- Carbons with file tread
- Mud tires on Centaurs
- All arounders on Records
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Cyclocross Wheel/Tire Selections for 2009.
I don't like to make excuses for poor performance. For instance there were a few mountain bike races that I didn't place well in. When asked about the race afterwards, I stated that I was happy with my performance despite my results. What I meant was that my equipment performed well, I evenly dosed my power output over the whole race and my bike handling was good. Results mean nothing if you rode the best race that you could and your equipment worked properly for the entire race, even when pushed.
At Blunt Park, I was forced to race on clinchers after discovering a flat in my only set of glued tubulars on the night before the race. Despite this curveball, my bike and my legs performed well and I handled my bike well. 4th place was nothing next to the feeling that I had put in good work to get the result. Palmer on the other hand saw my bike fail multiple times, which seriously irked me.
Last cyclocross season, I had two sets of tubulars, but lacked a real tire selection. After some races I felt like I would have performed better had I the luxury of different tires to select from.
I took this lesson to heart. I read articles. I did my due diligence and decided that I needed 4 wheelsets for cyclocross. One set of clinchers for training and 3 sets of tubulars for racing. I decided that my quiver should include a super supple 34 mm file tread, a robust, aggressive and durable 30 or 32 mm mud tire and an all-arounder, 32 or 34mm. I was not overly concerned with the quality level of the wheels, I was more focused on the tires.
I had two sets of tubulars already on hand, Reflex rims laced to 2006 Campagnolo Centaur hubs and a set of Easton EC90 Aero carbon tubs. I considered buying a set of Easton EA70 x tubs to round out the collection, but eventually settled on a set of 2006 Campagnolo Record hubs laced to vintage Campagnolo Omega semi-aero ceramic rims, which I procured on eBay. The new wheels are very pretty; you can fix your hair in your reflection off the hubs.
My next concern was matching the tires with the correct wheels. Conventional wisdom says that I should put the mud tires on the aero carbons in order to take advantage of their mud shedding abilities. Another school of thought said that I should put the all arounders on the lightweight aero rims, since I would use these wheels the most. In this case, I would get the competitive advantage of the carbon wheels in more races.
I decided on the following pairings:
My logic is as follows: I put the file tread on the most expensive and most fragile wheels since I figure that these wheels will only be used on fast dry courses. I don't want to deliberately destroy my fancy wheels. The mud tires will see the most abuse so they are mounted on the most abused wheelset. The Centaur hubs are still smooth, but the rims are thrashed, so they are the perfect wheelset to misuse. The all arounders will see varied use. I am sure that they will get taken through the mud sometimes, but Record hubs are quite resistant to slop and are resilient. Also the ceramic rims offer great, predictable stopping in variable to sloppy conditions.
Oh, I have to go now. I have tires to glue...
Once they are all glued up, I will post pictures of the wheel/tubular tire quiver.