Sunday, April 20, 2014

Changing My Tune

The winter and spring weather have exposed more of the rocks on the HD Bluff trails.

I have been using the Goldilocks approach to tire pressure with the 28c tubeless road tires on the CX this spring and learning a few things in the process.  Too low and the tires compress fully on bumps and rocks while overall comfort and dirt traction improve.  Too high and traction and comfort suffer on and off pavement.

For pavement I have settled on between 65 and 70 but with off-pavement I am still undecided.  I was running somewhere in the 45 to 50 range for gravel roads, but the occasional bottom-out condition was both uncomfortable and unsafe in that I could probably burp the tires off in some circumstances.

Yesterday, my ride began on road so tires were inflated to 70 psi.  At Hatch I called an audible to climb the secret dirt trails and then ride the mid trail of the bluff.  I decided to leave the tire pressure alone once on the dirt since I did not have a reliable way of reducing pressure to a known level.

I did not realize how much the tires still give at that pressure off-pavement and was glad I had that much air in the tires when I encountered rocks that couldn't be dodged.  On the rocks, I could still feel the tires grab and give without the disconcerting thunk of an impact to the rim.

With this new information I will try-out 70 psi on a gravel ride or two and see how the ride quality and traction compare since I know they will not compress fully at that pressure.  If either or both are compromised I will drop some more but not as much as before to try and avoid damage to the rims and my body.

Two Wheel Transit - Cycling for Life

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