Last Friday I broke a spoke on the back wheel of my road bike. Murphy’s Law #1 of broken spokes says that they will always happen on the back wheel, so you have the extra fun of removing the gear cassette to replace the spoke. But that’s not really my point.. Since I had to take the tire off the wheel, I seized the opportunity to install a new pair of Vredestein Fortezza SE road tires that I picked up at Performance Bike a couple months ago. The tires had a lot of good reviews, and the price was right, and my old tires were pretty badly worn down, so I couldn’t resist.
Mounting the tires was a mixed bag. The back tire went on easily, but I had to use my “Quick Stick” plastic tire lever to help get the last bit on the front. Never had to do that before, but it could just be that the tire was new and still needs to stretch out a bit.
My old tires were a mismatched set. A Hutchinson on the front and a Specialized “Armadillo” on the back. I ran the Hutchinson at 110psi and the Specialized at 120psi. The Vredesteins are rated at 160psi max, which is considerably higher than my old ones. I decided to try the rear at 140 and the front at 125. So I pumped them up and headed out for my first ride, a short 8 mile commute to work.
During the ride, it seemed apparent that the new tires had a lot less rolling resistance than the old ones. It seemed like I was going faster on straightaways and not getting out of the saddle as often. I didn’t really turn it loose on the downhill sections.. new tires and all that, I need to give them a couple rides before I fully trust them. At the end of the ride, I checked my computer and I couldn’t believe it.. I was almost full 1mph over my usual average speed.
This is my first set of new tires on this bike. The old ones have been on the bike since 2002, but the bike has seen only occasional use (under 500 miles/year) up till this year. But I really had no idea a new set of tires would make that much difference in overall speed. We’ll see how well they wear, etc., but they certainly seem nice after one ride.