Choosing Tires

This is just a beginning post about choosing tires. There is quite a bit of logic to discuss for this subject.

First off, it is regular to see riders that train on tires that they have not intention of racing or performing well on. We might choose tires with higher flat resistance, or wear characteristics to train on. There is nothing wrong with that, or is there?

If you race on the weekends, or attend organized rides like fondos and centuries there can be some issues.  Now this isnt to advocate to run race tires at all times. The idea is that in your special circumstances you should ride race type equipment enough to be familiar with the performance, ride, flat and other factors so that you can make the best choices.

For the longest time riders would show up with special wheels, put 120psi into the tires and call them ready. But here is a story that should help you to understand why we should understand what we ride.

In 2014 I decided to do the state time trial championships. I already knew that to be fast that I need to run a disk wheel on the rear and some type of aero front wheel. I chose a Zipp 950 rear and a Hed tri spoke on the front. Both were fitted with narrow high pressure tires. That should be a reasonable equation for going fast.

I had rode the wheels one time, and felt ok on them. My TT bike was ok, nothing special at the time. Come race day, things were not as I expected.

I had a vague idea about the pavement for this course. I had ridden there a few times previously. But, that day, I wasnt prepared. The road was a series of potholes and patches for 40km! It was so rough, and I didnt set up properly for it.  I was riding around 130psi. Ideally I should have stopped and let some pressure out of my tires.

I had basically no suspension from my tires at all. I couldnt float over the bumps.  Every time I hit something it slowed me down and wore me out. I was having issues carrying speed. If I had chosen better tires, and understood why, I could have had a much better performance.

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