Monday, September 9, 2013

New Toys - The Flo Disc Wheel

I have a new toy.
Just the disc wheel not the whole bike. The bike I've had for a while.

So, I've taken it out twice now to play. Even though I was very excited to have it. Ride it all the time was the plan. That hasn't happened for a few reasons.

First getting it on the bike was tougher than originally planned.
  1. step one add tire. the wheel arrives without a tire (or tube if you're paying attention) easy peasy. happened immediately. quick trip to the bike shop.
  2. step two remove old tire. I had never taken the back tire off this bike but that happened okay too. Although I did wish momentarily for extra arms or perhaps that awesome stand they use at the bike shop to hold the bike and wheels in place. 
  3. step three. Insert new tire. hmmmm. tight fit. Use big swimmer arm muscles. Very tight fit.
  4. step four. try to figure out how to release rear brake. consult internet. dig out user manual. examine super confusing diagrams of brake assembly. admit defeat at this attempt. 
  5. step five, Ride bike down street and back with  rubbing brake pads. 
  6. step six. Sigh.
  7. step seven. back to the bike shop (again) to adjust the brakes.
It's the  trips to the bike shop that slow me down mostly. But I did learn that this wheel is much wider than my normal Reynolds wheels. This means that the brake has to be opened way up to fit this wheel and when I take it off they will need to be tightened back down. Also the brakes on this bike (perhaps many tri bikes) are not easy peasy to deal with. They are under the bike and there is no "open switch" like I have on the road bike.

So the wheel is on there. And it's going to stay on there through Escape and then I'll take it back to the shop to have the wheel switched back and that will be the procedure for races where I use this wheel. Not a big deal but figuring it out took a little time. Also, I now understand why people take their bikes to the mechanic to have race wheels put on versus just doing it themselves. That's because it's not necessarily a 15 second wheel swap like changing out my trainer wheel.

The other thing slowing me down is that this wheel may not play well with others. Surprisingly I don't feel unstable on it or anything but I might move a little more side to side if I catch a strong cross wind. So even after I got the wheel bike thing figured out the road bike has been going with me on the group rides because bumping into your friends on the bike shouldn't be quite that literal.

So what's  it' like to ride?

It's a little noisy when it goes over bumps but that doesn't bother me especially during a race it won't because I'll be wearing the aero helmet and seriously I can't hear anything in those things. As for the people around me ... well sorry, in advance.

It has a giant space for access to the valve. Apparently when you pay $1500 more for a zip disc that includes a snazzy cover for this so that it's totally sealed. In order to save $1000 I will cover this hole with black electrical tape on race day.

Next observation it feels really fast. Honestly with most things that are supposed to make you faster on the bike it's hard to tell if they really do. Not this.

I don't know if it's my imagination but this feels much easier to go fast. Really. This is similar to shifting from a hybrid to a road bike for the first time.  It could really just be in my mind but that's my initial impression.

It's much more stable than I thought it would be. I haven't been out in huge winds but around 10mph which is enough to seriously slow me down in a headwind. But I didn't feel blown over at all when it was a cross wind.
See 13 mph wind. This was a little later than I rode but seriously - it is still way too hot in FL.

Plus, (I think) it looks cool.

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