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  1. #1
    TJ
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    Seeking tubular selection advice

    I'm looking for advice on selecting a tubular tire for track competition. I'm specifically interested in advice on selecting a lower pressure tubular (rated less than 150 psi) versus selecting a higher pressure tubular rated greater than 150 psi.

    First of all, is there a manufacturer still producing higher pressure tubulars? If not, this post is irrelevant.

    Has anyone used tubulars rated greater than 150 psi on the track?

    If so, how does the ride of a higher pressure tubular compare with a lower pressure tubular on various surfaces (asphalt, concrete, wood) in regard to rolling resistance and handling? Various bank angles?

    I haven't shopped seriously for any tubulars so I don't know what is available.

    My wheels will likely be Zipp 808 or perhaps HED or another Carbon rim. I weigh only 125 lbs. I plan for these wheels and tires to be for all around track racing, not event specific. I'm asking this for my future reference when I start to shop for competition wheels and tires. I don't want to just assume that the higher the pressure, the better the wheels will ride.

    If anyone can weigh in with their experience I would appreciate it.
    "Get a bicycle. You will not regret it... if you live." ~ Mark Twain

    "Get yourself a cheap track bike - you won't regret it...if you live." unknown

  2. #2
    I <3 Alpenrose VD VeloDüd's Avatar
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    At 125 lbs. I don't think that the highest pressure possible is your best option, but I must say that under 150 psi is probably not the greatest either. Tufo and Continental are very popular brands, but there are plenty of others. I ride Tufos that are rated to 220 psi. At Alpenrose Velodrome the surface is painted concrete and is pretty worn. I won't put my tires up to 220 on that surface. Wood tracks is supposed to be great for high pressure, although I haven't ridden one. The higher the pressure, the less rolling resistance, but beware, at your weight and on certain surfaces it could be a bumpy ride. My guess is something between 170-200 would be a good pressure.
    Although I'm not sure if some people run a different pressure for certain events. I imagine a flying 200m might be different than a mass start event, but I've never heard otherwise. Check out this link for some general info on tubulars:
    http://www.worldclasscycles.com/tubular-price2.htm

    Oh yeah, get something with enough tread to last you for awhile. There are tires out there that only last for a days worth of races. But I'm sure they're more spendy than you want, anyway.
    If we do not find anything pleasant, at least we shall find something new. -Voltaire

  3. #3
    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjsager
    I'm looking for advice on selecting a tubular tire for track competition. I'm specifically interested in advice on selecting a lower pressure tubular (rated less than 150 psi) versus selecting a higher pressure tubular rated greater than 150 psi.

    First of all, is there a manufacturer still producing higher pressure tubulars? If not, this post is irrelevant.

    Has anyone used tubulars rated greater than 150 psi on the track?

    If so, how does the ride of a higher pressure tubular compare with a lower pressure tubular on various surfaces (asphalt, concrete, wood) in regard to rolling resistance and handling? Various bank angles?

    I haven't shopped seriously for any tubulars so I don't know what is available.

    My wheels will likely be Zipp 808 or perhaps HED or another Carbon rim. I weigh only 125 lbs. I plan for these wheels and tires to be for all around track racing, not event specific. I'm asking this for my future reference when I start to shop for competition wheels and tires. I don't want to just assume that the higher the pressure, the better the wheels will ride.

    If anyone can weigh in with their experience I would appreciate it.
    Tire pressure is one of those issues that has been, and will continue to be debated ad nauseum. Here's a tidbit from one of the other engineers I work with at Zipp that sums things up pretty well:

    Quote Originally Posted by joshatzipp
    The other issue to consider is that most every tire on the market runs at optimal rolling resistance between 105 and 125psi depending on load and road surface condition. We have seen data from numerous manufacturers and had enlightening talks with others to learn that nylon cased tires like Michelin or Continental tend to run optimally around 105-115 and cotton or bias cased tires like Vittoria or Vredestein tend to run optimally at 115-125 maybe as high as 130 for Vredestein, but all of them actually will increase in rr at higher pressures due to the tread rubber beginning to fail in shear as it locally deforms to meet the contour of the road imperfections when the casing is too rigid. Think of it in terms of heat input, as the overinflated tire struggles to conform to all the tiny surface imperfections to make the necessary contact patch, a lot of heat is generated. Not only is there higher rr, but faster tire wear as well at higher pressures, not to mention the tires decreasing ability to stay mounted on the rim as pressure increases. In an ideal world tire manufacturers would list a recommended pressure and not just a MAX pressure (the max pressure is simply a predetermined percentage of the bursting pressure of a given tire as set out by industry standards and has nothing to do with the pressure you should actually run) but they are between the rock and hard place as consumers continually push for higher and higher pressures feeling that ‘if some is good, more is better’. Of course none of this even mentions comfort, which we believe to be of increasing importance as more and more data has shown fatigue to be caused by vibration. It may be that by increasing tire pressure by 20-25 psi, you feel faster as your tires are transfering more of the high frequency vibration to your body (you're feeling a higher frequency 'faster' vibrations' so it really does 'feel' faster) but are actually expending more energy to do it, while simultaneously wearing out the tires faster and inducing fatigue.

    Looking to pro road teams, most of them are running 100-110 psi in tubulars and 105-120 psi in clinchers, and this has been a bit of a knock against the clinchers from the pros, that they prefer the lower pressures for improved handling, grip and feel, but need additional air to prevent pinch flats. Especially of issue are rainy races, where they may even lower pressure to 95 psi or so for better grip and control in the corners. The only real exception here would be track racing, especially on wood, where the surface is so smooth that very high tire pressures can yield excellent RR results, but still generally reduce grip slightly, but even this is specific as a board track may run well at 220psi, but a concrete track favors 150-160psi, and some track surfaces are no better than most roads...
    Hope some of that helps.

  4. #4
    spinlikehell mickster's Avatar
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    I wouldn't focus on the 'high pressure vs low pressure' thing too much; most (all?) decent current track tubs straddle both sides of the 150psi divide you're looking for eg

    Continental Sprinter - 115-170psi
    Vittoria Pista Evo CS & CL - 140-215psi
    Vittoria Pista CS - 115-170 psi
    Tufo S3 Pro - 115-220psi
    Tufo S3 Lite - 145-220psi

    So you can just run these at whatever pressure suits you. Things that I'd suggest ARE factors to consider include:

    What type of track are you using them on? Indoor / outdoor, concrete or wood? Some of the lighter track tubs will wear very quickly on a non-wood track. Many outdoor tracks have flints etc making puncture resistance an issue. Some wooden tracks suit some tubs better than others, often due to different surface treatments / condition. Ask other experienced riders at your track what they use.

    What type of racing are you doing? This will affect both the pressure you use and the width. Very generally, 19mm high psi for pursuits, TTs, maybe kilo, wider 21mm and lower pressures for mass start events and sprints (in this case for the grip when going slowly up the banking)

    How important is the event? I run training tyres (Vittoria Pista CS) for things like track leagues, and the much more expensive, fragile and beautifully supple Evo CS for bigger events like opens and championships.

    The length of the event. The slight improvement in comfort at lower psi's can be a factor in longer events eg madisons.

    FWIW I ride 21mms for everything and run them at between 135 psi (outdoor bumpy concrete track derny pacing) and 170psi (indoor wood 200m / kilos).

    mickster

  5. #5
    oldsprinter oldsprinter's Avatar
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    I agree with Mickster, on the track pressure doesn't matter - you're riding on a dead flat surface.

    My three picks:

    Training: clinchers
    Cheap: Vittoria Atlanta Gold
    Middle: Continental Sonderklasse
    Expensive: Dugast Piste Latex Silk or Piste Diamond Silk (depending on distance).

    Tufo's have to be run at silly pressures to keep their rolling resistance down - some run Tufos at 220psi. The track tyres they make are also very fragile. I would avoid them.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldsprinter
    Tufo's have to be run at silly pressures to keep their rolling resistance down - some run Tufos at 220psi. The track tyres they make are also very fragile. I would avoid them.
    My daughter has been on the same pair of Tufo s3 Pro's for 11 months. Riding mostly on an outdoor concrete track. Also rides the exact same tires at ADT and they do great. They still have a good amount of life in them. I run them at about 160-170 at ADT (wood) and 130-140 at Encino (concrete).

    She LOVES them.

    Oh, almost forgot, she rides them on the rollers also. That set of tires has about 1,200 miles on them!
    I say not so fragile

  7. #7
    TJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickster
    I wouldn't focus on the 'high pressure vs low pressure' thing too much; most (all?) decent current track tubs straddle both sides of the 150psi divide you're looking for eg

    What type of racing are you doing? This will affect both the pressure you use and the width. Very generally, 19mm high psi for pursuits, TTs, maybe kilo, wider 21mm and lower pressures for mass start events and sprints (in this case for the grip when going slowly up the banking)

    mickster

    Alright, I like this advice as a starting point. I'll use it for my first set of Tubulars on some less expensive tubulars and get more specific with equipment as I gain experience.

    Thanks Mick.
    "Get a bicycle. You will not regret it... if you live." ~ Mark Twain

    "Get yourself a cheap track bike - you won't regret it...if you live." unknown

  8. #8
    oldsprinter oldsprinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Carpenter
    My daughter has been on the same pair of Tufo s3 Pro's for 11 months. Riding mostly on an outdoor concrete track. Also rides the exact same tires at ADT and they do great. They still have a good amount of life in them. I run them at about 160-170 at ADT (wood) and 130-140 at Encino (concrete).

    She LOVES them.

    Oh, almost forgot, she rides them on the rollers also. That set of tires has about 1,200 miles on them!
    I say not so fragile
    Sorry, I'll rephrase the bit about Tufos. The ultralight Tufos are very fragile. The track training S3 Pros and the road training tyres have a good reputation.

    If you look around on other forums (Weight Weenies, Slowtwitch) you'll find charts that show that Tufos have very high rolling resistance.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CafeRacer's Avatar
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    If your looking for a tire specificly to race on and not train on all the time buy a specific track tire. Schwalbee makes a good one, Vittoria's EVO pista(higher end) is also great. I agree with old sprinter that tufo's are crap. The Vittoria's, and Dugast tubies dont have the longest life span on the market but they are designed to be faaaaaaaaastttttttttt not win the pro tour. Continental's track tires are made nicly but some argue that they have slow feel to them and require being pumped up to 200 lbs to over come this. If your sprinting it doesnt matter since you probably inflate your tires to max anyways.

    Theres a few other things you sould try and do when you mount your race specific tires. First is to clean the rim entirly so you dont have a really thick layer of adhesive. The other is to inflate them on your wheels for a week or so at close to the max pressure listed. This evenly stretches the tubie (inside and out) and irons any kinks.

    When it comes to track tubies instead of using one thin layer of glue on the base tape I use 2 ultra fine layers. I tested this on a model of tire that is very problematic for seperating from the tape and it doubled its life span. I also do 3 ultra fine layers on the rim but mainly pay attention to the sides and not so much the center. I have in the past done 2 layers only on the sides ( rim wall to edge of the eyelett flange) and then continued with 2 layers over all of the rim to help build up a cupping shape for narrower tires that otherwise tend to roll around. Using really fine layers helps prevent having un-even-ness.

    The last trick I will always stick too (no pun intended) is once you have set the tubie to the rim and made sure its straight I inflate the tire about 20lbs over its sudgested limit and leave it for 2-3 days. IE if the sidewall says max is 200lbs, I inflate it to 220, put it in a wheel bag or cardboard wheel box to protect it, and I forget about it for a few days.

    Since I started doing these little tricks to track wheels/tires I havent see a base tape fail from the tubular or one come off. And the best part is your not left with the mess of using too much glue. Nothing looks more hack than a crap looking glue job. Last week I foolishly rode one of my track wheels on the street and nicked a broken bottle. I rode it home for 30 minuits and just to see tried to peel the tubular off. Its stuck on good!

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