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  1. #1
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    Firecracker 50 Chain Lube / Tire Review

    Firecracker was a good proving ground for tires and chain lube yesterday. Ridiculously fast and rocky downhills and lots of on course flat tires. Lots of mud and water.

    I tried Chain-L lube for the 2nd time. After first lap, chain was squeaking badly like it hadn't been lubed in a month. Surprisingly, this lube does not seem to hold up in wet conditions. I can't figure that out since it is thicker than hell.

    I was grabbing my water bottles for my 2nd lap and someone offered me a blue bottle of Rock n Roll lube. This lube held up perfectly for 2nd lap. Considering I just applied right to chain in about 20 seconds, I was pretty impressed.

    There was a lot of tire carnage on the course. I ran the Specialized Captains Armadillo Elite at 25psi rear, 20 psi front. No problems. It did a great job in the short muddy sections. Tracked great on the scary downhills. Great braking when I needed it. Not the lightest tire, but it seems to roll fine and does well in corners. I ran ignitors last year, think I like the captains better.

    Did anyone else have a lube that held up the whole 50 miles? A tire that worked well?

  2. #2
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    The lube I used, Fishing Line Dry, was useless. I ran Specialized Controls tubeless. I weigh about 175 and keep about 30 psi and the tires I thought did great also.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcoady View Post
    Firecracker was a good proving ground for tires and chain lube yesterday. Ridiculously fast and rocky downhills and lots of on course flat tires. Lots of mud and water.

    I tried Chain-L lube for the 2nd time. After first lap, chain was squeaking badly like it hadn't been lubed in a month. Surprisingly, this lube does not seem to hold up in wet conditions. I can't figure that out since it is thicker than hell.

    I was grabbing my water bottles for my 2nd lap and someone offered me a blue bottle of Rock n Roll lube. This lube held up perfectly for 2nd lap. Considering I just applied right to chain in about 20 seconds, I was pretty impressed.

    There was a lot of tire carnage on the course. I ran the Specialized Captains Armadillo Elite at 25psi rear, 20 psi front. No problems. It did a great job in the short muddy sections. Tracked great on the scary downhills. Great braking when I needed it. Not the lightest tire, but it seems to roll fine and does well in corners. I ran ignitors last year, think I like the captains better.

    Did anyone else have a lube that held up the whole 50 miles? A tire that worked well?

    I love all the Rock n Roll products. Their Blue is great and the gold is good too.

    How can you run 20psi or even 25psi in tire? Do your sidewalls not fold on you while descending and/or cornering? I assume we are talking tubeless, correct? I've got to run bare minimum high, high 20s or low 30 psi.

    I was always impressed with Specialized tires back in the day, circa 97'ish so it's good to hear they still have some good rubber.

  4. #4
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    I didn't do the FC50 this year but 2 years ago I ran Dumonde Tech and it worked well for the entire race. No problems and French Gulch was pretty wet that year, though I bet it was a little wetter out there this year.
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  5. #5
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    I use Pro Link Gold. Shifting was smooth and positive all race but there was a serious amounts of squeeking and creaking on the second lap.

    I used Armadillo Elites also - both tubeless w 2 cups Stan's (fresh two weeks ago) and aired up to 28psi. I am about 170lbs. Captain 2.2 on the front, Purgatory 2.2 on the back. Very happy with the tires. No concerns on the fat rocky downhills and great traction and rolled smooth. I did notice some drag on the new section of trail after we came down to Sally Barber mine and took two fast rights onto single track. I could feel the tires digging into the soft trail way more than needed.

  6. #6
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    I ran Rock n Roll blue, properly applied. Lasted awesome thru the 1st lap and about 3/4 thru the 2nd lap. I've been running R n R blue for years now, great stuff.

    Tires? Panaracer Rampage 29er front at 35lbs tubeless and Maxxis Ignitor EXO 29 rear, tubeless. Great traction, no flats and I was able to pass all the xc monkeys in the scree on the sides of the road that weren't well worn.

    Didn't help me though, I'm still out of shape and slow
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  7. #7
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    Lube: Finish line dry- sounded like a cage of pissed squirrels by end of 1 lap (I was 2nd lap of a coed team).

    Tire: Schwalbe Racing Ralphs (29er) tubeless, 21 psi front, 22 rear on ztr crest. Tires ran well, couple sketchy spots but overall, very happy with them

  8. #8
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    Didn't race Firecracker 50; but the past 2 seasons I have been using Dumonde Tech Original. http://www.dumondetech.com/dumonde/products/bicycle-2/

    Held up in every possible condition racing in the Northeast (think constant mud) & out here in the front range it's held up well in the dry conditions (worked great for entire bailey hundo). No gunk build up of any kind usually. Tried the pro-link and get a squeaky chain quick.

    I'm never at fear of forgetting to lube my chain as it just always seems to be good to go (though I do apply regularly & clean my chain, etc)

    Tires, I dunno haven't ridden that stuff. But the flat tire fairy can leave at any time as I keep blowing through tires no matter what I'm riding.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crit Rat View Post
    I love all the Rock n Roll products. Their Blue is great and the gold is good too.

    How can you run 20psi or even 25psi in tire? Do your sidewalls not fold on you while descending and/or cornering? I assume we are talking tubeless, correct? I've got to run bare minimum high, high 20s or low 30 psi.

    I was always impressed with Specialized tires back in the day, circa 97'ish so it's good to hear they still have some good rubber.
    Yes, tubeless. I weigh about 160 and run a 2.2 tire with a pretty tough casing. I put a bit more air in if I'm riding a hard tail. I did trying going as low as 20lbs in the rear and bent a rim.

  10. #10
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    I hate Pro Link Gold-- wears parts fast and is gone in 1/2 a ride. I have have had good luck with Dumonde and great luck with Squirt. Squirt is fantastic, works well in dry and wet. Great for soco trails.

  11. #11
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    Tri-flow and not a squeak the whole race, but maybe running singlespeed disqualifies my opinion. The chain was so caked with mud I don't see how any lube would run clean in those conditions.

    29r Ardent 2.4 front Exiwolf 2.3 rear, both ghetto tubeless on a rigid frame (24 psi). I was waiting for a blowout on those final descents but somehow they held. Heard a hiss and felt stans spray my leg from the front tire at one point while riding the sharp scree but it sealed immediately.

    Now if only my cramping hamstrings had held up as well as my gear!

  12. #12
    zrm
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    So I'm curious to hear what folks thought of the changes to the course. More fun? Less fun? Harder, Easier?
    My thought was that from an effort and climbing point of view it was easier even if the course was longer. From a technical point of view, while you lost some baby head jeep road, you gained some rocky, narrow single track and one shaky semi sketch bridge (I wonder if anyone took the plunge onto the willy bags)

  13. #13
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    A little OT, but for those that GPS'd the course, what kind of elevation gain did you get? I got 7,024 feet over 54 miles.

    ZRM - This was my first FC50, but I thought the course was great. With the exception of Little French there was never a meed to dismount the bike. The bridge was fun, but I'm glad there wasn't too much of that on the second lap! I was wishing I had narrower bars for some of those singletrack descents. There were many scarred trees at about handlebar height on the second lap.

  14. #14
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    Been using 5w30 synthetic motor oil for the last couple years. If you wipe it off the chain after applying it doesn't collect dirt as bad as you'd think. Parts wear is much lower and it lasts longer than any chain lube I've tried. It requires cleaning the dt a little more often but it's not much difference vs a typical wet lube like Dumonde Tech, which is my favorite purpose made chain lube. Stuff like Pro Link Gold is a joke... that stuff seems like it was designed to wear drivetrain parts and requires application every 5 miles.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    So I'm curious to hear what folks thought of the changes to the course. (I wonder if anyone took the plunge onto the willy bags)
    I only raced it once before, back in 04. I thought this years course was a little easier. I liked some of the babyhead descents from the ago course, but the singletrack bits were good. Seemed like less 2 way traffic as well. All in all, a little easier, but not noticeably different.
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  16. #16
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    I liked the course a lot better this year. Removing that big climb before Little French made a huge difference. I liked the bridge and the tight singletrack leading up to it. The extra distance and singletrack before Aid station 3 was fun too.

    There was a ton of tire carnage out there but everybody I saw on the side of the road was changing tubes. Tubeless was the way to go. I ran Finish Line wet lube and it held up great through both laps. Maxxis Ikon on the rear, Schwalbe Nobby Nic on the front.

  17. #17
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    +1 on the course change. I hope it stays that way. More singletrack and the Iowa mill climb always sucked on the singlespeed. Nightmare on Baldy was a fun downhill but I remember always getting stuck behind folks puckered up going down it.

    I used Squirt lube. Worked fine I think but then again I can't shift.

    Nobby Nic in the rear and Racing Ralph in the front. Tubeless and no problems.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by davec113 View Post
    Been using 5w30 synthetic motor oil for the last couple years. If you wipe it off the chain after applying it doesn't collect dirt as bad as you'd think. Parts wear is much lower and it lasts longer than any chain lube I've tried. It requires cleaning the dt a little more often but it's not much difference vs a typical wet lube like Dumonde Tech, which is my favorite purpose made chain lube. .
    Interesting, thinking about it I have not heard of people using this. Wonder what mechanics would say about this. I bet if you asked a Trek or Specialized dealer, their mechanics would have some real negative comments...jsut my feeling.

    1st year so cannot comment on previous years and only have done the Breck 32 last year so not much experience on the trails. Thought the single track before aid #3 was tough on the 2nd lap and the single track in the woods at the end of the lap was also tough but fun.

    Only complaint is I dropped 2 bottles off in Carter park to be taken up to aid #3 and when i got there no one know what I was talking about.

  19. #19
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyinCO View Post
    Interesting, thinking about it I have not heard of people using this. Wonder what mechanics would say about this. I bet if you asked a Trek or Specialized dealer, their mechanics would have some real negative comments...jsut my feeling.
    Maybe... the issue would be the chain oil attracts dirt, which acts as an abrasive that would wear out parts much faster. My experience has been the opposite... thin, dry lubes that are designed to keep your dt clean wear out the dt parts faster because they don't last long enough and don't lubricate enough to prevent wear. Motor oil does attract dirt and makes you have to clean your dt every once and a while, but not more than a wet lube, and since it lasts a long time parts wear is actually slower than any other commercial chain lube I've used.

    Since I'm a ME and have owned a welding/auto shop I don't care too much what a bike mechanic thinks. I would say that according to what the oil is designed for, gear oil is better suited to be a chain lube than motor oil... however, gear oil is thick and stinky, it would need to be thinned with some solvent and then it would still stink like gear oil. Motor oil is free, I just use the leftover drizzle that's in the can from changing oil in my car. I use maybe 1/2 tsp to lube the chain, then wipe it off. Technically, there may be better solutions but this works better than most commercially available chain lubes and costs me nothing.

    Also, most chain lubes are oil and a solvent to thin it out a bit...

  20. #20
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    7002ft elevation loss and 53.1 miles - I forgot to start the garmin until we were out of town so the ascent showed a bit less but wasn't complete.

  21. #21
    Kaj
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    I think Bryan Alders (FC buyer--regular ride for him is 50+ miles) mainly uses plain tri-flow, but I'll ask him. I know he almost always rides with lube though.

    Regular tri-flow is too wet for my short rides I normally do, where pro link gold works fine for my 1 to 1/2 hour rides.

    I like the motor oil plan, if it works for 3,000 miles in my bad ass mini-van, it should work fine on a chain
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