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What tires are used by the pros?(20 posts)

What tires are used by the pros?UncleMoe
Jul 30, 2002 2:16 PM
It seems like the racers rarely flat in the Tour (only race I watch - sorry). I'm wondering if they jsut don't really talk about in the coverage because the crews replace the wheel so quickly, or if they use some super expensive, yet durable light weight tire, or if they are so damn skilled and ride so lightly that thye just don't flat?

All I know is, when I use a lighter tire like the Vittoria Rubino, I get a flat about once every 200 miles. And I make a huge point to avoid road debris.
The pros get plenty of flats.Spoke Wrench
Jul 30, 2002 2:35 PM
Course they have one support vehicle for every four riders and the mechanics can generally change a rear wheel in about 10 seconds.
Do the French toss beer bottles out their windows?Humma Hah
Jul 30, 2002 3:15 PM
The TDF is mostly countryside riding, with little urban riding. In my experience, there's less glass in the countryside.

The riders have generally practiced on the course. The support crews and lead riders have radios to inform the rest of the team about any road obstacles that might cause a flat or crash.

Finally, I don't think wine bottles shatter into such little and numerous pieces as do beer bottles. And maybe the French have more class than to toss them out the window.
No, but rumor has it. . .js5280
Jul 30, 2002 8:42 PM
that some drunk American and his Russian girlfriend were tossing bottles at the turn around on the Champs Elysse. Anyone else see like 3-4 riders all flat there? Sorry EJC, had to give you a hard time ;-)
If he comes back, we should string 'im up!Humma Hah
Jul 31, 2002 5:39 AM
I HATE cretins like that!

Another thought, and this applies to any closed-road roadrace course ...

... The riders had the whole road surface to work with, except where the crowds allowed only a narrow lane, and that was in the center of the road. They were out in the lanes where cars sweep the surface clean. Normally, rec riders are forced to ride off to the sides where all that glass gets dumped.
I saw them pull up, can't believe if someone was throwing beerPaul
Jul 31, 2002 8:17 AM
bottles, that they would have not been arrested. Was wondering why they were flatting, thought it was due to the cobble stones.
Apparently, Belgians do...mr_spin
Jul 31, 2002 7:03 AM
...and they get new tires every day in the TDF. (nm)OffTheBack
Jul 30, 2002 4:05 PM
Actually, they don't...TJeanloz
Jul 31, 2002 4:52 AM
Most riders prefer slightly worn tires to brand new, as new tires tend to have a waxy glaze from the mold release agent still on them, which makes the tires a little skittish. The glaze can be removed with some solvent, but most prefer to let their tires get a few miles on them. And, with tubulars in particular, there is extra risk involved every time a new tire is glued on.
How many years did you spend in the bike shop?Sintesi
Jul 31, 2002 7:09 AM
Man, the kid knows everything : )

Hey, I just wanted to let you know your picks came in tied for second in our office pool. 228 was your total. I got 199 (goddam Laiseka and Damian Nazon didn't show up hardly at all)

The key pick our winner (first time tour watcher naturally)had that no one else had was Roberto Heras who was good for an extra 18. Who knew? Anyway the guy collected $140, is now a confirmed cycling fan and is buying us pizza tomorrow. It was a lot of fun.
Actually not that many...TJeanloz
Jul 31, 2002 9:34 AM
I didn't spend that many years toiling in the pits of a bike shop- 4 to be exact- but having a roommate who was a D1 pro didn't hurt the TdF knowledge factor.
Flat every 200 miles?Kerry
Jul 30, 2002 4:21 PM
What is causing your flats? That would mean many flats a month for me, and I typically have 3-4 per year (180 lbs, Conti GP3000 23mm w/Michelin 70 tubes). If you're properly installing and inflating your tires, then the pros would have just as many flats as you when riding on your roads.
Flat every 200 miles?UncleMoe
Jul 30, 2002 6:10 PM
Nope, I install tubes and tires just fine. Most of the flats were accompanied by a gash in the tire of some sort and/or a hole in the sidewall - well, that was just once. Most of my miles are commuting miles and it was frustrating to get a flat every 2-3 weeks, sometimes in the rain, or darkness approaching, etc. only to find the tire was trashed too.

I got tired of trial and error with various tires so I switched to Specialized Armidillos. But they are a little harsh after a year of riding them (with no flats over 3000 miles), but the ride isn't the greatest. Not sure if I want to go back to trial and error, but I'm considering it to get a somewhat better ride.
No flats?LC
Jul 30, 2002 4:57 PM
I don't know if you were watching the same Tour as I did, but I saw plenty of flats. Too many for brand new tires each day I thought. They most likely had many more that was not caught on camera. BTW, were you watching CBS coverage?
Jul 30, 2002 6:14 PM
I was watching OLN. I figured there were more flats than they showed, but I was sort of wondering about frequency. Over the entire tour, how many did Lance get for instance. It seemed OLN started coverage in the middle of each stage and showed a good portion of the last half of each day. Just weird to me that more of the riders up front didn't have to drop back for a quick wheel change, and if they were up front, the commentators certainly couldn't just not mention it.
Jul 30, 2002 6:42 PM
I'd expect that if a team leader were truly following the wheel of his domestique, his work horse would be more likely to get a flat than he would.

Secondly- I don't think it is unreasonable to go over two thousand miles without flatting... I don't want to tempt the cycling gods by being any more specific, but lets just say I have a friend who has gone at least that far since having a flat.

I'm surprised dropped/tossed water bottles didn't cause more havoc.
tarwheel's tire tipstarwheel
Jul 31, 2002 4:10 AM
I've had two flats riding over 12,000 miles in the past two years. This is partly due to luck and the condition of the roads where I live. Some places, particularly in urban areas, just have more glass and other junk on the roads. I ride mostly in the suburbs and country roads in NC, but during that time I've also ridden a lot of miles on roads in FL, IL, OH and WI. Most of my mileage has been using Michelin Axial Pros, but I've also used Michi Hi-Lites, Continental GP 3000s and Panaracers. Here are my suggestions for avoiding flats:
-- Always pump up tires to recommended pressure before every ride to prevent pinch flats.
-- Use regular weight tubes, not ultra lights.
-- Avoid riding in the gravel, glass and other debris that accumulates on the side of the road and at intersections.
-- Replace rear tire before it wears down to the thread. Rotate the front tire to the back, and put new tire on the front.

If you shop around on the internet, it is not hard finding good deals on quality tires. I generally pay $20-25 per tire using high quality brands just by keeping my eyes open for deals. When I find a good price on tires, I usually buy at least 3 tires and keep some stock on hand. That way I'm not forced to shell out $50 for a replacement at the LBS.
That's a lot of flats!dzrider
Jul 31, 2002 4:42 AM
I commute with Avocet Cross tires and Mr Tuffy and ride with Michelin Axial Pros and lightweight tubes. I had no flats in 2000, one in 2001 and one so far this year. I have found and fixed several slow leaks in the basement.

The miles without flats with Armadillos may have as much to do with how well they were mounted as it does with the tires. Don't get dirt on your tubes or inside the tire. Check all the way around both sides of the tire b4 you inflate it to make sure the tube isn't pinched under the bead. Most improtant of all, don't run over stuff!
Jul 31, 2002 5:44 AM
"The miles without flats with Armadillos may have as much to do with how well they were mounted as it does with the tires."

I'm no Specialized flack, but I also run their tires on my commuter (Nimbus EX with FlakJacket, similar to Armadillos) and my testimonial is, they stopped my run of flats on other tires. These tires have a very hard rubber compound plus kevlar liners that ride stiffer than high performance tires, but repel just about anything short of metal shards. Glass seldom penetrates or even sticks to them.

We commuters have somewhat different issues... of course nobody wants to run over stuff, but sometimes it's that or a too-close encounter with an 18-wheeler.
Jul 31, 2002 8:53 AM
Ya the Armidillos are amazing. I agree with the glass statement. While obviously I try to avoid glass, if I'm at a faster pace with speeding traffic, I'll risk going thru the glass vs. skimming slightly into the traffic lane just a bit to get around the glass. After a year I can still look at the tire under a microscope and I only see a couple of tiny cuts barely worth worrying about.

However, I will say that I'm slightly tired of the harsh ride and I'm considering experimenting with the Gatorskins or 2000's based on others statements. Its weird, somedays the Armi's don't bother me and I love them. But somedays I hit a hill and I can swear my breaks are on, even though physically I feel fine. Maybe its the tires, maybe its me.

Then again, when winter comes and I'm commuting partially in the dark, a flat would absolutely blow so I probably won't give the ride a second thought.