Dumped 3x In Slight Wet - Time to Change The Tires

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
sethjs
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Location: San Francisco, CA

by sethjs

In my last 6 years of riding, I've had 3 falls of note. Ands now there's an obvious pattern. In all cases, it was wet ground but not raining. And in retrospect it makes sense - oil brought to the surface without enough rain to wash it away. This is pretty common in SF - I suspect in the UK, too.

The problem is, in all cases, if you'd told me before the ride "be careful, you're going to fall" - I would have taken each of the 3 turns at the same speed. That is, I wasn't pushing it. But all of the sudden, I'm on the floor.

In 2 of the cases I was on GP4000s. The first fall the original tire. The second fall, the II. In the other case, I was on my maiden ride on Michelin Power Competitions (and I blamed the tire as a result). Pressures always arond 80 front, 90 rear. Always a 23mm - the last two times mounted to a modern 21mm internal width rim - so they measured out to ~25mm.

So I've begun a quest for tires that stick better without giving up too much rolling resistance. And that's where I ask all of you for thoughts. So far, I'm leaning toward the Pirelli Velo 4s. They seem to roll almost as fast as the standard racing model (see bicyclerollingresistance), but have more wet grip. I also got excited about the IRC Formula Pro RBCC, but they're almost impossible to find in a 25mm.

Other thoughts very much appreciated!

by Weenie


RyanH
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by RyanH

I found Conti sprinters, which I assume use a similar compound to GP4k to be very good in the wet. Those Michelin on the other hand are probably the worst wet weather tire I've ever been on. I had mine slip for several revolutions AFTER riding through light sprinkler runoff.

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Calnago
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by Calnago

Common sense wins out here. Bicycle tires for road riding are all pretty skinny... let’s just say even a 32mm tire is relatively skinny for this discussion. Traction is always going to be your limiting factor when riding on smooth wet pavement, especially if there’s oils from vehicles mixed in. The worst time for this is after a long dry spell... lots of oils deposited on the road then just a light sprinkle happens to mix in and make things really slick.

So while you might find small differences between actual tires the best thing by far you can do to stay upright is just to use common sense. You can’t ride as fast. You can’t lean as much. You can’t brake as quickly. And neither can the cars around you. Be aware of your surroundings. Sheesh... sounds like a safety lecture for kids. But it’s true. Try different tires if you want, but in those kinds of conditions even the most grippy of tires are no substitute for common sense.
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CallumRD1
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by CallumRD1

You may not like the road feel as much, but running your tires at a lower pressure will increase the size of the contact patch and give you more grip. You'll have to balance the need to avoid pinch flats and the feel of the tire while rolling and cornering (a wider internal width rim allows for much lower pressures without the tire rolling when cornering) with the added grip from lower pressures but it can make a huge difference. Play around with pressures the next time you go for a wet ride. It doesn't cost anything and you can learn a lot about where the limits are for you at different pressures and in different conditions.

[I run 25c (front) and 28c (rear) Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tires on 22.5mm internal width rims (the tires measure up at 29mm and 30.5mm respectively) at around 50 psi when conditions are really slippery and around 65 psi when it's dry.]

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

The rbcc will be back in stock with me this week. Dcr wheels in the u.k has become a stockist too.

They are tubeless tyres though.

The tyres you currently have should be o.k in the wet but any oil/ diesel on the road makes a fall likely.

If there is diesel on the road it like riding on ice. No tyre can stop a slide.

sethjs
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by sethjs

Calnago wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:39 pm
So while you might find small differences between actual tires the best thing by far you can do to stay upright is just to use common sense. You can’t ride as fast. You can’t lean as much.
Hmm...I think a complicating factor I failed to mention is that in all 3 cases, not only did I not perceive I was taking the turns fast, but they're turns I've taken literally 100s of times in the same conditions. So there's a "randomness" to it that's freightening.

Now, it might be, as bm0p700f says, I'm just occassionally getting unlucky and hitting a diesel patch. But then - I'm not sure my tendons can take the randomness at my newly marginally advanced (40) age. The last fall separated a few of them at my inner thigh!

To go to an extreme, had I been on my gravel bike with 38mm marginally treaded tires (Trigger Pros) I doubt any of them would have resulted in a crash.

RyanH
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by RyanH

It depends on the actual reason you went down. I crashed going 20 mph around a corner that I had also taken over a hundred times in the dry and dozens of times in the wet. It turns out that during this time of year, the corner was developing an algae sludge since it wasn't drying out during the day. I too thought that maybe had I been on 27mm tires instead of 22mm then I'd have been fine but I spoke to another guy later that week that went down on his MTB there.

sethjs
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by sethjs

RyanH wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:30 pm
It depends on the actual reason you went down. I crashed going 20 mph around a corner that I had also taken over a hundred times in the dry and dozens of times in the wet. It turns out that during this time of year, the corner was developing an algae sludge since it wasn't drying out during the day. I too thought that maybe had I been on 27mm tires instead of 22mm then I'd have been fine but I spoke to another guy later that week that went down on his MTB there.
Ha - sub theory on crash #2 was actually exactly that. Golden Gate Park, under trees, rarely ridden on by cars, potentially algae.

I tend to ride earlier than most others, so am more likely to hit corners marginally wet before the sun dries it out.

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

I have had two crashes on slightly damp bends I have taken many times before. In both cases when I picked myself up, the road was very slippery. No ice it was too warm for that. Diesel on one and no idea on the other. I was on my way to cyclist friends funeral on the latter incident who died when his forks collapsed.

Wider tyres would not have helped as in both cases I was canning it and leaned I in slot. The road has a diesel patch or slimey alge your in trouble.

This happened in a race last October. There was diesel on the racing line on a sharp 90 degree bend. On the first lap I found it and noticed on time and stopped lending
This meant I drifted out onto the wrong side of the road and the road was not closed. What can you do? It was that or go down like others did. I caught that patch a couple of times. In each case it was a gulp moment but I stayed upright by sheer luck and just not bothering with trying to steer.

Of course the other answer is a trike or stabilisers. Couldn't resist sorry.

Bigger Gear
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by Bigger Gear

Living in the Greater Vancouver area, I can relate to everything in this thread. 7 years ago this October I dumped it hard (AC shoulder separation) in a corner I have probably ridden around more than 500 times. Outside of racing crashes where I had no choice but to crash (pileups) this was my only crash ever on a road bike in 30 years. I grew up racing motocross, BMX and then MTB so I've spent a lifetime falling off 2 wheels. But this crash really stung my ego for some reason and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how it happened. The factors that day: Slightly wet from previous rain that day but not raining. Vittoria Open All-Weather 700x25 at 90F/95R. I think what got me was my line was a bit off due to a car having just passed me before entering the turn, and also that the turn is a bit off camber with a humpy bump in the inside and I think any vehicle dripping anything gets unsettled by this bump and probably deposits oil/gas on the road exiting the turn, right where my front wheel let go. My line was just bit further inside than normal.

I think it is really hard to chalk up incidents to tires specifically. Sure some are better in the wet than others. But in my experience the Conti GP4000s is pretty solid for wet weather traction. I would rate them above any Michelin I've ridden, maybe even better than most Vittoria as well. The best preventative measure is to size up and pressure down with tires for wet riding, and then just park the ego and take the corners a bit more mellow. It's funny, but when I looked back at my riding before my crash above, I realized I was really pushing it in the turns and in many ways I had one coming. Now, at age 49, I definitely pick my moments.

TheKaiser
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by TheKaiser

sethjs wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:22 pm
In the other case, I was on my maiden ride on Michelin Power Competitions (and I blamed the tire as a result).
Many older Michelins had a kind of a hard "plasticish" feel to the compound, rather than the pliable rubbery feeling of tires that seem to grip better. I haven't laid hands on the newer ones, but I would hope they have improved that. They certainly have the technical capabilities from other divisions, but for some reason they seem unwilling to use those capabilities on their road bike tires.

Having said all that, any tire should be cornered very cautiously on its maiden voyage, as they don't reach their full potential until they have been "scrubbed in". In the tire manufacture process, they use various "mold release" compounds that are intended to make the tire easier to pull out of the metal mold in which it was formed. These are literally lubricants that keep the rubber surface from being sticky, and until it wears away fully the tire will have a sort of greasy feel to it. Usually a few miles will wear it off, but only on the surfaces touching the road, so you can end up in the situation where you discover the shoulder of the tire is still lubed right at the point when you commit to leaning on it. I like to ride in some sand or gravel that allows the tire to sink in a bit to allow scrubbing the full surface, or if that is unavailable, then lower the pressure considerably until the full shoulder to shoulder area of the tread is contacting the road and ride a few miles like that with some gentle S turns thrown in. Both of those techniques will allow you to scrub the key cornering zones, but without having to do a bunch of high lean angle cornering to achieve it.

sungod
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by sungod

gp4000s with the black chili compound are among the best for wet grip, i use them on my commute bike, not sure you'll get any better, but there are many worse

as above, new tyres may well have traces of release compound on them, always go a bit easy until they're scrubbed clean

dim
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by dim

get a pair of Specialized Turbo cotton .... grip like superglue and are KOM fast and have good puncture resistance (and they grip well in the wet .... I used them throughout winter on my daily commuter on poor wet icy roads)

downside is that they are good for 2000km and they cost a bit more (my favourite tyre so far)
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kode54
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by kode54

I'm not certain anything will help keep your tires on the asphalt...given the dampness with oil floating on top. its worse on painted traffic lines and metal manhole covers. all just as bad as riding in icy surface. if I go out when its wet...I make sure its been raining for some time and drying up by the time I head out the door.
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natiedean24
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by natiedean24

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I slipped on a wet corner in 2015 and broke my femur. In the ensuing recovery I had much time to reflect and analyze. Partially caused by a mid corner bobble. I have since worked to be a better rider around corners. Specifically to try and go through a bit more upright and lean the body. Hard to explain but it helps the tires to not slide out.

A bigger factor was construction trucks dropping fine silt that make the road slick as ice.

Thirdly, the tires on the bike I had noticed previous to the accident to be slick.

I have since ridden exclusively on IRC tubeless tires (RBCC). They are better in the wet for sure.

All that said you might look at all the causes in your case and make changes to cover them all.


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by Weenie


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