The original title of this post was “Jens Voigt Is A Big Fat Liar.” I changed it because that wouldn’t be fair to Mr. Voigt. Lying implies an intent to deceive and I don’t know Mr. Voigt so it is entirely possible that he honestly believes the tripe written in the Specialized Armadillo tire ad.
But he is wrong and demonstrably so.
I suffered the 8th flat of the season on a dirt road leading from the Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area. My brand new Armadillo tires lasted precisely THIRTY SIX MILES before flatting. Yippee. Jens Voigt claims he trains 18,000 kms a year IN EVERY CONDITION on Armadillos. I’m not certain what the conversion of kms to miles is, but I am pretty sure 18,000 kilometers is much much further than THIRTY SIX MILES. Jens Voigt asserted I would die before my tires did. Jens Voigt was wrong.
Since July 5, I have attempted nine rides of a distance greater than 25 miles. Only twice did I get through the ride without a mechanical failure. Twice. That’s two lost months of cycling. I figure I could have gone on at least another nine rides of over 25 miles if I wasn’t waiting for parts, hauling my bike to the shop, conducting tests, or otherwise spending my time trying to repair my bike rather than ride it as I hoped to.
I was talked into buying a hybrid because they are (allegedly) more comfortable and more durable. I was more than willing to trade speed for these other attributes. I specifically asked about the quality of the tires and was assured they were quite good. None of this has born out in practice. If I cannot ride a hybrid down a gravel road, then why bother with the hybrid? If it is going to suffer a flat 60% of the time I ride over 25 miles, then why own it? I’m easily giving up 3-5mph in pace in order to have the freedom to take the occasional off-road path and the ease of mind knowing that my tires are durable. That’s a good trade, IMHO, accept all I’m getting in this bargain is the slower ride with none of the freedom or peace of mind.
It’s time for the Crosstrail to go.
I was hoping to participate in my first organized ride in Culpeper on October 2. That’s out the window. I’ve lost two weeks of conditioning and I’ll blow another week or two fumbling about for a new ride. Compounding that is the fact that I have been on a 40+ mile ride only two times in July and August for fear of another breakdown. And yes, I suffered flats on both of these rides. And a broken spoke. I simply won’t be able to get myself together in time for a 65 mile event.
So now I’m off to put a patched tire on my bike. With any luck the patch will hold (unlike my first attempt). Then I’ll take some pics and put it on Craigslist. It’s time to turn the page.