When I first built the bike I liked it OK, but didn't love it. My main complaint was the steering never quite felt right. The front tire wanted to wash out in high-speed turns, leaving me a little nervous about committing to a long-term relationship. We agreed to remain friends and hook up whenever I wanted to ride a strange bike.
I rode the bike last week and it was OK. Fun and playful, but she still tried to throw me to the ground on occasion. Still, I thought maybe we could make things work.
Since building the Canfield I have dabbled with plus-sized tires on the Surly Krampus and DB Mason. On the Diamondback especially, I came to appreciate the combination of slack head angle and fat tire. The huge contact patch felt sure-footed, especially at very high speeds.
Because of my experience with bigger tires, I decided to replaced the Canfield's front wheel. The old one utilized a Mavic TN 719 rim, which measures a puny 19mm inside width. Even when paired with a relatively large Maxxis Ardent 2.4 tire, the result was less than confidence inspiring.
The rim was replaced with a Race Face ARC 35 which, as the name suggests, comes in at a 35mm width. Paired with the same Ardent tire, set up tubeless, the result is a much bigger tire. Huge in comparison.
A number of things happen with this setup. One, you get more air volume. This increase in volume and running tubeless allows you to lower the air pressure significantly. The wide rim also changes the tire's profile, putting more rubber on the ground.
The difference was amazing. I pushed the bike hard in corner after corner and it handled wonderfully. I am pleasantly surprised at how much difference a simple wheel swap could make. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think she could be the one.
|Shiny new wheel before the abuse started.|
|Near Dyke 8.|
|Here I am doing at least 60 miles per hour.|
|Here's the brand new bridge built for the Johnny Cash Trail. They did a great job.|
So, a really great ride and fine way to spend my day off. I am looking forward to adding a matching rear wheel and riding this bike more often. I just hope she doesn't think we are exclusive now. I am a 10-bike kind of guy.