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  1. #1
    Member rabidfox's Avatar
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    What tires would suit this 90s Colnago Superissimo? (Pressure, manufacturing, etc.)

    So I need new tires because the old ones are bald and there is a bad cut.
    Disclaimer: I know that it's up to me and my body to make the bike go faster more than it is in upgrading the bike's parts.

    This Colnago sees only about 10 miles every day on roads with hills but no real mountains in a largely urban/suburban setting with decent bike paths, and its purpose is to sprint (and to commute). It has Campy Record on most stuff (or will as soon as I change the derailleurs this week), 7 spd. Durace freewheel, you know the drill. 700x23.

    Since its primary purpose is to go fast, I thought maybe I should replace the 120 psi tires with something w/ a higher psi, but everyone keeps looking at me funny when I try to look for slightly higher pressure tires. It's not a track bike, but can't I get a little more performance?

    I would like a tire with nice construction, higher TPI, better than the Czar tire it inherited. I can afford something really nice, if it is likely to be durable enough to make extra bang for the buck. I am willing to pay extra if I am likely to get a feeling that the bike's "fuller potential has been reached", if that makes sense to you.

    IMG04168-20140216-1423.jpg

    What is your favourite tire for this kind of bike? Do you have other ideas about how to make the bike live up to a higher potential for fun and speed and.. je ne sais quoi?
    Last edited by rabidfox; 04-14-14 at 06:03 PM.

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    Just about any quality HP 25mm tire will give you excellent performance. Optimal pressure depends on your weight, but probably 90 psi in front and 105psi rear is a reasonable starting place.

    There's tons of debate about optimal tire pressure. Here's one point of view, though many here say it suggests lower pressure than they like. As a general rule, higher pressure will lower rolling resistance on smooth roads, but can actually increase it on rougher roads.

    My personal method, evolved decades ago before the "scientists" got involved, it to use handling characteristics as a guide, and ride the highest pressures below the point where it feels like I'm riding on a pair of basketballs (the tires bounce, and handling suffers especially in the corners).

    I'm also a fan of going wider rather than narrower (to a point), but from the photo I suspect 25mm is probably about as wide as your brakes will clear.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 04-14-14 at 06:32 PM.
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  3. #3
    Member rabidfox's Avatar
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    EDIT: Oh, I see your link now. Thanks. I love to see the mechanical things behind it, so I appreciate your link.

    I've been running at 120 PSI for years now, and apparently the benefits are negligible..? I'm not sure about that, I felt significantly faster at 120 than 90.

    What do other folks think?
    Last edited by rabidfox; 04-14-14 at 06:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidfox View Post
    I'm 123 lbs. Could I ask, what pressure does that suggest? I've been running at 120 for years now.

    EDIT: Oh, I see your link now. Thanks.

    What do other folks think?
    at 123#, you have plenty of latitude and in your shoes, I'd probably move down to 23mm tires, or even narrower if the roads are good.

    Bike tires follow some of the same basic rules as car and truck tires, where width is determined by the load. At you weight, you're looking for sports car tires not passenger or light truck tires. As for pressure, only you can decide, though it seems to me to be on the high side for someone of your weight. Then again I'm in New York, the world capital of lousy roads.
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  5. #5
    Member rabidfox's Avatar
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    Yeah, the roads are pretty bad in certain places here, but then there are some days you have an excuse to go on the nice bike path and then you just want to go really fast.

    The article suggests 130 psi to me. I've been riding 700x23s for a long time now and don't think I want to change the size.

    Brands you like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidfox View Post
    Yeah, the roads are pretty bad in certain places here, but then there are some days you have an excuse to go on the nice bike path and then you just want to go really fast.

    The article suggests 130 psi to me. I've been riding 700x23s for a long time now and don't think I want to change the size.

    Brands you like?
    at your weight 23mm is fine, no reason at all to go wider.

    I don't talk brand, not even in chain oil. Theory and general principles yes, brands no.
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  7. #7
    Member rabidfox's Avatar
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    Excellent, then is there any reason not to go with a tire rated at between 115-140ish and run it at 130? Is going below the max on higher psi rated tubes better at giving better handling? Or is there no difference with that and running at max something that can just barely make 130, if you believe advertising?

  8. #8
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    Being that light means you can run WAY lower pressure and max out your comfort without worrying about damaging your wheels or slowing yourself down.

    Check out this very informative article:
    Tech FAQ: Seriously, wider tires have lower rolling resistance than their narrower brethren - VeloNews.com

    Also, if you want some awesome tires for that back check these out: Continental GP Classics
    https://www.conti-online.com/www/bic...lassic_en.html
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  9. #9
    Member rabidfox's Avatar
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    Would you recommend getting very nice, fancy tubular tires?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidfox View Post
    Would you recommend getting very nice, fancy tubular tires?
    No, why?
    1969 Bob Jackson, 1989 Schwinn Paramount, 2004 Santa Cruz Blur, 2011 Specialized P-3, 2013 Salsa Colossal Ti

  11. #11
    Member rabidfox's Avatar
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    I just have no experience with them and would like to hear what people thought about them...

  12. #12
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    I ride tubulars on the road, and have been doing so since 1967. The advantages are mainly in the rim, which can be much lighter since it doesn't have to keep the tire from lowing sideways. The other advantage is that the entire tire is outside the rim, so there's more vertical give before the rim would touch pavement. That mean I can opt for lower pressure for the same width tire.

    However switching to tubulars is an expensive conversion since you're talking a new pair of wheels. Also consider that today's wired-on tires are much better than what was available in 1967, so the difference won't be as great as it was when I started riding.

    Every once in a while I think about building a pair of wired-on wheels, but so far I've opted to stay with the devil I know.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidfox View Post
    Would you recommend getting very nice, fancy tubular tires?
    For a casual rider I don't recommend tubulars, plain or fancy. As FBinNY noted you would need completely new rims and the technique for mounting tubular tires is quite involved and very unforgiving if done poorly. Stay with clincher tires.

    As to brands, I've had excellent service from Vittoria "Rubino Pro" and "Rubino Pro Slick" tires. They are reasonably light but very durable and puncture resistant. Get 700-23 or 700-25 sizes.

    BTW, your posting doesn't tell us your location. That information would help with specific recommendations.

  14. #14
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    I really like Michelin Pro Race-4 tires in 700 x 23. I run 115 - 120 psi rear, 105 - 110 psi front. These tires are slightly larger than other brands. I think the 23's are about the same size as 25's in Continentals. When I tried a Michelin 25 mm on the rear of my C-50 the brake bridge was cleaning the sand off of the tire. The Pro Race are relatively light multipurpose road tires. They are soft and feel sticky in high speed curves. They also roll very well. I tried riding Vittorias on my friends Colnago and they felt heavy and sluggish but they were the puncture resistant type and I'm sure they make lighter higher performance tires. I should try them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidfox View Post
    Since its primary purpose is to go fast, I thought maybe I should replace the 120 psi tires with something w/ a higher psi, but everyone keeps looking at me funny when I try to look for slightly higher pressure tires. It's not a track bike, but can't I get a little more performance?
    Actually, on the road higher pressure is not faster.

    Some people believed that Crr (the coefficient of rolling resistance which you multiply by weight to get drag) on the road acted like it did on rollers and always decreased with pressure. Others believed that past some point it did not because the rider essentially became airborne and lost energy on landing instead of rolling down the other side of bumps.

    Tom Anhalt wrote an article using Chung's virtual elevation model to test this, which estimates CdA (the product of the coefficient of drag relative to a flat plate which is 1.0 and fontal area, where drag proportional to the square of speed) and Crr using power measurements.

    Past some point you get increased Crr, and the rate of increase is much greater than what results as tire pressure decreases below the optimum value.

    6927-medium_tires3.jpg

    What's in a tube? - Slowtwitch.com

    (Robert Chung referred to this in another bikeforums discussion on tire pressure)
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 04-15-14 at 02:48 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidfox View Post
    EDIT: Oh, I see your link now. Thanks. I love to see the mechanical things behind it, so I appreciate your link.

    I've been running at 120 PSI for years now, and apparently the benefits are negligible..? I'm not sure about that, I felt significantly faster at 120 than 90.


    What do other folks think?
    Most of the time I just do the highest pressure I can do with a basic hand pump fairly easily about 100-110 pressure seems to have worked fine for me for 20 plus years.

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    So let me get this straight. You are worried about getting the fastest tire available so you can ride it 10 miles per day? Do you really think this will make it faster? Do you really think that gaining .01 seconds, if that, over a 10 mile stretch would amount to anything on a "decent bike path"? If you really think so, just buy any top of the line 700x23 clincher from Conti, Michelin, Vittoria. Pump them to the maximum pressure and be done with it. If you think that one tire over another will make you faster, you're just kidding yourself.

    I'm surprised at the restraint on the board about this question.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    ...

    I'm surprised at the restraint on the board about this question.
    We can't all be trolls. I was just trying to suggest something that would look cool and be comfortable. If the OP wants a tire that will make him feel faster on his ten mile ride that's his prerogative, right?
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  19. #19
    Senior Member loimpact's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    So let me get this straight. You are worried about getting the fastest tire available so you can ride it 10 miles per day? Do you really think this will make it faster? Do you really think that gaining .01 seconds, if that, over a 10 mile stretch would amount to anything on a "decent bike path"? If you really think so, just buy any top of the line 700x23 clincher from Conti, Michelin, Vittoria. Pump them to the maximum pressure and be done with it. If you think that one tire over another will make you faster, you're just kidding yourself.

    I'm surprised at the restraint on the board about this question.
    Because they feel there's more to it than that. You will find countless reviews of tires where people swear they're carrying over .5mph on the same stretch of road they had before on new/better tires. X10 miles that's a significant increase.....true or otherwise.

    Same goes for the new science. You should have seen the retorts I got trying to explain to the $10K bike group I ride with that maybe 700 x 23's on their full-carbon S-works rockets might not be the best thing they could ride on. You'd have thought I told them the sky was falling.

    Best argument I got (and I *do* believe it's valid) is that one of them told me he'll believe it when they start using 32c tires in the TDF.......time trial or otherwise. (not a bad point considering the minds & money behind TDF)

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    Quote Originally Posted by loimpact View Post
    Because they feel there's more to it than that. You will find countless reviews of tires where people swear they're carrying over .5mph on the same stretch of road they had before on new/better tires. X10 miles that's a significant increase.....true or otherwise.

    Same goes for the new science. You should have seen the retorts I got trying to explain to the $10K bike group I ride with that maybe 700 x 23's on their full-carbon S-works rockets might not be the best thing they could ride on. You'd have thought I told them the sky was falling.

    Best argument I got (and I *do* believe it's valid) is that one of them told me he'll believe it when they start using 32c tires in the TDF.......time trial or otherwise. (not a bad point considering the minds & money behind TDF)
    They ride what the sponsors pay them to ride and what tradition dictates. The widths have been increasing and some are riding clinchers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loimpact View Post
    Best argument I got (and I *do* believe it's valid) is that one of them told me he'll believe it when they start using 32c tires in the TDF.......time trial or otherwise. (not a bad point considering the minds & money behind TDF)
    A lot of the pro teams are now riding 25mm tires on regular road stages (the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix merit 28mm tubulars).

    Even wider fast tires are still nearly non-existent (Continental announced a 28mm GP4000S II but they're not yet shipping).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    A lot of the pro teams are now riding 25mm tires on regular road stages
    This is more about aerodynamics than comfort. Wider tires form an aerodynamically smoother interface with the very deep section carbon rims now in common use with pro teams.

  24. #24
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    Tire width in the pro peloton is as much about fashion and trends, as anything else. 25mm or so is a baseline because that's what tubulars evolved to over decades. Then or a while thin was in, and tires trended narrower and were ridden at higher pressures getting down to below 20mm. More recently the pendulum is swinging the other way and tires are getting wider, with most pros riding 23-25mm tires.

    Also consider that most pros are lighter than the average American rider averaging well below 160#s.

    So it's not about what pros ride, but what's right or preferred by each individual, ridden at a pressure consistent with the variables, including width, weight & road surface.
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  25. #25
    Member rabidfox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    So let me get this straight. You are worried about getting the fastest tire available so you can ride it 10 miles per day? Do you really think this will make it faster? Do you really think that gaining .01 seconds, if that, over a 10 mile stretch would amount to anything on a "decent bike path"? If you really think so, just buy any top of the line 700x23 clincher from Conti, Michelin, Vittoria. Pump them to the maximum pressure and be done with it. If you think that one tire over another will make you faster, you're just kidding yourself.

    I'm surprised at the restraint on the board about this question.
    Zacster-- Then I assume you did not read the disclaimer I wrote in the first post. Also, is 10 miles not enough for a sprinter??

    All-- Thank you to all of you for your comments. I'm in Tucson where it's good weather for sprinting and there are many nice bike paths where you can go on fast and uninterrupted.

    I just want to feel a better performance and get to know better what I like through experimenting. As I mentioned in the beginning, I know that it is mostly up to my training to make it more fun and fast, but since I need new tires anyway, I thought I'd experiment with something nicer than what I inherited, try to understand bikes a little more. So thanks, all, I feel I understand better.
    Last edited by rabidfox; 04-15-14 at 11:51 AM.

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