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  1. #26
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    very interesting. would anyone mind putting calipers to the casing? curious to see how they actually measure once mounted. thanks!

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown

    According to NoTubes.com:

    ... Tall knobs on other tires create wind drag and rolling resistance slowing the rider down ...

    BB
    Wind drag? On a MTB?

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by z0s01
    I don't even know where to begin.
    don't be hatin just because I've got 2 29ers and you're still waiting on your frame. LOL!

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by one1spede
    very interesting. would anyone mind putting calipers to the casing? curious to see how they actually measure once mounted. thanks!
    Done. I'll skip the "shill" topic - be it fun, tongue in cheek, serious or what have you. I enjoy the board for the sharing of product use/testing/knowledge/experience. 'Nuff said.

    The Crow in 29" format has just been released. Mine arrived via UPS today and I took the birds out for their initial flight on the Dos this afternoon.

    I wanted to cover the full gamut of caliper measurements, so I mounted up the Crow (tubed) on the narrowest rim I own (Mavic Speed City and Open Pro's at 19m) and the widest rim I own (Salsa Delgado Disc at 29mm). As you can imagine - the wider rim wins. The caliper measures the Crow casing at 50mm wide when mounted on the Delgado Disc rim. It measures 47mm wide mounted on the Speed City and Open Pro rims. Pretty much the same as the Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0's measure on those rims.

    Forget the shill - why was I, or rather am I interested in these tires?

    XC racing while saving rotational weight led me to these tires. Riding on the specific Iowa trails which are hard packed clay when dry in the summer does not require a ton of knobbies here, so although the Crow may cause others to laugh - it's a realistic solution for the terrain I face. Not too many rocks to deal with here in Iowa, so something that rolls fast, has enough volume to handle roots and rolls makes me happy. Exi's, XR's, Nano's all work very well in this midwestern state. I figured the Crow would be worth a try to see how it adds to my tire collection and offer a lighter weight solution..

    Today I replaced the kevlar beaded WTB Nanoraptors with the Crow to try them out. I flew 'em tubed in this test as the Crow can fly either way - tubed or tubeless.

    Here are the numbers to show the weight change:

    Front Nano - 666 grams changed to Crow at 504 grams
    Front Bonty 29" tube - 204 grams changed to Kenda 26" tube at 148 grams

    Rear Nano - 618 grams changed to Crow at 474 grams
    Rear Bonty 29" tube - 202 grams changed to Kenda 26" tube at 144 grams

    Total grams saved = 420 grams (.9259 pounds)

    How did the Crows ride?

    I took them for their virgin ride with 35 psi up front and 37 in the rear as a starting point (that's where I have been riding my Nano's). I will use these tires in dry conditions for XC racing in the state series where I live. Conditions and soil where I ride are ideal for the Crow and the Nano's - unless it has been raining a lot.

    As expected and based on the weight of the tires, the Crows rode very fast and light. I would have to say they have very similar handling traits in terms of feel and grip to the Nanoraptors on the same trails I ride and train on daily. But the weight savings is noticed right away. They have a tad lless volume than the Nano's, but still provide plenty of cush to handle the roots where I ride. Having experimented with the XR 1.8's - I can say that they did not provide enough volume to be so cushioned for roots at the psi I wanted to run. I have to air the XR 1.8's down to get enough cush to tolerate them on roots at speed. The Crows trump the XR 1.8's in both cushion and weight. The XR 1.8's are 30 - 60 grams heavier and the casing is 6mm less in width than the Crows.

    I tried to break the Crows loose on the climbs this afternoon and was only successful at breaking the rear loose one time while going over a railroad tie as I cranked hard on the rear wheel while ascending a staircase made of gravel and railroad ties placed every 10 or so feet. It's a 200 yard climb I do and the Nano's usually break loose on the gravel if I crank too hard, but the Crows didn't break loose on the gravel. I was riding in very dry conditions. I am able to break the Nanos loose much easier on loose terrain ascents, but the Crows were not breaking loose on the same climbs. That surprised me considering their very low knobbies. I'm sure experimenting with psi could fine tune both tires for me.

    However, while descending, I was able to break the rear tire loose a little bit easier than the Nanos on the more technical descents at high speed. Only broke loose for a brief second as I quickly scrubbed speed a couple of times, so I will have to play with the psi and make sure my weight is back over the rear wheel. Something to really dial in and figure out before Sunday's race.

    The immediate positives of the Crow are on the climbs and acceleration where I found I was able to use a different gear than usual. Hopefully, it is not just a placebo effect or new toy effect, but rather due to the rotational weight savings and the improved rolling resistance . I bit into all my usual corners and tried to break the front tire loose. No can do on the trails I raid every day. It held. The more I leaned into the corners and tried, the more the bike just carved through the corners. Held on gravel, packed clay singletrack, grass and pavement. I came into one 90 degree corner a little quicker than I anticipated and nothing broke loose, but I felt like something was about to happen - so my line went a little wide on the turn. I have no idea how long the tread will last, but we will see if these tires wear quickly or last enough to make them worth the $$$. I really am looking forward to running them tubeless. Running them tubed seems to be a very worthwhile setup for consideration on my type of terrain.

    It's obviously not a tire for everyone's needs, but in dry conditions and for XC racing on packed dirt singletrack - I think these tires will find their target market. I will try them out tubeless which will also be my first tubeless experience. For now, they are on the Delgado Discs where I will race them tubed on Sunday (unless it rains and I will run other tires).

    BB

    Various photos show weights, girth of casing, mounted up on the Dos, etc....
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    Last edited by BruceBrown; 06-27-2006 at 07:42 PM.

  5. #30
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    2 more shots of the Crows mounted up on my Dos...
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  6. #31
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    Thanks for report!

    Mine should be here Tuesday and I will be running them tubeless on ztr olympic rims. They should work well for trails around here as well since our "rock gardens" are made of tree roots.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by POG
    Mine should be here Tuesday and I will be running them tubeless on ztr olympic rims. They should work well for trails around here as well since our "rock gardens" are made of tree roots.
    I look forward to your report on running them tubeless. I bet the grip is much improved in the 20 - 25 psi range.

    BB

  8. #33
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    Nice objective review. Thanks. Good luck on Sunday!
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  9. #34
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    I know its supposed to be a light weight

    but if anyone actually tries these on rocky (sharp rocks), dusty, or muddy conditions, could you please report back.

    I seriously doubt that these are going to be like the Exi's that I like so much and perhaps shame on me to even want to compare the two, but I would like to know if they work better than I might expect in the conditions I describe.

    It is a good looking tire for hardpack racing conditions IMO, but am I dead on correct to think that the sidewalls are pretty exposed, and cornering in slick, muddy or dusty conditions would appear difficult?

    I am not attacking these things...I am sure they have their place(s), I just think some discussion of their limitations would be nice.

    Thanks
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  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    It measures 47mm wide mounted on the Speed City and Open Pro rims. Pretty much the same as the Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0's measure on those rims.

    Having experimented with the XR 1.8's - I can say that they did not provide enough volume to be so cushioned for roots at the psi I wanted to run. I have to air the XR 1.8's down to get enough cush to tolerate them on roots at speed. The Crows trump the XR 1.8's in both cushion and weight. The XR 1.8's are 30 - 60 grams heavier and the casing is 6mm less in width than the Crows.
    BB - Kind of off topic, but I have some sizing questions for you. I am still searcing for the perfect CrossCheck tire for all terrain. I can fit the 2.0 Big Apples mounted to Mavic T520 rims in the frame and fork, but just barely, and those tires don't provide the traction I need in the dirt.

    You say the Crows are basically the same size as the BAs and the 1.8 XRs have a 6mm smaller casting, but you didn't mention the knobs (may not matter?). I am hoping to run either the Crows or the 1.8 XRs on my CC. Based on this information - which tires, if either, do you think I can fit?

    Thanks -

    LP

    PS - The Willits is built and it turned out great. The wife has about 20 miles on it and her main impression on the easy singletrack that we rode was..."This thing get's going faster than my old bike" She took 2 downhills that I don't remember her riding in the past, and its been nearly a year since she was on a MTB. Good stuff... Thanks again for that.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanpope
    BB - Kind of off topic, but I have some sizing questions for you. I am still searcing for the perfect CrossCheck tire for all terrain. I can fit the 2.0 Big Apples mounted to Mavic T520 rims in the frame and fork, but just barely, and those tires don't provide the traction I need in the dirt.

    You say the Crows are basically the same size as the BAs and the 1.8 XRs have a 6mm smaller casting, but you didn't mention the knobs (may not matter?). I am hoping to run either the Crows or the 1.8 XRs on my CC. Based on this information - which tires, if either, do you think I can fit?

    Thanks -

    LP

    PS - The Willits is built and it turned out great. The wife has about 20 miles on it and her main impression on the easy singletrack that we rode was..."This thing get's going faster than my old bike" She took 2 downhills that I don't remember her riding in the past, and its been nearly a year since she was on a MTB. Good stuff... Thanks again for that.
    Yo! Where are the pictures of the Willits? Get 'em posted sir! Making me wait is a Glad it turned out and your wife is starting to get used to it.

    I have 2 pictures below of the XR 1.8 mounted on a 19mm wide rim (that's the exterior measurement of the MavicSpeed City and the Open Pro rims are about 20mm). As you can see, the casing is about 40mm wide and the knobs are about 44-45mm wide. The other picture shows the Crow is right at 47mm (20 psi) on the SpeedCity (19mm exterior rim width). My Big Apple 2.0's are currently mounted on the 20mm wide Mavic Open Pro rims. They measure 47mm in width. So I have to assume the this is about as close to the Crows as it gets since they measure 47mm on the SpeedCity rims.

    For reference, my ACX 2.2's measure 51mm width on my Dyads, the IRC Notos are 51mm on my Bontrager Super Stock disc wheels and the Crows are a hair over 50mm on my Salsa Delgado disc rims.

    All that said, it sounds like the XR 1.8's would fit on your CC and give you the traction you need in the dirt. Again, I don't think any of us know about the wear characteristics of the Crows yet enough to be recommending them for riding on pavement. I know the XR's have enough tread to spend time on the pavement, yet offer plenty of traction in the dirt. Your call, but the rubber on the Crow feels and looks like it would wear rather quickly on pavement to me.

    BB
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  12. #37
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    My 2.0 Big Apples on Mavic MA3 (20mm) rims are 44.5-45mm and fit the Cross-Check pretty well. No rubbing I know of.

    The ultimate front tire for a CC in terms of grip may be the rare Schwalbe Black Shark 1.85's I have. I should have bought more than three. 38-39mm casing, and 45mm on the knobs. I've not ridden them on the CC yet, just on 29"ers for muddy cross races where I thought grip was all. Really slow rolling, but I was able to close really big gaps in the slippery stuff.

    Worth trying : 1.9 Schwalbe Black Jacks. Pretty thick bikes for sporty trekking bikes, but not quite 29"-worthy. I've never taken measurements, but on the normally 23-24mm trekking bike rims, they looked to be in the 47-48mm range. It's a good tread, and won't a total waste of cash if they end up just not fitting. The 1.6 Black jacks are awesome muddy grass 'cross course tires. 26"x2.1 and 2.25" versions are popular for XC and Marathon racing over here, when it's less than dry.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    - When used tubeless, rolling resistance is nearly eliminated. The Crow will roll as fast at 20 psi as it does at 40 psi. Rolling resistance will not come into play until pressures drop as low as 13 psi
    So, No Tubes has found a cure for mechanical friction? What's next, gravity?

    Seems like an interesting rear tire for hardpack and racing - very scary, to me, as a front.

    Viva el semi-slick! Question though - why not push the sparse knobs to the side like a traditional semi-slick? They seem pointless running down the center. That could result in 100% elimination of rolling resistance!
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  14. #39
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    They also make overbuilt 29" rims, for freeriding, in 32h, so everything is possible.
    Zero rolling resistance would cut 50-60% of all energy used in XC racing.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by unit
    but if anyone actually tries these on rocky (sharp rocks), dusty, or muddy conditions, could you please report back.

    I seriously doubt that these are going to be like the Exi's that I like so much and perhaps shame on me to even want to compare the two, but I would like to know if they work better than I might expect in the conditions I describe.

    It is a good looking tire for hardpack racing conditions IMO, but am I dead on correct to think that the sidewalls are pretty exposed, and cornering in slick, muddy or dusty conditions would appear difficult?

    I am not attacking these things...I am sure they have their place(s), I just think some discussion of their limitations would be nice.

    Thanks
    You are absolutely right. The discussion needs to include the limitations.

    And I tried to give a balanced quick review of my one ride on them, but it's hard to say without more testing of the tire in other conditions. I wouldn't consider them in slick and muddy conditions. Then again, I wouldn't consider the Nano's in those conditions and managed to complete a race on them as the skies opened up and changed the terrain into grease. Who would have thunk it. I would consider the Crows in dusty conditions (northern California trails for example). Especially if one was running tubeless and able to run them in the 20's for psi. With the trail conditions and thorns in northern CA - I think they would be a nice choice. MBA rode them tubeless in conditions that including "dusty" on the Paragon. They might be a pretty nice tire on slickrock out in Moab as well.

    I do know that I will not be taking them as a tire of choice on rides in the Black Hills next month where one can just look at a rock and get a flat tire or even a sidewall tear. Sparrow has reported - if memory serves me correct - that the terrain in the Black Hills easily eats through Exi's. I've ridden XR's, ACX's and Exi's in the Black Hills and only got one sidewall tear in my rear XR 2.2, but that shale rock and some other exposed sediment layers in the Black Hills are nasty, gnarly sharp stuff that challenge a lot of tires. There are some trails and I'm sure race conditions in the hills where they would be fine, but for everyday use - it could get expensive. I'll be on my Sugar with the largest volume tires I own (XR's) for the Black Hills fun.

    Also keep in mind that these Crow tires are on the smaller side of volume - both in width and height. 2mm narrower than the Nano's and about 2-3mm shorter than tires like the Nano, ACX, IRC Notos, etc... . I won't sell them short yet, but know that rider skill certainly contributes to how a tire performs. Not all tires fit every situation - nor do all riders match with specific tires. I think riding them tubeless at a lower psi (we'll be getting reports on that by the end of next week) may broaden the use of these tires.

    However, strong points certainly do include hardpack dry XC racing conditions. That was the motivating factor for my purchase as I ride XC on Iowa hardpack and shaving the weight and adding the ability to run tubeless to handle the thorns interested me greatly.

    The good news is that our tire choices are expanding and even more makes/models are on their way this season.

    BB

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    They also make overbuilt 29" rims, for freeriding, in 32h, so everything is possible.
    Zero rolling resistance would cut 50-60% of all energy used in XC racing.
    Saw those rims at MC's shop. Interesting but I'll wait until my Rynos perish.

    50-60%? Where is that figure from? At what point does the effort to eliminate rolling resistance begin to eliminate traction? Seems to me that there is a high correlation there so you can't have it both ways. It comes down to the surface you plan to ride on.

    I'm going to get me one for the rear wheel to check it out firsthand.

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  17. #42
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    Thanks for the report

    Hey, thanks for the ride report. I think they look great, for an XC race tire. Here in Illinois we have firm or hard packed dirt and not many rocks and I'd like to roll a little faster and save a little weight. They sound perfect for this. Will have to line me up a pair

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastskiguy
    Hey, thanks for the ride report. I think they look great, for an XC race tire. Here in Illinois we have firm or hard packed dirt and not many rocks and I'd like to roll a little faster and save a little weight. They sound perfect for this. Will have to line me up a pair
    Well, I raced them today in a 3 lap sport race. Twisty singletrack with some loose dirt corners and climbs, several wooden bridge crossings, very few roots, several logs to bunny hop and a gravel road climb. Tires did not break loose one time during the race and I was pleased with how they rode for the entire race. Great on climbs and bit into the corners on descents with no worries. I never had to swing wide on any tight corner as I felt glued to the trail. Very agile and nimble coming out of tight corners and areas where you need to pump on the cranks to quickly accelerate. Much more so than any other 29"er tire for off road that I own (Nano's, XR's, Exi's, ACX's, Notos and Klaws).

    These are visually not huge volume tires. The lack of anything outside of the stubby knobbies makes the visual appear as a negative. Shiggy will have to run is volume index on the #'s to see where they stack up. After being on the Delgado rims for 2 days, the width measurement at 30 psi has expanded to 51mm and the height is 47mm. 51 x 47 = 23.97 volume index. Now that is on a Delgado Disc rim which is 29mm wide on the outside. I could run the measurements on one of my Dyad rims at 24mm to match Shiggy's measurements and boost the psi to 40 to match his testing.

    I do know that standing next to a rider on a Paragon at the race who had Salsa Delgado Disc rims mounted up with Ignitors (which looked absolutely HUGE), the Crows were meek in their visual volume appearance. Yet, I wasn't wanting for more cushion out on the trail as I felt I had plenty. Ran them tubed today at 30 psi on the Delgado Disc rims. As I said, I was really pleased with how they performed and the conditions were very similar to what you describe across the river in Illinois.

    BB

  19. #44
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    Thanks for the report Bruce!
    How about rolling resistanc, the main deal in cycling, how would you compare them to your fastest rolling tire?

  20. #45
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    excellent report!!!!!!!!!!

    so you feel that they are faster rolling than a nano? i have the karma and while lighter
    it does not maintain momentum like the nano

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    Those things make a Karma look positively meaty!

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Thanks for the report Bruce!
    How about rolling resistance, the main deal in cycling, how would you compare them to your fastest rolling tire?
    First of all - I am only comparing them on absolute dry conditions as I haven't had the chance to take the Crows out in softer dirt. We're having a drought here in Iowa and things are packed, dry and super fast making any tire roll like the wind at the moment. And I have only run them tubed up to this point.

    Rolling resistance wise - or rather, lack of rolling resitance wise - the Crows roll up and down hills about as well as anything I've been on since 2002. That's subjective opinion and nothing I can measure outside of feel - so don't take it as a "shill". Just trying to address your question. Of the tires I own (ACX, XR's, Exi's, Klaws, Nano's, Notos) - I have to compare the Crows best with the XR 1.8's and the Nanos in terms of how they roll. The Crows win the ticket in terms of lack of rolling resistance for a XC race tire. They feel somewhat similar to me as the Nanos (if I had to choose one of the tires I already own and have ridden), yet have much quicker acceleration out of tight turns, going up hills and coming off of technical root/log sections. I'm still shaking my head at the grip they provide considering the iddy biddy knobs. Again - I'm talking about dry conditions.

    This is all subjective, but I found myself really holding my line well on singletrack yesterday in the race. Sometimes with the heavier Nano's or Exi's, I feel like the momentum of the heavy rotation will get me to almost steer off course and be fighting with the edge of the singletrack at times as I weave and bob through the tight numerous linked turns. Maybe it was simply yesterday's singletrack, but I didn't feel any of that fight. They went right where I leaned and held their line which made drinking from the water bottle a lot easier as I could one hand steer when I needed to for a drink.

    I did, however, feel the front wheel wander a little more on the steepest climb of the day than my Nano does climbing granny grunt stuff. Could be due to the weight difference between 666 grams and 474 grams - or it could be I was just having trouble grunting up a slightly off camber climb with one guy on my tail and somebody's rear wheel right in front of me.

    I'll be happy to read and hear other people's impressions of the Crow as mine may differ vastly from others. I'll probably try the Ignitors as well as the upcoming Panaracer tire when it comes to market. Can one have too many tires?

    BB

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    The man in the brown truck just dropped mine..............472 grams.

  24. #49
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    Bruce, thanks for the review. Super-informative.

    The Crow sounds like it fills a similar niche to the Karma, with the Karma gaining the edge in wet conditions and the Crow the better choice for dry, especially loose. Anxious to hear opinions from anyone who's run both tires.
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  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by big & single
    Those things make a Karma look positively meaty!
    Really? What's the volume index of the Karma's on the Delgado Disc? I need to mount one of the Crows up on one of my Dyads to get the "official" volume index to mate with Shiggy's excellent specifications data.

    A lot of the "look" is indeed a visual because of the lack of knobs. I think if I shaved most all of the knobs off of a IRC Notos or a Bontrager ACX - I would get a similar visual. The lack of that extra eighth to quarter of an inch of tread that is missing on the Crow alters the visual enough to say "wait a minute, where's the meat?". Kind of like we all look once we lose our hair as we age. The visual changes and the wife says "where's the meat - I mean hair?".

    BB

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