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Riding rough roads

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Riding rough roads

Old 05-27-15, 02:39 AM
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Riding rough roads

I've just moved from a mountain bike to the Giant Revolt 2 gravel bike and did a 60 Km ride on Monday. The Irish country roads aren't the smoothest and rattled the crap out of me quite frequently.

I was considering changing my tyres from the 35cc that it came with down to a 28cc road tyre, but after that ride I can only imagine the ride comfort will be even worse

How do you guys riding 23/25cc tyres do it? Is there a technique or do you just grit your teeth and suffer?
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Old 05-27-15, 03:45 AM
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Stay with the 35's, start lowering the pressure 5 lbs at a time, just not too much or they might get mushy and / or pinch flats. The front can be 5 to 10 lbs less than the back, depending on the weight distribution of your bike. Maybe assume 40% weight on the front, 60% weight on the back.

Pad your bars more. Use a vibration absorbing seatpost.

As an example, I'm on fairly good roads and trails, but when they get rough, but not potholed, the ride gets uncomfortable. I weigh 159 + bike, 27 mm (measured) MPSC4 which is just one of very comfortable tires, 90 / 95 or 85 / 90 psi.
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Old 05-27-15, 04:31 AM
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+1 with RTs reply.

Originally Posted by MattKid
..........How do you guys riding 23/25cc tyres do it? Is there a technique or do you just grit your teeth and suffer?
My 23mm tires get 120+psi. 64yo, 5' 8.5" @ 136lbs and enjoy the stiff yet compliant/comfortable enjoyable ride from the Giant. The Paramount has 25mm with 100/110psi, but is decked out as a heavy duty joy rider at 30+ lbs.
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Old 05-27-15, 04:49 AM
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put it in a little bigger gear. slow down the cadence a bit. start cranking out watts. whether your jackhammer is set to fast or slow, it's still a jackhammer.
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Old 05-27-15, 05:11 AM
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Here are my tires currently in rotation, 32, 28, 25 and 23.

23 has no place on country roads, but a 23mm tire at 120psi is magic on smooth city roads. I know they've been debunked as faster than 25, but the harsh ride is a lot of fun. 'Comfort' isn't a good thing if your body can handle not having it.

You can get a lot of different things out of some tires, so experiment with pressure to see what you like. My 28 Open paves are happy anywhere between 70 and 130 psi (i'm 6'2).

I get sore on a bike when i get tired. If my riding intensity stays up, I won't get sore. I found managing discomfort on the bike mostly to be about staying strong all the way through a ride.

Riding steel bikes and being 22 certainly doesn't hurt

Steel is real man
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Old 05-27-15, 08:54 AM
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Long seatposts add a lot of compliance without sacrificing frame stiffness. Having a good tire is important too, thick puncture resistant tires ride like bricks. My softest riding bike is a soma smoothie. With 23mm tires it feels similar to my salsa casseroll with 35mm tires, it seems to float over things rather than bowl through them. I thought my carbon bike was soft, but this bike is softer. Since it feels just as stiff the only real penalty is a pound or so. Lately I've been willing to take that in exchange for comfort
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Old 05-27-15, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Soody
Riding steel bikes and being 22 certainly doesn't hurt
I got the steel part already. How do I become 22 again?
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Old 05-27-15, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy
+1 with RTs reply.



My 23mm tires get 120+psi. 64yo, 5' 8.5" @ 136lbs and enjoy the stiff yet compliant/comfortable enjoyable ride from the Giant. The Paramount has 25mm with 100/110psi, but is decked out as a heavy duty joy rider at 30+ lbs.
120psi? I out weigh you by 40 pounds and I run my front tire at 100psi and the rear at 110psi. That's with 700x23s. I have never, in 20 years, gotten a pinch flat, and the roads of New England aren't exactly smooth. Take some air out of those tires and enjoy the new found comfort.
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Old 05-27-15, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy
+1 with RTs reply.



My 23mm tires get 120+psi. 64yo, 5' 8.5" @ 136lbs and enjoy the stiff yet compliant/comfortable enjoyable ride from the Giant. The Paramount has 25mm with 100/110psi, but is decked out as a heavy duty joy rider at 30+ lbs.
The simple secret to 23mm is paved roads. Most gravel riders are on 28-35mm tires.

120+ psi?!? I'm 30 lbs heavier, and used to ride at 100/110 on 700x23 tires... Now I run tubeless at 75/85 psi still at 700x23. You could easily let 20psi out of those tires and be fine.
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Old 05-27-15, 09:31 AM
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I'm on 23mm tubs and stiff carbon. Sometimes I have miles of unpaved roads (why are these construction workers so slow) and I have cobbles here in Lowell, MA, it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk forcing us to ride on them or walk in cleats. Aside from the tid bit that I like to ride on 100-110PSI gatorskins and current 5'10 @190lb isn't the lightest.



I ride for miles out of the saddle with feet leveled 3 and 9 o'clock knees bent slightly with hands on the bars with bent elbows and I let the bike shake about. I tossed my thin Cinelli cork in the trash with displeasure as they felt so paper thin. I threw $10 Easton take on there which is much more padded and now I don't dread holding my own handle bars. I'm not at the point where I want to double tape my handlebars- yet.

Once I venture far away from the city, there are less obvious pot holes and they come up sparingly. I avoid unruly roads as best as possible but otherwise my out of the cobblegrinder form soaks most debris I run over. Keep the back straight and engage your core to reduce back pain.

+1 my steel bikes feel 10x more compliant on 23mm tubs vs my carbon though.

Last edited by Panza; 05-27-15 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 05-27-15, 09:33 AM
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If you want a nimble, comfortable tire, consider the Compass Barlow Pass.

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Old 05-27-15, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinF
120psi? I out weigh you by 40 pounds and I run my front tire at 100psi and the rear at 110psi. That's with 700x23s. I have never, in 20 years, gotten a pinch flat, and the roads of New England aren't exactly smooth. Take some air out of those tires and enjoy the new found comfort.
Use a Bike Tire Pressure calculator to figure out how much air you need.

This article has a link to a few different ones, including an app.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

  1. Harder tires aren’t any faster than softer tires. There’s a sweet spot for tire pressure between too-hard and too-soft, and you waste energy both ways. That sweet spot is a 15% “drop,” which is how much you squish the tires when you get on the bike.
  2. Front and rear tires need different amounts of air pressure. Bikes put more weight on the rear, which is why rear tires wear faster, and why you have fewer spokes in the front. The rear tire needs higher pressure for the same optimal drop.
  3. Tire pressure and width should change based on weight and load. Bigger people need bigger tires. Wide tires at the right pressure are as fast or faster than narrow tires. Wider tires are more comfortable than narrow ones.

GH
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Old 05-27-15, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Panza
I have cobbles here in Lowell, MA.
I know where that is. I live down the road from you in Tewksbury.
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Old 05-27-15, 11:33 AM
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"How do you guys riding 23/25cc tyres do it?"

Different riders are different in their tolerances. Your weight, lack thereof, and distribution of weight will affect the roughness. Different bike frames and tires are different. IE, don't assume that everyone else just grins and bears it.

There are some online recommendations for optimal inflation of tires that may help.

Long ago, I drove some bobtail dump trucks. When empty at 22,000 lbs or so, the suspension was so rough it'd rattle your teeth. Load it up to 52,000 lbs or so, and things got a whole lot smoother riding. That kind of thing should happen on bikes as well.
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Old 05-27-15, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Square Wheels
I know where that is. I live down the road from you in Tewksbury.
I don't usually venture down into the Tewksbury area but I always felt it was a little flat. I usually ride in Tyngsborough, Pelham, Nashua, Dracut area. Maybe I should more?
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Old 05-27-15, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Panza
I don't usually venture down into the Tewksbury area but I always felt it was a little flat. I usually ride in Tyngsborough, Pelham, Nashua, Dracut area. Maybe I should more?
Tewksbury doesn't have a lot of open roads like the places you mentioned. A couple of weeks ago I had my Garmin take me on a ride, all I told it was about 30 miles (pretty cool feature in Garmin 1000), it took me to a lot of those places. It was a really nice ride.

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/770601532
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Old 05-27-15, 12:33 PM
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I liked 700 X 18's for a good while.

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Old 05-27-15, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Square Wheels
Tewksbury doesn't have a lot of open roads like the places you mentioned. A couple of weeks ago I had my Garmin take me on a ride, all I told it was about 30 miles (pretty cool feature in Garmin 1000), it took me to a lot of those places. It was a really nice ride.

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/770601532
I have a Garmin Edge 1000 also, I purchased it because of the "take me home" and "back to start feature". Perhaps I'll have to let it choose some routes for me when I'm bored.

Also, you actually use Garmin Connect??
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Old 05-27-15, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Panza
Also, you actually use Garmin Connect??
Yup, I'm the one.
I really like it, I don't care much for Strava, but I have a club there that I started so I have Garmin sync to Strava.
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Old 05-27-15, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Square Wheels
I know where that is. I live down the road from you in Tewksbury.
I know where it is too! The setting for the classic documentary: High on Crack Street. But seriously, I grew up in MA and worked in Tewks for a few years.
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Old 05-27-15, 01:26 PM
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Keep your weight balanced over the bike. It isn't necessary to stand but I focus on unweighting the saddle.
Keep everything that can be bent nice and loose (waist, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers).
Keep a light grip. It's counterintuitive, but the worse the road, the looser the grip. Just let the bike bounce around and find its line.
Keep the chain in the big ring and the pedals turning in a big gear with a fair amount of pressure.
Keep the tires pumped up enough to avoid pinch flats but low enough to have some cushion. There are tables for suggested pressure, but I just go by trial and error. Tire quality matters too. (Vittoria makes a 320tpi tubular in 27mm that reportedly rides like a dream, but it's spendy, not to mention it probably requires a new wheelset.)
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Old 05-27-15, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinF
120psi? I out weigh you by 40 pounds and I run my front tire at 100psi and the rear at 110psi. That's with 700x23s. I have never, in 20 years, gotten a pinch flat, and the roads of New England aren't exactly smooth. Take some air out of those tires and enjoy the new found comfort.
Originally Posted by gsa103
The simple secret to 23mm is paved roads. Most gravel riders are on 28-35mm tires.

120+ psi?!? I'm 30 lbs heavier, and used to ride at 100/110 on 700x23 tires... Now I run tubeless at 75/85 psi still at 700x23. You could easily let 20psi out of those tires and be fine.
Except for the crushed shell roads, most around here are very nice. During winter we have snowbirds and out of country riders join the rides with very positive reaction to the road surfaces, fast/smooth. I've lowered the pressure as per tables and felt sluggish so back up went the psi.
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Old 05-27-15, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MattKid
...

How do you guys riding 23/25cc tyres do it? Is there a technique or do you just grit your teeth and suffer?
teeth gritting and suffering are admirable qualities in a cyclist.



Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 05-27-15 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 05-27-15, 06:08 PM
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huey--the black and white shot of the guys with the toques on and the rubber dishwashing gloves made me smile--last fall I did a two day mini tour and luckily took some dishwashing gloves. The second day rained for about 6 or 7 hours and it was about 6 or 7 celcius--those good ol yellow dishwashing gloves and some wool gloves inside saved my ass, or hands, you know what I mean.

pretty wrinkly hands afterwards, but at least I could feel my fingers, and a bonus feature is that they grip sti brifters just fine for shifting in pouring rain all day, no slippage.....
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Old 05-27-15, 11:59 PM
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I think some of this is going to be adjusting from going from front suspension to carbon forks. I think I'll still go for my plan of getting the Continental 4 Seasons 28cc and see how I do with them. Thanks for the responses
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