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  1. #26
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    The guy in that article seems to talking about the 23c/25c/28c tire size range. In that range - there's a lot of debate, because those tire sizes are not dramatically different in size and weight.

    It's very different in that range than it is in the 1.5" to 2", or even 4" tire range.

    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    So how come the wattage to turn a drum at a constant speed decreases with wider tires? There is an aerodynamic cost as tire sizes increase, and therefore diminishing returns, otherwise fatbikes would be the next roadbike.
    I haven't been riding my bike on any drums lately, but as I said above I have ridden skinny tires vs fat tires on the same tire size back to back, and when we're talking a range like 1.5" to 2" there's a very noticeable difference in efficiency. That difference might only be 2mph average if you average around 15mph, but you'll notice it.

    Having also ridden fat bikes, I hardly think that aerodynamics is the reason why they're so much slower.

    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    My point wasn't to say that rolling resistance doesn't change tire by tire, and not that there isn't a difference between rotational and static weight. I've heard the adage that 1 pound in the wheels is about 510 pounds on the body, for cars, but the concept is the same on bikes. There is some truth to that statement, so if we say 1/2 pound off at the tires = 2.5 to 5 pounds off the load. Will it make a difference for the 20 pound rider (on 26 inch tires? curious what 26 inch tired bike is 20 pounds)? Yeah, that's taking off 1/4 of the perceived weight, and should be noticeable. For the 40 pound bike, it's 1/8th. I'm not sure I can tell the difference between a 35 or 40 pound bike when I'm leaving the light, but that also depends more on how the commute was earlier, what did I eat for lunch, etc etc. Nobody is winning a race across the intersection on my loaded rig.
    Lol, I assume that's a type - did you mean 5-10 pounds, rather than 510 pounds? I mean heavier tires add some work, but not 510 pounds of work.

    We could do hyperbole and hypothetical scenarios all day, but all that matters in the end is the real world results. As several other posters have said (and has been my experience as well), when you're in the 1" to 1.5" to 2" (or bigger) range, it's pretty consistent that going to a small tire produces a speed increase. Whether that speed increase is large enough to make a difference to you, or whether you find the fatter tire more comfortable so it doesn't matter for you, fatter tires in that range roll a little slower than skinnier tires.

  2. #27
    Senior Member JReade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Lol, I assume that's a type - did you mean 5-10 pounds, rather than 510 pounds? I mean heavier tires add some work, but not 510 pounds of work.
    Sometimes at the end of my commute, I'd swear that it was 510 pounds of work tho!
    Last edited by JReade; 04-10-14 at 08:42 AM.
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  3. #28
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Oh, man. Every year there's someone claiming that bigger fatter tires are actually faster somehow, and every year there's someone who actually tries it and finds the obvious - that a 2.0" tire is definitely slower than a much thinner 25c tires in the same size and of the same quality.

    Can't say what I would choose if I had carpal tunnel, my bike was already 35 pounds, etc. Jeff Poulin's first response post, in my opinion, was really the most accurate -

    2.0 will have better ride quality.
    1.6 will be faster.
    Again, same tire, same pressure, wider tire has lower rolling residence. That's physics, dude. You run the 2" at the same pressure as the 25 c tire, that's what you'll see.

    Again, if you run the wider tire at a lower pressure, it becomes less obvious.

    So, not at all obvious that 1.6 will be faster. Is obvious it will be more comfortable.
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  4. #29
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullalto View Post
    I guess I'll get the 2.0. I should probably err on the side of ride quality given that I'm struggling with carpal tunnel, even disregarding the likely negligible difference in commute time.
    This. Ignore the rest of this thread and think of your wrists.

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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Again, same tire, same pressure, wider tire has lower rolling residence. That's physics, dude. You run the 2" at the same pressure as the 25 c tire, that's what you'll see.

    Again, if you run the wider tire at a lower pressure, it becomes less obvious.

    So, not at all obvious that 1.6 will be faster. Is obvious it will be more comfortable.
    Lol, if you believe that running a 2" tire at the same pressure as a 25c tire will mean you'll be faster with the 2" tire, all I have to say is - good luck with that.

  6. #31
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Lol, if you believe that running a 2" tire at the same pressure as a 25c tire will mean you'll be faster with the 2" tire, all I have to say is - good luck with that.
    Pretty sure the top pros in this year's TDF are using fat bikes due to the physics of it.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    Pretty sure the top pros in this year's TDF are using fat bikes due to the physics of it.
    lol...

  8. #33
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Not to derail this very interesting debate about the rolling resistance of wide tires, but I was going to respond to the OP.....

    I've got 26x1.6 Marathon Supremes on my Long Haul Trucker. A few years ago, I had 29x2.0 Marathon Supremes on a Marin Muirwoods 29er. I also currently have 700x35 Marathon Supremes on my Kona Jake. It's hard to make a direct comparison because the bikes are different, but in general I would say there isn't a lot of difference between the feel of the sizes. They all roll pretty well at the right pressure. If you lower the pressure enough to make them feel cushy (even the 2.0's) the rolling resistance goes up dramatically. That's not to say they ride like rocks because they don't, but they also don't ride like Big Apples.

  9. #34
    happy bike wishes Turtle Speed's Avatar
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    This issue used to confuse me too.

    It's not that wider tires don't have less rolling resistance at the same pressure than skinny tires. They do.

    But as Sheldon Brown wrote wrote, that is of no practical value. You don't run wide tires at the same pressure as skinny tires, because that would mean one is over- or underinflated. You choose your pressure for ~15% tire drop. (Don't you?)

    Wider tires do run more efficiently in terms of rolling resistance, because they deflect less, but as tire width increases linearly, the efficiency gain decreases exponentially. For example, the gain in rolling efficiency in the jump between a (hypothetical) 15mm tire to an 18mm tire is light years beyond the gain in going from 57 to 60mm tires. Beyond ~25mm, you are gaining very little in terms of rolling efficiency. Go past ~30mm and your gain in rolling efficiency is basically nothing. (Ask me for a source, and if I'm not feeling lazy, I'll find one again.)

    As the tire widens past ~28mm or so, the tiny gain in rolling efficiency will be dwarfed by the loss of efficiency due to added tire weight.

    The sweet spot for speed based on current technology seems to be somewhere around 23-28mm. Go past that and you are definitely losing speed.

    This is not to put down fat tires for commuters. They have improved comfort, grip, and insurance against bad roads. I ride wide tires sometimes too. I just don't do it on the belief that they're faster.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Schwalbe says that wider tires are faster:

    Rolling Resistance | Schwalbe North America

    What exactly is rolling resistance?
    Rolling resistance is the energy that is lost when the tire is rolling and the main reason for loss of energy is the constant deformation of the tire. In addition to rolling resistance, there are also other resistances that have to be overcome when riding a bicycle.

    Air resistance rises squared with increased speed. At a straight-line speed of 20 km/h on the flat, air resistance is the main resistance force.

    Energy is also required to accelerate. For instance, the weight of the wheels is of great importance when this mass has to be brought up to rotation.

    When riding uphill, the main resisting force to overcome is the gradient resistance (descending force).

    In addition to these, there are other friction resistances in the chain and all of the other moving parts. Yet in a well-serviced bicycle, these represent a very minor part of the total resistance.



    Which factors affect rolling resistance?
    Tire pressure, tire diameter, tire construction, tire tread and other factors all have an effect on rolling resistance. The higher the tire pressure, the less is tire deformation and thus the rolling resistance.

    Small diameter tires have a higher rolling resistance at the same tire pressure, because tire deformation is proportionally more important, in other words the tire is "less round". Wider tires roll better than narrow ones. This assertion generally generates skepticism, nevertheless at the same tire pressure a narrow tire deflects more and so deforms more.

    Obviously, tire construction also has an effect on rolling resistance. The less material is used, the less material there is to deform. And the more flexible the material is, such as the rubber compound, the less energy is lost through deformation.

    Generally, smooth treads roll better than coarse treads. Tall lugs and wide gaps usually have a detrimental effect on rolling resistance.


    Why do wide tires roll better than narrow ones?
    The answer to this question lies in tire deflection. Each tire is flattened a little under load. This creates a flat contact area.

    At the same tire pressure, a wide and a narrow tire have the same contact area. A wide tire is flattened over its width whereas a narrow tire has a slimmer but longer contact area.

    The flattened area can be considered as a counterweight to tire rotation. Because of the longer flattened area of the narrow tire, the wheel loses more of its "roundness" and produces more deformation during rotation. However, in the wide tire, the radial length of the flattened area is shorter, making the tire "rounder" and so it rolls better.

    Why do Pros ride narrow tires if wide tires roll better?
    Wide tires only roll better at the same inflation pressure, but narrow tires can be inflated to higher pressures than wide tires. However, they then obviously give a less comfortable ride. In addition to this, narrow tires have an advantage over wide ones at higher speeds, as they provide less air resistance.

    Above all, a bicycle with narrow tires is much easier to accelerate because the rotating mass of the wheels is lower and the bicycle is much more agile. At constant speeds of around 20 km/h, the ride is better with wider tires. In practice, the energy saving is even greater than in theory as the elasticity of the tires absorbs road shocks, which would otherwise be transferred to the rider and so saves energy.

    Which SCHWALBE tire has the lowest rolling resistance?
    The rolling resistance of a tire should not be overestimated, as it is only a part of the total resistance. In addition, the correct inflation pressure has a much greater influence on rolling resistance than the tire structure.

    In order to make a tire with very low rolling resistance, it is necessary to compromise on other important factors such as puncture protection or grip.

    The following gives a rough overview of tires and their relative rolling resistance. A direct comparison is impossible though, as the tires have different widths and some are used with very different inflation pressures.






    Wider is faster! | Schwalbe North America

    The truth about rolling resistance:

    Wide tires offer more control, more comfort and more fun. While this has become more widely accepted over the past few years Sport Scientist Peter Nilges, was not too interested, he was more concerned with speed.
    The avid, German League road racer wanted to determine the best tire width and air pressure combination for fastest performance. He completed 300 test-rides with SRM cranks to establish the exact energy consumption for his thesis "Road Rolling Resistance". He tried three different tire types in three widths at 20 psi, 30 psi, 45 psi and 55 psi on road, dirt track and cross-country The results were clear.
    Higher pressure was only faster on the road. Off-road rolling resistance was lower, the wider the tire and the lower the pressure. This was similarly true for dirt tracks, soft forest roads or cross-country and up to 40 Watts could be saved in extreme off-road conditions; poor acceleration caused by higher tire weight being generally compensated for. Explanation: A tire at low inflation pressure adapts better to uneven surfaces. It sinks into the ground less. Overall it suffers less ***********.
    Narrow tires are only recommendable for lightweight riders, weight saving or extremely muddy trails.
    Rolling Resistance
    Tire Pressure

    Straight from the horses mouth, so debating is futile, muAhHAHAHAHA!
    Last edited by Shahmatt; 04-10-14 at 01:32 AM.

  11. #36
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
    Schwalbe says that wider tires are faster:

    ...

    Small diameter tires have a higher rolling resistance at the same tire pressure, because tire deformation is proportionally more important, in other words the tire is "less round". Wider tires roll better than narrow ones. This assertion generally generates skepticism, nevertheless at the same tire pressure a narrow tire deflects more and so deforms more.

    Obviously, tire construction also has an effect on rolling resistance. The less material is used, the less material there is to deform. And the more flexible the material is, such as the rubber compound, the less energy is lost through deformation.

    ...


    Rolling Resistance
    Tire Pressure
    Wait.... Why should we believe Schwalbe. I mean, what experience do they have with bicycle tires...

    Note that the blue part above explains why most people think skinny tires are faster. Skinny tires are (generally) built to have less rolling resistance (and less flat resistance). Wider tires are generally built to be more durable.

    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Ignore the rest of this thread and think of your wrists.

    It's very hard to argue with this point. Whatever the differences in rolling resistance may be, it's going to be small. Being able to make sure you're more comfortable on your bike, definitely a win.
    Last edited by cplager; 04-10-14 at 06:09 AM.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
    Schwalbe says that wider tires are faster:

    Why do Pros ride narrow tires if wide tires roll better?
    Wide tires only roll better at the same inflation pressure, but narrow tires can be inflated to higher pressures than wide tires. However, they then obviously give a less comfortable ride. In addition to this, narrow tires have an advantage over wide ones at higher speeds, as they provide less air resistance.

    ...

    The avid, German League road racer wanted to determine the best tire width and air pressure combination for fastest performance. He completed 300 test-rides with SRM cranks to establish the exact energy consumption for his thesis "Road Rolling Resistance". He tried three different tire types in three widths at 20 psi, 30 psi, 45 psi and 55 psi on road, dirt track and cross-country The results were clear.

    Higher pressure was only faster on the road. Off-road rolling resistance was lower, the wider the tire and the lower the pressure. This was similarly true for dirt tracks, soft forest roads or cross-country and up to 40 Watts could be saved in extreme off-road conditions; poor acceleration caused by higher tire weight being generally compensated for. Explanation: A tire at low inflation pressure adapts better to uneven surfaces. It sinks into the ground less. Overall it suffers less ***********.
    Lol, that is a long rambling article who's conclusion - from the quotes above - is that skinnier tires are faster on the road.

    P.S. That last sentence should be "Overall it suffers less r.e.t.a.r.d.a.t.i.o.n.", I guess bikeforums.net is touchy about that word.
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 04-10-14 at 11:59 AM.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtle Speed View Post
    This issue used to confuse me too.

    It's not that wider tires don't have less rolling resistance at the same pressure than skinny tires. They do.

    But as Sheldon Brown wrote wrote, that is of no practical value. You don't run wide tires at the same pressure as skinny tires, because that would mean one is over- or underinflated. You choose your pressure for ~15% tire drop. (Don't you?)

    Wider tires do run more efficiently in terms of rolling resistance, because they deflect less, but as tire width increases linearly, the efficiency gain decreases exponentially. For example, the gain in rolling efficiency in the jump between a (hypothetical) 15mm tire to an 18mm tire is light years beyond the gain in going from 57 to 60mm tires. Beyond ~25mm, you are gaining very little in terms of rolling efficiency. Go past ~30mm and your gain in rolling efficiency is basically nothing. (Ask me for a source, and if I'm not feeling lazy, I'll find one again.)

    As the tire widens past ~28mm or so, the tiny gain in rolling efficiency will be dwarfed by the loss of efficiency due to added tire weight.

    The sweet spot for speed based on current technology seems to be somewhere around 23-28mm. Go past that and you are definitely losing speed.

    This is not to put down fat tires for commuters. They have improved comfort, grip, and insurance against bad roads. I ride wide tires sometimes too. I just don't do it on the belief that they're faster.
    Great post, exactly. Arguing individual points about theoretical rolling resistance and such are largely irrelevant, because it's of no practical real world value. In the real world fatter tires are somewhat slower, though they also tend to be more comfortable.

    A common debate among cyclists centers on the issue of whether a wider tire has more or less rolling resistance at the same pressure. The constant pressure is proposed because it appears more scientific to eliminate this as a variable, but this is not realistic in practice. The short answer to this question is that, yes, a wider tire of similar construction will have lower rolling resistance than a narrower one at the same pressure. This fact is, however, of no practical value. If you are comparing two tires of similar construction, with the same load, and the same pressure, either the wider tire is overinflated, or the narrower tire is underinflated!

    As you described above there are some exceptions - if you're on a dirt road, or the road is particularly badly maintained, if you want to be able to worry less about rolling over stuff on the road/trail, or if you just prefer a cushier ride. But if you're riding on a decent road, a tire in the 23mm-28mm range is faster than a tire fatter than that.
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 04-10-14 at 12:01 PM.

  14. #39
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    It's not all about rolling resistance. You'll probably run the narrower tires at higher pressure, there will be less wind resistance, and they (and the tubes) will be lighter, so overall, a bit faster. However, the opposite would be true on unpaved trails, for example, where the larger tire would be better.
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Lol, that is a long rambling article who's conclusion - from the quotes above - is that skinnier tires are faster on the road.
    Schwalbe, alan s, PaulRivers and others got it right.

  15. #40
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullalto View Post
    Title pretty much says it all. I'm using a 26" wheel.

    Ordering puncture resistant tires, and from what I've read the marathon supreme are the best at avoiding flats.

    But what size to order? Does it matter?

    Thanks y'all.
    I have no experience with 1.6, but I did just install 29x2 aka 700x50 aka 50-622 on my crosscheck, and with the pressure suitably low they are CUSH. For me (250lb) and rack, etc bringing the bike to about 35lb, I'm enjoying 30psi front, 50psi rear.

    So my opinion (like I said, no actual experience with 1.6) is that you would definitely be able to tell that 2.0 can ride softer/more comfy than 1.6; you might experience a tiny bit fewer flats with 2.0 just because you can run them at a little lower pressure; I bet you would have to train yourself to be sensitive to discern a difference in weight or acceleration; and I bet you could not even measure a difference in rolling resistance.

    However, before buying my supremes I did a lot of reading of others' experiences with many different models of schwalbe marathon, and there seemed to be general consensus that the absolute best in flat protection comes from the bottom/cheapest Marathon model (no extra adjective), but they are super heavy and ride like rocks. The Supreme is not quite as bulletproof on the road, but it is still very good at flat resistance, and many people really enjoy the ride. And all marathon models are renowned for long-term durability, which takes some of the sting out of the high price.

    I think whether you go with 1.6 or 2.0 you will be fine.

  16. #41
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    Update: I bought the 2.0 Marathon Supremes.

    Perceived effort is the same as the 1.5 Bontrager AW2's I had on before, and times are similar.

    Ride quality is definitely improved however.

  17. #42
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Sweet! I'm glad you enjoy them (because you'll have them for a long time...)

  18. #43
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    Half a pound. You feel faster if you only half fill a water bottle? So much can change with tire sizes in general, pressure, casing, diameter, etc. I'm not discounting the perceived difference between tires, but I'm not going to say that the half pound on my 40 pound loaded bike is noticeable. What's your limit to "noticeable/not"? 1/4 pound?
    The difference is that the water bottle isn't taped to the outside of the wheel where the torque required to change its rotational momentum is greatest.
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  19. #44
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    I ride Marathon Supremes on my Crosstrail. I can't tell the difference in comfort (rear tire) between a 45 and a 40, but the 40 rides much smoother than a 35 on the back. Noticable.

    OEM, my bike came with 45s on both ends.

    Now, I also can't tell the difference with 35s on the front, vs the 40 or 45s. For Comfort.

    However, the bike handles much better, steering is quicker and more precise. Noticable.

    Traction on these tires is awesome, wet or dry, with no transition zone due to the tread wrapping right around the tire. Tires are very light and predictable.

    This was at 85PSI, max for these tires.

    Therefore, I ride a 40 on the rear (also helps with capacity), and a 35 on the front. Just looking, you wouldn't notice the difference - but it's real, perceptible, and much much much better regarding flat avoidance. Just pick the hitch hikers out when you inspect them. I also run 'em at 92PSI, because that's where they roll the best for me.
    Last edited by Wanderer; 05-05-14 at 11:01 AM.

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  20. #45
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    I run my 35s at 70 psi. Fast enough to draft an e-bike for a few minutes at 26 mph this morning. Dropped him when he had to carry the heavy POS up set of stairs. Actually, it's a pretty nice bike, but still electric. 29er MTB with disc brakes and suspension fork. Seen the guy several times. No idea why he doesn't just use his legs, but I'll use his motor to draft anytime, thank you.

  21. #46
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    FYI I keep my 700x50's at about 60 rear, 35 front. I tried 50/30 for the xtreme comfort, but I found it to roll sluggish. The extra few psi's keep me rolling fast enough for me.

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    Wanderer: Not that it matters much for the TS or any commuter really, but in fairness, that tech FAQ you're linking to explicitly says "if the tyre pressure is the same" and narrower tyres can be pumped harder for sure, thus rolling even lighter.

  23. #48
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    Jan Heine of VBQ ran Tire comparison tests, those that read Vintage Bike Quarterly subscribe both to his test results , and the Magazine.

    as a closed loop, Compass cycles sells the tires.. Jan's company .

  24. #49
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorsa View Post
    Wanderer: Not that it matters much for the TS or any commuter really, but in fairness, that tech FAQ you're linking to explicitly says "if the tyre pressure is the same" and narrower tyres can be pumped harder for sure, thus rolling even lighter.
    Huh??????? Did I forget to type something?????????????????/ I'm confused, as I was only reporting on MY experience.......

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


    Specialized Crosstrail Sport - '08
    Nishiki Sport - misappropriated from my youngest son (circa 1984)
    Marin Stinson - misappropriated by my youngest grandson - '01
    "The Beast" - 1990 Schwinn Airdyne (in the basement for winter torture)

  25. #50
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Sorry, messed the name up. Was directed at JReade, not Wanderer. Apologizes.

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