Return Of The Gumwall

Return Of The Gumwall

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If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that ‘useful’ things like practicality and functionality can often take a back seat to more basic pursuit of aesthetics and taste. If you haven’t, then your name might just be Paul.

You may have also become aware that there is occasional flagrant flouting of certain guidelines by curators and purveyors alike. Long black socks, red bar tape and big bidons, facial and leg hair, some have even been known to experiment with the much-maligned and socially destructive drug EPMS. Some things shouldn’t be tampered with, while others are prone to some manipulation as seen fit by circumstance. And some things will always be ‘just the way it is’.

Take tyres for example. Rule #8 was one of the first decreed (it was the eighth, if memory serves) and is one of the more complex in its simplicity. To put it in layman’s terms, tyres are a simple thing to get right. Black. They match any bike regardless of colour and will always look good no matter how much abuse they receive. But look more closely and a myriad of options are offered; match this to that or that to the other bit, and the other bit back to that. Or just go black. See, told you it was simple.

So why should choosing a new set of rubber be a cause of consternation? I needed to replace my trusty Pavé CG’s as they’d seen better days, from the cobbles of Belgium and France in April through a winter of more off-road detours than any road bike should be subjected to. Punctures became a feature of almost every ride, two at a time on a couple of outings. The green tread was worn and cut up and my mates were getting sick of waiting and probably wanted to strangle me with a tube as I attempted to get aired up and mobile yet again. Hang on, green? Surely not compliant…

Well yeah, the hue that is ubiquitous with Pro bikes in the European spring is the one color of tread that gets an automatic pass due to that other great cornerstone of the dual pursuits of Cycling and Looking Fantastic: heritage. From Malteni orange to Lampre pink, green goes with anything and everything in Spring. Vittoria’s Pavés and FMB’s Paris Roubaixs have seen more action on more bikes on more cobbles than Mother Theresa has seen sick kids, and thus get almost as many blessings as she gives out on a mission to Africa. But go back further still, and the sidewall colour of choice to set off any steed is the gumwall. Or skinwall. Maybe tanwall, depending on your diocese.

It should’ve been easy to choose a new tyre due to my spate of flats. Thick, heavy rubber with all kinds of Kevlar reinforcement, varying TPI counts and tread patterns all were mulled over, for about five minutes. I wanted gumwalls. To hell with practicality and functionality, not to mention cost. I made the call to my rubber pusher Graeme  and he administered the goods stat. Thinner, lighter, faster, probably less durable; my new Corsa SC’s may not solve any puncture issues, but damned if they don’t look the business. Fantastic, even.

The gumwall is back, and there’s no going black.

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// Accessories and Gear // Breaking The Rules // Tradition

  1. @Dan_R


    And the typeset for the wheels…

    If you’re looking for feedback, this could be tons better.

    Why not use the serif font from the shield logo? And the white outline should be sent back to the designer (or get a better designer). An inset white outline messes up the red letterforms. Your designer should be using a white background behind the existing red letters, not on top of it.

  2. @James

    As others mentioned, Vittoria are a breeze to get on and off.  Contis give a bit of a fight.  Veloflex make you check the box for size errors a few times and mop up your sweat after the first time you get them on the rim.

  3. @Chris

    @Deakus, @DerHoggz I suffer from issues of flexibility and strength so my routine is a mix of muscle building and stretching, mainly pilates type stuff. Too many years playing rugby in the front row followed by too many bone idle years left me inflexible, especially in the lower back and without the strength to prevent some of the muscles going into spasm if I didn’t look after my back properly. So far it would seem that flexibility will come back, it’s better than it has been for years. I was worried that some of the damage would be permanent.

    Now I just need to sort my knee out.

    I am with you there….last year I had left ankle reconstruction, this year it was the right ankle…..the right knee will need some sort of attention in the next 3 yrs or so….too much time as you say on the rugby pitch, squash court and basketball plus falling off mountains and a bit of running around with guns (that shoot bullets not the shaved kind) and marching with weight has left me in my early 40’s feeling like I am 80!

    Bizarrely after years with a bad lower back (2 herniated discs and a bunch of dehydrated ones) my return to cycling has cured it….I have been pain free in my back for 2 years now and loving it!

    It is just beautiful that cycling is low impact so I can continue to work on my magnificient stroke, and the best thing I find for flexibility is swimming….particularly breaststroke, fly and tumbleturns if you can get the hang of them..

  4. Colour matching tyres to my bike is a breeze, as it’s a stylish Bianchi in matt carbon with red and white decals, red black tyres with red sidewalks look smIck.  Gum walls would just not look good on that bike. Matching colours to era is essential.

  5. @DerHoggz

    Have you seen the new Tornova, its like a compact round drop:

    http://0-media-cdn.foolz.us/ffuuka/board/wsg/image/1343/82/1343823854054.gif

  6. I just passed a guy on my commute to the office and waved before I noticed he was a) riding in the drops b) wearing a backpack c) wearing a poofy coat (it ain’t that cold and I can’t imagine ever wearing such a heavy jacket while pedaling) d) sporting red bar tape. I almost turned around and asked for my wave back.

    Oli – double-sided tape worked well on my bb guide fix. Thanks for the advice! Adjusting Mavic hubs…got it! Ha, I’ve had a Park Tool adjustable spanner in my toolbox for a few years & that was the first time I got to use it. Thanks for sorting me out.

  7. Glad to help, @Ron!

  8. @Marko

    @DerHoggz

    Have you seen the new Tornova, its like a compact round drop:

    http://0-media-cdn.foolz.us/ffuuka/board/wsg/image/1343/82/1343823854054.gif

    What is “Fap”?

  9. @Chris

    What is “Fap”?

    An example of onomatopoeia.

  10. @PeakInTwoYears

    I think something happened to Marko…

  11. @PeakInTwoYears

    @Chris

    What is “Fap”?

    An example of onomatopoeia.

  12. @Gianni

    I can sympathize.

    @itburns

    That made me laugh. Is it a corporate logo or an imperative or both?

    Just remember, gentlemen, there’s no such thing as a dry fap. If you’re going to do a thing, take the time and effort to do it right.

  13. @itburns

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @Chris

    What is “Fap”?

    An example of onomatopoeia.

    I’m a bot lost too….is a FAP a bit like the ausse “dry root” i have head tell about?

  14. @Deakus

    Fapulous!  Bot I think you’ve head wrong.

  15. @James

    @brett Great piece and gorgeous bike! This Spring I bought my #1 some Veloflex Masters, my eye having been caught by tan walls some time earlier. Like Ron, I think the classic look of the tire really complements a modern bike. The feel of the Veloflex was amazing to me (I’ve never ridden tubulars) but the one problem I had was the extremely tight fit to my Campa Scirocco wheels. The packet said not to use tire levers to install them, but this was absolutely out of the question, and at the Seattle Summer Cogal I even managed to cut my hand when I flatted and tried to get the tire on and off (thanks to Frank for helping and waiting). So does anyone know of a similar but larger tire that would alleviate this problem? Are Vittorias any different?

    I fitted a set of Vittoria Rubino Pro slicks to new Shamal 2 way fits, and they were a bugger.  I pre-fitted them sans tubes, then used lots of soapy water and needed levers.   They are very tight, as designed to run tubeless.   So far, no flats, thank goodness,  and they are still there eight months later.   It’s the wheel, not the tyre. I can fit the same tyre to a normal Khamsin with my hands easily.

  16. @G’rilla I am not as up to speed on typesets, fonts, etc. Which word is the serif font?

    I am open to suggestion on the wheel “name” typeset, but the logo is locked down.

    Thanks

  17. @Ken Ho

    @James

    @brett Great piece and gorgeous bike! This Spring I bought my #1 some Veloflex Masters, my eye having been caught by tan walls some time earlier. Like Ron, I think the classic look of the tire really complements a modern bike. The feel of the Veloflex was amazing to me (I’ve never ridden tubulars) but the one problem I had was the extremely tight fit to my Campa Scirocco wheels. The packet said not to use tire levers to install them, but this was absolutely out of the question, and at the Seattle Summer Cogal I even managed to cut my hand when I flatted and tried to get the tire on and off (thanks to Frank for helping and waiting). So does anyone know of a similar but larger tire that would alleviate this problem? Are Vittorias any different?

    I fitted a set of Vittoria Rubino Pro slicks to new Shamal 2 way fits, and they were a bugger. I pre-fitted them sans tubes, then used lots of soapy water and needed levers. They are very tight, as designed to run tubeless. So far, no flats, thank goodness, and they are still there eight months later. It’s the wheel, not the tyre. I can fit the same tyre to a normal Khamsin with my hands easily.

    Some combinations are just murder to mount. Just the way it goes I guess. I suggest additional doses of the V.

  18. @Ken Ho Soapy water wasn’t something I tried, although the sweat from my brow may have provided some lubrication! To be honest, struggling to mount a tire at home bothers me much less than the thought of getting a flat out on the road and spending half an hour to get the tire on. It’s sounds like you’ve been lucky!

  19. As an old school traditionalist who races against the newbies on their latest and greatest, I take particular pleasure in the fact that my 13 year old Colnago is smack on the 6.8kg limit while still paying homage to the traditions of the sport. Of course that means that most of the compenents have been upgraded, particularly the wheels. When looking for some singles (tubulars) to adourn the wheels gum walls were the obvious choice.

    http://s1212.beta.photobucket.com/user/Pistol59/media/DSC_0014.jpg.html?

  20. Sorry, picture below

    Colnago C40

  21. @Dan_R You have a cool shield logo that works well. The wheel logo is completely different.

    Use parts of the shield logo on the wheels, such as the font in “Roubaix” or the shield shape.

  22. @G’rilla @Dan_R Great hesitation to show any uninvited type design or identity work. But to support G’rilla’s good intentions, here are 2 (5min) specimens (home computer) to generate additional thought and more demands before investing heavily into the final look. I keep hundreds of licensed typefaces on the work computer, so this example was quick and limited. G’rilla struck a design vein and he is on to something. I start with the best type choice first and working to make any other design elements marry or measure up to the type specimen. In the end you have nothing but great design elements that can be broken up to work alone (assets). Velominati does this well also. A series (family) called Museo Sans typeface does most of the work in the V identity.

  23. @G’rilla Museo Slab mainly. Tough Museo family to remember. But this is also part of typography — what does the whole family of one particular typeface do for you in the end. Merchandise, packaging, print, signage… make sure you love it.

  24. @Dan_R Meaning… “make sure that you love it.” G’rilla brought up a good ideal and that is to be more demanding.

  25. @James Does this tip from Leonard Zinn help?

    Finish at the valve.  This way you can pinch the tyre at the opposite side of the rim which allows more slack (so to speak) at the valve to get the tyre over the rim.

  26. @Deakus

    @itburns

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @Chris

    What is “Fap”?

    An example of onomatopoeia.

    I’m a bot lost too….is a FAP a bit like the ausse “dry root” i have head tell about?

    The word “FAP” followed closely by the word “FAP”, then repeated as many times as is required, refers to the sound made by onanistic pursuits.  Interestingly, the number of FAP representatives displayed in the picture above is roughly the number required to achieve the desired ends.

  27. @snoov

    Yes, and as per Lenard Zinn’s tip, it often does finish at the valve.

  28. @Pistolfromwarragul

    It’s 6.8kg because it really is that big, isn’t it?

  29. There’s a notorious Wellington bike identity who would roll up to the start of races, press their tyres with his thumb to the rim and tell them their tyres were going flat – they’d scuttle off to try and find a pump before realizing they had 120 psi in there all along. He could do press ups on his thumbs and first finger till he broke one of his thumbs doing that. Mounting conti tyres to campy rims will get your thumbs into shape for most applications.

  30. He’d press competitor’s tyres to the rim like they were flat. Grammar bites.

  31. Did it to me and I totally fell for it. Twice.

  32. @mouse

    A+1

  33. My carbon bicicletta showin’ some Gums! Had been riding some Budgetatus Neuvation wheels for a few years, now upgraded to some nice Ksyrium SuperLights. A much, much nicer riding wheelset & they look proper on such a bike as well, I think. (I’d prefer some green tires but had the blue Veloflexs on hand. And a Deda pillar is high on the list, but so far the Ritchey has done just fine but always nice to match pillar, stem, bars.) And, most importantly, a new backdrop, as I’ve moved into an awesome new house! Sometime soon I’ll build a bike shed in the backyard, can’t wait for all that space to store, work, and maybe avoid some household chores…

  34. @G’rilla

    @unversio

    I understand which word type design now! I do appreciate the suggestions. I wanted to be too careful in using the V typeset as it is great but I did not want to be seen as swiping some one else`s work. The type I displayed above is the same that I used on the “Richter” wheels. But yeah the V does look good. I am compelled to preview an idea that I have tried out on two sets of rims – one the climbing wheels for Frank’s Mt Hawkalougie ride, and another CX 50mm. Behold…

  35. And…

  36. I think that the results came out well. Of course, these went to paint before the decision to finally go with Café Roubaix on the rims.

    I am shipping the climbing wheels to Frank this week.

  37. @Ron

    My carbon bicicletta showin’ some Gums! Had been riding some Budgetatus Neuvation wheels for a few years, now upgraded to some nice Ksyrium SuperLights. A much, much nicer riding wheelset & they look proper on such a bike as well, I think. (I’d prefer some green tires but had the blue Veloflexs on hand. And a Deda pillar is high on the list, but so far the Ritchey has done just fine but always nice to match pillar, stem, bars.) And, most importantly, a new backdrop, as I’ve moved into an awesome new house! Sometime soon I’ll build a bike shed in the backyard, can’t wait for all that space to store, work, and maybe avoid some household chores…

    That will look sharp with the post. Ron, do you not have a thick layer of snow yet in Ontario? Or is this a pre-Xmas season photo?

  38. @Dan_R Good. Moving forward is a good thing too. Success is upon you. Note: the type examples were not the Velominati typeface (Museo). These were Sanchez Black and Auto 3 Black Italic.

  39. Hey, Dan! Yeah, a new post will be nice but I’m pretty happy with the bike as it is. I’d waited for a long time for new wheels and got lucky and found a great deal on these ones.

    Hmm, geography. I’m from upstate NY but now I live in NC with the VMH. Snow? It was like 20*C this weekend and going to be warmer today. I’m happy to have left my rollers behind but the summer heat and lack of four seasons aren’t that great either. Oh well, can’t have it all! I was thinking on my morning commute though that the one thing I truly cannot stand about the south is how people complain about the weather. Once it hits 10* good luck having a cookout party or getting most folks out of doors. And the complaining! “It’s cold!” No, no, it’s not. Cool does not equal cold.

    The upside is that I laugh me arse off during fall/winter riding at what other cyclists wear. I was in V-jersey and bib shorts on Saturday and saw people in full jackets, tights, overshoes, and full gloves. I’m not kidding. How can two people have internal furnaces that are that different? It’s beyond me. I do hope they look at me and for at list a second think, “Yeah, why am I dressed up like this? It is sunny and warm. What was I thinking?”

  40. @Dan_R

    I think that the results came out well. Of course, these went to paint before the decision to finally go with Café Roubaix on the rims.

    I am shipping the climbing wheels to Frank this week.

    Nice look!  and it’s great how the community helps with business ideas/branding etc.

    What’s the rim depth on the climbing wheels?  I’m intrigued by the newer 23mm Chinese rims, and thinking about a pair in a 38mm depth as all arounders….

  41. @Ron Good to see you got the wheelset sorted!

  42. Hey Nate – yup! Thanks for your help with that. A bit of chugging on the front wheel during braking, still trying to figure out if it’s a hub adjustment issue or a slight nick in the rim. In the meantime…I’ll pretend I have carbon rims and that’s what’s going on when I brake!

  43. fuckity. my pinky hit the “let’s fuck with Dan key” and I lost my post as I was writing it! here we go again…

    @unversio  Cool and thanks. I have saved the names and the jpg so I can track down the type with my decal guy!

    @Ron – I assumed from previous posts that you were from some where cold, I guess I was not completely off. The Ritchey post is great, but I was only commenting on unifying the post with Deda stem and handlebars. I use Ritchey on my CX and Mnt bikes, he has that awesome manstache for a reason.

    @teleguy57 I guess I am kinda crowd sourcing my ideas here as I see the V as the embodiment of my “Target Market,” as they say in business language. My advice with buying from China – careful. (I am not saying NO, but my local landfill has some from my own testing.) The rims I use are built in Asia by a very reputable manufacturer. Their manufacturing was recommended to me by a superior European company and I have been very happy so far. Frank’s climbing wheels were made with 24mm tubular rims and the total wheelset comes under 1kg. I like 38mm rims as all rounders. I ended my summer riding my own tubulars. So if you are in the market for some 38s and want to roder from N.America,.,..

  44. Oh yeah, Dan! Definitely from somewhere cold & snowy. I do miss winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey on ponds and such. But, I don’t miss my rollers or riding in the snow and ice. Just like with most thing, both pros and cons. I don’t miss the cold, but I do miss winter, snow and fun sports in snow. It also aggravates me that so many darn people just write off being outdoors for 2-3 months because it’s “cold.” Fuckit dude, put on a jacket and get movin’!

    Sorry for the confusion. My sister lives in Rochester, NY, just across from Ontario, but I’m sadly an Americano, not a Canuck. I should be though, as I played lacrosse for most of my life. Canada’s real national pastime!

    And yeah, nothing wrong with Ritchey at all. I had a white Ritchey stem on there that’s now on my cx bike. I’m with ya – matching is nice but I’ve got no complaints about Ritchey stuff. Heck, that pillar is going on three years old, got it used at half price and haven’t had issues with it, though two bolt posts can be a bugger to swap saddles with, makes you want a third hand.

  45. Gumwalls, I’ll drink to that!!  Veloflex Masters

  46. Just arrived in the mail

  47. And now to break ALL the rules, here’s my gumwalled ride.  (The tandem I mean)

    Davidson Tandem

    Note – pic a couple of years old.  I looked fat a fuck in that shot.

  48. @Jamie Nice gumwalls! That shop is a block from my office.

    Why cantilevers? Mini-Vs are much stronger. I imagine that it’s hard to stop a tandem, no matter what brakes you’re using.

  49. @Mclennan

    Gumwalls, I’ll drink to that!! Veloflex Masters

    I’m riding these now, fantastic tires.

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