“Rough ‘n Ready”

I love the fact that I’m running big Paselas on the LHT.  I was convinced to go this route after reading a fair amount about how the wider 650B tires were improving the rides of converted bikes, and then seeing Bone’s Trek with the Paselas on it.  They have great traction, hold up well, and they are oh so comfortable on pavement.

But there have been a few times where I got myself into situations where I felt the Paselas were overtaxed.  There were some stretches on the Stony Creek Trail where washed out areas had been filled in with coarse stone; there are a few spots on the Lebanon Valley RT where tree roots make up the surface; and there have been some really muddy pieces on the Heritage RT in the spring where I felt that I should have had a mountain bike with knobbies rather than a touring bike.

I’ve toyed with the concept of an Adventure Tourer, even putting knobbies on the X bike for a spell.  My thoughts have ranged from picking up a used LHT frame, to a Salsa Fargo, to a Soma Saga; and most recently dreaming about a Bombadill.  So I think it was only a matter of time before I figured out that I pretty much had the components I needed to cobble together a set of wheels and tires that could probably handle the rougher stuff and still fit on the LHT.

Behold!  These are the original Alex wheels that came with the bike, along with the Kenda 42c knobbies that I used to have on the X bike.  The rear fits right into the 135mm spacing, and my fender clearance is at least 1/2″ – not the best, but enough to let a good portion of mud through.  Clearance is tightest around the chainstays at the bottom bracket, but nothing to get excited about.

All it took was for me to use up my reserve supply of tubes, and pick up another cassette for the X bike, since that one (11×34) matches what I already have on the LHT.  So now I can swap out the “road” wheelset for the “trail” wheelset in about three minutes.  Since these rims all have the same outside diameter, I don’t have to make any changes for brake clearance.  And if I absolutely had to have the stronger wheelset, along with dynamo lighting (like if I were to do a multi-day tour on the Great Allegheny Passage), it takes about 10 minutes to change the tires…without tools.

It certainly isn’t going to handle like a full suspension Kona, but between the tires and the stump pulling gears, it does have a Billy Goat feel to it.  and it’s pretty knarly for an LHT to boot.


7 responses to ““Rough ‘n Ready”

  1. That pic you linked is actually of my Trek with Schwalbe Marathons on it.

    Here it is with Paselas on it.

  2. Whoops. I saw your Trek yesterday. Ted had it up in the stand working on the crankset. ‘hope the fix isn’t too painful.

  3. Just putting this out here guys……anybody interested in buying my Surly Cross-Check?

    I have no idea what it’s worth but if any of you guys are interested-let me know and I’ll shoot y’all some pics.

    With my arthritis…..it’s been sitting in the garage for the past 2 years- I’d like to see it get some use and maybe see it on some blog posts….

  4. George, what size is it?

  5. The LHT looks fantastic with the knobby tires on it. Ready for anything. I’ve contemplated doing the same thing, but so far have not been able to bring myself to spring for the extra set of tires. Since I have a mountain bike too, it’s not pressing. I don’t have a spare wheelset, so it would be a little inconvenient.

  6. I picked them up during one of Nashbar’s clearance weekends for $5 each. Like the Paselas, they also have a woven sidewall; although the ride isn’t as good. If I were going on an extended off road tour, I probably wouldn’t use those rims, but swap the tires out with the 32/36 spoke touring wheels I normally use. Fortunately both these and the Paselas can be changed quickly without tools. The Schwalbes, on the other hand, may never come off the rims they’re currently on.

  7. Hey Bone…..it is either a 54 or a 56….I can’t remember. It was one of the first 500 made….has a quill stem and is painted blue instead of powder coated.

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