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How to go fast on chip seal roads?

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How to go fast on chip seal roads?

Old 08-04-19, 10:30 PM
  #1  
robnol
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How to go fast on chip seal roads?

they are covering all the roads near me with chip seal....i hate that crap ass pavement...anybody have any tips on how to ride faster and make chip seal riding less of a pain in the as....its a speed killing but numbing garbage pavement
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Old 08-04-19, 10:37 PM
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Wider tires and lower tire pressures will make the ride much smoother and more comfortable, though not necessarily faster.
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Old 08-04-19, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by General Geoff View Post
Wider tires and lower tire pressures will make the ride much smoother and more comfortable, though not necessarily faster.
If increasing compliance makes the ride smoother and more comfortable, there's a very good chance that it's directly improving your performance in addition to reducing fatigue. The energy used to rattle a rider on rough surfaces is stolen from that rider's forward motion.
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Old 08-04-19, 11:03 PM
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Chip/Seal near Sterling, TX was so course you could almost steer around the chips of 1" #2 gravel. It was beyond belief. In San Angelo, they used chip/seal on the city streets. My solution was to move out of west Texas.

But yeah, for your run of the mill chip-seal, get some supple tires as wide as will fit your frame, and run them as low as you dare. You will be faster, though the lack of buzz coming through the bars will make you think you're slow.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:08 AM
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Ditto, fatter tires, lower pressure. Until we're holding 25-30 mph average over distance, the aero penalty isn't enough to offset the advantages.

I switched from 700x23 to 700x25 on one bike and from 700x20 to 700x23 on another. I usually run the 700x25 tires at 90 psi rear, 70 front, and could go lower. Much more comfortable -- I don't feel beaten up after miles and hours on chipseal -- and no slower. But my average speed over distances of 20-50 miles is only 16 mph, so the main aero factor is my own body, position and clothing, not the bike or tire size.

If my bikes could handle it I'd run 700x28 tires, but there's only enough clearance for 700x25 unless I modify the brake bridge and calipers.

If money is no object there are tires made especially for racing on cobbles and similarly rough terrain. Especially if we're willing to switch to tubulars. Those tires cost around $75 or more each.

And double wrap bar tape. Yeah, it's a little heavier and thicker so it's less aero. Won't make any difference for most of us mere mortals. On my Trek 5900 carbon bike I use generic black foam tape, over-wrapped with Arundel Synth Gecko. Much more comfortable. And I'm about to try 700x25, if the new tires I ordered will fit.

Some folks use bar tape or other thin padding on pedals to reduce vibration on the feet. I haven't tried that yet, but might give it a try on my old Look pedals if it doesn't interfere with clipping in securely.

Good insoles also help. Profoot Miracle insoles cost less than $10 and are the best I've found. Very thin and lightweight but effective in reducing hotspots on metatarsals.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by robnol View Post
....its a speed killing but numbing garbage pavement
I've been riding steel and titanium bikes for decades with shallow aluminum rims and light spokes. I hadn't noticed. I have gone to 28c tires on most of my wheels but I run ~90 psi. (Never liked the feel of underinflated tires except off road when traction rules. I wouldn't ride a bike that required it to be ride-able. (Not much of an issue since I won't be buying CF or aluminum bikes anyway for other reasons.)

I don't love chipseal but it has never been a deal breaker or occupied much of my thought.

Edit: I do doublewrap my bars now, but that is since, in my 60s, my hands prefer the bigger diameter, better grip and less chafe. Also cloth tape looks respectable and lasts longer.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 08-05-19 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 08-05-19, 01:28 AM
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42mm wide tires are even better.
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Old 08-05-19, 04:40 AM
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Ride on the part of the road that has been packed down or swept of most of the loose stuff by car tires, usually the wheel tracks. Stay out of mounded stone and move to another line immediately when the wheels become noisy (ie acoustically or vibration). If you do find the front wheel plowing, resist the urge to decrease pedal speed or add braking, that will only make the yaw worse. Add power to keep the front light and find a better line with gradual counter/steering inputs. Sometimes, the best place to ride on a rough road is on the edge; not usually the case with chip seal as the excess is pushed to the sides. That said, when it comes to rough roads, road bikes and going as fast as you can, you gotta think outside the box.
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Old 08-05-19, 05:30 AM
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Pedal harder.
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Old 08-05-19, 05:42 AM
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Ti bike.
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Old 08-05-19, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
Pedal harder.

Around here, chip seal is an acknowledgement that they're finally addressing an improvement of said road's poor condition. Worst part is this means center lines and fog lines are obliterated for a period of time and drivers seem lost, practically wandering in the wilderness lost until they are repainted.
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Old 08-05-19, 05:53 AM
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700x30c in a great, low rolling resistance tubeless tire @ 65psi
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Old 08-05-19, 07:16 AM
  #13  
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I hate it too, and encounter it a lot here in Indiana. I compromise on the tires and pressure since I'm not always on it, so I run 28s at 70/75 psi front/back.
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Old 08-05-19, 09:42 AM
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+1 on wider tires and lower pressure.

If it's a low-traffic road, choosing a line wisely can help. Riding gravel has helped me immensely with learning this concept. Obviously, if it's a high traffic road, riding around in the lane might not be possible.
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Old 08-05-19, 09:50 AM
  #15  
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The good news is that next year, after there's been enough packing by cars, that surface is going to be great!
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Old 08-05-19, 10:46 AM
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As mentioned above enjoyment of chip seal is very equipment dependent.

Used to ride Colnago C60 with 23mm tires. Even though ran very supple tires with latex tubes still found Chip Seal a pain.

Now ride S Works Roubaix with 30mm Schwalbe G One speed tubeless @ 70psi max can ride chip seal all day and don’t give it a second thought.

Run the widest most supple tire either tubeless or with latex tubes at lower pressures and enjoy.
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Old 08-05-19, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post

Around here, chip seal is an acknowledgement that they're finally addressing an improvement of said road's poor condition. Worst part is this means center lines and fog lines are obliterated for a period of time and drivers seem lost, practically wandering in the wilderness lost until they are repainted.
Agreed, chip n' seal is vastly preferable to potholes and broken pavement. Where I ride, at least, they use pretty small stones, so once it's packed down it's not that bad, though of course nothing beats new blacktop.

Falling on chip n' seal, unless its very old, is nasty though. Try to avoid it.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
The good news is that next year, after there's been enough packing by cars, that surface is going to be great!

?? How so? We get nothing but chipseal where I live. It's not great for nothing. It still potholes like crazy, and it's full of cracks all over within a year. And then they never fix the damaged roads before they lay a new coat. It's just pour down the tar and throw gravel on top. So now all the cracks and holes are still there, just harder to see. I hate the stuff yet it's all we get so I deal with it.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
?? How so? We get nothing but chipseal where I live. It's not great for nothing. It still potholes like crazy, and it's full of cracks all over within a year. And then they never fix the damaged roads before they lay a new coat. It's just pour down the tar and throw gravel on top. So now all the cracks and holes are still there, just harder to see. I hate the stuff yet it's all we get so I deal with it.
I don't know much about pavement except that some types work better in some environments than others. The chipseal in New England follows the pattern I describe, hell for the first year, then pretty great for a few years. Everything potholes over time, however.

Maybe it's just a really bad surface for Utah roads for some reason?
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Old 08-05-19, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
The good news is that next year, after there's been enough packing by cars, that surface is going to be great!
+1 Wahoo! Personally I find the annoying buzz of chipseal beats the heck out of riding hundred yard stretches of bumpy and cracked pavement.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
The good news is that next year, after there's been enough packing by cars, that surface is going to be great!
+1 Wahoo! Personally I find the annoying buzz of chipseal beats the heck out of riding hundred yard stretches of bumpy and cracked pavement. Even on my 23s...
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Old 08-05-19, 01:45 PM
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I've been riding on chip/seal and limestone gravel all my life, I just thought it was normal.
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Old 08-05-19, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post

Around here, chip seal is an acknowledgement that they're finally addressing an improvement of said road's poor condition. Worst part is this means center lines and fog lines are obliterated for a period of time and drivers seem lost, practically wandering in the wilderness lost until they are repainted.
Yup. Sad commentary on infrastructure when we've come to regard chipseal as an improvement.

Ditto, the lost sheep behind the wheel. One route I ride often is the classic "wide enough to share the road without cyclists taking the lane." Until it was recently resurfaced there was a painted "bike lane" that was really just a street side parking zone. The actual lane was wide enough to accommodate both cars and bikes.

But without the painted lines I've noticed some drivers have no idea what to do. I can ride to the right, leaving a lane wide enough for a tractor trailer rig with outboard mirrors. But some drivers still hesitate to pass. Other than the occasional @$$holes who still brush-by pass no matter how much room they have, or think the bike/parking lane is their personal passing lane.
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Old 08-05-19, 02:27 PM
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The problem is not chipseal, the problem is your tires.

Get some supple 32-38mm tires run at the right pressure and you will be largely indifferent to road surface conditions.
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Old 08-05-19, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I don't know much about pavement except that some types work better in some environments than others. The chipseal in New England follows the pattern I describe, hell for the first year, then pretty great for a few years. Everything potholes over time, however.

Maybe it's just a really bad surface for Utah roads for some reason?

I think they just cheap out on us here with it. They really do a bad job putting it down like 90% of the time.
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