The Redback: Maxxis gets the nod, but the GÜP stays behind
The desert rat ready to be washed and packed
Well, the Redback is almost here, and we're packing bikes and gear in preparation for the big trip to the very middle of Australia.
One of the unknown quantities has been around what tyre to take for the four-day, six-stage epic, where MBA plans to finish well and truly somewhere near the back of the field.
Well, I've settled for a well-known quantity - Maxxis.
The tyres aired up amazingly easily. Such a relief
I know what you're thinking... it's a safe, even a boring bet. It did, however, take me a little while to arrive at the decision. As we've written about before, the Redback is a unqiue event, where rocks and thorns are out to ruin your day.
On the rack were tyres from Continental and Onza, and we even reached out to Michelin (not that they returned our calls, but still) - but the pendulum kept swinging back to towards the orange-branded mob.
They're proven, they're available everywhere, and lots and lots of people who are much faster than me suggested that this would be the best solution from a set-and-forget point of view.
So the call went out to Lusty, the new Maxxis importer for Australia, who sent down a suitable pair of tyres for our sandy adventures.
On the rear we're running a Crossmark II in 29 x 2.25, and a chunkier 2.4 Ardent on the front. This should hopefully be the sweet spot between minimal rolling resistance and decent levels of grip.
Both tyres are EXA (tougher sidewalls) and TR (Tubeless Ready) rated, and on the advice of more than a few people, I've added a lot of sealant to the set-up - not far off 200ml, or double what I usually run.
Both tyres were a blessed doddle to set up, too, airing up and sealing with far less noise and fuss than anything I've mounted lately.
Some moderate testing has seen me settle on starting pressures of 28psi rear and 26psi front - but of course those numbers could change as the tyres bite the dust and sand of the Alice.
2.4-inch tyre fits fine even on this narrow FSA rim - but it'll be even nicer on something with a wider footprint
Some preliminary running to knock the shine off has confirmed what I thought... if nothing else, the Crossmark II/Ardent combo is a solid choice for mixed trail conditions that lean towards dry. And it's going to be dry...
One small bummer - I was hoping to try the clever new GÜP sealand and CO2 canister during the event, but thanks to the innovative product's 125ml size, I actually can't fly with them, and it's too late to send them by road.
I had a long chat with Virgin Australia about it yesterday, and the airline confirmed that - even despite the lid - current regulations restrict CO2 canisters to a maximum of 50g in size, and only four at a time can be transported while in transit within Australia.
Yeah, I know, I did the maths, too...
For the briefest of brief moments I considered packing it anyway - it looks no more harmless like a spray-on sunscreen bottle - but the fines for breaking Civil Aviation Safety Authority rules are huge and prosecution is pretty likely. In fact, this link is pretty handy if you want to cover your bases when packing.
GÜP no go. Boo
Weight: 910g/790g (Ardent/Crossmark II)
From: your local retailer via Lusty Industries
RRP: $20 (holster $4.99)
From: your local retailer via BIkebox