The requirements for a good ultimate wheel tire unusual, and I can find little discussion about them on the forum.
I am riding a Nimbus 28" Ultimate Wheel. It came with a Kenda Kontender 700X26 tire, which is a narrow, high-pressure tire that I have been running 60-80 psi. I am reasonably happy with it. It has a narrow profile that minimizes friction with my legs, which can be a very big problem while learning to ride. I still wear KH leg armor. The tire behaves well on pavement and turns easily. At these pressures any bumps are magnified, and it is showing noticeable wear after only a few weeks. I have tried it briefly on a dirt path and it is not useful: any small rock or ditch becomes a challenge to surmount. Overall I am happy with it and it is a good road tire for a beginner.
Do you have any favorite tires that you recommend for ultimate wheelS? Do you have high-volume or off-road tires that are well suited to ultimate wheels?
The Kenda Kontender 700X26 tire worked fine but wore down very quickly. I was using KH leg armor over jeans, and between that and poor beginners form I did a lot of rubbing on the sidewall. I ended up with a significant bulge are the worst point and eventually trashed the tire. It works well but the sidewall wears through quickly, particularly if you are an amateur.
I replaced it with an inexpensive Bontrager 700X32 T2 road tire:
It led to significantly more side friction when it rubbed my leg. I can minimize the rub, but the contact is significantly higher in friction and it is disruptive.
This morning I was inspired to try a new fix after considering sidewall paint, wax, and other spray-on lubricants. The new solution for minimizing frictions is …
I tapes up the high-friction part of the wheel, which for me is the third of the wheel behind the pedal on each side. I used 5" section of tape and overlapped them so that the friction pushes the tape edge down rather than peeling it up. I tested it this afternoon with nylon gaiters and it was amazing. The friction was so low that I UPDed a few times because it provide so little friction. I think the taped-up tire will be a lot of fun. I do not know how long it will last, but duct tape is cheap. (I used the 3M stuff.)
On an aside, gaiters work well for minimizing leg rub with the duct tape tire. What I got looked something like these but mine were a no-name import:
They are not good for learning because they provide no padding. I would recommend real leg armor initially so you do not beat your calves and knees to a pulp. Once you develop some skill however, padding is less important and the gaiters are one solution.
I have included a picture of the tapes-up tire below.
I have been building up my endurance and my longest rides with no breaks are probably over 1/4 mile. I have not tried to measure them accurately, but I have a loop around the street that is 0.13 miles (about 210 meters) that used to be impossible and is now fairly easy. I will say that ultimate wheel riding builds up thigh muscles!
I do not know that it will ever get easy. I note that the UDC 28" ultimate wheel has a “crank length” of 160 mm, and that it would probably be easier to cruise if it were shorter, perhaps 120-140 mm. It would be harder to ride but the speed and perhaps the muscular effort required might be less.
I just want to add something to this post. I have KH leg armor and am learning to ride the ultimate wheel. I am riding with the wheel taped with duct tape. Nevertheless i trashed my leg armor in about three weeks of riding, about six sessions. Now i tape the leg armor too but it requires wetting everything with soap to reduce the friction.
perhaps it is worth a try. The tire that i got with the UW has a profile which isn’t helping.
Aside from the setback with the leg armor my UW project is going remarkably well. When friction is minimal i can keep the wheel almost upright by pressing my legs together. When the wheel is upright the friction reduces further. So now i am practicing turns and longer stretches of uninterrupted riding. I noticed that stretching the standing leg almost fully reduces fatigue in the upper leg and reduced lactic acid buildup. It resembles a cartoon like sneak walk.
It has been a while and i have tried several things with my ultimate wheel modding two tires so far and am now happy with the result so far. I thought of posting the result here for others since it involves a considerable effort.
I have used duct tape which i found to be sub optimal. The tape does not stay in place for two long and is expensive to use. I tried taping the wheel and the leg armor.
I have used dish washer soap on a pear of jeans with i wear over the leg armor to prevent trashing the leg armor. This works but as you can imagine it is quite messy and raises eyebrows when you apply it on the street :-).
where Tubular Webbing is sewn on the tire. I have tried a standard needle with high quality thread. This is less than optimal since the sewing process wears out the tread quickly when it is pulled through. Also it requires a pair of pliers to get the needle through the tire. After a bit of googling i found this
which works like a charm and is available on amazon. Be sure to include the additional waxed coarse thread they offer.
I started sewing away on a tyre and looped it twice on both sides. The result is shown below. The lower stitching is below the rim and is not visible.
I tried it today, again with leg armor below jeans and am satisfied with the result. There is a bit of friction and maybe the thread will wear through before long but i already have an idea on how to solve this when it does.