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Tubular air pressure on chattery hardpack?

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Tubular air pressure on chattery hardpack?

Old 09-05-12, 05:04 AM
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Tubular air pressure on chattery hardpack?

I only race, or even practice, CX occasionally. Despite the pain it's a darn fun challenge. I have a pair of old sewup wheels with 28mm tires that I enjoy using. (The tread has scattered small blocks -- maybe best for mud?) I've heard that I should be running them at 25psi, but it's just hard to believe. Maybe that's just for certain courses and conditions. Soft and smooth? Our local course has been hard, dry and chattery, with several sideslopes. I'm 6', 170lbs and my gauge says 40psi. I sure wouldn't mind getting more benefit from my stealth sewups. Everyone else uses clinchers. : ) Is the idea to go softer when the trail is softer? My tires are glued good but when I feel them at 25psi it seems a little crazy -- smeary, like I'm asking for trouble if I use em that way so I chicken out and run 40psi. Would I get a smoother, faster ride at 25psi over the chatters? Maybe it's also a question of gauges in this sport. I'm using a Joe Blow floor pump, but it reads different from my cheapy hand gauge. I've often noticed that gauges read differently. Since 'cross seems pressure sensitive and some crazy low pressures are suggested I'd think that gauge accuracy is important. Of course my gauges are probably consistent to themselves. I suppose if I find a psi that I like then I should just stick with it. I suppose I could dare to try some practice laps at 25psi to see what happens. I don't want to dent a rim or roll a tire. I usually practice a few times before our weekly fun race and that's it so my practice hasn't been much. I guess I *could* do better and test out this pressure stuff. Anyway, I was just wondering about some further Lore... Thanks, JP

Last edited by JeffOYB; 09-05-12 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 09-05-12, 07:22 AM
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That high of a pressure defeats the whole purpose of tubulars. I'd just keep lowering & testing until the cornering goes from grippy to crashy.
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Old 09-05-12, 10:07 AM
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I don't have any experience with tubulars, but I weigh 205 and have run clinchers as low as 30 psi without pinch flatting (I have two gauges that agree, but I guess they could both be wrong).

I think a lot depends on your riding style. I try not to hit things with my full weight on the bike. The one time I pinch flatted I think it was from taking a corner too fast on pavement and having the rim roll along the side of the tube. I don't know what my psi was that evening because I had forgotten to check it any time since the previous race -- I'm guessing it was below 30.

Anyway, regardless of tire type, what ljrichar said is spot on...keep lowering until it stops improving.
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