Wes Gadd relates:
>Gee, I'm bummed to hear all the negative reports about Tire Alert. The base tape issue is what initially concerned me, as this was one thing that I've always had trouble with when fixing sewups myself. I've tried both tire cement (as recommended by some sources) and latex solution, but the tape always seems to pull away in the area of the repair. SIGH. Wired-ons are looking better all the time. For example, I picked up a shred of glass today<
I heard that these guys put new tubes in every tire, re-sew the casing, and re-glue new base-tape, the result being a tire that's considerably *slacker* on the rim than before. This may or may not be desireable (makes it easier to put on, probably), but it offends my sense of order: sew-ups should fit nice and tight on the rim--totally subjective and probably non-functional, but one man's opinion.
I continue to use sew-ups on all my bikes with excellent results. I've probably had one flat in 1500 miles over about the last year (I don't ride as much as I'd like, or should, I admit). Maybe I'm just lucky though. I do wish those Taiwan and/or Indonesian Clement Criteriums had better base-tape glue-up, mine are all peeling off after a year or two...latex adhesive for carpets, even full-thickness, not dilute, isn't strong enough to keep the tire on the base-tape...I'm about to go to Home Depot and see what kind of fun toxic substance I can buy that won't dissolve those delicate latex tubes within the casing, but will hold the tire on the base-tape...
It's worth remembering that sew ups, like alloy freewheels, were meant to be used up and thrown away, and over fairly short distances/time-periods. They're racing products, every one, even the CdM's, imho. Of course, things like the PR and the CdM are great for touring, but one has to have a few on hand, or a good repair kit, if on a long jaunt.
Otoh, I have an Ultek Hammerhead that probably has well over 1000 miles on it, and still going strong, no flats. The tread is nearly worn out. Great tire. Too bad it's not made anymore.
On a related subject, the recent thread about the NR derailleur and it's shifting precision, or lack thereof, echos an earlier thread I think I started a couple of years ago...in the aftermath of that one, I realized that the NR der, while designed to accomodate a maximum of 26 teeth on the freewheel, is really a racing derailleur, and was never intended to be other than that. Use an NR der with a 53/45 front and a 14-19 or 14-21 rear, and it shifts quite nicely. The Cyclone still shifts a little more precisely, especially with close-ratio clusters, but the difference between the two on racing clusters is not that big. Bikes like Mondia Specials may have come with 14-28 freewheels, and NR ders, and I myself, like many others, made that work, but the NR der is not the best mech for that job.