Bio on Andrew Russell – Victoria Wheeler Member
In his second year of riding and racing with the Wheelers, Andrew enjoys riding all types of surfaces and terrain. Andrew is of the camp that owning too many bikes should never be a concern. With the plethora of revolution adventures on the Southern Island, a well-stocked stable becomes part of the lifestyle. Racing a fair amount of road this spring and summer, he made the jump to Cat 2 midway through the season. Now coming to a close, the road scene will shift to what he anticipates will be a wicked fall of Cross.
It is often said that tires give a rider confidence. I think this statement is so true. The tire is the rider’s connection to the riding surface. It is the sensory organ of the bike and rider. A well-crafted tire can make all the difference to how the bike rolls, corners and brakes; the foundation to every ride.
Signing up for a couple races this summer that were over my head, I was looking for some more confidence. I did the research, rolling resistance, puncture protection, durability, and grip in all conditions were characteristics that were sought. The decision became pretty clear after considering all of these criteria in a single tire, The Specialized Turbo All-round. This premier tire from Specialized is adorned by Pro riders taking wins in classics to time trials. The Turbo is the brainchild of newly acquired craftsman Wolfgang Arenz. Wolfgang developed the tire and rubber compound through 8 months of iterations with sponsored riders.
So after mounting a set onto my race wheels I took them for a first spin before Superweek racing. To me the ultimate test in cornering around Victoria is the east side descent of Munns Road. Hit it full gas and you can see how a tire performs. The king corner on the descent is just prior to Compton Road. Without breaking the corner relies in full trust of the tire. I came into king corner at 65 kph and just railed it on my outside the pedal. This assuring rip on Munns Road had ticked all the boxes for the upcoming rigours of Superweek.
Superweek was where I would really get an appreciation for the Turbos. Cornering, breaking, descending and sprinting are all fully demanded in those races, pushing the rider and equipment to the limits. First up were the tight corners and cobbles of Gastown. Twice during the race I had the wheel in front of me go down on polished brick pavers while the Gripton tread of the Turbos bit in nicely to hold clean lines. After examining the tread a bit more I have noticed that the Gripton wraps over the side-wall more than average, providing greater grip through an angled, fast corner. The second test came two days later at the Whiterock Criterium. Again, great high-speed cornering was confirmed but after having nowhere to go other than over the chain ring of a crashed rider I was also pleasantly impressed by the puncture protection. In terms of rolling resistance, Specialized claims it to be their fastest tire ever and a full 35 seconds quicker over competing brands in a 40k TT. Rolling a 25s PB (only equipment change) at the Sidney Velo TT a few weeks ago has me a pretty firm believer in their efficiency as well. Every watt counts. After 6 weeks I have yet to swap my training wheels back!
The tires come in clincher and tubular form. Numerous widths are available in the Turbo from 22m to 28mm. A variation to the tire is the Turbo Cotton, which I noticed Oak Bay is now stocking as well. The cotton features gum walls, a bolstered casing thread count of 320 TPI (290 TPI for the Allrounder) and the suppleness of cotton. Tony Martins go-to tire for all his soul-crushing escapes and time trialing, I have yet to find a downfall to the tire. Although not cheap, you pay for quality here along with that all elusive road feel that brings enjoyment and confidence to every ride.