By John Churchill
Facts and tips:
We have some off-season homework for you to do besides all the training and riding! Let’s maximize your ride speed and comfort but determining what tire and pressure is best for you. Technology and new materials have altered the way we think about tires and how to get the most out of your outdoor season.
- Gone are the days of running 120psi!
- Our tires are no longer 23c (23m) wide anymore. The new standard on road bike is 25-28c width with some models pushing 30-32c. We don’t ride on glass smooth surfaces which was once presumed.
- Rim/tire interfaces are much different today than 5-10 years ago.
- Lower pressure is faster, period!
- There are a lot of tire/tube companies as well as independent studies demonstrated that lower pressure is faster.
- Why does our body feel that “harder is faster?” Our sensory system adjusts to speed. The bumpiness of a road surface cause a lot of vibration and small accelerations that we perceive as speed. That is why a high pressure “feels” faster. However, research has shown that running high pressure tires is slower due to those small vibrations.
- Check out the on-line tire pressure calculators. You can dial in your optimal pressure based off your weight, tire width, average speed and surface.
- The old way of doing tire pressure, that nobody ever did, was to start at 100 psi and drop by 5 psi until you start hitting the rim on bumps or until you start to get a pinch flat and then go back up by 5psi. Sounds like a pain and a flat coming your way! Use the tire pressure calculator!
- The different systems:
- Butyl tube (regular black rubber)
- Latex tube (usually pink and white and light)
- Thermoplastic tube (TPU) – new
- Tubeless (no tube just like your car. Sealant is used inside of tire)
- We can personally talk about experiences with tubeless, butyl and latex. The “feel” and cornering grip is better with tubeless and latex when comparing regular butyl tubes. We have an indoor science experiment in our store demonstrating how long each system holds pressure.
We hope you tried out a few of the on-line tire pressure calculators and will consider adjusting your pressure so you can go faster with more comfort!