[CR]Tire widths and pressure - was Veloflex Tufo

(Example: Framebuilders:Norman Taylor)

Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 08:09:36 -0400
From: "Julian Shapiro" <julians@optonline.net>
To: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Tire widths and pressure - was Veloflex Tufo

Here's a bit of explination from Lennard Zinn:

...............there are lots of test numbers to back it up. It is the same reason a suspension bike (or car) is faster over rough ground - less mass must be accelerated when bumps are encountered, thus saving energy and reducing momentum loss. Every little bump that gets absorbed into your tire (another reason that supple, handmade casings roll faster than stiffer, low-thread-count casings) is a bump that does not lift the entire weight of you and the bike. You feel fast on a rock-hard tire for a similar reason that people like the feel of stiff brakes (V-brakes with the levers set on low leverage). The brake feels good and stiff because you are doing more of the work. If you increase the leverage, the brake feels spongy, because the extra mechanical advantage allows a modest pull to squish the pads.

When you ride a tire at 170psi, the bike feels really lively and fast. That is because you are being bounced all over the place by the surface roughness of the road. However, every time you are bounced, energy you applied to the pedals to get you up to speed is lost. Also, you have less control of the bike, so it feels like it is going faster, even though it isn't. Ever notice how driving down the highway at 75mph in an old Jeep feels crazy fast, and you can cruise smoothly along at 100mph in a nice Saab or BMW and feel like you are going maybe 60mph unless you are looking at stationary objects passing by?

There is simply no question about it; rolling resistance tests conducted with bicycle tires rolling over surfaces akin to normal road surfaces always indicate the lowest rolling resistance at pressures a lot closer to 100psi than to 170psi! Years ago, for example, I saw results like this at the Continental tire factory. I was told of similar results at a number of other tire factories I have visited. Lennard