Monday, November 03, 2014

Serfas HTK Vida Hybrid Tire: First Blush

My experience with bike commuting tires has focused primarily on touring tires because I want the smoothness down the middle for riding the pave but some grip on the edges for the dirt.  The Serfas HTK Vida Hybrid Tire will be my first dedicated commuter tire.  A couple of things attracted me to theses tire right off the bat:  low rolling resistance; inflation to 80 psi; and really stiff sidewalls.  The combination of these three features means these tires are going to fly!

The tread pattern is definitely more conducive to  road riding than I would imagine for dirt and the gravle but then again for all the dirt roads I have ridden with tires having a more aggressive tread pattern it never seemed like there was an actual benefit.  A post Gravel Grinder review will definitely be necessary. It will also be interesting to see how these tires handle some of the dual and singletrack I usually find myself riding from time to time.

I was a little nervous at getting wire bead tires because my past experiences have included a lot pain and frustration getting them on the rims, often resulting in broken levers and snake bite. Throwing these tires on to my Salsa Delgado rims was unbelievably fast and easy.  In fact, I went back to the label in disbelief to make sure I read it correctly because they were so easy to slip on!  I pumped up the tires to 75 psi in the front and 80 psi in the rear because when I ride to work I ride dirt roads, older paved roads with crappy surfaces and with lower front psi softens the initial bump along the way.

My first commute on the new tires was awesome.  I flew down my road a lot faster which was pretty much as I expected would happen with the higher PSI tires.  Once on the dirt road is when I noticed that a higher psi is great for pave but not so much on the gravle.  The bike seemed to bounce around a little more than usual, so much in fact, that my pannier came off the rack but I had noticed that it was loose and was in the middle of stopping so there was no harm to the contents.

Still, my two commutes this week were a great mix of conditions, cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon on Tuesday.  Warmer on Wednesday in the morning but cold and rainy Wednesday evening.  Despite the bounciness on the gravle road, the tires felt very durable and strong.  On the bumpy roads, again really strong and durable.  The one thing I noticed while riding on smoother pavement was road noise coming from the tires.  I don't know if that's good or bad, but what I do know is these tires felt great and definitely worth the money so far.

To see additional posts on this tire:  Serfas HTK Vida Hybrid Tire Review

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