Letting My Air Down!

Picture: Roxanne McNaughton

Picture: Roxanne McNaughton

I do not profess to be an expert in tubular tyres, but as someone who has used a pair this season for the first time, I thought I’d share my ramblings for the uninitiated.

After much thought and picking people’s brains, I plumed for a set of Challenge Limus 33s. Designed for muddy conditions, I went for a tyre I felt would get round most courses. Let’s face it, we all know that at some point we will end up riding in a mud bath!

Well that was the easy part! As for which pressure I should ride at, that seems to be a journey of discovery. Much to the amusement of my friends, I have developed a habit of squeezing the tubs, of those who seem to know what they are doing and asking ‘experts’.
“Don’t mind me, I am just feeling your pressure!” I say smiling sweetly!

Lots of people have helped. Steve Douce took lots of air out at one race, and Chris Young insisted I really ought to put some back in! All helpful information, for which I am really grateful. I seem to be happy at around 20 psi at this stage. I am frightened of bottoming out and sometimes I feel like the bike is wobbling round the corners. However I am also mindful, there’s no point running tubs if you don’t have them low enough to reap the benefits of extra traction.

My initial instinct was to ride at too high a pressure, however with experience I have begun to understand the advantages, on some courses of running them lower! Onwards and downwards Phelan!

Want more information? Have a look at Fluent in Cross.


One thought on “Letting My Air Down!

  1. Good post Julie. Seeing this having ridden tubulars for way too long, it reminds me of something pretty central to all of this; that you actually need to get used to riding them… that’s all!

    The squirm, the unnerving feeling when they bottom out… it’s all part of things we’d consider unacceptable with clinchers. But it’s something that gradually becomes your friend… that familiarity with how they will handle. You’ll become more familiar with them over time.

    It’s also worth noting how nicely they roll over fast, dry courses, too. I only rode two ‘cross races before my op this season and they were both very dry and fast, but I felt at a distinct advantage at times with my soft FMB-carcassed Grifos on. The way they prevent your bike from shuddering and chattering over fast uneven grass is often overlooked – you float on tubulars.

    Don’t listen to Youngy. Ride them as soft as you dare ­čśë

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