So here’s me the militant atheist extolling the virtues of a Holy Roller!
A few days ago I put a Maxxis 26 x 2.4" Holy Roller tyre on my MUni, in place of the Gazzaloddi 26 x 2.3". Today was my first chance to try it out properly.
I did about twelve miles of mixed riding through Sherwood Forest. At various times, I was riding on:
Soft wet fine sand.
Packed hard mud.
Loose gravel slopes - up and down.
Deep gloopy mud.
Deep puddles. One, memorably, had a massive root hidden in it.
Forest tracks with loose ballast.
Very narrow single track mud between grass.
A deep carpet of pine needles beneath close packed forest pines.
BMX obstacles - humps and bumps and stuff.
There was uphill so steep I stalled and had to walk, and there were short sections of downhill so steep I had to “spin out”.
Conclusion: the Holy Roller makes the uni about, er… 10 times more fun than the Gazzaloddi did.
Maybe it loses on ultimate grip in the mud - although the tread clearly works because it leaves a clean imprint, and doesn’t get clagged up. However, in all other circumstances, the tyre was more nimble, more predictable, and more friendly to ride. I felt like the tyre was on my team, whereas the Gazzaloddi, at best, used to consent grumpily to travel with me.
The scale of the difference: I had been so unimpressed with the handling of the MUni, compared to my other three “working” unis, that I had been thinking of selling it - but today, I really enjoyed riding it.
The single most important factor seems to be the cross section of the tyre. Where the Gazz is almost square in cross section, the Holy Roller is almost round. If the Gazz is pumped up hard, then as you turn, it feels as if you’re lifting it onto its edge; if it’s soft, then it sort of squidges, causing a massive “coning” effect. I found myself constantly fiddling with the pressure, pumping it up for tarmac, softening it for mud, and so on. The Holy Roller just seemed right at “finger and thumb” pressure.
Here’s another example of the scale of the difference: those who have ridden with me will know I’m not much of a spinner, especially with long cranks. With the heavy-steering unco-operative Gazzaloddi, I used to plod along, natuirally slowing down to a cadence of about 60 rpm. Today, with exactly the same uni, cranks and pedals, I found myself spinning as fast as I could manage, even towards the end of a tiring ride. I trusted the tyre, you see.
Another example: I could idle the uni when it had the Gazz on it, but it was a bit of an exercise, and was never comfortable. Today, with the Holy Roller fitted, I stopped to offer help to a broken down bicyclist (and to ask for directions) and noticed that I was absent-mindedly idling as I conducted a conversation with him.
The message of this post: not that the Holy Roller is a magic tyre - there may well be better ones - but that something as simple as a change of tyre can make an enormous difference to how enjoyable your uni is to ride. I’ve mentioned on an earlier thread about the rounder section tyres I’ve fitted to my 20 and 28. Well, this new MUni tyre was the best purchase of all.