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  1. #1
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    Can't decide which tires. Race is 2 days away.

    Relative noob, here, with my first xc race this Sunday (2 days away).

    I got a Stumpjumper Comp 29er in July right before family vacation to Breckenridge, CO. My husband didn't think the stock Specialized Renegade tires where appropriate for the terrain we'd be riding, LBS guy agreed and put on Captain Controls.

    Had a great time in CO. Never bothered to switch back to the Renegades when I returned to Iowa. In both locations, I had/have great fun bombing down things and flying around corners. Me, the bike, the trail, we are one.

    Now, all the experienced locals say that the Renegade is "the" tire for the conditions at my upcoming race. But…
    • I rode on the Renegades at 35 psi on the course last Sunday and felt like the bike was going to squirrel out from under me at every opportunity.
    • Wednesday, I rode there again but at 25 psi. Better, but still didn't have the traction I wanted climbing hills.
    • Thursday, I'm zipping along a wide, flat, dirt turn on a favorite trail when my bike slides out from under me and flies into the trees while I land hard on my right hip.

    So at this point I'm thinking that the Renegades may be the best tires for the /course/, but that the Captain Controls may be the best tire for /me/.

    But, one more but… by the end of the Thursday night ride, I think I may have been /starting/ to get the hang of these tires. Also the race course has several long grassy sections and I do love the way the Renegades roll so easily there.

    I know it's my decision to make, but I'd love to hear any advice or been-there-done-that stories.

    Which tire and what pressure?

    I'm riding with tubes. I'm about 130 lbs. I can do an easy ride today and/or tomorrow to test out any changes.

  2. #2
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    Go with what your comfortable with, not with what others are recommending. Two days before a race is not the time to be making tire changes unless your very familiar with the change. If I were you I would stick with the Captain Controls even if it's only for the mental advantage of having what your confident with.
    I may not have the best of everything, but I have everything.

  3. #3
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    I'm with RideStrong. This close to race day stick with what you know.

  4. #4
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    Yep stick with what you know. Running the Renegades at 25 psi could end your race due to pinch flats or slow you down. Running a tire at a higher pressure gives you less rolling resistance which makes you go faster. Good luck on your race.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfcooper View Post
    Running a tire at a higher pressure gives you less rolling resistance which makes you go faster.
    On pavement yes. Offroad, no. Low pressure has less rolling resistance, and is faster.

    Captain up front, renegade in the back?

  6. #6
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    Less pressure = more contact area, more contact area = more resistance on any surface! Lower pressure and more contact area also = more traction! If the trail surface is hard pack then more pressure. If not then lower pressure and better traction.

  7. #7
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    Run with what you know

    I agree with most - run what you are comfortable with for your race. You want to be confident in your equipment.

    That said, I think you have too much air in your tires. I ran a Renegade all season long for racing as a rear tire. I used ~25lbs air pressure tubeless and weigh 20 lbs more than you.
    [

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfcooper View Post
    Less pressure = more contact area, more contact area = more resistance on any surface! Lower pressure and more contact area also = more traction! If the trail surface is hard pack then more pressure. If not then lower pressure and better traction.
    heres a thread talking about the study done. High volume tire, low pressure = less rolling resistance. The link to the study in the thread doesnt work anymore though...

    "a reduction of tire pressure and wider tires reduce rolling resistance."

  9. #9
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    Technically, RideStrong, I made the change 7 days before the race... but yeah, it's clearly too close. :-(

    I think I'll put the tires I'm used to back on. Then after the race, I'll switch back to the Renegades and learn to ride them. I think the traction of the Captain Controls has made me a "sloppy" rider. What I mean is, I just lean into all the turns and trust the tires will hold, rather then keeping my weight over the bike. See my description of Thursday night's wipe out listed above.

    Thank you everyone. Sometimes it helps to bounce things off other people.

    KonaSS, since I'm not running tubeless, shouldn't I keep 25psi as a minimum even at my small size?

  10. #10
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    Sounds like a plan - good luck on your race!
    I may not have the best of everything, but I have everything.

  11. #11
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    Fast tires are overrated. If you can't rip it up turning and braking hard, you are slowing yourself down. I won 2 races this year with an ardent up front. I got 2 seconds with "race tires". Im convinced the big meats are faster on everything but the smoothest of singletrack.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  12. #12
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    Fast tires are overrated. If you can't rip it up turning and braking hard, you are slowing yourself down. I won 2 races this year with an ardent up front. I got 2 seconds with "race tires". Im convinced the big meats are faster on everything but the smoothest of singletrack.
    1+

    Go to start line of the a world up now-a-days and you see some pretty big knobbies at crazy low pressures of the racers bikes. (The girls are using 2.2s with 15-20 psi depending on the tire and rider)
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  13. #13
    CB2
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    I'm not real familiar with the tires you have, but did take a quick peek at them on the Specialized website. I'd run the Captain up front and the Renegade out back.
    I weigh about 5 pounds more than you and wouldn't go below 25 pounds with tubes, but I'm in New England.
    (I go below 20 PSI tubeless)


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fakie1999 View Post
    heres a thread talking about the study done. High volume tire, low pressure = less rolling resistance. The link to the study in the thread doesnt work anymore though...
    Here's a working link to the study, along with a picture of the corrected label on chart 3 for tyre pressure. The label on chart 3 is wrong in the PDF itself.

    MTB power meter thread.

    .

  15. #15
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    low pressure... as low as you can get away with. try 5lbs less than typical. if you get away with it, then drop another 5lbs. and another. that's my suggestion.
    "Bikes have wheels." -Noam Chomsky

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfcooper View Post
    Less pressure = more contact area, more contact area = more resistance on any surface! Lower pressure and more contact area also = more traction! If the trail surface is hard pack then more pressure. If not then lower pressure and better traction.
    Resistance is NOT just a function of contact patch size.

    Tests have shown time and time again, generally speaking, lower pressures result in: larger contact patch, more traction, more comfort, AND less resistance... road or trail. There is a point beyond which low pressures lead to higher rolling resistance, but it is typically at a much lower pressure than most of us would ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    Here's a working link to the study, along with a picture of the corrected label on chart 3 for tyre pressure. The label on chart 3 is wrong in the PDF itself.

    MTB power meter thread.

    .
    Thanks!

  18. #18
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    That study is interesting. Some of my fastest trail time trials have been on heavy ust2.2 tires with about 20psi. To go that low I have to run tubless because I weigh 190lbs. So if lower pressure/fatter tires=lower rolling resistance, would that more than offset the weight penalty of the tire?

  19. #19
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    I'd say you answered your own question... you set your best times on heavier tires. The weight must not have hurt too much, eh?

  20. #20
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    How was your race and how did the tires perform?
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  21. #21
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    Race was great!

    Put the knobbies back on and went for a short easy ride Saturday to get re-accustomed to them.

    These tires did for me exactly what they needed to. They let me ride my way with full confidence. In the twisty, hilly last section of the course I could go as fast as I wanted downhill and keep my speed through the corners. It was through here I passed one of the women in my cat and one of the beginner men.

    I placed 7 out of 10 in the women's beginner category and believe I would not have done as well on the "fast" tires.

    I'll spend the winter reading about matching tires to race conditions, but LMN's comment has me thinking, "Hey, if these tires work for me, why not stick with 'em?"

  22. #22
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    My Epic came with a renegade rear and captain front which worked pretty well. This would be a good compromise using the tires you already own. The front tire needs more traction for braking and cornering grip. The rear tire carries most of the riders weight, so it is more important to have a fast rolling rear tire.

    For my level of skill and the somewhat loose conditions I ride in, I like the Schwalbe Racing Ralph better for a rear tire than the Renegade. It has fast rolling knobs in the center of the tread, but bigger knobs on the side to give more cornering grip. I would never run a Renegade as a front tire, it just doesn't have enough grip for me.

    Definitely race tires that give you enough grip to ride confidently. Being timid in the corners will lose you more time than you will gain by rolling fast on the straights, as will any crashes. This is really all personal preference, and dependent on local trail conditions. There really isn't any perfect tire that works for everyone on the internet!

    Also check out what tires the other racers are using in your area.

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