Open Monday - Saturday, 9.00am - 5.30pm
Tel: 01786 451559

EXTENSIVE FREE CAR PARKING TO THE REAR OF THE SHOP

Open Monday - Saturday, 9.00am - 5.30pm
Tel: 01786 451559

EXTENSIVE FREE CAR PARKING TO THE REAR OF THE SHOP

STIRLING CYCLES – BIKES FOR FAMILIES, COMMUTING, ROAD, MTB AND ADVENTURE

MAXXIS TYRES EXPLAINED PT.II

Last time we looked at the make up of a Maxxis tyre and the different casings, bead options and TPIs. This week we’ll look at the six different options of puncture protection Maxxis incorporate into their various tyres and which tyres use which.

Silkworm kicks things off with a layer of this exclusive material laid into the tyre casing of certain models. It sits directly below the central tyre tread and works to increase puncture and tear resistance. Silkworm is features in a number of Maxxis’ BMX tyres, entry road tyre (Detonator) and, in conjuction with their K2 technology, in a selection of their road tubular tyres.

Silkshield appears on Maxxis’ high end road tyres, like the Relix and the tubeless ready Padrone and their gravel tyres; the Rambler and Ravager. Essentially the same Silkworm but covers the entire casing from bead to bead, great for sidewall protection against cuts and abrasion. With a protection rating of 3 out of 4, Silkshield provides the same level of protection as Silkworm, but in a lower weight tyre and covers the entire casing.

Another Maxxis exclusive, K2 steps things up from Silkworm. Due to it’s low weight and suppleness, the ride quality and performance remain unchanged when compared to a traditional Kevlar or Vectran tyre. K2 features in addition to Silkworm on Campione and  Relix tubular tyres. It is also combined with the Silkshield bead to bead protection layer to create MaxxShield.

And now the pinnacle of road puncture protection. MaxxShield combines the properties of Silkshield with a layer of K2 on top for good measure! If you absolutely hate punctures this is the one to go for. MaxxShield comes on all Maxxis Re-Fuse tyres, creating the ideal winter training tyre or the tyre of choice for those wantng a fit and forget tyre.

For MTB, cyclocross and gravel, Maxxis offers three main technologies to improve the puncture protection of their tyres. These differ from their road tyre protection as they focus more on the sidewalls of the tyre and protecting them against rock cuts and abrasion which is not really an issue for road bikes or hybrids.

Maxxis’ EXO Protection is an extremely cut- and abrasion-resistant material added to the sidewalls of all Maxxis mountain bike tyres. EXO is made up of a densely woven fabric that is lightweight and highly flexible, ensuring that the performance of the tyre remains unaffected. EXO is ideal for rocky, treacherous trails where the chance of sidewall cuts and abrasions is high.

DoubleDown (DD) is the next step in the evolution of the dual-ply tire casing for enduro racing. Two 120 TPI casing layers reinforced with a Butyl insert provide the support and protection of a downhill tire, but in a lighter package which is more suitable for trail and enduro conditions when there isn’t a chairlift to take you to the top!

For punishing downhill conditions, Maxxis add an additional piece of Butyl rubber which extends from the bead up the sidewall of their DH tyres. This extra layer of Butyl helps prevent pinch flats and protects the rim from hard landings which could cause a flat spot in the rim. The Butyl insert also adds stability to the sidewall, allowing lower tyre pressures without the tyre squirming in hard corners.

MAXXIS TYRES EXPLAINED

With the new range of Maxxis road and MTB tyres filling the shelves here at Stirling Cycles, I thought it would be a good idea to delve into the features and technologies you can expect to find in the different tyres and just what all those symbols on the side wall actually mean! Since Maxxis are one of the worlds largest tyre manufacturers (Lego are actually the largest!) there’s a lot to explain, so I’ve decided to split the posts up into a sort of mini-series, each covering a different aspect, starting with the make-up of a Maxxis tyre, then looking at the various levels of puncture protection and finally the compounds on offer.

Tyre casing comes in two options; Single-ply Casing and Downhill (DH) Casing. The former is as it sounds, a single layer of nylon wrapped between both beads. It’s light and can distort easy to conform to the terrain below. Downhill casing is made up of two layers, again wrapped from bead to bead. By doubling the layers, Maxxis can increase the protection on offer – ideal for downhill applications or rougher trail conditions.

Tubeless MTB tyres are constructed in a similar way, but include a butyl insert in the side wall to add support and increase protection of the rim to allow the tyre to run at a lower pressure. Road tubeless tyres differ slightly, the use a carbon fibre bead (explained below) with a bead cushion for security and come with a puncture protective layer directly below the tread to reduce damage from road debris. All Maxxis tubeless tyres must be used with a liquid sealant to prevent loss of air pressure.

Next up is the TPI or Threads Per Inch. This is essentially the same as the TPI on your bed sheets. The higher the TPI, the more individual threads cross through one square inch of one layer of tyre casing. Lower TPI is heavier but lends to better puncture protection and improves the cut resistance of the tyre. A higher TPI is lighter (smaller, finer strands weigh less than fewer, thicker strands) and gives the tyre a smoother and more comfortable ride by increasing the tyres suppleness. Maxxis tyres come in 27, 60, 120 and 170 TPI. Maxxis TPI ratings are the treads per inch of a single ply casing, this differs to some competitor TPI ratings like Continental whose 180 TPI on Protection Apex tyres is actually just three layers of 60 TPI placed on top of one another. This produces a heavier tyre which is not as supple as a single layer of 180 TPI thread.

Holding all that together is the tyre bead. This is the ridge that runs around the bottom of every tyre (held inside the bead cushion) and is what locks against the inside hook of a clincher rim to secure the tyre in place. Maxxis offer three different bead options; wired, foldable and carbon fibre. A wire bead is as it sounds, a solid wire running through the tyre. It’s heavy and doesn’t fold. A foldable bead is lighter, made from aramid or Kevlar fibres and can be easily folded. Finally, a carbon fibre bead increases in strength to withstand the forces of high-pressure road tyre and is also foldable.

With many rim and wheel manufacturers moving towards rims with wider profiles (30 – 35mm), Maxxis have re-engineered a number of their tyres to address the problem of an altered tyre profile (the narrower rim made the tyre profile ‘squarer’) when running tyres originally intended for rims between 20 – 25mm on today’s wider wheels. Branded as Wide-Trail (WT) Maxxis have increased the distance between the bead and altered the profile of the tyre, so when used with a wider rim, the side knobs remain in the same position as they would with a narrower rim, therefore retaining the same level of traction and feedback.

Maxxis also offer a number of tubular tyres within their road range. A tubular tyre differs from a traditional clincher tyre. Tubs incorporate a tube and tread into one, by sewing both parts together. It is then fixed to the wheel (which also differ from clincher rims) by either tub glue or tub tape.

Next time, I’ll talk about the many different puncture protection options available. But if you can’t wait til then, head over to the new Maxxis website which does a good job of explaining the range!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WORKSHOP TOOL?

There are a huge number of tools stored away in the drawers and cupboards of our workshop, not to mention the many hanging from the giant tool board spanning the wall above our benches, but if you’ve ever worked on your own bike or even in any job where you use hand tools, you’ll likely have a favourite one (or two, or three…). For this week’s Workshop Wednesday, I’ve put this question to Grant and had a look through my own tool collection for those tools that make life as a professional bike mechanic just a bit easier.

Within his tool tray, Grant likes to keep his tools organised in a Wera tool caddy. The little caddy also makes it easier when attending a demo day away from the shop.

Grant, “I like to keep the tools I use most often the closest to hand. It saves me time when we’re really busy as I know exactly where all my tools are. But as for which is my favourite, I’d have to say there are four in particular that I really like alongside the essentials; my cut down Stanley Fatmax 4mm slotted screwdriver is simply the best screwdriver I’ve come across in 10 years wrenching on bikes for adjusting derailleur limit screws, long nose pliers are another essential for me as they’re great for pulling gear cable taut and getting the split pins out certain Shimano brakes, a 2-14Nm torque wrench & bits lets me know I’m not overtightening components and potentially damaging the fasteners, finally my hypodermic needle filled with chain lube. The last was my solution to always over doing it with the wet lube bottle when lubing mech pivots after cleaning them in the parts washer. It lets me get right into the pivots within the mechs and apply just enough lube right where it’s needed.”

No neat tool caddy in my tool tray, but everything has a place and everything is in its place.

My ‘must have’ tools would need to be; both a pre-set 4Nm and 2-14Nm torque wrench and bits, Park Tool Hex Y-wrenches, a sharpened spoke, nail clippers and my JIS screwdrivers. The 4Nm torque wrench is great for seat post collars, stem face plates and control clamps while the 2-14Nm wrench covers just about everything else! With these two Park Tool wrenches I can fit/remove about 90% of the components on any bike. The lack of ball end on the 2mm makes it ideal for adjusting the support bolts on the newer Shimano front mechs.  A sharp spoke is ideal for reopening shift and brake outer after cutting to size. Nail clippers are great for cutting cable ties cleanly (one thing I really hate are cable ties not cut cleanly, it looks neater and doesn’t take any longer to do it right). Lastly, I got these two JIS screwdrivers (Japanese Imperial Standard) as the crosshead screws on Shimano components are slightly different to our standard Philips screw heads and these drivers fit them perfectly with no wobbling – great for getting seized limit screws undone and potentially saving a mech from the bin.

So there you have it. A quick look at what we always have in our tool trays.

Have you got a favourite tool, or maybe you’ve found a use for something not specifically designed for working on bikes? Why not share them on the comments over on Facebook or Twitter?

Ryan Flaherty – Workshop Mechanic – Stirling Cycles

Ryan’s tool tray

Ryan’s ‘go to’ most used tools

Grant’s favoured, and in some cases adapted, tools

Grant’s well organised tool tray makes for efficient repairs

 

THE RETURN OF WORKSHOP WEDNESDAY…

With the summer season slowly slipping away to distant memories of sun kissed roads and drier ribbons of singletrack, I’ve finally got some time back to resume our Workshop Wednesday posts. So much has happened since our last post so I thought this first one should shine a light on some of the goings on that’s happened over the bustling summer and what to expect from future WW posts.

We’re now a registered Shimano Service Centre! Woo..! But what does that actually mean to have that blue sticker on the door? Well for Grant and I in the workshop, quite a lot. We’re now subject to frequent audits by Shimano Europe. We must continually complete the latest Shimano training courses to ensure we’re qualified and up to speed with each aspect of their product ranges across road, mountain and e-bikes. We also get some Shimano branded shirts and gilets! To you, the goal of the SSC is to provide the absolute best; access to professional and reliable service along with a wide on site availability of original Shimano parts to ensure your bike works exactly as Shimano engineered it to.

As well as becoming a SSC we’ve also had the privilege of building some really fantastic looking bikes, some of which Craig has already showcased on our Facebook page. A lot of these bikes featured the latest and greatest groupsets from Shimano and SRAM, so be sure to come back for the next posts where we’ll look at what sets these aside from the previous generations and some of the new tech that’s been introduced.

We’ll also have a look at our latest custom build with the new Dura-Ace 9150 Di2 with Synchroshift!

Until then, ride far and prosper!

Ridley Fenix SL

Ridley X-Night Cyclo Cross

Helium SLX custom build

HAND BUILT WHEELS

For this weeks Workshop Wednesday, we’re going to look at why spokes break and how correct spoke tension is the most important element in building a wheel that will stand up to the continual stresses and strains placed upon it.

The strength of a wheel comes mostly from the spokes being tightened to the correct tension, and that tension being as evenly distributed across all the spokes in the wheel. The rim also contributes to the strength of a wheel, but to a lesser extent than correct spoke tension. This is why the skill and quality of the wheelbuilder is far more important than the quality of the parts. Anyone can build a wheel using the highest quality components available, but if they fail to understand what gives a wheel its strength, then even the most expensive hand built wheels can quickly resemble a Pringle and fail.

Most people think that wheels fail due to an impact breaking a spoke. However in reality when your wheel buckles and you inspect the spokes, 9 times out of 10 they’re all intact. This is because wheels buckle when one of more spokes lose tension as a result of an impact.

Spokes usually break when you’re just riding along as a result of fatigue. If your spokes are under tensioned, then each time the wheel rotates, the spokes are flexed as the load changes. This continual flexing of the spokes caused by insufficient tension is what breaks a spoke. A wheel which has covered 1,250 miles has been subjected to a million of these load changes, this means a typical road wheel with 28 spokes has been subjected to 28 million load changes! Therefore although the spokes may have started out as perfect fit, they begin to move and flex, and more and more as time passes, until eventually they will fail. The most telling sign of an under tensioned wheel is one which has had many spoke breakages.

The solution then lies in the wheel being built with the correct spoke tension. If your spokes are tensioned correctly, then the spoke doesn’t move as the wheel rotates, meaning they last much longer. Thus a correctly tensioned wheel is one that will last often well after the rim has worn out.

Spoke tensions can be roughly measued using the Park Tool TM-1 (seen above), to check that the spoke tensions are equal between spokes, before checking absolute spoke tension with the more accurate Sapim spoke tensionmeter and making any fine adjustments thereafter. Although it is important to achieve equal spoke tension around the wheel, due to imperfections in the rim, there will usually be a very slight difference between the absolute tensions of each spoke.

If you want to learn more about hand built wheels, how to lace them and the processes required to achieve a well balanced wheel, then the book, “The Art of Wheelbuilding” by Gerd Schraner is worth a read. It also contains much of the content for the Cytech Level 2 wheel building module.

HOW TO GO TUBELESS

With the new range of Maxxis road and MTB tyres soon to land at Stirling Cycles, we’ve chosen to look at the steps behind converting your bike to accept tubeless tyres and the reasons why you’d bother doing so!

A tubeless set up offers many benefits to both road and MTB cyclists; lower rolling resistance, more grip, improved comfort and better puncture protection.

By foregoing the inner tube, the friction created between the tube and tyre is removed, reducing rolling resistance and increasing speed. By removing the inner tube, tubeless set ups also completely rule out the chances of pinch flat. Tubeless tyres can also be run at lower pressures without negatively impacting performance. Using lower pressures leads to more comfort and more grip.

The easiest and most reliable way to go tubeless is with a dedicated tubeless wheelset, tubeless tyres, liquid sealant (we’ve tried loads and think Stans works best), tubeless valves and tubeless rim tape and while there are conversion kits available, the results are varied and problems can arise from air leaks between the tyre and rim bead seat.

In short using a tubeless specific wheelset from the likes of DT Swiss with Stans sealant and tubeless ready tyres ensures a guaranteed fit – hassle free.

So should you make the switch? Well if you already own a set of tubeless compatible wheels (they come as standard on a lot of mountain bikes these days) or are thinking of upgrading your battered old winter road wheels, then it’s a relatively inexpensive and simple upgrade to make which can really enhance the feel and performance of your bike, not to mention eliminating pinch flats for ever!

For a detailed run down on the steps required check out the video below from Maxxis Tyres:

STIRLING CYCLES – AN AUTHORISED SHIMANO SERVICE CENTRE

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