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The Hum

The Hum

by / / 148 posts

One of the things that strikes me most about the English is they don’t appear to have developed any sort of “inner dialog”. It seems anything that passes through the brain is parlayed directly to the tongue; if the thought being expressed is an insult to you, it will generally include a query for confirmation: “You’re not terribly clever, are you?” At least the English have developed the sophistication to keep their voices down which is a skill English children apparently don’t develop until adolescence. I recently spent some time on a small aircraft sitting opposite a young English girl who loudly narrated the progress of her camera’s zoom functionality which, due to the plane’s low cruising altitude, meant it was pointed out the window and in constant operation for the duration of the two-hour flight.

While I don’t consider myself a savage, I also don’t possess the dignity of soft speech; my voice carries as it is, let alone if I’m enthusiastic or angry, which between the two covers about 99.93% of my existance. I’m not sure why people place value on speaking quietly or, for that matter, having any sort of inner dialog. I think this is why I get on well with the English: I spend most of my life trying to sort out what the living beings around me are thinking; if they all had a readout on their forehead or spoke every thought that ever crossed their mind out loud, it would save me loads of time which would free me up for riding my bike.

Riding tubular tires is kind of like riding the tire equivalent of the English, except less cold. Riding tubular tires on deep-section rims is like riding the tire equivalent of English pre-adolescents. (I realized during proofing that I am getting dangerously close to pedaphile territory; this analogy isn’t as clever as it seems, is it? New paragraph, then.)

A well-made, hand-stitched tubular tire is a revelation to ride. The first time I rode tubs, it was aboard a set of Vredesteins which are excellent tires. I was immediately struck by how responsive they were, and how well they cornered. Then I rode a set of FMB Paris-Roubaixs and was struck by all those same things except they also felt like two cushions under my rims, carrying my smoothly from one imperfection to the next as I floated over the tarmac. The most striking thing was the sound: a hypnotic hum that brings the mind inexorably closer to becoming One with The V, the hum sooths and makes you more alert in equal measure; its pulsation reveals the smoothness or imperfections of your stroke with every revolution of the pedals. Clinchers can do much of the same, particularly when ridden with latex tubes, but nothing compares to a well-made tubular to sing the praises or holler the frailties of your stroke.

The Hum whispers to me when I’m climbing well; it shouts at me when I’m suffering worst (read: climbing badly), reminding me to stop pedalling squares and focus on the fluidity of the stroke. The more V is channeled into the pedals, the more difficult it becomes to achieve a Magnificent Stroke. It also hints that its easier to push round smoothly at a low cadence than it in in a high cadence; track racers who can turn round at 160rpm while delivering full power astound me.

The Hum has brought me closer to a Magnificent Stroke. It calls out when I stray, it soothes when I am near. I seek it, I embrace it. Always.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// Accessories and Gear // La Vie Velominatus // Nostalgia // Technique // Technology

  1. @frank

    @Haldy

    @wilburrox

    Hey all, re: Vittoria Pave’s…when I first started riding ’em they had the green stripe down the middle. Now they come with the green sidewall. And, I’ve recently noticed, they also care available in all black. That’s news to me ’cause if they’ve always been available in all black then I’ve not noticed. I just figured Pave’s were green and didn’t matter if the green looked a little odd on the bike because they were Pave’s and Pave’s were green. So, the question I’m asking myself is, is my next set of Pave’s gonna be all black ? or is that like dressing Santa Clause in black or something like that ? Just not meant to be ?

    Try getting your hands on the all black version. They are listed on inventory sheets, rps claim that they have seem them, but as yet..I have never laid eyes on the all black version of the Pave. My current ones have the green on the side. Vittoria moved the color from the center stripe to the side as it was difficult to perfectly center the color on the tread and people complained that the tires were defective and “out of balance” because the color wasn’t perfectly straight….

    Whats the point of all black Pavé’s? Isn’t the charm in the “wet-weather” rubber that apparently only comes in ugly shades of turquoise?

    I completely agree…however I do have customers that are concerned that the green clashes with their bike( don’t get me started…), hence my search for the all black Pave’s. But for me I have always and proudly run the Pave’s for Rule #9 season here in Seattle.

  2. @Haldy

    @frank

    Whats the point of all black Pavé’s? Isn’t the charm in the “wet-weather” rubber that apparently only comes in ugly shades of turquoise?

    I completely agree…however I do have customers that are concerned that the green clashes with their bike( don’t get me started…), hence my search for the all black Pave’s. But for me I have always and proudly run the Pave’s for Rule #9 season here in Seattle.

    These people need to have it explained to them that in this case the green is not a colour but a statement of intent and on the basis that it’s not a colour it can’t possibly clash with their bike.

    It should also be explained that as this is a concept that is clearly beyond their ken, they can’t have a pair.

    There are no black Pavés, it’s a trick question.

    Whilst we talking about Pavés, will you lot stop using apostrophes. Plural, for fucks sake, not possessive.

  3. @Chris

    @Haldy

    @frank

    Whats the point of all black Pavé’s? Isn’t the charm in the “wet-weather” rubber that apparently only comes in ugly shades of turquoise?

    I completely agree…however I do have customers that are concerned that the green clashes with their bike( don’t get me started…), hence my search for the all black Pave’s. But for me I have always and proudly run the Pave’s for Rule #9 season here in Seattle.

    These people need to have it explained to them that in this case the green is not a colour but a statement of intent and on the basis that it’s not a colour it can’t possibly clash with their bike.

    It should also be explained that as this is a concept that is clearly beyond their ken, they can’t have a pair.

    There are no black Pavés, it’s a trick question.

    Whilst we talking about Pavés, will you lot stop using apostrophes. Plural, for fucks sake, not possessive.

    Well put! Makes me reconsider my previous post — although I’m usually on something aluminum in Pave weather so moving from green to tan on the Bontragers is still a reasoned direction.

    And while I have the possessive/plural thing down, I do need to learn how to get accented characters from my keyboard. And to proof my posts better before pushing the “submit post” button as there’s no editing here once it’s published.

  4. @Chris

    @Haldy

    @frank

    Whats the point of all black Pavé’s? Isn’t the charm in the “wet-weather” rubber that apparently only comes in ugly shades of turquoise?

    I completely agree…however I do have customers that are concerned that the green clashes with their bike( don’t get me started…), hence my search for the all black Pave’s. But for me I have always and proudly run the Pave’s for Rule #9 season here in Seattle.

    These people need to have it explained to them that in this case the green is not a colour but a statement of intent and on the basis that it’s not a colour it can’t possibly clash with their bike.

    It should also be explained that as this is a concept that is clearly beyond their ken, they can’t have a pair.

    There are no black Pavés, it’s a trick question.

    Whilst we talking about Pavés, will you lot stop using apostrophes. Plural, for fucks sake, not possessive.

    Ha! Interesting point..had never really thought of it as possessive when using the apostrophe. Have always see Pave’ typed this way in all my communication with Vittoria since that’s how they type the singular and they type the plural as Pave’s.

  5. @teleguy57

    …And to proof my posts better before pushing the “submit post” button as there’s no editing here once it’s published.

    Hmm. Not something I’ve ever been guilty of.

    @Haldy

    Ha! Interesting point..had never really thought of it as possessive when using the apostrophe. Have always see Pave’ typed this way in all my communication with Vittoria since that’s how they type the singular and they type the plural as Pave’s.

    In Word Excel etc you can hit CTRL ‘ then e but it doesn’t seem to work here so I tend to copy someone else’s.

  6. @frank point taken on the two stripe version. Will be ordering a pair this winter.

  7. @Buck Rogers

    @frank point taken on the two stripe version. Will be ordering a pair this winter.

    It’s winter for most of us now even though the calendar says another month. Ribble has 12% off the base price of $62 to the USA right now in both 25 and 27. I’ve not seen them less than that anywhere.

  8. @teleguy57

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank point taken on the two stripe version. Will be ordering a pair this winter.

    It’s winter for most of us now even though the calendar says another month. Ribble has 12% off the base price of $62 to the USA right now in both 25 and 27. I’ve not seen them less than that anywhere.

    Thanks a MILLION! That’s a ridiculously low price! Just ordered a pair of 27’s.

  9. @Haldy High on Bikes (link from Tommy) also sells on Ebay. Search for VITTORIA PAVE CG ISOGRIP – ROAD BIKE – TUBULAR – TYRE – FULL BLACK (copied from link from Tommy) and same item and price available on Ebay. NOW £54.95 approximately US $86.08

  10. @unversio

    @Haldy High on Bikes (link from Tommy) also sells on Ebay. Search for VITTORIA PAVE CG ISOGRIP – ROAD BIKE – TUBULAR – TYRE – FULL BLACK (copied from link from Tommy) and same item and price available on Ebay. NOW £54.95 approximately US $86.08

    It’s not for me that I look for these tires…it’s for the customers of the shop I work at, so…I am a bit loathe to turn them to other sources…I prefer they spend the $$$ in the shop that keeps me employed. :-)

  11. @unversio

    @Haldy High on Bikes (link from Tommy) also sells on Ebay. Search for VITTORIA PAVE CG ISOGRIP – ROAD BIKE – TUBULAR – TYRE – FULL BLACK (copied from link from Tommy) and same item and price available on Ebay. NOW £54.95 approximately US $86.08

    The Ribble site has them for $54 US dollars including shipping to USA. NEVER beat that price. That is about 50% off.

  12. @Chris

    @Haldy

    @frank

    Whats the point of all black Pavé’s? Isn’t the charm in the “wet-weather” rubber that apparently only comes in ugly shades of turquoise?

    I completely agree…however I do have customers that are concerned that the green clashes with their bike( don’t get me started…), hence my search for the all black Pave’s. But for me I have always and proudly run the Pave’s for Rule #9 season here in Seattle.

    These people need to have it explained to them that in this case the green is not a colour but a statement of intent and on the basis that it’s not a colour it can’t possibly clash with their bike.

    It should also be explained that as this is a concept that is clearly beyond their ken, they can’t have a pair.

    There are no black Pavés, it’s a trick question.

    Whilst we talking about Pavés, will you lot stop using apostrophes. Plural, for fucks sake, not possessive.

    I think the most redeeming quality of Vittoria USA is that they’re not importing the black ones.

    Haldy, please direct your clients as @Chris indicates. Let me know if you need me to swing by and “persuade” them.

  13. @Haldy

    @unversio

    @Haldy High on Bikes (link from Tommy) also sells on Ebay. Search for VITTORIA PAVE CG ISOGRIP – ROAD BIKE – TUBULAR – TYRE – FULL BLACK (copied from link from Tommy) and same item and price available on Ebay. NOW £54.95 approximately US $86.08

    It’s not for me that I look for these tires…it’s for the customers of the shop I work at, so…I am a bit loathe to turn them to other sources…I prefer they spend the $$$ in the shop that keeps me employed. :-)

    Definitely, we’ll turn a blind eye to this lot point each other around to the web here on their violation of Rule #58.

    @teleguy57, @Chris, @Haldy

    option – e – e on the mac, windows > Chrome > google.com on Windows.

  14. @frank

    @Chris

    @Haldy

    @frank

    Whats the point of all black Pavé’s? Isn’t the charm in the “wet-weather” rubber that apparently only comes in ugly shades of turquoise?

    I completely agree…however I do have customers that are concerned that the green clashes with their bike( don’t get me started…), hence my search for the all black Pave’s. But for me I have always and proudly run the Pave’s for Rule #9 season here in Seattle.

    These people need to have it explained to them that in this case the green is not a colour but a statement of intent and on the basis that it’s not a colour it can’t possibly clash with their bike.

    It should also be explained that as this is a concept that is clearly beyond their ken, they can’t have a pair.

    There are no black Pavés, it’s a trick question.

    Whilst we talking about Pavés, will you lot stop using apostrophes. Plural, for fucks sake, not possessive.

    I think the most redeeming quality of Vittoria USA is that they’re not importing the black ones.

    Haldy, please direct your clients as @Chris indicates. Let me know if you need me to swing by and “persuade” them.

    Can I put your phone number on speed dial on all the shop phones so we can call you during “emergency persuading” circumstances? I have a hardback copy of The Rules here at the shop to hit people over the head with.

  15. @frank

    @Haldy

    @unversio

    @Haldy High on Bikes (link from Tommy) also sells on Ebay. Search for VITTORIA PAVE CG ISOGRIP – ROAD BIKE – TUBULAR – TYRE – FULL BLACK (copied from link from Tommy) and same item and price available on Ebay. NOW £54.95 approximately US $86.08

    It’s not for me that I look for these tires…it’s for the customers of the shop I work at, so…I am a bit loathe to turn them to other sources…I prefer they spend the $$$ in the shop that keeps me employed. :-)

    Definitely, we’ll turn a blind eye to this lot point each other around to the web here on their violation of Rule #58.

    @teleguy57, @Chris, @Haldy

    option – e – e on the mac, windows > Chrome > google.com on Windows.

    opportunity missed right there Frank…answer below for the PEBCAK users out there.

    http://bit.ly/1xIvCNn

  16. @wiscot

    @rfreese888

    @Angling Saxon Wilde was born in Dublin, but I take your point – the English do have inner dialogue-ability

    And Churchill’s mother was American. Both Morrissey’s parents were Irish. The rest were 100% English though . . .

    I thought John Lennon’s father was Irish……

    But he still has a point.

    David

  17. @Haldy

    @unversio

    @Haldy High on Bikes (link from Tommy) also sells on Ebay. Search for VITTORIA PAVE CG ISOGRIP – ROAD BIKE – TUBULAR – TYRE – FULL BLACK (copied from link from Tommy) and same item and price available on Ebay. NOW £54.95 approximately US $86.08

    It’s not for me that I look for these tires…it’s for the customers of the shop I work at, so…I am a bit loathe to turn them to other sources…I prefer they spend the $$$ in the shop that keeps me employed. :-)

    Now I see. I did learn a bit about Vittoria tyres while at it though. What is the name of the shop you are at ??

  18. @Buck Rogers Thanx

  19. to use e acute (é), on win. keyboard: alt + 0233. on mac. keyboard: (Option + e) + e

    from this page, containing ways to create font/characters: https://www.adobe.com/type/pdfs/AdobeWestern2.pdf

  20. @unversio

    @Haldy

    @unversio

    @Haldy High on Bikes (link from Tommy) also sells on Ebay. Search for VITTORIA PAVE CG ISOGRIP – ROAD BIKE – TUBULAR – TYRE – FULL BLACK (copied from link from Tommy) and same item and price available on Ebay. NOW £54.95 approximately US $86.08

    It’s not for me that I look for these tires…it’s for the customers of the shop I work at, so…I am a bit loathe to turn them to other sources…I prefer they spend the $$$ in the shop that keeps me employed. :-)

    Now I see. I did learn a bit about Vittoria tyres while at it though. What is the name of the shop you are at ??

    I am at Bothell Ski and Bike, just a little north of Seattle.

  21. I’ve not ridden Pave’s but if the Corsa EVO CX are anything to go by then they’re probably good. Challenge make reasonable tubs too in my experience.

    WRT someone above who commented about the extra fuss with dealing with tubs: fair point until you get good at it. I’m lucky enough to have a local shop who will glue them free because I buy them there. This and a can of pitstop gets me by.

  22. @PT

    I’ve not ridden Pave’s but if the Corsa EVO CX are anything to go by then they’re probably good. Challenge make reasonable tubs too in my experience.

    WRT someone above who commented about the extra fuss with dealing with tubs: fair point until you get good at it. I’m lucky enough to have a local shop who will glue them free because I buy them there. This and a can of pitstop gets me by.

    Paves are very nice, both 24s and 25s. Veloflex Roubaixs are very nice (mine were 24s). Even my inexpensive Vittoria Corsa Elites 25s are nice.

    In my experience Challenge Stratas are not so nice; oh heck with it, they are crap. I’ve ranted on other forums about my experience with both 24 and 25mm Stradas. Out of 5 tires not one made it over 800 miles, and not due to punctures. A plethora of sidewall failures, several tread delaminations, ugh — would not wish them on my worst enemy.

  23. @teleguy57

    @PT

    I’ve not ridden Pave’s but if the Corsa EVO CX are anything to go by then they’re probably good. Challenge make reasonable tubs too in my experience.

    WRT someone above who commented about the extra fuss with dealing with tubs: fair point until you get good at it. I’m lucky enough to have a local shop who will glue them free because I buy them there. This and a can of pitstop gets me by.

    Paves are very nice, both 24s and 25s. Veloflex Roubaixs are very nice (mine were 24s). Even my inexpensive Vittoria Corsa Elites 25s are nice.

    In my experience Challenge Stratas are not so nice; oh heck with it, they are crap. I’ve ranted on other forums about my experience with both 24 and 25mm Stradas. Out of 5 tires not one made it over 800 miles, and not due to punctures. A plethora of sidewall failures, several tread delaminations, ugh “” would not wish them on my worst enemy.

    Sorry to hear you had such a crap run with the Strada’s. I’ve only had the cheaper Vulcanos as a training tyre – was tempted by the Strada’s though. Thanks for the advice: I still have two sets of Corsa Evo CXs to get through before I buy again but will look at both the Pave’s and the Veloflexes when the time comes. Will keep the Corsa Elites in mind for trainers too.

  24. @PT

    @teleguy57

    @PT

    I’ve not ridden Pave’s but if the Corsa EVO CX are anything to go by then they’re probably good. Challenge make reasonable tubs too in my experience.

    WRT someone above who commented about the extra fuss with dealing with tubs: fair point until you get good at it. I’m lucky enough to have a local shop who will glue them free because I buy them there. This and a can of pitstop gets me by.

    Paves are very nice, both 24s and 25s. Veloflex Roubaixs are very nice (mine were 24s). Even my inexpensive Vittoria Corsa Elites 25s are nice.

    In my experience Challenge Stratas are not so nice; oh heck with it, they are crap. I’ve ranted on other forums about my experience with both 24 and 25mm Stradas. Out of 5 tires not one made it over 800 miles, and not due to punctures. A plethora of sidewall failures, several tread delaminations, ugh “” would not wish them on my worst enemy.

    Sorry to hear you had such a crap run with the Strada’s. I’ve only had the cheaper Vulcanos as a training tyre – was tempted by the Strada’s though. Thanks for the advice: I still have two sets of Corsa Evo CXs to get through before I buy again but will look at both the Pave’s and the Veloflexes when the time comes. Will keep the Corsa Elites in mind for trainers too.

    Thanks. The Corsa Elites are pretty impressive for an inexpensive tire. I’m not sure I can tell much different between them and my Vit Paves. They have a butyl vs latex tube, so when I pump them up before my daily ride it’s usually just one or two strokes of the floor pump and I’m good to go.

    They come only in black sidewalls, which for many is optimal. Very nice ride in the 25 width.

  25. @frank

    @teleguy57

    Very sweet tires! You should really enjoy them. How often do you see yourself riding 27s?

    I was happy moving to 25s, then 26’s. The FMB measures a bit wide, so it will ride like a 28. I don’t see not riding them regularly but we’ll see. 25s seem to be very good all-round tires. I rode the cobbles on that width two seasons of KT, no flats.

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    @frank and @tessar: sage counsel taken — a pair of FMB Paris-Roubaixs in 27 are on their way to me! Should be aged enough to mount ride in Apr 2015.

  26. @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

  27. @teleguy57 had a blast riding my 27s today.

  28. @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

  29. @tessar

    @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

    Thanks! Some interesting reading there when I get my nerd on. I know it’s never an absolute RR/pressure trade-off, but those are some significant numbers.

  30. @tessar

    @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

    Very interesting. Now I know fuck-all nothing about all of this but if this is true, why do pro’s ride 23’s at all? Obviously my little brain is missing something here. Cannot imagine that the weight is the only reason but maybe that is it?

  31. @Buck Rogers

    @tessar

    @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

    Very interesting. Now I know fuck-all nothing about all of this but if this is true, why do pro’s ride 23’s at all? Obviously my little brain is missing something here. Cannot imagine that the weight is the only reason but maybe that is it?

    Two-and-a-half reasons:

    1. Aero – even on today’s wider rims, 23mm tyres test faster than larger tyres. Back when they rode narrow rims, they also rode 21mm tyres to match, and even 19mm on TT bikes. If that ain’t hardcore, I don’t know what is. So if you’re not too bothered with comfort, and/or plan to spend a day in the breakaway, then go for the aero choice.
    2. Weight is a minor consideration, which brings us to the main reason:
    3. Old wives’ tales. Pros are an incredibly old-fashioned bunch, and they stick to what they know, which is what their first coach told them, which is what said coach heard from his coach when he was a wee espoir in a French Continental team. If that coach told them to ride narrow tyres pumped to 160psi, then they’re going to do that no matter what.

    However, things are changing. This year 24mm and 25mm rubber was the norm for many teams. This is the first generation of pros who rode bikes at (or near) the weight limit for the entirety of their careers, and now need to find other ways of improving their equipment. And yet we still see teams like Garmin waste their efforts by letting riders choose the R5, instead of forcing them on the S3/S5. We still see climbers with shallow tubs and a lead weight in the BB shell of their hyperlight bike.

    At the end of the day, Aero + Rolling Resistance > Weight, but since you can’t quantify these properties as easily as “Whoa, I lifted a milk-jug heavier than this frame!”, it’s harder to convince people of those advantages. Even Frank goes around once in a while with his idea on the climbing advantage of shallow tubs.

  32. @Buck Rogers

    @tessar

    @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

    Very interesting. Now I know fuck-all nothing about all of this but if this is true, why do pro’s ride 23’s at all? Obviously my little brain is missing something here. Cannot imagine that the weight is the only reason but maybe that is it?

    The all encompassing weight of tradition? As a first thought that sounded right, but as my internal monolog progressed I realized for the Pro’s (and more importantly) their sponsors nothing is sacred except winning. So. Now I am flummoxed.

  33. @tessar

    @Buck Rogers

    @tessar

    @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

    Very interesting. Now I know fuck-all nothing about all of this but if this is true, why do pro’s ride 23’s at all? Obviously my little brain is missing something here. Cannot imagine that the weight is the only reason but maybe that is it?

    Two-and-a-half reasons:

    1. Aero – even on today’s wider rims, 23mm tyres test faster than larger tyres. Back when they rode narrow rims, they also rode 21mm tyres to match, and even 19mm on TT bikes. If that ain’t hardcore, I don’t know what is. So if you’re not too bothered with comfort, and/or plan to spend a day in the breakaway, then go for the aero choice.
    2. Weight is a minor consideration, which brings us to the main reason:
    3. Old wives’ tales. Pros are an incredibly old-fashioned bunch, and they stick to what they know, which is what their first coach told them, which is what said coach heard from his coach when he was a wee espoir in a French Continental team. If that coach told them to ride narrow tyres pumped to 160psi, then they’re going to do that no matter what.

    However, things are changing. This year 24mm and 25mm rubber was the norm for many teams. This is the first generation of pros who rode bikes at (or near) the weight limit for the entirety of their careers, and now need to find other ways of improving their equipment. And yet we still see teams like Garmin waste their efforts by letting riders choose the R5, instead of forcing them on the S3/S5. We still see climbers with shallow tubs and a lead weight in the BB shell of their hyperlight bike.

    At the end of the day, Aero + Rolling Resistance > Weight, but since you can’t quantify these properties as easily as “Whoa, I lifted a milk-jug heavier than this frame!”, it’s harder to convince people of those advantages. Even Frank goes around once in a while with his idea on the climbing advantage of shallow tubs.

    There a reason for everything. For a ridiculously long stages with more and more climbing every year R series are simply better bikes. They are more comfortable and when you sit all day in the peloton behind other riders benefits of an aero bike are minimal. Up to an introduction of S5 and the new S2/S3 series I have tried different Cervelos and if I had to keep just one bike it would have been an R3.

    As far as shallow wheels go I don’t know where to start. Do you think rider as slim and narrow as ‘Narrow’ Quintana doesn’t benefit from lower profile wheels? When climbing you want your wheels to be as light as possible, I thought that was obvious. Where do you want mechanics to add weight to make a limit? Surely not by dropping dead weight into rims, no? Maybe Frank knows something that you don’t?

  34. @tessar

    @Buck Rogers

    @tessar

    @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

    Very interesting. Now I know fuck-all nothing about all of this but if this is true, why do pro’s ride 23’s at all? Obviously my little brain is missing something here. Cannot imagine that the weight is the only reason but maybe that is it?

    Two-and-a-half reasons:

    1. Aero – even on today’s wider rims, 23mm tyres test faster than larger tyres. Back when they rode narrow rims, they also rode 21mm tyres to match, and even 19mm on TT bikes. If that ain’t hardcore, I don’t know what is. So if you’re not too bothered with comfort, and/or plan to spend a day in the breakaway, then go for the aero choice.
    2. Weight is a minor consideration, which brings us to the main reason:
    3. Old wives’ tales. Pros are an incredibly old-fashioned bunch, and they stick to what they know, which is what their first coach told them, which is what said coach heard from his coach when he was a wee espoir in a French Continental team. If that coach told them to ride narrow tyres pumped to 160psi, then they’re going to do that no matter what.

    However, things are changing. This year 24mm and 25mm rubber was the norm for many teams. This is the first generation of pros who rode bikes at (or near) the weight limit for the entirety of their careers, and now need to find other ways of improving their equipment. And yet we still see teams like Garmin waste their efforts by letting riders choose the R5, instead of forcing them on the S3/S5. We still see climbers with shallow tubs and a lead weight in the BB shell of their hyperlight bike.

    At the end of the day, Aero + Rolling Resistance > Weight, but since you can’t quantify these properties as easily as “Whoa, I lifted a milk-jug heavier than this frame!”, it’s harder to convince people of those advantages. Even Frank goes around once in a while with his idea on the climbing advantage of shallow tubs.

    The best engineers in the industry have constant disagreements about it so how come you are so convinced? Average weekend riders benefit more from a lighter bike than from an aero bike simply because most bikes these days have long head tubes, people run lots of spacers (still) plus they are not flexible enough to get low so benefits of an aero frame go out the window.

  35. @tessar

    @pistard

    @tessar

    The two-step questionnaire to decide:

    1. Can your bike accomodate 27s?
    2. Are you racing?

    If your bike can take them, why not? And if you’re not racing, again, why not? For training, there’s no real reason not to ride big rubber. The only reasons to decide against big tyres are clearance on the frame and aerodynamics. Rolling resistance is lower and cushioning higher – why not 27s on both sets of tyres?

    I thought rolling resistance was only lower at the same pressure as a narrower tire? Meaning you can have lower rolling resistance OR more cushion, but not both at once.

    It’s both. Tom Anhalt, mechanical engineer and expert on everything round & rubbery, did several comparisons between different-sized tyres and usually the 10-15psi drop in pressure is not enough to negate the improved resistance of a wider tyre. For example, the Specialized Turbo Cotton – currently the king of the hill when it comes to rolling resistance – tests faster in the 26mm version @85psi than the 24mm @100psi.

    Again the Crr numbers are useless for an average user. You can’t be talking about the benefit of one tire over another if you’re not adding type of wheelset and your weight with the bike into discussion plus environment/area and weather you’re going to ride in. Based on your total weight, the best possible pressure for given tire can be calculated for you.

    The guy does the tests in a closed environment on rollers. Turbo cotton is useless in a wet. They reduced puncture protection to a minimum which gave them good rolling results. Nothing new. Good tire is a balance of everything – puncture protection, rolling, weight, price etc. What’s the benefit of a low rolling resistance if I ride over a half-rotten leaf and I get a puncture?

  36. @TommyTubolare

    Again the Crr numbers are useless for an average user. You can’t be talking about the benefit of one tire over another if you’re not adding type of wheelset and your weight with the bike into discussion plus environment/area and weather you’re going to ride in. Based on your total weight, the best possible pressure for given tire can be calculated for you.

    The guy does the tests in a closed environment on rollers. Turbo cotton is useless in a wet. They reduced puncture protection to a minimum which gave them good rolling results. Nothing new. Good tire is a balance of everything – puncture protection, rolling, weight, price etc. What’s the benefit of a low rolling resistance if I ride over a half-rotten leaf and I get a puncture?

    I wasn’t doing that. I was simply giving one example of a test that shows that a wide tyre ridden at a pretty standard pressure will still, often, have lower resistance than the narrower version at that version’s typical pressure. 100psi for 23mm and 85psi for 26mm tyres is not at all unusual.

    I never claimed optimal, and I wouldn’t ride the Turbo Cotton either – but there’s no denying it’s a fast tyre. All tyres have to sacrifice something, and it’s up to us to choose what: At the end of the day, I have Conti 4 Seasons on my training wheels because I value their protection but they still grip well, for a training tyre. On my race wheels I have Vittoria Corsa Evo CX because they roll fast and give me confidence in the corners. On my TT wheels I run GP4000s because they roll fast and turn out to be aero, but feel a bit “dead” compared to cotton casings.

  37. @TommyTubolare

    The best engineers in the industry have constant disagreements about it so how come you are so convinced?

    The best engineers or the best marketing departments?

    Let me rephrase your argument:

    Average weekend riders benefit more from an aero bike than from a light bike simply because most bikes these days have long head tubes so people run less spacers plus they are not skinny enough for frame-weight to be significant so benefits of a light frame go out the window.

    Average weekend riders would benefit from a healthy diet and/or a doubling of their weekly mileage. Neither bike aerodynamics nor bike weight matters when you’re 10kg overweight and run a 3cm stack of spacers – nor should they matter when a person’s biggest riding goals are to beat his mate to the pub at the next club ride (however noble that goal is). However pros who have everything else maximised, are a different kettle of fish.

  38. @tessar @TommyTubolare

    So what do you guys think of helmets?

    … and nipple lube.

    Seriously, it’s good to see some informed debate, thanks.

    And perhaps an appropriate place to mark the passing of Steve Hed. RIP. Someone who can genuinely and productively claim to have re-invented the wheel.

  39. @TommyTubolare

    @tessar

    Two-and-a-half reasons:

    1. Aero – even on today’s wider rims, 23mm tyres test faster than larger tyres. Back when they rode narrow rims, they also rode 21mm tyres to match, and even 19mm on TT bikes. If that ain’t hardcore, I don’t know what is. So if you’re not too bothered with comfort, and/or plan to spend a day in the breakaway, then go for the aero choice.
    2. Weight is a minor consideration, which brings us to the main reason:
    3. Old wives’ tales. Pros are an incredibly old-fashioned bunch, and they stick to what they know, which is what their first coach told them, which is what said coach heard from his coach when he was a wee espoir in a French Continental team. If that coach told them to ride narrow tyres pumped to 160psi, then they’re going to do that no matter what.

    However, things are changing. This year 24mm and 25mm rubber was the norm for many teams. This is the first generation of pros who rode bikes at (or near) the weight limit for the entirety of their careers, and now need to find other ways of improving their equipment. And yet we still see teams like Garmin waste their efforts by letting riders choose the R5, instead of forcing them on the S3/S5. We still see climbers with shallow tubs and a lead weight in the BB shell of their hyperlight bike.

    At the end of the day, Aero + Rolling Resistance > Weight, but since you can’t quantify these properties as easily as “Whoa, I lifted a milk-jug heavier than this frame!”, it’s harder to convince people of those advantages. Even Frank goes around once in a while with his idea on the climbing advantage of shallow tubs.

    There a reason for everything. For a ridiculously long stages with more and more climbing every year R series are simply better bikes. They are more comfortable and when you sit all day in the peloton behind other riders benefits of an aero bike are minimal. Up to an introduction of S5 and the new S2/S3 series I have tried different Cervelos and if I had to keep just one bike it would have been an R3.

    As far as shallow wheels go I don’t know where to start. Do you think rider as slim and narrow as ‘Narrow’ Quintana doesn’t benefit from lower profile wheels? When climbing you want your wheels to be as light as possible, I thought that was obvious. Where do you want mechanics to add weight to make a limit? Surely not by dropping dead weight into rims, no? Maybe Frank knows something that you don’t?

    The comfort thing has been debunked several times in blind testing. Josh Poertner, formerly head engineer at Zipp and now Silca’s reviver, wrote an article about this. It’s a useful read for most of the Velominati, being a passionate community with a preference for all that is classic which leads to quite a bit of bro-science (or pro-science?) passed around as cycling lore.

    As for aerodynamics, that’s plain maths. In a peloton the magnitude of any aerodynamic effect is lessened, but that doesn’t mean it’s not present. In fact, the proportional part of frame and wheel aerodynamics is higher, because the rider body is more shielded than the bottom is. If rider A has to put out ~250W cruising inside the bunch over the flat stage, and identical rider B ~243W because he went aero on his frame and wheels – who has the advantage? That’s “free speed” for a pro, less “free” for us non-sponsored folks.

    Let’s take “Narrow” as an example (great nickname, by the way). Or his rival Contador. Both are small, light, and with the help of their sponsors could get a 6.3kg bike with 50mm tubs (there’s also a 6.1kg version with alu clinchers), before any weight-weenie custom jobs. Even adding 200g for a power-meter, that’s still 300g under the weight minimum. Guess what weighs 300g more? The Canyon Aeroad! Aero frame and 50mm tubs at the weight limit? Sign me up.

    In fact, it was calculated that for a Saxobank rider, the weight penalty of choosing a McLaren-edition Venge, Zipp 404s and an aero handlebar (over the Tarmac, shallow tubs and round bar) would still leave them under the weight limit and save them a healthy 10-15W.

    These guys reach pretty high speeds when climbing, and on narrow, exposed high mountains there’s often quite a gale blowing around. When going on a hard solo attack to win, there’s nothing better than saving a few watts against the wind, because you can put them up against gravity instead. I’m advocating not adding any dead weight. Lead in the BB is dead weight that provides no benefit whatsoever, while aero rims actually provide a tangible benefit.

    As for the “light rims accelerate better” – well, again if you look at the mathematics of it, and the blind-tested studies, you’ll see how much of a red herring that argument is – those 150-200g at the rim are truly insignificant. In road cycling we don’t really have any sprung weight (biggest spring, and thus most influential, is the tyre), so the classic motorsports concept of minimizing wheel weight doesn’t apply. We also don’t have the frantic cornering and handlebar wrestling that MTB racing sees, so the inertia argument again becomes insignificant.

  40. @ChrisO

    @tessar @TommyTubolare

    So what do you guys think of helmets?

    … and nipple lube.

    Seriously, it’s good to see some informed debate, thanks.

    And perhaps an appropriate place to mark the passing of Steve Hed. RIP. Someone who can genuinely and productively claim to have re-invented the wheel.

    We own five of his products in my family. A great innovator and one of the first tech-heads (tech-Heds?) in this sport.

  41. What the hell are you guys on about. I’m using 19mm Vittoria Evo Corsas at 120psi. If I look at a twig on the road or a pothole the back wheel jumps a foot in the air. Plus, they’e on a pair of Ksyriums, otherwise known as the harshest riding wheel in the history of the world.

    As for light rims accelerating better, to say light rims aren’t faster is just dumb. I have a pair of Zipp 303 tubs, at 1100 grams, and they get up and go body quick. To say lighter rims is a red herring is to say I can accelerate as quickly on my 32 spoke, 3 cross open pros. I’m not blind, so I don’t think I qualify for whatever test you’re talking about but I’m pretty sure that assertion is wrong.

  42. @tessar

    Appreciate your lengthy replies and thanks for your input. I will try to keep it very simple and short.

    As far as article from Josh Poertner goes comfort is a very personal thing and simply can’t agree with this. How can you debunk comfort? Does that apply to saddles too? You want me to believe that I will not know the difference between my R3 and Soloist Carbon? Is he taking people for fools? Given what they can sell today probably yes.

    If you think 200 g of rotating mass added to a wheel weight is insignificant I really don’t know what else to tell you. Forget climbing advantages but this is an industry that on average charges people 1000 Euro for 100 g lighter frame for example. Plus I meant real engineers, not marketing department but last time I checked I never had a problem selling lightweight stem or seatpost but you really have to try hard to sell an ugly aero frame using 5W savings as an argument. The point is public has no 6.8 kg limit, if you have money you can ride on a 4kg bike with ease. So which department needs more marketing then?

  43. @minion

    What the hell are you guys on about. I’m using 19mm Vittoria Evo Corsas at 120psi. If I look at a twig on the road or a pothole the back wheel jumps a foot in the air. Plus, they’e on a pair of Ksyriums, otherwise known as the harshest riding wheel in the history of the world.

    As for light rims accelerating better, to say light rims aren’t faster is just dumb. I have a pair of Zipp 303 tubs, at 1100 grams, and they get up and go body quick. To say lighter rims is a red herring is to say I can accelerate as quickly on my 32 spoke, 3 cross open pros. I’m not blind, so I don’t think I qualify for whatever test you’re talking about but I’m pretty sure that assertion is wrong.

    Oh you’re a pussy. When I was still using 19 mm I used to pump up to at least 140 psi, on my weak days.

  44. Thats it. I’m maxing out my floor pump to get 160psi in there, cutting the chamois out of my shorts and going for a 6 hour ride off road. THEN we’ll see who’s what and by how much.

    Caveats: My first road bike was a Cannondale R1000. I prefer alloy bikes to carbon, and like harsh riding bikes.

    I’m 90kgs, and have found 23/25mm tires squirm when cornering in a disconcerting way. Don’t get that with tubs or these, I think because the casing has less give in it.

    I only ride this bike once a week, to the crit track, round the crit track, and home.. These tires are gone come winter.

    I also suspect I like getting punched in the gooch. My experience with these tires would definitely agree with that.

    There’s been a bit of dscussion about old rim building with very light weight rims in the shop recently. With rims being so stiff these days, it’s no surprise that riders are going wider to get more comfort. Coupled with the super stiff frames riders have to ride, its no wonder they’ll take the widest products available to them.

  45. (Rant on)

    WRT light wheels, the comparisons are often quite spurious – spoke count goes right down, often spokes are bladed rather than round, without a cross pattern, rim depth changes, so aero properties change, they hold speed better and a lighter bike just takes less effort to keep going. Too many variables change to pin the whole thing on just the weight of the rim, especially with modern marketing which wants to sell you a $4000 wheelset with as many easily quotable, as-significant-as-possible advantages over a “traditional” box section whilst as possible.

    I actually laughed at a triathlete who told me his Mad Fibre wheels saved 90 seconds over the wheels that came on the bike. 90 seconds in a wind tunnel at a set yaw over 32 spoke box section clinchers which is the standard control for wheel tests – not the wheels that came with the bike he had. If it’s 90 seconds at 250 watts over 40km, then fine, but that isn’t what wind tunnels (where these bullshit numbers come from) test for. And it certainly isn’t disclosed in their test protocols how quickly the advantages erode if you’re not Tony Martin holding 400 watts for an hour.

    (Rant over).

  46. Oh what a shame. I wrote a couple of very long, witty and frankly rather brilliant posts and they seem to have disappeared.

    Short version, is the 19mm tires are on the crit bike; I’m 90kgs, and they don’t squirm under cornering like wider tires do and are quick as all get out.

    Triathletes love quoting people who work at Zipp, and comparing wheels of different weights is silly because too many variables change when you compare wheels (spoke count, lacing pattern, rim depth) to pick out wheel weight as the one determining factor.

    The rest of my posts was, blah blah blah something people with poor taste might find funny, blah blah 90 seconds faster blah blah bullshit.

  47. @TommyTubolare

    @minion

    What the hell are you guys on about. I’m using 19mm Vittoria Evo Corsas at 120psi. If I look at a twig on the road or a pothole the back wheel jumps a foot in the air. Plus, they’e on a pair of Ksyriums, otherwise known as the harshest riding wheel in the history of the world.

    As for light rims accelerating better, to say light rims aren’t faster is just dumb. I have a pair of Zipp 303 tubs, at 1100 grams, and they get up and go body quick. To say lighter rims is a red herring is to say I can accelerate as quickly on my 32 spoke, 3 cross open pros. I’m not blind, so I don’t think I qualify for whatever test you’re talking about but I’m pretty sure that assertion is wrong.

    Oh you’re a pussy. When I was still using 19 mm I used to pump up to at least 140 psi, on my weak days.

    That’s it, I’m getting 200psi in there, cutting the chamois out of my shorts, and going for a six hour ride on a railway line riding between the tracks. Then we will see who’s who and what’s what.

  48. @TommyTubolare I’m not claiming comfort doesn’t exist. I’m simply showing examples of blind comparisons that showed that people couldn’t determine which frame is “more comfortable”, but they could determine changes in comfort caused by a change of a few psi of air in the tyres.

    Why? Simple. Any dampening of road impacts is basically a spring movement, so any comfort in the bike system is essentially a series of springs. The weakest spring is usually the one that does the biggest work – and on a bike, that’s the tyre. So frame differences become negligible – the list of weaker springs includes the saddle, too. Investing in comfort is best done in the form of a good, supple tyre. Isn’t this where the thread started?

    200g of rotating mass is not insignificant, and ceteris paribus, lighter is never a bad thing. But if you do the maths, the watt savings of a more aero wheel will outweigh the savings of a lighter wheel on almost every terrain: The break-even point is an average gradient of 5-6%, so unless you’re at a hillclimb – a good medium-depth tub will out-do any shallow wheel.

    The fact that the public is still stuck in the weight-weenie paradigm plays perfectly into the hands the industry (“just add lightness” is always a good recipe to charge 1000Eur extra for that slightly lighter frame). Aero is hard to grasp, you can’t feel it when you lift the bike, and it often results in ugly frames – all of which make a bike less appealing to the customer.

    P.S: Josh is no longer a Zipp engineer, but the man behind the revival of Silca. Now that’s some reverence-worthy stuff.

  49. @tessar

    That is a great Josh Poertner article. I’ve always felt it’s impossible to compare bike unless the tire pressure and tires are exactly the same, at a start. Also, I’ve never been able to tell the difference between how my tubeless 25s and my sew-up 25s corner. But I can feel how the lightness of the carbon tubs help in climbing and 50mm profile goes faster especially downhill.

    “After doing this for a long time, my criteria for my personal bike is based almost entirely on paint and people behind the company who made it, everything else is components and tire pressure.”

    That is saying quite a lot right there. It’s how it looks.

  50. @tessar Chapeau! Thanx for a reminder to go to the new SILCA. I tore the page out of Peloton magazine (permitted) when I saw the write up on the SILCA SuperPista Ultimate.

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