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  1. #1
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    Tubular tyres for the Mid-Atlantic

    This article got me thinking:
    http://www.velonews.com/article/8553...r-every-course
    I have some Grifo tubs in 32mm (still not had the chance to race them yet). If I were to get a second pair, what would you get? It's not reliably muddy here. The majority of races are actually quite dry. I've never ridden file tread tyres. Do they hook up nicely on grass/gravel? I love the way grifos seems to accelerate me on grass when I transition from asphalt.

    What about for your region? And what of tyres other than Dugast, Challenge and Tufo? For example, Conti now has a pretty complete cross tub line. And there is the Schwalbe Ralph tubular for mud. I guess we've never had it so good!

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    A better approach for the vast majority of us amateurs is to choose a single, versatile tread pattern. Get to know its behavior and stick with it.

    My choice would be Challenge Grifo or Fango in 34mm. Any weight or rolling resistance advantage from using file tread or narrower tire is ephemeral.

  3. #3
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    i raced all year on 32mm grifos and next year I will try 34mm grifos or file tread as a second wheelset. Too many races this year were hard and rough.

  4. #4
    Don't smoke, Mike. shapelike's Avatar
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    I'm interested in a pair of 34mm Fangos. I figure the biggest benefit of tubulars is the ability to run crazy-low psi and have much better traction. Okay, so when do I need this traction the most - in early season dirt crits or the brutally sloppy/snowy races that come later in the season? Dry courses aren't as technically challenging for me so if I want a decent tire for those conditions I'll just get some file tread clinchers.

    Note: the courses with the toughest climbs and off-camber sections also happen later in my season. Most of my early season races (which are typically dry) happen to be on fairly flat courses.

  5. #5
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    actually running lower pressure is an advantage on dry bumpy courses because its faster than riding higher psi. Its not just about traction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithuania View Post
    actually running lower pressure is an advantage on dry bumpy courses because its faster than riding higher psi. Its not just about traction.
    IMO it's primarily about lower rolling resistance. Optimal pressure for cornering traction is probably 10psi higher than optimal pressure for rolling resistance.

  7. #7
    Don't smoke, Mike. shapelike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithuania View Post
    actually running lower pressure is an advantage on dry bumpy courses because its faster than riding higher psi. Its not just about traction.
    Agreed, but the less technical nature of dry/flat courses is why I'd just run clinchers at appropriately low PSI and save my limited funds for tubulars that work better when it gets wet out and the courses are tougher.

  8. #8
    dutret has a posse ryand's Avatar
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    Get more money. Problem solved.
    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer View Post
    get drunk, ride a scooter, don't steal your girlfriends bike back, get laid anyway, post about it on the internets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shapelike View Post
    Agreed, but the less technical nature of dry/flat courses is why I'd just run clinchers at appropriately low PSI and save my limited funds for tubulars that work better when it gets wet out and the courses are tougher.
    I don't think you're quite getting it. The point of tubulars is that you can run them at low PSI and not risk pinchflatting. Low pressure significantly reduces rolling resistance over bumpy ground, whether it's wet or not. The terrain that most rewards low pressure (i.e. rocky rooty stuff) is exactly the terrain most likely to cause pinchflatting.

    A dry, flat, grassy course is exactly where tubulars will save you the most wattage.

  10. #10
    Don't smoke, Mike. shapelike's Avatar
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    I do get it, actually. I run my clinchers at ~25 PSI ... fine. I'm not going to invest in tubulars to run them in the 1st third of the season on the most boring/least technically challenging courses. I'm going to get them set up for the later parts from the season when things are more technically challenging and the weather turns in to "real" cyclocross weather. Can we stop debating the semantics of this now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shapelike View Post
    I do get it, actually. I run my clinchers at ~25 PSI ... fine. I'm not going to invest in tubulars to run them in the 1st third of the season on the most boring/least technically challenging courses. I'm going to get them set up for the later parts from the season when things are more technically challenging and the weather turns in to "real" cyclocross weather. Can we stop debating the semantics of this now?
    It's not semantics, it's logic. You still don't get it.

    If you already are running 25psi with no problems, why are you investing in tubulars if you are so afraid of using them?

  12. #12
    dutret has a posse ryand's Avatar
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    No, you are missing the point. He is investing in tubulars with only one set of tires, and he is going to use those tires at the end of the season. He isn't afraid of using them, he is just going to use file-tread clinchers in the 'dry season'.

    It makes sense to me. Clinchers are cheaper and faster to change if one of those races ends up being rainy. Or you could run your tubs if it does rain.

    Seriously though, go get more money.
    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer View Post
    get drunk, ride a scooter, don't steal your girlfriends bike back, get laid anyway, post about it on the internets.

  13. #13
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    I've got two pairs of 32mm Vittoria 290tpi XGs. For next year I'me going to buy a set of 34's, and a set of 32mm mud tires. Possibly some 32 file treads as well (with matching wheelsets)

    Cross gets so expensive especially when running two bikes and tubulars.

  14. #14
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapelike View Post
    I do get it, actually. I run my clinchers at ~25 PSI ... fine. I'm not going to invest in tubulars to run them in the 1st third of the season on the most boring/least technically challenging courses. I'm going to get them set up for the later parts from the season when things are more technically challenging and the weather turns in to "real" cyclocross weather. Can we stop debating the semantics of this now?
    if you are already running clinchers under 25psi I dont know how much difference you are going to notice with tubulars. Once I start getting under 20-25 with my grifos I start folding my tires in turns and off camber accelerations.

    Since I only had one set of tubular wheels this season I choose something I could run all year in all conditions thats why i went with the grifo. After racing one season on tubulars I would say id rather have tubs for non muddy races because I notice the difference a lot less in the mud than hard dry courses.

  15. #15
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    i refuse to weigh in on this one. ride whatever you like; i'll do the same.

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    racing in wisconsin my tire of choice this year has been the grifo xs file tread, 32mm, in the obligatory white. most of our races tend to be dry and this tire has worked out great.

    the one really muddy race i did this year, the new jersey usgp, i raced on a borrowed set of Rhinos that were awesome and made me decide to pick up a set of dedicated mud tires for the one or two wet races we might run into here in WI. because my finances don't really allow for a set of Rhinos i picked up a set of 32mm Fangos that i'm letting age until next year. at Jingle Cross I rode Michelin Mud2s which worked OK.

    I'm still debating picking up one more wheelset somehow and a set of Grifos, just because.

    some people would call me a gear *****. i'm okay with that.
    i ride bikes.

  17. #17
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    So, after one weekend on tubs, I can say that they are awesome. I don't think there is a better performance upgrade in cycling. Roadies will spend 2000$ on Zipps and discs for TT's, and in comparison, a pair of tubular wheels is a mega-bargain. I picked Grifo 32's as my tyre, since they are a good all-rounder. I don't know what I would pick as a second tyre. Probably Fangos or Rhinos, since Grifos are pretty good in the dry too.

    I was previously running clinchers under 30psi this season, including Grifo open tubulars. They just weren't as good over bumps.

    So... based on this, I reckon the best tubular for the mid-atlantic is an all-rounder from your maker of choice. As for a 2nd tyre choice... well, I'm not sure.

  18. #18
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    The way I look at it if money is an issue is that you can do just fine with a mud tire in dry conditions but you will be miserable with a file tread tire in wet conditions. I like the aggressive treads the best. Even in dry conditions where there is say a ride-able run up you'd be better off with an aggressive tread. Tubulars are the way to go no doubt in all conditions but clinchers are nice because they are easily changeable and don't break the bank. But even with clinchers you can't go wrong with a mud tire in dry conditions.

  19. #19
    Don't smoke, Mike. shapelike's Avatar
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    Exactly.

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