Dark Side of the Floyd

A few weeks ago I got my hands on the new 120tpi Surly Black Floyd tire, a ribbed semi-slick fatty.  Everybody on the forums was raving about how fast they were, so I was pretty excited about it.

Let me digress to say that my original Pugsley setup was Larry on the front, Endomorph on the back.  My primary use for the Pugs (until winter gets here) is commuting on paved bike paths, so these tires are huge overkill.  They’re noisy and have a lot of rolling resistance.  The only reason I haven’t gone with a smaller-profile tire like a Maxxis Hookworm or a Vredestein Black Panther is because I was worried about pedal strike in corners.  I really wanted to get rid of the Endo until the snow flies because its flat profile has a lot of rolling resistance, it doesn’t stop worth s**t on pavement, the side knobs make it noisy, and I’ve had FIVE punctures in about 3 weeks!  So my plan was to put Floyd on the front, and then move Larry to the rear.

However, I was very disappointed in Floyd as a front tire.  In contrast to the very predictable cornering of Larry, with Floyd I felt like the bike was fighting me.  I’d lean the bike over, and the bike would suddenly try to jerk back upright.  I suspect the problem is the ribbed design, and that what I was feeling was the sensation of the tire alternately gripping and slipping as the ribs came into contact with the road surface one-by-one.  It might also have something to do with the very sharply sloping shoulders of the Floyd (in contrast to Larry’s more circular cross-section).  Whatever it was, I really didn’t like it.

Anyway, after two commutes I took off the Floyd and put Larry back on.  To soothe the pain of the additional weight, I set up Larry to run tubeless.

Finally, I’ve gotten around to trying Floyd on the rear wheel.  My initial reaction is that it fixes the problems I had with the Endo without any obvious downsides.  Of course, I don’t expect the same kind of traction, but for commuting it should be fine.  The bike still corners nicely and it definitely feels lighter to accelerate.  After a few rides this way, if I still like it I’ll probably run it tubeless as well.

So does this mean you won’t like Floyd?  I think that depends on your intended use.  Floyd is great for cruising along in a straight line on a paved road.  However if you like to turn aggressively (and I love throwing the Pugs around in the corners because of the tremendous grip those fat tires have), you won’t like it as a front tire.  And I fully expect that it has zero traction in loose stuff, although I haven’t tried it yet except at the local playground.

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