Monday, March 14, 2011
Hi. I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.
I always loved that line on The Newhart Show. I've been thinking about it more often lately, usually after I manage to top a steep climb without spinning out, thanks to the fact I'm in the apparently small group of riders who choose to run Larry tires front and rear, instead of the Larry/Endomorph combo that Surly has recommended since releasing the Larry as a front tire.
I enjoy Surly’s amusing product names. A lot of people know the Pugsley was named for the chubby kid on the old Addams Family television show, and the big Endomorph tire was obviously named for the body type of fat people, but fewer people seem to get the Newhart reference when they see Larry on a bike with two Rolling Darryl rims.
And it pains me that virtually no one on Large Marge rims seems to remember Large Marge, the truck driver from Peewee's Big Adventure, a cinematic masterpiece about a guy on a cross-country odyssey to find his stolen bike.
But aside from their sense of humor, I differ with Surly on the recommended Endomorph/Larry pairing. The Endo was a great tire. It changed winter biking. But the Larry is better in every way, as far as I’m concerned. It not only improves cornering control in the front, it grips better in the back on steep climbs and during braking. The damn thing even steers better on pavement, thanks to a deeper tread pattern with continuous knobs down the center of the tire.
Ever try riding Endos on dry pavement? It's like steering a couple of fat pencil erasers as they smear against asphalt.
I switched to a pair of Larrys last fall while still on my old Pugsley. When I upgraded to a Fatback last month, I stuck with the double-Larry approach and haven't regretted it. Between the better traction of the tires and improved handling of my bike, I feel more secure climbing and cornering on snow than ever before.
Now, if only Surly would make a Kevlar-reinforced road touring tire called the Gilligan.
Or maybe gender-specific, ergonomic saddles. They could call them Wally and Beaver.