Friday, February 3, 2012

How do you like them (Big) Apples?

To fulfill some dirt road touring dreams I have (this kind of stuff), I'm outfitting the Rock Combo for mixed pavement and trail riding.  The seller of the bike was nice enough to throw in a rear rack so I'm ready to put some panniers on the back, but the large knobby tires roll pretty slow on pavement so those needed to be relegated to "dirt only" days.  I agonized for days over what kind of tire to put on there, mostly because I'm cheap and didn't want to have to buy a second pair of tires.  However, cheap as I may be I've learned my lesson with inexpensive, crappy tires in the past so I was looking for something that would last...probably a Schwalbe of some kind.  I decided to go big.

Late last night I installed my new 26x2.15" Schwalbe Big Apples and I'm loving them already.  I've only rolled around the neighborhood, but I found myself looking for the shoddy parts of the pavement, just to feel the bounce.  It's like driving your grandpa's Caddilac (my grandpa actually drove a pickup truck and a buick, but whatever).  Last week's inaugural ride on Crockett (how could I not give the bike a Miami Vice name?) was almost all dirt.  Tomorrow I'm taking it out for a 45ish mile ride that is mostly pavement mixed with some dirt trails through Los Penasquitos Canyon mixed in for good measure.

One of the reasons I opted for the Big Apples and not another Schwalbe tire is that I wanted to be able to easily change up tires for the situation.  I know the Schwalbe Marathon line can be a real pain to install, but the Big Apples go on with no struggle at all.  I could easily swap back and forth between my knobbies and the apples depending on the ride conditions and not worry about damaging the tires.

Another modification I'd like to make is to give Crockett better bar end shifters; the Suntour Accushift on there now take a good bit of effort to shift.  I'm hoping to find an old pair of Shimano 7-speed bar ends or maybe I'll just go full friction on both sides and get the Silver Shifters from Rivendell.  Lastly, even with the Big Apples it looks like there is enough clearance there to squeeze some fenders on...

The seller found the catalog info and a review of the Rock Combo from back in the day, not the greatest quality but you can read it if you unfocus your eyes a little...


  1. That's one hell of a bike. The Rockcombo and the 1987 MB-1 are the only drop bar ATB's that made it into production; it's too bad because it such a great blend of functions. I consider it, like my High Sierra with drops, a performance hybrid. A few nice drop-bar dirt and gravel bikes are coming from Salsa these days. Nice choice with the Apples. Schwalbe tires are unbeatable at any price.

  2. Thanks gypsy! I'm pretty stoked on the Rockcombo - got some plans for my first bikecamping adventure this weekend. This bike has given me the spark to make it happen. I've been digging your blog. Love the fat tire bikes and frozen creek rides! I've also got my eye on a dirt road Baja tour...

  3. Great read. I'm runnin big apple 2.35" on my Scott 29er and really like it. The bike is now part tank. Only had one flat and that was from a bad/worn out valve.

    I didn't feel like they handled well off road but reading this is having me think I should give it another go.