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2015/01/10 Cyclocross tires: Uses & Options - The Wyman Method
CONDITION: Predominantly Hard packed ground
First Option Dry: Provided it was dry, I would start my pre-ride on the Grifo XS. These tires are fast and you can be confident in the corners. If you find you slide beyond what you feel comfortable with in the corners, try to lover the pressure, in very small amounts.
First Option Wet: Hard Packed Ground when wet will usually only give you a problem in the corners and transition areas. I would first try the Chicane as these give you all of the confidence in the corners. You might even be able to run these at a slightly higher pressure, as you’ll naturally have the grip in the corner.
Other Options and Scenarios:
If the course has muddy sections due to the wet (Maybe you are in a late race and the course is already cut up), then go with the Grifo. This is a great option providing you with the best of both worlds above. You can be confident with a Grifo and they give you amazing variability when you alter the pressure.
REMEMBER: You don’t need to run the same tire tread front a back. Also don’t assume the same pressure front and back is the right option for you.
CONDITION: Dusty Hard Packed ground
First Option: Grifo - There is lots of time to be made in the approach and exit to a corner. Having the confidence to carry race pace through a corner can be the difference between winning and loosing. The Grifo provides excellent corner grip and gives you a great feeling of security when the bike isn’t totally lent over.
Second Option: Fango - These are a commonly chosen option for people that like a fast rolling tire with a little extra corner grip. Varying your pressure front and back can transform the way these treads perform, particularly after their development upgrade for the 2012/13 season.
Other Options and Scenarios:
The Grifo XS could be great. If the dusty areas of the course are straight, or if there are slow corners that take the skill element way, you might find you can excel with the Grifo XS. These are fast tires and are more versatile than you might first expect.
REMEMBER: Always ride whats best for you. Don’t be influenced by those around you. Riding with confidence in your equipment makes you fast. Approaching a corner slowly because you’ve risked a more aggressive tire choice, could slow your lap time down.
CONDITION: loose over hard packed ground
First Option: Grifo - When the ground is loose, you need to feel at one with your bike. You need to put your focus in pre-ride to find the best lines. The Grifo gives you the ability to move around on your bike and give you the right balance between grip and speed on the straights.
Second Option: If the course is loose, but you fancy riding in a “foot out flat out” way, try the chicane. Maybe you’ll slide a few more inches but you can be sure the side wall grip is going to kick in and you’ll be fast on the exit as soon as you hit the straight.
Other Options and Scenarios: Loose ground can be cover to many things. If the loose sections are on up hills, you need to consider a Limus rear so you can really get the power down and keep traction.
REMEMBER: Always consider the type of loose ground you on. You might want to run slightly higher pressure to avoid a flat if there are largish stones on the course. Ride with finesse and you’ll be fine. My tip would be have a slightly higher pressure on your pit bike to avoid a 2nd issue.
CONDITION: Dry course with short sand sections
First Option: Whatever you would use for the course should the sand not be there. Don’t change your race for one short section of sand. Consider the remainder of the course first and put your energy into being first into the sand pit.
Second Option: If there are multiple sand sections, try the Grifo XS on a low pressure. This is the natural choice for loose sand, but if its going to neutralize the way you ride the remainder of the course then its potentially not worth it.
REMEMBER: You can ride sand on any of the Challenge tire options. Dry sand is loose, and best ridden on a very low Grifo XS. Ride the ruts, and look forward to the exit of the sand pit.
CONDITION: Sandy Course
First Option: Grifo XS is the natural tire choice for these conditions. Think of the Koksijde world cup course as a pure sand course and you are looking to float over the sand and keep as little sand flicking all over your drive train from the tire treads as possible. Run them low.
Second Option: The Grifo might allow you to run a slightly more balanced race. If there is a little moisture in the ground, a fraction of the skill of sand riding has been taken away, and the sand will lean towards speed than balance. Having the ability to corner fast in the wetter corners could mean faster entrance to sand sections.
Other Options and Scenarios: If you have sand on one side of course and not on the other, you could consider 2 set ups if there are going to be a large number of pit changes. If you can change fast you won’t loose time and could have the best options for both sides of the course.
REMEMBER: When riding sand, steer with your eyes by being focused on the exits to the sand zones. You can ride sand on any of the tire options available from Challenge. Start aggressive and move up the grip options as you feel necessary.
CONDITION: Dry Grass
First Option: Grifo XS - There is more side grip on these than you might think at first. I tend to run slightly lower pressure in the front for my first lap of pre-ride and see how that rolls. Dry grass and fast transitions make for quick races.
Second Option: The choice of many for grass is the Fango. Fast in a straight line and great on camber, the fango can give a great second option for grass races. Even with higher pressure, these are option well worth trying.
Other Options and Scenarios: The Chicane might give you that little more security in the corner, particularly where the grass is a little longer and you get some great hook up in the large side wall tread.
REMEMBER: If you are pushing things with your first option, put a more grippy option onto your 2nd bike. A fast dry course should mean no changes. A change in these conditions means potential disaster recovery, so plan for it in advance.
CONDITION: Wet Grass
First Option: Wet grass means you need to be very aware of changes of condition during a race and try to predict what you might need. Remember things can change a lot from your last warm up lap to the race. I’d start with a Chicane. But be totally prepared to switch mid race.
Second Option: I’d have Grifo’s on my 2nd bike. I’d run them nice and low to try to cover a lot of options.
Other Options and Scenarios: If you think the course could really cut up, then consider the Limus. You’ll have lots of grip and it will clear very quickly on any asphalt sections.
REMEMBER: Find the limits of the tyres. Don’t change for more grip before you have experimented with your pressures.
CONDITION: Wet Dirt
First Option: The Limus will give you a consistent performance right the way around the course. They are faster than you think and mean you might be able to get away with no pit changes.
Second Option: Chicane could come into its own if you are still able to get the power down on the straights. Lower pressure will help with slippy conditions and you have the full grip of the Limus in the corners.
Other Options and Scenarios: The Grifo is a very happy tire in the dirt, wet or dry. Try it if you don’t quite feel you are getting what you need out of the Limus or Chicane.
REMEMBER: Try to read the conditions. If you think it’s going to dry up quickly, plan in advance.
CONDITION: Sticky Mud
First Option: Limus is your best friend in these conditions. All you need to be focused on is finding the right pressure for you, if you can be confident you can ride where others can’t.
Second Option: If you don’t have a Limus in your armory, then consider the grifo nice and low. Get that tread flat across the mud and you will be amazed at the grip.
Other Options and Scenarios: You might be able to get away with a grifo on the front and Limus on the rear. If the course has multiple long straights, you might be fine with this as it allows you to get the power down and maybe keep the speed up on the asphalt.
REMEMBER: Ride the ruts. They are faster and you can see what’s in them rather than hit hidden obstacles.
CONDITION: Snowy Mud
First Option: Chicane will come into its own in these conditions showing its versatility. Snow means cold so the grip will be needed in the corners. You might have hidden frozen ruts so plan for slightly higher pressures when first checking out a course.
Second Option: Limus could be your best option especially if the day is warm enough for the course to defrost mid race.
Other Options and Scenarios: You might find a Limus on the rear and a Chicane on the front could be the fastest option.
REMEMBER: Frozen courses have a lot of hidden problems. Its worth an extra warm up lap to try to get the course very dialed in.
CONDITION: Snow and Ice
First Option: Grifo XS would be the first option for me in pre-ride. I want as much rubber on the floor when I hit ice. Snow itself can give lots of grip in a corner so give the Grifo XS a try before scaling up your grip.
Second Option: Chicane might give you a little more grip in the corner helping you flow in the technical sections. These are really good when the course has more protected areas like in woods where less snow has reached the ground.
Other Options and Scenarios: Fango’s are good in the ice. How much of the course has exposed ice is something you need to consider. You might find the Fango is a great option for you.
REMEMBER: Riding in ice is a confidence thing. The more you can ride a course like you would in the dry, the better you are going to be. Try to adjust your tread choice not your riding style.
First Option: With all icy conditions I try to ride the Grifo XS. They grip by giving me a lot of surface area on the floor, plus they keep me quick in the straights.
Second Option: The Fango is a good option on the Ice. Running low pressures they give exceptional grip and seem to be very at home in the ice.
Other Options and Scenarios: If you suspect the course will warm up and might get more slick in the corners, start with the Chicane and certainly consider this on the front.
REMEMBER: As with other conditions, set your 2nd bike up to try to predict for course changes and certainly give yourself a more secure option for a last minute change before you can get your pit crew to change your option for you.