Note: This was orginally posted on the old DC page on 2002/06/17. It was reposted here in June of 2007. Enjoy.
What are “system wheels”? Well, gather ’round children and unkie jonny will share. Ya see now, it all started many, many years ago in a mythical place called New Mexico. People out there got plenty of flat tires and they were sick, just sick of it I tell ya. So what did they do? They ran the system.
With the system, you never flat. In fact, you don’t even carry a pump, tube, patch kit or tire lever. With the system you won’t need any of that stuff anymore. The only thing you get with the system is tough.
The first fella I heard to dabble in this nonsense was named Garreth. He may have been the first, and he may not have. He’s just the first I heard about. Big Gay Randy rode with him in Albuquerque and brought the system back to Arizona like some kind of disease.
Now, to really do it right, the ways these boys did, ya gotta be made of fucking steel. Ya git yourself a 20 – 23 mm tubular and ya full ‘er up with slime, presta seal of some other flat proofing gunk. Then ya get yerself a 25 – 28 mm clincher tire, preferably something really heavy, steel beaded, thick, unattractive, used, cheap, and shitty. Get ‘em both situated all cozy like, the tub inside the clincher like an innertube, and snap the whole she-bang on a clincher rim. Break six tire levers and three of your fingers in the process.
And not just any clincher wheel will do. No sir. You need something solid for this endeavor. I’ll talking ‘bout pain here boy, this is the shit men do all winter, now listen up. Look at me when I talk to you, boy.
Git ya’ll self a set of heavy, thick, unattractive, used, cheap, and shitty wheels. Two of the best I’ve seen are a set of CXP 30’s and an old set of spinergeys about a few thousand miles past true. Loose brakes and some wide ass chainstays mandatory with those bad boys. Basically something free and with as many spokes as possible. Find the wheels no one else will ride and make them yours.
I got me some God awful Fir rims laced up on Ultegra hubs with 36 straight 14 gauge spokes and brass nipples. They are tanks. God awful tanks. Then I got a set of Conti Ultra Gatorskin tires.
Now I cheesed out on one point. I didn’t use a tubular, I used a big ‘ol honkin’ TR tube instead. Now, before you condemn me as some kind of fucking pussy, you just know I ain’t the only one ‘round here doin’ it what way. It ain’t worth buyin’ a set of tubs for this little jaunt down to the hurt locker. This is all about keeping it on the cheap.
Another thing: I didn’t put a tire inside another tire. Some guys do that too. Take an old clincher and cut the bead off. Use it like a tire liner. You’ll be surprised how much it sucks. You’ll learn to dread riding.
But, I’m no pussy. My front wheel weights over three pounds. The pair over eight.
I showed them to Snake and the only thing he said was, “What’s with the Ultegra hubs? These should be 105, tops. What are ya trying to do, lighten them up?”
I showed them to the Gnome and the only thing he said was, “These aren’t that heavy. You should put slime in them.”
I showed them to Nic the Dick and the only thing he said was, “I dunno jonny, I think mine are heavier. Nice try though.”
I’ve decided not to show them to Big Gay Randy. I can’t handle any more criticism.
Here is what Tony Baggadonuts sent in about the system:
From: Tony Baggadonuts
Subject: A Historical account of the invention of “The System” from the “Mythical Land of Enchantment”
I’m a huge fan living in New Mexico and this just appeared on our NMcycling bike racer e-mail list from one of the “Old Guard” roadies they call “Waz”. The goatheads are thick this year and on everyones mind. Here goes:
One of the greater moments in cycle engineering has now been properly documented for historians, and again it involved beer…
On Wed, 20 Nov 2002, Clay Moseley wrote:
Isn’t there some website that colorfully explains the finer points of “The System”? I think the web author even mistakenly credits some guy named “Gareth” for inventing it.
I always heard the guy’s name is Marcel.
Geez. Every year now? Okay, Marcel and Gareth were living in Carolyn’s apts, and we used to go over there and talk about cycling and drink beers and we read Winning magazine one December evening. Alan Peiper had a column every month and wrote about putting a tubular inside a clincher for winter training. Marcel tried it with success. We talked about not wasting a tire and maybe cutting a clincher bead off. Don’t remember exactly which one of us tried it first, I think Gareth.
But the name comes from John Frey. Earlier the same year, we were at the Witch Gear Off Road Race that November and Frey, in his usual pre-race frenzy, was going around asking everybody what their “system” was. After a quizzical look, he would have to say, I mean your flat prevention “system”. Pretty funny, if you know him.
So, that January, after the successful experiment, shortly after we read Peiper’s article, I had begun the long early season riding and I suffered 7 flats in 5 days, due to goatheads. So I put the extra clincher in (and a thorn-proof tube for added weight) and went on a group ride. I started telling Frey about it and, referring to his ranting and raving at the Witch Gear a couple months earlier, I told him I don’t have *a* system, I have “The System”.
At any rate, trim the bead off of old tires, then cut a short (~1″) section out (so that the tire no longer forms a circle and can be laid flat).
I’ve never cut out a short section – always just fit the beadless tire into the outer tire. I’m sure there are tire combos where this doesn’t work, but it eliminates pinching the tube at the inner tire seam.
Yeah, don’t cut it to fit it. Just cram it in there.
Thanks, Tony. You’ve helped make the world a better place today.by