt. They are most definitely a cross country riding tire. I would like to compare them to Continental’s X King 29er Tire, or Schwalbe‘s Racing Ralph TL-Ready 29r Tire, but with the lack of major knob height.

The tires did hold air well, and even worked well as a tubeless system, but were probably the most difficult tire I have ever had to mount. I broke four tire levers attempting to get them off my Bontrager 29’er rim, and once removed (due to a major tubeless burp), I was not willing to attempt to put them back on. Even my LBS took twenty or so minutes to install them the first time on my wheels. Very, very frustrating… If you believe your rims have a history of being difficult to mount tires on, avoid these.

I put about 350 miles on the tires before removing them, and the center tread had reduced down to about 1.7mm in height. What does this mean? They’re one, maybe two season tires. You’ll get a year out of them if you are lucky.

Fortunately, they retail for about $33, or around half of what you will pay for one of the big boys’ tires! Is the low cost worth the one year? Sure.

The bulbous size of the tire makes for a very comfortable ride, but also does not feel as responsive as smaller tires do. I’m not sure this is either a good or bad thing, but it is another thing to consider when looking for what you want to buy. They also slip around in snow, and want to ‘float’ on top of it, and avoid finding friction.

I will have to say that they are very resistant to cuts or flats. I had one freak accident pinch-burp that left me stranded, but nothing else in the entire year I used them.  I was impressed with this attribute, and associate it with the strong rubber density compound used on the side knobs and carcass.

All in all, it is an interesting and low-cost 29’er tire with a few neat gimmicks. ITS hopefully will put out a few more 29’er tires or maybe the same in different widths to please more customers!

Overall Rating: 2.5/4 Stars

Pros:

Low rolling resistance

Great on groomed trails

Flat resistant

Cons:

Possibly too wide for a XC tire?

Low Tread height

You can buy the ITS System 29 Cross Country Tire here:

Universal Cycle

BikeMania

Company Product Info:

http://www.intensetires.com/itxc-29-225.html

System 29

System 29’s huge air volume makes it an excellent trail tyre, capable of tackling gnarly terrain with total confidence. The tread pattern provides low rolling resistance and plenty of hook up.

SIZE 2.25

PART#: ITXC-29-225

WEIGHT: 698 Grams

Folding Bead: By using a lightweight & Felxible bead we are able to reduce the weight of the tyres. They are also Easer to Handle and Store.

C3 Compund: Intense”s proprietary Cross Country Compound, provides excellent traction and durability.

SinglePly: 1 Ply Casing refers to layers of reinforcing fabric in a tyre. 1 ply tyres are constructed with a single fabric layer for fast rolling and lightweight tyres.

LSG: Low Specific Gravity rubber compound is used to reduce the weight of the tyre casing.

 

Part 1 – Torelli Arezzo Open Tubular Tire

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This week is Tire Review Week. For our first review, we have the Torelli Arezzo Open Tubular Tire:

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

Torelli sent me a set of their Arezzo “Open Tubulars” last summer to test them and give them a review. By open tubular, this means that the carcass is very similar to a handmade tubular, but has a bead on both sides/does not have the tube stitched inside. The tread is glued to the carcass when fully inflated, so it holds a very round shape when pumped up.

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

The weight of these tires are very light for being handmade, and the casing cloth is supremely supple due to it’s 260tpi thread count. (207g, 205g) I ended up wanting to inflate these tires 10psi higher than my suggested weight/terrain would expect, just due to the fact that they ran so smooth. The tread and casing of the tire ate up tiny bumps in a way that a 25mm tire would, but with it’s 205g/23c size profile. The sidewalls are bare polyester with just a smidge of rubber covering them, and were no more susceptible to punctures as any other race tire, e.x. Michelin Pro 3 Race’s. The cloth right under the tread has a single layer of aramid protection above the cotton casing. This does not change the way the suppleness of the tire conforms to the road, and protects just as well as any other race tire.

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

About 1100 miles into my review, I had a blowout on the rear tire, where a perfectly placed nail caught the sidewall and blew out the wheel instantly. The beads kept the tire on very well, and I was able to slow down to a stop with little or no trouble. I do not have anything bad to say about this, since it would have ruined any other tire in the same situation. I’m just glad it stayed on my rim, and did not fly off or get caught up in my drivetrain or frame!

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

After this incident, I switched the front tire to the rear, and put on one of my previous tires for the front. This tire failthfully lasted through another 700 miles of the rougher terrain that WV had to offer, including rides that should have been for the cross bike… I finally stopped using this tire when the tread was worn down to the carcass in a single spot I skid-stopped on unintentionally several hundred miles earlier.

The tires roll fast, are as grippy, if not grippier than some of the big named tire companies, and just feels so plush. Seriously, watch out… you’re going to want to over inflate these…

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

All in all, for the price of these tires, there is no doubt that I enjoyed them. Flats were rare, grip and rolling resistance was equivalent to any other premium tires I have used, and they really did smooth out the little bumps like a tubular or larger tire does.

Would I suggest these as everyday tires? Yes, but only if you are knowingly willing to accept that they will not last as long as say, a Conti Gatorskin or Michelin Krylion would. 1800mi on a handmade tire is pretty darn good, and especially at the quality and price that Torelli serves them at.

Overall Review 4/4 Stars

You can buy these at the following locations:

Smart Cycles

AirBomb

Company Product Info:

http://torelli.com/tubes-tires-maintenance/tires/arezzo-open-tubular.html

Torelli “Open Tubulars” are vastly superior to regular clincher tires in feel and performance. An open tubular uses the same technology and materials as a high-end sew-up with the convenience of mounting on a clincher rim. The casings threads are not woven and because of this, they have very high thread counts and are very supple and strong. This makes for a fast, good-handling tire. The tread compounds are designed to stick to the road for excellent cornering.

* Weight: 205 grams
* Lighter, more flexible casing
* Casing thread count: 260 threads per inch
* Color: black or classic honey side wall
* Casing material: polyester
* Size: 700 x 23
* Bead: folding aramid
* Pressure rating: 100 – 130 psi

P.S. they do look very similar to Challenge’s handmade open tubulars~

PART 2 -ITS System 29 XC Tire

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Who thought WV Cycling was going to last an entire year? A lot has happened in the past 365 days, and to have the year in review, I’m going to list a little bit of statistics from WordPress’ site stats page:

Top Posts of 2010:

  1. Snow Chains / Tire Chains For Your Bicycle!
  2. Essential List For Your Bike Repair Tool Kit
  3. DIY Foldable Repair Stand
  4. How to Clean Your Bike – The Definitive Guide
  5. Recipes For The Road

Top Search Terms of 2010:

  1. bicycle snow chains
  2. tour of tucker county 2010
  3. diy bike repair stand
  4. selcof stem
  5. cycling recipes

Most Clicked Links:

  1. afajarito.blogspot.com/2010/01/diy-portable-bike-repair-stand.html
  2. wenzelco.com/details.aspx?NavID=283
  3. cyclocamping.com/products.asp?cat=74
  4. fyxation.com
  5. craigbarlow.blogspot.com

Most Viewed Images:

diy bike repair stand

#1 - DIY Bike Repair Stand

Tour of tucker county 2010

#2 - Tour of Tucker County 2010

wenzel camping tent

#3 - Wenzel Lone Elk Hiker/Biker Tent

fat tire cycle gene wells bike shop

#4 - Before A Ride @ Fat Tire Cycle

Laura mae given o2 rainwear cycling raincoat

#5 - Lovely Model w/ O2 Rainwear's 3Flow Rain Jacket

My Favorite Posts of 2010:

  1. Ascension Par le Jeu: Rise by the Game
  2. A Reply and Inquiry to Pantani’s Problems:
  3. Falling… for a fellow rider
  4. WV Cycling’s Service Course
  5. The Squirrel
  6. The Hitman
  7. Un Jour Sans
  8. Cycling is a Dreamworld
  9. Top Ten Reasons to Ride Locally
  10. Cycling Changing Everyday Behaviors

Taking a look backa at my goals for 2010, I think I did a pretty good job at accomplishing most, if not all of them; I’ve gone further around the state, and have ridden with many great riders, and LBS Proprietors. I also was able to acertain a cyclocross bike, and try that around; which oddly enough has been my favorite bike since October. The cross bike is more nimble than my MTB in the snow, and a heck of a lot more stable/safer than the road bike on dirt roads. Perfect balance.

Talking about other people, I met a lot of influential riders, advocates, business owners, and spoke to several State politicians about cycling in West Virginia. 2010 will be known as the year that I learned how many people actually ride their bike. This was a very comforting thing, and has motivated me to not only ride more, but promote more cycling events in WV.

I don’t think I spoke much about any Elite or european racing this year, but I am still wanting to ride with any local group that invites me to go for a jaunt with them.

If you ever have an event and want me to promote it, feel more than free. I have a hard time keeping track of everything that is going on; so even if it is a group ride, email me and let me know in advance by at least two days…. That’s free advertising~

I have a lot of optimism for WV cycling’s second year. I have a lot of things coming down the pipeline, especially product reviews, and rider profile stories. I think you guys will like what is to come.

Wish me luck, and have a great Christmas!

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This review consists of a double review from two WV Cycling contributors, with their opinions and statements placed distinctly throughout the post.

Product Review: O2 Rainwear 3Flow Jacket

Product Description from O2 Rainwear:

“O2 Rainwear’s 3Flow™ Performance Series is designed for the serious cyclist who won’t be detoured by the elements, yet is versatile and affordable enough to attract anyone who rides a bike. This higher-end gear is Waterproof, Breathable, and Windproof. Jacket includes pit zips, a back pocket for storage, a drop-tail for road spray protection, a built-in hood around the collar, and is seam sealed. Constructed with 3Flow™ Performance Fabric.

Rain Shield, Inc. is a Minnesota-based company founded in 1997. Rain Shield’s objective is creating O2 branded rainwear from microporous film. O2 Rainwear™ is making waterproof and breathable rainwear much more affordable than it ever has been in the past. Rain Shield is continually pursuing new uses of the innovative Microporous Film.

O2 Rainwear Microporous Film is a very inexpensive, yet high-performance laminate that has the best combination of water holdout and breathability of any fabric on the market today. Our Microporous Film is thin and lightweight, making O2 Rainwear™ easy to pack and for people to bring with the them. But the greatest aspect of Rain Shield, Inc.’s O2 Rainwear™ is its affordability – allowing people to experience this outstanding comfort and protection at the same price as non-breathable, rubber, plastic, and PVC-coated garments. No Wet, No Sweat! We have a continuously expanding line of the O2 branded rain jackets, rain suits, and bibs. We can also decorate our garments with waterproof embroidery and special packaging for ASI and promotional applications. Please check out our Product Catalog to see what the best product is for such activities.

The use of polypropylene was a key factor because it is very inexpensive compared to materials used for brand-named waterproof and breathable membranes, such as Teflon and polyurethane.

By 1987, the process for making the polypropylene membrane was perfected as it achieved the same levels of water hold-out and breathability found in more expensive garments.”

Review:

(Reviewer 1)

The rain jacket held up to my expectations. I previously wore a rain jacket that seemed to allow water to seep into the jacket and into the back of my shorts. When I wore this jacket during our rainy ride, I was very satisfied. My backside was kept dry and the jacket seemed to have good moisture-wicking properties. It didn’t seem to ‘stick’ to my skin, when I began to get warmer on the inclines. I felt comfortable in this jacket because the fit was not restraining in any sense on or off the bike. Really, it was like a second layer of skin that kept me dry!

(Reviewer 2)

What most impressed me about this jacket other than it being manufactured in America (Minneapolis, Minnesota?), was that every stitch, seam, and hem is sealed with a thin plastic layer that has been either chemically or sonically bonded with the rest of the interior of the jacket. This prevents all of the stitches to allow water intrusion. The jacket comes clean very easily, and has not needed a true laundry washing after seventeen rain-rides. The zip-up vents in the armpits are a bit small, but suffice when needed. My only complaint is how binding the neck portion of the collar is when completely zipped while the hood is concealed. This was not comfortable, and I was tempted to cut out the hood. I also really appreciated the mesh kangaroo pocket in the back. Even with a zipper, things stayed dry from the outside, while did not absorb ample  amounts of sweat either. The jacket can also be rolled up moderately tight, and stuck into its own pocket, or rubber banded small enough to fit into one of your rear jersey pockets. Very convenient.

Summary:

O2 Rainwear has created a quality product in America that is competitively priced, while performing better than other jackets in the same price range. The fit is accurate for its size, and works well on a man or woman. Rain has nowhere to enter on this jacket, while sweat does seem to escape better than other products in the same price range, or higher.

Even without my bias for American made products, I give this product 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Photos:

Clothing, Minnesota, Waterproofing, United States, Raincoat, Waterproof fabric, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Polyvinyl chloride, minneapolis, fixed gear, rain coat, rain jacket, waterproof cycling clothes, waterproof bike jacket, bike jacket, zip up jersey, hooded jersey, kangaroo pocket, bike jersey, waterproof bike jersey, waterproof cycling jersey, waterproof cycling jacket, waterproof cycling raincoat,

Collar is not comfortable to zip to the very top when hood is concealed/bunched up.

Clothing, Minnesota, Waterproofing, United States, Raincoat, Waterproof fabric, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Polyvinyl chloride, minneapolis, fixed gear, rain coat, rain jacket, waterproof cycling clothes, waterproof bike jacket, bike jacket, zip up jersey, hooded jersey, kangaroo pocket, bike jersey, waterproof bike jersey, waterproof cycling jersey, waterproof cycling jacket, waterproof cycling raincoat,

Covers the rear well

 

Clothing, Minnesota, Waterproofing, United States, Raincoat, Waterproof fabric, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Polyvinyl chloride, minneapolis, fixed gear, rain coat, rain jacket, waterproof cycling clothes, waterproof bike jacket, bike jacket, zip up jersey, hooded jersey, kangaroo pocket, bike jersey, waterproof bike jersey, waterproof cycling jersey, waterproof cycling jacket, waterproof cycling raincoat,

Reflective piping all over the jacket, along with reflective logos.

 

Clothing, Minnesota, Waterproofing, United States, Raincoat, Waterproof fabric, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Polyvinyl chloride, minneapolis, fixed gear, rain coat, rain jacket, waterproof cycling clothes, waterproof bike jacket, bike jacket, zip up jersey, hooded jersey, kangaroo pocket, bike jersey, waterproof bike jersey, waterproof cycling jersey, waterproof cycling jacket, waterproof cycling raincoat,

On the bike, still covers the rear.

 

Clothing, Minnesota, Waterproofing, United States, Raincoat, Waterproof fabric, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Polyvinyl chloride, minneapolis, fixed gear, rain coat, rain jacket, waterproof cycling clothes, waterproof bike jacket, bike jacket, zip up jersey, hooded jersey, kangaroo pocket, bike jersey, waterproof bike jersey, waterproof cycling jersey, waterproof cycling jacket, waterproof cycling raincoat,

Typical riding position, still great coverage.

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boeshield t9 bike lube review

What Boeshield says about their products:

“Boeshield T-9 is Space Age Technology for Bicycle Chains

  • Solvent Base flushes out old lubricants.
  • Penetrates deeply to thoroughly coat inner pins and rollers.
  • Dries to a clean Paraffin Wax film so it will not pick up dirt.
  • Lubricates and protects for 150 to 200 miles per application.

Completely Waterproof
Once dry, Boeshield T-9® will not wash off in rain, puddles, and mud. Water washing will remove sand, dust, and grime, but not the lubricant.

Guarantee
We feel we have the best product of its type on the market. If you can find a better penetrating lubricant and protectant, let us know, and we’ll refund your purchase price.

One Step Application: Clean, Lubricates, Protects
Spray on and wipe off. Boeshield T-9® will dissolve itself and flush out any other lubricant. For best results soak thoroughly and allow 2 or more hours for complete penetration. Then wipe off all external residue.

No Dirt Pickup
After wiping, Boeshield T-9® will dry quickly, leaving no sticky film to gather dirt and mud.”

boeshield t9 lube review

I received a sample of Boeshield’s product back in May ’10 to review for the site. I was enthusiastic to try out a ‘clean’ lubricant for my stable of bikes As of posting this review (31 Oct ’10), it has been six months, and my sample just ran out.

That means, this 4oz drip-bottle of lube was able to be used 72 times, according to Garmin Connect‘s recordings; which is more than likely closer to 80 uses. Yes, I used the Boeshield after either every single ride, or every other ride depending on which bike it was being applied to. Boeshield’s site states that it can effectively last up to 200 miles, but I am a cautious person who enjoys a clean drivetrain. This means that a single bottle of Boeshield can last around 14,000 miles (10% human error margin removed) of riding. That is longer than most bike chains will last. See what I mean? This stuff is a pretty good value.

Once applied to the chain, it is suggested to wipe off the excess an hour or two later. The lube is also pretty good at removing and displacing dirt and crud from the insides of the rollers and side plates. After a ride, you will see it coat your chainrings and cassette with a light layer of paraffin. This is a bit annoying looking, and takes a little time to remove without solvents, but it really is there to protect the bike. If the paraffin coats the teeth of your drivetrain, just imagine the beneficial properties that are in play on the chain!

I also enjoy putting a drop of the pivot points of my derailleurs, pedals, and brakes. I have not seen increased performance from these items with Boeshield application, but it has become quite ritualistic, and is very easy to apply and clean.

The 953 miles I have put on my carbon road bike (with brand new chain at start of application) has developed very little chain stretch and is still under 1/12th of an inch of wear. This alone has made me believe the worth of the product.

Also, coming in a drip bottle, it can be applied in a very clean and sparing manner. This leads to the bottle lasting a bit longer than a spray, and it prevents any excess spraying or dripping from landing on your rims, or possibly even your disc rotors.

The 4oz drip bottle retails for about $10. Last week, I went to my LBS and purchased a new bottle of boeshield, just because I have enjoyed its protective and lubricating properties enough to pay for it. As the price of bike chains, and drivetrains increase, you should really take as much effort as possible to protect them. Boeshield is just another step in protecting your investments.

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