Friday, January 30, 2015

Marvel Compound Tires Airless 700x20c review

     If there was ever a zombie apocalypse the only tire I think that I would ever use would be these Marvel Compound airless tires.

     I have been riding these tires on my spare bike for close to 6 months now and I would like to spread a bit of information on these puppies. They have lasted the full 6 months without even a hiccup. Airless tires are not widely used in the current cycling industry and I think they deserve a moment of your attention. There are many benefits to riding these tire for both the avid cyclist and the casual rider.

Pros:

- Longevity

 The Marvel Compound airless tires can last a ridiculously large amount of time on a bike. If you rotate these tires their lifespan can be extended even further! I have had these tires for around 6 months with heavy use and they are still kicking. I have even done a couple of centuries on them, I actually broke them in on a century! I generally go through tires every 3-4 months and I commute everywhere on them. It's currently on my commuter bike and I love riding them when I get too lazy to check up on my main. I rode tires regularly for a good 3-4 months straight before popping them on my other steed. My normal commute is around 12-18 miles a day, 4 to 5 times a week.

- Less maintenance

After the initial break in and mounting of the tires these babies are good to go. I am a man without much free time in this world and if I can remove one step to get where I am going then it is always a plus for me. These tires have saved me from so much debris in the road that would have normally punctured a tire.

- Marvel Compound Tires come in a variety of different sizes to suit your needs. 
I personally picked the 700x20c 120psi version of the tires and it might have been a little bit too hard for my conditions. I live in the countryside on the outskirts of Jacksonville, FL and for some reason thought that my roads would be fit for a higher psi tires if I could remove the puncture factor from the equation. You still feel the resistance from bumps in the road, they just can't put you in danger anymore. If I could do this again for my road conditions I would pick the 90-100 psi versions instead. If you live on nice roads these are a perfect option and I would highly recommend them. Marvel Compound makes tires for all sorts of bikes so please be sure to check them out.

- Great for commuting

I use these tires on my bike to get to my day job. That's about 12-18 miles total out of the day and it's perfect for that ride. I really like that I can always pop on these and they are ready to roll. After a bit of rain I just grease my chain and I'm good to go.

- never going to get a flat
I will reiterate that these tires have saved me from so many flats. I am a very reckless rider and these keep my confidence in high gear! I have pulled all sorts of stuff out of the tires and they perform well to this date. Pot holes and nails can kiss my booty!!
- Great for trainers/rollers
If you use a trainer then this is pretty much all you need. They last forever and will be consistent every time you use them. Great to track your progress in stamina and power.

- Value

The tires are relatively inexpensive and last for a very long time. I do not always have extra money and every paycheck counts for me. The extra dime that I save always helps and adds up to more meals or provisions for myself. When you add up the tubes and tires that you don't have to buy from punctures it really adds up!

- Extremely high psi

 These are great for people that are learning fixed gear mechanics, and anyone that is looking for a tire that can run extremely hard without fear of a blowout.
I would recommend a wider tire than the ones that I use so you can have a wider skid patch rather than a longer one. A gear ratio of 48x17 on 700c tires should do the trick for flat ground and constant use, it should provide for the large amount of ski patches that you will need. This will give even wear of the tire and provide a longer lifespan for it as well. Since the tires are a higher psi they are easier to skid. Braking distance is increased a bit but if you are learning fixed gear mechanics then it will make you more confident.  For any bicycle that can coast you are more than welcome to use any gear ratio that you would like with these tires. Skid patch dilemmas generally only occur on setups that are brakeless and fixed gear.
Note: Make sure that you pick a tire for your specific rim width.

Cons:

-Break in time

After around 100-200 miles (break in time) you have to true your wheel. Everyone should be doing maintenance on their bikes but it is imperative that you do this with an airless tire. The tires breaks in with the wheel and will find the portions in which it is untrue. After that you are good to go.
- rotating wheel to provide more life All tires will live longer if you rotate them before they are unfit for use at around 1/2 thread use in the back tire it is always good to rotate them. This will provide the longest lifespan of your tires. After 100-200 miles you have to true your rim again because the tire breaks in again.

-Tires are rim specific

The tire size of airless tires are limited to rim width and run better on perfectly suited rims. You have less options but specific tires for suited rims have the benefit of added performance.

- To use on a brakeless fixed gear bicycle you have to run a higher skid patch ratio.

 Before I talk about this I would like mention that this only applies if you ride a fixed gear bicycle all other bicycles will perform extremely well on these tires in all conditions. If you run these tires on a gear ratio with a low skid patches available then the tires will wear uneven. This will effect lifespan and performance of tire.

- Best used on shorter distances.

These tires can feel stiffer than your normal tire and take a moment to get used to them. You can ride far on them, (I have ridden a couple centuries on them and the road kicked my butt) these tires perform better on short distances. I cannot say that for all Marvel Compound tires but specifically these 120 psi rated ones are best used in good road conditions and short burst distances. If you have a 25 mile or less commute in your day then these tires will perform beautifully.

- Mounting tires have a learning curve.

Mounting these tires are different and they are completely new to anything that you have ever used before. The best method is to use zip ties for each 1/4 of the tire to brace the tire and wheel. When the first bit of the tire gets seated into the rim you should zip tie that contact point there and then. If you can learn to zip tie contact points then the tire can be easily mounted like as if you were using a normal tire. I recommend riding extremely defensively during the break in of your tires just to be safe. First 10-15 miles are best used to see how far you can lean and see what kind of setup you would like to run on your bike with your tires. If you ride around in both clockwise and counterclockwise circles as soon as you mount your tires it can help break in your tires to seat into your bike rim. A trick that I used is to lightly coat the tire in wd-40 where the inner tire contacts the rim. This helps with initial mounting of the tire and creates more friction on the contact point of the rim and tire after the WD-40 dries.

Conclusion:

     These tires are an insane value and I recommend that you at least try a set. Even if you ended up not enjoying these on your bike the tires themselves would save you from buying 3-4 sets of tires after their entire lifespan. The tires pay for themselves and you can always go back to other tires if you so choose to. The set of Marvel Compound tires can make you more confident to travel unknown roads and new routes. These tires even help me when I'm sprinting home in the dark. I cannot see everything in the unlit roads on my way home from work most of the nights and these tires have saved me many times from having flats in dangerous places. I can see myself buying another set in the future when these tires are fully destroyed. (I will let you know when these finally give out on me, I am pretty curious myself to see how long these will last.)

     I have put these tires through hell. Everything that I own generally gets used to full extent and I am happy that these tires have withstood all of the abuse that I have given them. My setups are work horses and I  commute almost solely by bicycle. If you get a chance give these tires a try and I bet you will find many uses for the tires on your setups. I would also like to mention that if I had a pair of these when I was growing up my boundaries would have been limitless in my town.

  Have a good day and thank you for reading.
Oh yeah, you can pick these up at https://www.marvelcompoundtires.com/ .ENJOY!
-Ghost

Items used in my photos:
Reel Cameras - HD Slayer
Aerospoke - wheelset
Marvel Compound Tires -Airless Daytona TT tires 
Origin8 Cycling - 17t propulsion cog 
Sugino - messenger chainring 48t 
Knog - Blinder light series
Trampstraps - $20 straps shipped with our promo code "DIRTYDOGS"
Vp Components - vp001 pedal 
Bear sTraps - Beer Bomber
Se Bikes - Premium ale 
Respectcycles - track drops , handlebasket
Banjobrothers -metrobag 
Bulthelmets - X3 helmet cam

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My friends at Aerospoke are giving away a wheel!




Heads up! My buddies at Aerospoke are giving away some of their wheels. Pop on their Facebook and post "Ghost in the Spoke sent me over to say hello." on their page. You might get a Lil surprise!
You can check them out here at https://www.facebook.com/AerospokeUSA . Good luck!

Ghost in the Spoke's Bacon Blossom recipe


Ghost in the Spoke's Bacon Blossom recipe:

Cooking/prep time 9-11mins
1 stone wave 
1 package of bacon
Your choice of spices.
Honey

Info:
-fold bacon into a roll and place in stone wave. (add spices on top)
-cook in microwave for 6 mins
-render fat for later use
- add honey on top to make it crust
-place back in microwave for an additional 4-5 mins
-enjoy your new badass meal. Love you all and have a good day.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dungeon Fighter Online: Review and Voice Audition

     When I'm not riding around on my bicycles you can sometimes find me playing videogames. I enjoy an assortment of games but my favorite genres are FPS, MMO and hack n' slash. Dungeon Fighter Online fills the role of MMO and hack n' slash. This game is like Streets of Rage from my childhood and it is a breath of fresh air to the current market. Best part of it all is that the game is FREE and coming back to the USA in March 2015. I am one of the original players of this game in the USA and I would like to share my review of DFO as I have watched it grow from the ground up. 


    Gameplay
     I am actually not a very big fan of "free to play" games but this one is actually pretty enjoyable without the use of the cash shop additions (I'll get more on that in abit). You could level all the way to max level without spending a dime and still enjoy this game. The social aspect of this game is pretty decent if you join a larger guild. Our guild Hawaiian Punch had 200 plus members full of "monks", it's a boxer type of character and we always were very friendly to each other. If you can find a larger guild you will have a much more enjoyable experience in this game, guild members tend to be more helpful. 

     DFO has a huge assortment of levels to play through and the learning curve can be anywhere from easy to extremely hard depending on the class/how you decide to play. Monks are not an easy class to play but very fulfilling. PVE is very fun and always best to run with a full group, there are minor connection problems but it's not that noticeable in pve. PVP was not my favorite in this game, it needs to be more balanced but hopefully the revamp of this game will take care of it. The revamp of our old guild can be found here. It will be open to all priests this round.
 https://www.facebook.com/DFOspiritbomb 
We already have 240+ followers and the revamp is not even out yet!

   

Balance:
     While I do enjoy this game and I know that most video games have certain overpowered characters this is an issue that needs to be addressed specifically in PVP. I know the revamp is supposed to take care of this issue so we shall see in March 2015. PVE does not seem as big of a deal with balance but I do believe that all classes should be able to put out close to the same amount of dps with equally skilled players. This was not the case for this game and you can see the imbalance very easily in DFO.

    Also there was a very strange gambling aspect to DFO for upgrading weapons, I do not understand the reasoning for this as it just takes luck/gold to upgrade your weapons to top tier rather than skill. The top weapons should go to the players that defeat the hardest bosses or play the best in PVP. Luck/gambling should not be a factor in games because then it makes gold in this game worth more than skill. Maybe this is a concept that I am not used to as a person that does not play "free to play" games.

Cash shop:
     This game has micro transactions to give additions on your character in DFO. You do not have to buy them with actual currency if you do not want to. They are available for purchase with in game gold through DFO's auction house system. The cash shop works perfectly well in exception of the actual prices with real currency. I would have no problem blowing $15 bucks a month on some in game items but some items take considerably more money than that to obtain. 

     If you use the cash shop I would recommend just buying the essentials for your character ( larger bank, mobile bank, dual spec etc.) rather trying to get lucky with rare clothing for your character. The rare avatars can get insanely pricey with both real and in game currency. If you have the money to blow then by all means spend away. I will probably try to buy another polar bear setup and call it a day.

Compatibility: 
     One of my favorite things about this game is that most computers can play it! There are a couple of things that make this game a much more enjoyable experience.
1. A gamepad - beat em' ups are supposed to be played with a controller! It's much more enjoyable to play with a gamepad! I use a wired Xbox 360 controller and it works great!
2. Xpadder - this program will help you route the controls abit easier on DFO and I highly recommend it.
You can find it here:  http://www.xpadder.com/
These two things should make this game much more enjoyable!

Should you get this game??? : 
     I personally love this game. The things that I have complained about in DFO are marginal in the large scheme of things. THIS GAME IS FUN AND FUN IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART . It's pretty much a Streets of Rage MMO and that was my favorite game when I was a child. Dungeon Fighter Online is just a grown up version of it and I am happy to be around to play it. I started playing this game when it was first introduced to the USA and it was much harder to play then, so hopefully this revamp with a new company will do things right. I hope everyone can enjoy it as much as I have. If they build up some character balance and lower the cash shop prices then I can see this game succeeding much more in the USA. Abit of proper advertising would severely help too! See you all in March and please roll a priest to join our guild! https://www.facebook.com/DFOspiritbomb

OH, AND HERE ARE MY VOICE AUDITIONS FOR DANJIN OF DFO:
These are my voice auditions as Danjin for Dungeon Fighter Online. Audition #2 is my preferred voice for Danjin, I think it adds more character. Please wish me luck and if you like this voice please let them know @ https://www.facebook.com/dfoglobal . A link on their page of my work would do me wonders.


Audition #2: