As my Surly was built originally to be the Ultimate Commuter, moving to the city has created new needs. It’s not about having the best overall performance, but some comfort is appreciated as well. Helsinki is full of very irritating cobble stones and tram tracks and they are hell to ride on, no matter the bike.
The best and quite a cheap option is to go with bigger tires. I had already gone from 27mm tires to 32mm Schwalbe Marathon Plusses, but I wanted to go bigger. The Cross Check can take pretty much any tire in existence, so I started my hunt. I really wanted to find Schwalbe‘s Big Apples or Fat Franks, but they were nowhere to be found in 28″ or 700c size. So, I ended up with a very low cost Michelin City 700x47c (28×1.85″) tire set, which was big enough for now.
When you have just the tires in your hand, they don’t seem that big, same goes if you just look closely. Put them on your bike and take a few steps back and you see the difference. They’re big. I just put them on today and went for a quick spin round the town. Our house is pretty much surrounded by cobble stones, so I had plenty of opportunity to see how the tires handle them.
So far the ride is very smooth, not as smooth as I expected, but it did take out the worst shake from the cobble stones and other bumps. What was a pleasure to notice was the very good rolling and smooth performance on the flats, whether going up or down a hill.