01 March, 2007

Grand Bois Tires and Rando Rack

The Grand Bois 700c tires finally arrived and boy are they nice. I just rode a couple of miles with them, but found them very comfortable. They measure 29-30mm and look just great on a bike. They are very supple and light; I'll bet rolling resistance is really low. And unlike the 650b version, these are folding.

In case you don't know about these, they were designed by the Japanese owner of Grand Bois bicycles (there some great bikes on that site) and I's bike shop. These tires are as close to the old hand made touring tires as you'll find today. Unfortunately the first shipment is completely reserved and we won't have more for about a month. I'll go for a longer ride this afternoon and add some impressions after.

The photo below is of the new Velo Orange Rando rack. I've gotten a few e-mails asking how it mounts so I thought I'd post a photo. Though I designed it for our frames, it comes with P-clamps so it can also be mounted on bikes without the fork blade eyelets. the tang in the rear can be attached to the fender mounting boss as shown, or it can be bent up and attached to the brake bolt. Notice the four threaded eyelets for mounting lights and the fender eyelet.

I took a longer ride on the Grand Bois tires and like them even more. I think these will be the standard tires on all my bikes. They feel very light and really absorb the bumps on our potholed back roads. What I notice most is the comfort. They also feel very secure cornering. Grand Bois tires on Rigida 1622 rims with Maxi Car hubs, talk about wheel heaven; that's as good as it gets.


Anonymous said...

I recently received both the 700C and 650B versions and unfortunately the 700C is too fat and the 650B is too skinny! Actually the 700C seems like a great tire, and I was really looking forward to it, but my frame clearance is too tight by about a mm. Bummer!
I'm keeping them in case the right frame comes along. They would be great for the VO Rando.
The 650B versions are too skinny and put the BB too low on my 650B conversion, but would probably be fine for a purpose-built 650B bike. However, for me a tire that skinny sort of defeats the purpose of 650B. It would be a great tire for a 650B road bike.
Jan Heine seems cautiously optimistic about a 37-40mm 650B Grand Bois in the future. THAT would be a fabulous tire!

Anonymous said...

What pressure are you running? I'm run 45-50psi on the 700c and they're great on the rough roads 'round here.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I'm running them at about 75psi, but I weigh over 200lbs.

david_nj said...

Nice Rack!

- after a manner of speaking.

Anonymous said...

the cylindrical threaded 'braze -ons' (weld-ons) are an improvement on the hex nuts on the earlier rack.
good work.
is'nt 4 overkill though? i can see a light option on each side but..... what am i missing?
still i want one:
how much for shipping a rack to london uk - with a pair of grand bois too?
also do you have pics of the rear LED lights you cobbled together using 'old french rears' ("know what i mean nudge nudge")

Anonymous said...

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat ;-)

Anonymous said...

Say no more.

Anonymous said...

Looking at that rack with orange reflecting on underside, it reminded me of my old faded out gold pinstriping around lugs. Its hard to tell the difference between the pinstriping and rust at first glance. Gold, orange, and yellow all have that problem when old and faded details, resembling rust. Just a note to take into consideration on your strategically superior frames. For example, there may be a low cost way of localizing urethane sealant around Trademark insignia which would blend in seamlessly and always insure Velo Orange Trademark always looks good as the product it represents.

david_nj said...

I bet those tires are sweet! I had 32mm tires on my bike, and this w/e I swapped them out for 28's (the 32's just came really really close to the fenders; if anything was the slightest bit outta whack they'd rub on something). The 28's are clearly a better fit, and handle a tad more precisely, but it's really surprising how much better the 32's rode over bumpy surfaces. A 5-hour ride Saturday on the 28's was pretty brutal by comparison. And to think that for years and years I thought road bikes all took 23's.

The only thing is, I think blackwalls look a little cooler -- even on these randonneurs. One of Peter Weigle's bikes that I chanced to see a while back was set up like that, and it just looks a bit plainer. I have been using the Avocet black slicks which seem pretty nice. That being said, I am by no means a tire aficionado in particular.

Anonymous said...


No doubt, 32's are clearly superior. Too bad most bikes can't take them.

david_nj said...

What's the downside to bigger tires? I mean there must be a perfectly good reason that most racers use 23s. That's about all I ever used until a couple years ago. But the aero advantage has gotta be zilch unless you're up front, and even then it can't be much. Obviously in a time trial.

I guess the one real bummer would be climbing -- the big tires must have a lot more rotating weight, and that'd be in the worst possible place. Other than that, my vague impression -- which is prolly just psychosomatic -- is that the fatter tires may actually be faster. The gliiddde is so much better.

neil m berg said...

I've never raced seriously, so take this for what it's worth. Weight aside, I think you're correct in your assumption. I've been told that with the same weight and pressure, a small tire compresses more and has an oblong footprint, while a larger tire has more of a round footprint, which lets it roll easier. But our peleton is rift with wives' tales.

neil said...

rather "rife with wives' tales".

Anonymous said...

I think you have to have so much air pressure in smaller tires that off tangent road forces impede efficiency more unless smoother than average roads, as well as your privates. Of course I think its a conspiracy by manufacturers to feed racing image knowing they will wear out faster from road hazzards.

Running heal-toe or any athletic sport is base on smooth graceful and synergistic use of energy. But with bicycles, its the ultimate man-machine interface. For my 240+ pounds, 27" x 31.75mm is perfect for optimizing speed and long distant constant spin. But then again, I never would try any thinner tire or smaller wheel, lol. Some things are just common sense.

You smaller guys may argue and may be right for your case.

Anonymous said...

And I 'heard' Mavic Shimano wheel/hubs are made for around 180 lbs max rider weight, lol. Of course its not something that's advertised.

Joel said...

Jan Heine published an article with tire test results in his Bike Quarterly magazine a while ago.

The tests showed wider tires were faster than the skinny ones except for quick starts.

I was on the IBob forum then. A number of posts challenged Heine's test set up. An equal number or more defended them.

Heine himself said he thought the tests were sound but hoped other organizations would conduct tests of their own and publish the results.

As far as I know, none of the tire companies have taken up the challenge yet.

Anonymous said...

I had a look at the grand bois site, and I was pleased to see some of the very pretty bikes on it were outfitted with some kind of cheap stuff. One bike--impeccably outfitted with a nice front rack, Brooks saddles, &c, sported a set of Sora deraileurs. So the person who appreciates the lines and values of the franco-japanese order doesn't have to be stinking rich to own a pretty bike. Some would disagree with me, but I am willing to bet that a Sora rear mech works better, and with fewer adjustments necessary, than your average Pretty Deraileur. And if you scuff it up slipping on some ice, or pull it off with a stick while pass hunting--hey! it is only a $40 deraileur!
M Burdge

Anonymous said...

Why pay $40 for a Sora RD when you can get a near-new Ultegra for the same or less on eBay?
I almost never buy new anymore - perfect example - I recently bought a NOS XT 8 speed FD for $9 shipped on the 'Bay.

Anonymous said...

sorry. I am Canadian. That is what these sorts of things cost up here.
M Burdge

peter weigle said...

David Nj said"I guess the one real bummer would be climbing -- the big tires must have a lot more rotating weight."

David, I"ll be using the Grand Bois on my new 700c bike and can't wait to feel their plush ride. To make them "sing" I'm having a set of 28 spoke wheels built with alloy nipples and lightish rims. These should help them spin up quickly and help me out climbing.
The tires are very light for their size,, and my wheelset is really being built to psycholigically encourage me to push them harder.
I've raced on 28s before and for my 155 lbs they have always worked well.
I'm looking at this combination as a hot rod randonneur best of both worlds kind of combo, light wheels, fatter,plusher tires. I'll know more in a few weeks when the rubber hits the road.

neil m berg said...

It's always nice when a rock star of the rando world is still actually riding a bike. Enjoy the ride.

Anonymous said...

Cool, the blue bomber looks better every time I see it. Deck that baby out, and ride it into town. There's more non-French bike experts anyway, considering the odds.

Anonymous said...

How does the GB tire compare to a 32mm Non-tourguard Pasela? They are both made by Panaracer, no?
I find the Pasela to ride much better than the Pasela TG.