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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Nebraska
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    146

    Talk to me about tires and cornering techniques

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    Ok 'cross fans ....

    What's your favorite tires for which conditions?

    AND

    Tell me about your grass cornering techniques. It seems like I am losing too much momentum on the grass switchbacks. What kinds of things do u do to maintain your momentum?
    -------------------------
    http://sydspinnin.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    1,080
    This season I'm running Bontrager Carbon Race X-Lites with Tufo Flexus tubulars. My training/pit wheels are hand-built (by me) -- PowerTap hub on the rear with a velocity aerohead rim; pink chris king on the front with the same rim -- Ritchey Speedmax tires.

    In past seasons I've run the Tufo Elite tubulars but chose the Flexus this season because they have an extra set of knobs on the sides so they seem more stable for cornering.

    Are you running your psi as low as possible? This will help you grab the course and is especially important on sloppy stuff and corners.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815

    It's all a mystery....

    This whole tire pressure thing is a mystery to me... Some say run it low, others say something different. I don't have a pit bike, or a spare set of wheels, so am afraid of getting a flat, thus running my PSI on the higher side of the scale. Not sure if this is hurting me, or helping me though.

    I switched from a 32 to a 35 tire with bigger knobbies on it after a few races. Determined that in the wet/slick stuff that we encounter here, more tread was definitely better. They don't go as well on the pavement though. I think mine are Kenda's, and I run tubes in mine.

    I think the cornering issue, in addition to tire choice and pressure, comes with practice. I can corner REALLY well on my MTB, and that seems to be translating well into 'cross. Try to hit the apex of the corner, like you would in a road crit - that will carry some of your momentum. The issue I have had is with too much momentum in some cases, throwing me wide and off the course.

    SheFly

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    Lower psi is definitely better. Try this next time you race. On your first pre-ride lap, put a higher pressure in the tires. By higher, I mean 45-50 in clinchers and 40-45 in tubulars. See how much you slide around. On your next lap, take some air out and see if your bike handles better. I highly recommend getting a little tire pressure gauge. Once you find the psi you like, check the pressure with a gauge and see what it is. That's where you want to start for the next course (similar terrain).

    Typically you want to run your psi as low as you can without pinch flatting (clinchers) or bottoming out (tubulars).

    Of course, differents types of courses and different terrain will warrant different tire and psi choices, but for the most part, the biggest mistake new racers make is running too much psi.
    Last edited by velogirl; 11-08-2006 at 03:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    1,815
    So racing with 80 psi in my first two races was a bad thing???

    Thanks for the advice - I'll give this a try!

    SheFly

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Are you serious? 80psi?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Are you serious? 80psi?
    Dead.

    That was with the skinnier tires, but yup - 80 PSI.... I'm running a wider tire now, and am putting in about 55 PSI. Sounds like it still may be too much. Does it matter that I'm not small?

    SheFly

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    I'm not small. I'm 5'10" and just south of 160lbs. I know 200lb guys who run 35psi. Much will depend on the course, but you'll be amazed at how differently you can handle your bike if you drop the psi. Try it -- what have you got to lose, right?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    I've been running 35-40psi. I'm 5'3" and 125lbs.

    In the CX clinic that I attended, Ben Turner had us put both hands on the tire (one hand on top of the other) and had us push/thrust down on the tire. This is to simulate all that your tire is going to take. If you can press it down to the rim, you've let out too much air etc.
    Just keep pedaling.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    I'm not small. I'm 5'10" and just south of 160lbs. I know 200lb guys who run 35psi. Much will depend on the course, but you'll be amazed at how differently you can handle your bike if you drop the psi. Try it -- what have you got to lose, right?
    We're about the same size (5'10" and 155 lbs). I have a race on Sunday, so will give this a try and see how it works.

    As a follow up to Sydney_B's question, does the lower psi affect the hard cornering??? Sorry - Sydney - to have hijacked your thread...

    SheFly

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Lower tire pressure increases traction and should make cornering easier (unless you've dropped you tires "too" low). It also makes climbing easier. I've tried climbing steep hills on my mountain bike at 40psi, then at 30psi. The difference is huge.
    Just keep pedaling.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    146
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    As a follow up to Sydney_B's question, does the lower psi affect the hard cornering??? Sorry - Sydney - to have hijacked your thread...
    SheFly
    No problemo, SheFly. I'm learning tons already. So, maybe owe u a thx for taking over.

    I'm dropping my pressure for sure.
    -------------------------
    http://sydspinnin.blogspot.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    Dropping the pressure gives you a greater/larger contact patch with the ground. To illustrate this, take your bike out into the dirt. With your tires at 80psi, place your bike in the dirt, then pick it up. See how small the contact patch is? One row of knobs, probably. Now, drop the pressure. See how the contact patch increases? So your tire will be grippier with lower pressure, allowing you to be more agressive with cornering and on loose stuff.

    So, to answer the original question, if you can go into a turn with more speed and not bobble because you're sliding around, you'll be able to come out of the turn with more speed.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    146
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Dropping the pressure gives you a greater/larger contact patch with the ground. To illustrate this, take your bike out into the dirt. With your tires at 80psi, place your bike in the dirt, then pick it up. See how small the contact patch is? One row of knobs, probably. Now, drop the pressure. See how the contact patch increases? So your tire will be grippier with lower pressure, allowing you to be more agressive with cornering and on loose stuff.

    So, to answer the original question, if you can go into a turn with more speed and not bobble because you're sliding around, you'll be able to come out of the turn with more speed.
    Good summary, VeloGirl. Thank you! Such a great community here. I'll let you know how this weekends races go with the lowered pressure.
    -------------------------
    http://sydspinnin.blogspot.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1

    Were was the cornering tech advice????

    Tires i can tell you about. As for cornering I want advice.

    i have tried all types of tires. As for pressure...i go like 30-35 and wiegh in at 120.

    Here is my history with tires: take what you like from it comment whatever...

    Kenda kqicks clichers 32...file tread did not offer enough grip on front or rear in mud,front steep turns, rear in sand.

    douglas tubbies in the 32....nice casing but not enough side knob and they wore down fast (not worth the cash and I wished I had gone with 34's)

    WTB wier wolf clincher...great back tire for muck...I slap it on when I cannot keep a nice smooth spin across a really gunky field. Only tried it on the back.

    Vitoria tigre cross tubbies in a 28....silly buy, but the green looks cool. Nice for a course of perfect dry grass conditions. Not fat enough to attempt to get rear traction in a pit of sand. The rear spins out period and the front wants to rut...not easy to accomplish that front 'float' in the grove sort thing.

    Vittoria cross 34(the silver ones) in a 34...what I am sporting now. About right for me...not to much money, enough grip on the side, never had issues rutting or spinning out. I like them for most days. i would not like them in the 32 as well. I guled them on myself with tufo tape and abuse them...on snug and hold at 30 lbs. After the douglas they feel bouncy, but had I never been spoiled I'da said they felt smooth.

    I have an old specialized team pro (no longer made now in a 32, but feels more like a 34 not counting the knobs)...it lookes like the richey pro. Basically it is a kenda kqick much nicer with side knobs...it digs into turns so well that I have kept this for (EKKKK years) The side wall finaly stoped holding the seal and it was retired as my crap weather front to mate the wier wolf from WTB on my back. I am yet to pick up the ritchy pro...but i think it is my plan.


    As for low pressure, not only do I feel it helps with more grip and thus more forward speed and sure feel...but also my arms get much less abuse....that helps at 45 minutes into a ride when i have to lift that darned thing up one more time. You know that my sternum aches feeling? It helps that not happen.

 

 

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