Folks, there’s no denying it. It’s Iceman season, and we’re helping riders gear up for the biggest events of fall with the right gear.
The two biggest races of fall are Peak2Peak and the Iceman Cometh Challenge. For so many riders in northern Michigan, the two events are really the pinnacle of the season. We’ve had all summer to rack up miles, we’ve put in a few efforts at races like Mud, Sweat and Beers, Traverse City Trails Festival and Glacial Hills, and we’ve dialed in our fitness to be in perfect shape for late October and early and November. Often, the difference between a good race and a great one is the gear.
Tires are a big part of a solid race, and we’ve ridden a bit of everything over the years. One of the tires that we just keep coming back to is the Schwalbe Thunderburt. Designed with minimal rolling resistance and weight, ‘Burts have been some of our go-to tires for a couple of years. At first glance, the dimpled, nearly smooth tread pattern does make some people nervous. As a rear tire, we’ve found that having your body weight over the tire is enough, and since both Peak2Peak and Iceman are almost entirely on sand, there isn’t much to worry about.
Our favorite set-up is running Thunderburts front and rear, but there are some races where having a bit more bite up front makes sense. In that situation, we’ll often recommend going with a Rocket Ron, a tire with more tread and traction for handling in slick, wet conditions or tighter singletrack sections.
The tire itself offers up a number of options, but nearly every one is lightweight. The Addix line-up in 2.25” comes in at a crazy-light 575 grams; the 2.1” width is only 515 grams! But lightweight isn’t the only reason to grab a Burt. According to bicyclerollingresistance.com it’s one of the fastest mountain bike tires on the market, only two spots behind the top tire, Schwalbe’s Big One. It offers up just 22.3 Watts, which isn’t far behind some low-end road tires!
The key to Thunderburts is getting some miles on them before race day, so get in now and put in some big rides. You’re going to notice a huge difference, both accelerating and once you’re laying down the power on Sand Lakes Road!