Time for an update on some recent tweaks.
Firstly my Condor Acciaio, a simple but worthwhile change of tires, from Continental Grand Prix 4000 SII to Vittoria Corsa Control - both in 25mm. At 265g the foldable version of these 320tpi tyres are slightly heavier, but a noticeable improvement on suppleness over the Continental GPs.
On both my Surly Cross Check and Bob Jackson World Tour, I have replaced the tubes with Tubolito CX / Gravel tubes. I have been curious about them for a while. Schwalbe SV17 tyres have been my usual choice, weighing 150g, the Tubolitos at 54g are noticeably lighter but it is the claims around suppleness of the ride and puncture resistance that most attracted me. They are a very different material to butyl or latex tubes, I can only describe them as being like thin plastic. On the Surly with WTB Nano 40c tyres I honestly can't notice any difference in the ride but without substantial puncture protection on the tyres, time will tell if they are worthwhile but I am hopeful. There has been mention of difficulty getting pumps to reliably attach to them but with my SKS track pump which uses a rubber O ring to grip and seal and Lezyne compact pumps I haven't had any issue. Maybe there's a slight improvement in ride with the Marathon Supremes on my Bob Jackson.
I've made a couple of other changes to my Bob Jackson. There was some ticking under heavy peddling which I felt was from the bottom bracket, you never really can tell until it's replaced but I couldn't think of any other contributing part so went ahead and purchased a Shimano UN300, their standard square taper unit now. I don't have tools for bottom brackets so it was fitted by the excellent Ride St Albans while I waited and sure enough the noise has gone.
I'm quite obsessive about silent running and the other annoyance for me with the bike was a screech from the front brake pads that I just couldn't "adjust away". I have an unusual fondness for the simplicity of cantilever brakes and have prided myself on always having been able to set them up to run consistently quiet with good power and modulation. Since my last pad change on the Bob Jackson, fitted with Paul Touring Cantis and the usual Kool Stop Salmon pads, for the first time I just haven't managed it. I can't see any evidence of a compound change but who knows?
I purchased a pair of Yokozuna shoes, they badge them as MTB brake shoes, with Salmon pads. These are what used to be Scott-Mathauser brakes, now produced by Yokozuna who have a great reputation for high quality brake and gear cables. They consist of a metal casing with very similar threaded posts to the Paul supplied Kool-Stops, but with replaceable pads , which should speed things up when they wear out. I just replaced the front brakes, no issues with the rear and I try not to replace front and back together to minimise weak braking during the bedding in miles. Fitting is as easy as any cantilever threaded post brake, grease the threads and washers, toe-in to taste and tighten while keeping the pad clamped to the rim. And so followed a short ride in silence, with the expected good power and modulation, build quality is clearly excellent too. These are available in the UK from Southern Distributors and I highly recommend them, particularly for the front wheel.