Monday, May 4, 2015

Jackalope. Mythical Wimp?

I don't often engage in product reviews here. There are a few reasons for that. First, I don't like the conventions that generally go along with product reviews. Second, I am often three or four revs behind whatever is current on any given scene because I am cheap. Third, I generally find product reviews a bit boring.

However, when I have something to say about a product, I figure I best say it. Or something like that.

Back in late March I had some issues with my MuleFut rims on my Trek Farley 6. As part of the warranty, the shop replaced the rear wheel with a Bontrager Jackalope setup.

And it was good.

Until it wasn't.

I rode the bike the first night I got it back on some single track set up with a Nate tire and tubed. All's well. I got home from the ride that evening, popped off the Nate and mounted up a Devist8er 2 UL tubeless. It was such a piece of cake that I couldn't believe it. Pumped it up with a floor pump. Set the bead no problem. Held air overnight. Threw some sealant in it the next day and boom. We're good to go. Headed out to Hunter Creek, a creek that leads to the Knik River and, in the winter, to the Knik Glacier. The creek bed is glacially carved and there are a lot of big rocks. 6 to 9 inch diameter. Challenging riding. I've beat the shizza out of myself and my bikes on this terrain many times. Never had an issue.

This day, though, I did. At some point a rock hit the sidewall of the rim and put a nice and distinct bend in the bead. I later, while riding at low pressure, hit an edge of snow at that precise section of the rim and dumped what little air pressure I had left in the wheel. No biggie, pumped back up to 15 or so and continued on. Good times.

I didn't think too much of the dent in the rim. I was riding hard and there were a couple of good pings from hitting the rim on rock. I was bummed that it bent, particularly given that my Pugs with Large Marge had taken a lot of much more massive hits with no ill effects and even the MuleFut, before going tits up, had rolled similar terrain with no ill effects. But, okay. My bad.

I didn't think much of it until just recently. On Saturday I had to do some maintenance to the bike, so I decided, for some reason, to switch tires on the Jackalope. I mounted up a different tire, put in sealant, and called it good. When I did this, I had to clean up the rim and in doing so did a bit of an inspection of the wheel. All was good, minus the dent I knew about.

The next day I rode the bike on paved bike path to the local high school to watch my son run a race. After the race, I went to head home and as I was climbing a short incline on grass the rear tire blew the bead. I chalked it up to the tire being of a brand/model that in early iterations had some issues with floppy beads, so no biggie.

However, when I got home and remounted a different tire I noticed that there was yet another dent in the rim and the wheel was out of true. WTF? When the bead blew I didn't hit anything, I stopped riding immediately and walked it the rest of the way up the hill. How the heck did I suddenly get a huge dent in the rim?

In my mind it seems like the rim is a bit weak.

This has me concerned. I am hard on stuff and if I have a rim that  bends like a piece of wet cardboard with the lightest of knocks, it's not going to bode well for my long term satisfaction with the product.

That said, the hub seems to be good quality and until the rim itself bent, the tubeless set up was easy-peasy.

And the mat black looks pretty boss.