Tire Tech - Lourdes DH World Cup 2016

Apr 8, 2016 at 11:14
by Paul Aston  
The track conditions for this weekend's World Cup DH race in Lourdes, France, are constantly changing, keeping mechanics busy trimming down mud spikes in order to find the perfect mix of grip and rolling speed. We spoke to a selection of riders and their mechanics to find out what exactly is going on in the pits.




Adam Brayton, Hope Technology

Adam Brayton s Specialized Hillbilly s
Adam Brayton s Specialized Hillbilly s

bigquotesI've brought every single tire that exists in the industry, and I have tried every single one of them today, and they were all shit in these conditions! Yeah, it's lethal up there. I was using cut Specialized Hillbillys this morning and have gone to uncut this afternoon, and they seem to be the one, so I'll stick with them. The pressures are so low now; I'm on the verge of going sub-20 at the moment.

I'm using a downhill tube in the rear, a big old tube in the back after I punctured here last year, so I'm going for safety. I think it might be one for my motocross bike actually! Standard tubeless up front.- Adam Brayton



Steve Smith, Devinci Global Racing

Stevie Smith s Maxxis Shorty s
There are some special 'siped' cuts under the mud, but Nigel wouldn't give too much away.
Stevie Smith s Maxxis Shorty s

bigquotesLourdes is a mixture of horrible clay-based mud, slippy rocks and tree roots. We're using Maxxis Shortys; they have wide knob spacing so hopefully they will clear well and short knobs for less knob flex and deflection on harder surfaces. Super Tacky front and 3C rear, that's down to deflection, the 3C compound deflects a little too easily, the extra squidge in the ST helps on the hard surfaces. I have cut some sipes to give more forgiveness in the knobs and extra forgiveness in the turns, you can't photograph that though! - Nigel Reeve, Stevie Smith's Mechanic




Jack Reading, One Vision Global Racing

Schwalbe Magic Mary

bigquotesThis morning we went up on cut-down Schwalbe Dirty Dans, they were good for the first run. Now it's started to dry up, and they're not so good on the rocks so we're changing to Magic Marys. I'm running Schwalbe ProCore for the first season; I wish I had it on my bike forever. I had two punctures at World Cups last year; I have been using the system since February, and I haven't had a single puncture, and I'm on the same rims - what a product, it has changed riding for me. Up front, I have 24psi and 26psi at the rear. In testing, I have been as low as 15/18 just to try it and still didn't ding the rims. In the ProCore, we've been running 80psi. Some people tell us it can feel springy, but personally, I haven't felt anything rebounding awkwardly. - Jack Reading



Loic Bruni, Team Specialized Gravity

Loic Bruni s Specialized Hillbilly s

bigquotesWe are using the Hillbillys, the intermediates. We also tried the Storms, but the dirt is not very deep here. We have some special tubeless modifications, but it's top secret! He has 1.6 bar in the front and 1.9bar in the rear. He weighs 81-82kgs, depending on lunch! - Jack Roure, Loic Bruni's mechanic



Brendan Fairclough, Gstaad-Scott

Brendan Fairclough s Dirty Dan s

bigquotesI'm a huge fan of cut Schwalbe Dirty Dans, I run that for 80% of the tracks we go to except Fort William and a couple of others. I normally run a Mary, but as it's super greasy here, I have a Dan on the back too. Gradually going down every run with pressures, I started with 22/28psi, but I can't say how much in the ProCore. - Brendan Fairclough




Neko Mulally, Gstaad-Scott

Neko Mulally s First Ride Dirty Dan s
<Deleted photo>

bigquotesSchwalbe Dirty Dans today, both are cut. On the front, everything is cut but on the rear only the center knobs. Leaving the side knobs on the back make the tire a little more square, it's better for braking. I trimmed out the main outer knobs completely; I think the tire clears better without those. Currently on 23/27 psi without ProCore. I have a First Ride 'ProCore' specific tire on the front; it's similar to a Super Gravity but flexes and deforms a little more, it helps with a little more grip. - Neko Mulally



Greg Minnaar, Santa Cruz Syndicate

Minnaar s ENVE King wheelset

bigquotesMy personal feeling is to try and find the lightest tire and wheel combo. We sent Greg up on the Maxxis Wet Screams this morning; now he's trying the Shorty's. I can't comment on pressures, but he has dropped 2psi front and rear for this track, normally he hardly ever changes more than 1psi, that must mean he's struggling for traction up there. - Jason Marsh, Greg Minnaar's mechanic



Markus Pekoll, MS Mondraker

Markus Pekoll Maxxis Minion DHR2

bigquotesI am using Minion DHR2 tires front and rear. 1.8/2.0bar I decided to keep the dry tires on because I just thought the slippery parts are the rocks, and I prefer the safety and feeling of the dry tires on the rock. - Markus Pekoll


Sam Dale and Wyn Masters, GT Factory Racing

Matt Simmonds Continental Mud Kings

bigquotesWe're using 26/28psi for Sam Dale and Wyn Masters. Both currently have a Dirty Dan with a Super Gravity casing up front and downhill casing on the rear. We are going to be testing out some ProCore wheelsets this afternoon, and we have Magic Marys set up on some wheels to try out too. - Tom Duncan



Matt Simmonds, Madison Saracen Factory Team

Matt Simmonds Continental Mud Kings

Matt Simmonds custom Hot Cross Bun cut
Matt Simmonds Continental Mud Kings

Matt Simmonds custom Hot Cross Bun cut


bigquotes We're running Continental Mud Kings, with our 'Hot Cross Bun' snip in the middle knobs to try and help to open it up and get more grip. No idea how much tubeless fluid - some! - Matt Simmonds




Gee Atherton, Trek Factory Racing

Gee Atherton s Bontrager G Mud tires
Gee Atherton s Bontrager G Mud tires

bigquotesWe're starting with Bontrager G Muds, we will probably try out the G5 later today too, it's pretty greasy out there. We're starting with 26/28psi on a standrd tubelss setup with 100ml of fluid. - Polish Pete, Gee Atherton's mechanic




Remi Thirion, Commencal / Vallnord

Remi Thirion s Hutchinson DZO

bigquotesWe're using Hutchinson DZO tires and trying some slightly different compounds. 1.6bar 1.7bar, with standard tubeless setup. - Remi Thirion




Tools of the Trade

Made in conjunction with Unior tools, Schwalbe's new tread cutters have an adjustable depth gauge and a spring to open the handles to save energy when cutting off your 1000th knob. They will launch next week and cost €26.90.

Schwalbe Tread Cutter

Matt Simmonds Continental Mud Kings
Schwalbe Tread Cutter

Matt Simmonds Continental Mud Kings




The Ultimate Guide - Lourdes World Cup DH 2016




95 Comments

  • 582 4
 If I were Schwalbe I'd have named that tool the Knob Gobbler.
  • 91 0
 The rest of us can still call it that.
  • 324 4
 But then what will I call my ex-girlfriend ???
  • 41 1
 That may find some traction!
  • 2 4
 doublepost.
  • 6 23
flag JackSB (Apr 8, 2016 at 19:57) (Below Threshold)
 I think that describes something a little different than you intended.
  • 7 1
 @Waldon83: mind if I use this (the ex-girlfriend reference, not the actual person)?
  • 27 12
 My girlfriends prefer that my knob has been cut before they gobble it. It's cleaner that way
  • 8 0
 @jlevandoski: Why not the ex-girlfriend? She sounds like a lot of fun! hehe
  • 1 0
 @Waldon83: ????????????????????
  • 1 0
 Or "Blatant Bobbitt"
  • 6 4
 @Waldon83: I call mine "c*nt"
  • 67 0
 These are my favorite kinds of articles. I could never understand why some riders (Minnaar for example) are so secretive about their tire pressures. It's not like there's some magic number that works for everybody so what's the big deal?
  • 41 0
 He knows that everyone else will copy his tyre pressures if they read it on Pinkbike. From 70kg schwalbe Sam Hill to 127kg Hutchinson Sam Dale, Greg's pressures are the holy grail of world cup wins.
  • 8 2
 I wonder what tire pressure he runs..wonder if he uses procore..wonder if he changes tire sidewall compounds to match his new pro core setup..GREG!! STOP PLAYIN
  • 2 0
 Agreed! Awesome article!
  • 42 1
 Knobs got robbed!
  • 32 1
 You're such a knob.......
  • 34 2
 tread lightly bro
  • 16 4
 Get a grip lads!
  • 12 4
 Enough with the tyred puns.
  • 7 1
 That's pretty slick but I wheely don't think it will gain any traction.
  • 2 2
 Stop deflecting responsibility and clean up this thread
  • 2 1
 Stuff a tube in it and stop this nonsense. It's getting tiring.
  • 2 1
 I wheelie wish you guys would stop inflating your egos with these tired jokes
  • 3 3
 We'd better tread lightly on this one.
  • 2 4
 the lengths riders will go to these days
  • 1 5
flag pancakeflatted (Apr 9, 2016 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 now I'm getting stuck in a rut
  • 3 2
 gotta cut down on on my puns.
  • 2 0
 This banter is just treadful.
  • 29 0
 How about a nice pic of Gwin with his Maxxis.. I mean Onza tyres
  • 3 2
 Hey, just because one brand may give you money, that doesn't mean you can't run what's best. It's very common in the motorcycle racing world to take the money of those companies that will give it to you, and run the parts from the companies that will help you WIN. If you can, you simply remove the company logos on the parts you buy, and replace 'em with those of the competing company that pays your bills.
  • 1 1
 @YoKev: yep! I know some pro mx racers sponsored by ODI that run Renthal bars with an ODI bar pad. Seen it done with tires too. Not uncommon at all
  • 28 4
 You say tyre I say tire, let's ride.
  • 21 2
 You play with your nobs too much and you will go blind, or So I've been told.
  • 6 0
 hairy palms too
  • 3 1
 playing with knobs is a skill
  • 21 6
 Isn't it a slap to the face of the tire manufacturers when teams have to modify tires? Is it too much to ask to have a proper mud tire out of the box?
  • 21 3
 There are conditions where the stock tires work perfectly. You cant have tires for every single weather and every single DH track on the world...
  • 1 1
 @mirskeinereingefalln: No, but every one wants cut spikes at some point it seems, so why not make some from new?
  • 9 0
 @bigburd: cuz everyone cuts them differently for different tracks and conditions
  • 2 1
 Racers want to have that unique card in the deck that no one else has. Cutting tires their own unique way is one such card.
  • 16 0
 holy hell Lourdes makes me glad I'm not an elite MTB racer...
  • 16 1
 one can only be so luggy...
  • 15 1
 All rockshox sponsored riders please report pressure in metric, thank you for your cooperation SRAM
  • 6 0
 Well, actually Bar is based on the SI unit Pascal. 1 Bar = 0,1 MPa. So technically Bar is a metric measurement (1Pa = 1N/m^2), even though it is not SI.

(this nonsense with using psi however...)
  • 3 0
 I quite like PSI, smaller scale, more accurate..not that my manometer is capable of displaying a consistent number
  • 1 1
 @zojdson: More precise, not more accurate. But then, just take it to an extra decimal place and it's the same ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 9 2
 This is the first time I hear them about cutting sipes. I've been doing that for quite a while now and it definitely makes a difference, especially to get a bit more life out of a slightly worn tyre. You only need to go very shallow, just to create more sharp gripping edges which expose when the knobs deform when rolling. I think these cut sipes are actually better than the molded ones you get with a production tyre because the edges are sharper and clear mud better when the tyre deforms. I just use regular rectangular razor blades like Gilette Supersilver or Wilkinson Classic (yeah I'm dated). I don't think these modern blades with several narrow blades in such a plastic holder work so well as these are under an angle whilst you actually want to cut straight. It is probably easier with razor blades than using a plier like those mechanics are using for the job.
  • 2 2
 Rica did an article on it years ago. I've been siping since 06-07.
  • 3 0
 @meathooker: Must have been the same era for me, maybe earlier. I got a magazine from a tyre sponsor back in '04 or '05 where they offered their services for automobile tyres, explaining the advantages and the process. They were using sharp rollers there. I think I started doing it to my mountainbike tyres shortly after. In general large wide spikes provide more stability whereas more spikes provide more gripping edges which work well on soil that cannot be deformed, like rocks and roots. But a lot of wide spikes don't allow for much mud clearance (and get you a heavy tyre as well) so many spikes imply that they have to be smaller hence lose stability. So my idea was that very shallow sipes in wide spikes provide the best of both worlds. You get more gripping edges while the spikes retain their stability.

I think that for these pros it is a bit of a must if they cut their spikes down as by doing so, they cut the molded sipes off as well.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Something like this is what I gotta do for our rocky rooty trails when the rain comes in autumn. I think I will get a second set of wheels to have these on and swap on when it goes to wet, and then swap back when dry again.
  • 8 0
 Nice article
  • 3 0
 ^^
This. Great info, and quite frankly, is orders of magnitude better than the "insight" we get from professional football media articles (either style ).
  • 3 0
 Love the diversity. 5 years ago you wouldnt see anything but Minion DHF for dry and Wet Scream for wet/soft conditions. There were no alternatives honestly.

Also I love these kind of in depth articles just as much!
  • 3 1
 As a guy who tries to get every single ride possible out of all my gear - tires included - it is crazy seeing this. It is all about the perfect tire for that 3 minutes - no matter what it takes. That is what elite racing is about - it just isn't in my budget.
  • 1 0
 You mean the way they sipe these tires wear them out too fast compared to the extra grip you could get on your own wet kind of riding?
  • 5 0
 I dig tire talk, they make or break. Great article, nice pics too.
  • 4 0
 would've be good to have an article on cutting tyres down. with those cutters coming out it would be a great time to do it
  • 1 0
 Im thinking a fresh cut tire has the ultimate sharp edge for traction. I notice performance of a tire diminishes rapidly with the loss of the sharp edge on the knobs. Using cutters probably gives you a better edge than a tire out of a tire mold.
  • 5 1
 can some one explain why they cut the tires down so much?
  • 16 1
 Like Bruni said, if the dirt isn´t really deep, there´s no need for long knobs as all they provide is deeper penetration into the soil. The crucial thing for those guys however is the tires ability to shed mud and clear itself, which is aided by knobs that are spaced far from each other and also by shorter knobs, since shorter knobs create less intervening space for mud to stick to.
  • 8 0
 Also, center knobs create quite a lot of drag. It rolls much faster on the straigh with cut down knobs
  • 8 0
 It's for racers. Pointless to try to sell it to the consumer. Unless you can afford new tires every time you ride
  • 9 4
 You said penetration. Heh heh.
  • 2 0
 I'd probably bung on my ten year old single ply swamp donkeys with 30psi...then crash on first corner or puncture at first rock garden
  • 3 0
 euros & mud & rain & ratboy.
  • 4 0
 Lovin the deets lately
  • 1 0
 So this might sound a little stupid but do the pros use the same wheelset and tires on practice runs and the actual race run?
  • 4 0
 I think that would depend on the individual rider and the track, but I wouldn't think they would change them out for no reason once the rider has found what he or she likes.
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one wondering how many racers are using a tyre from another manufacturer with mysteriously blacked-out logos?
  • 1 0
 Would be interested to know how much better super tacky tyres are in these conditions, as they are so much slower in rolling resistance
  • 2 0
 Yes, it would.
  • 2 1
 If procore is so great, like Reading suggests, why aren't all the Schwalbe athletes on it?
  • 5 0
 Because it adds weight (rotational, unsprung) and some racers don't want that
  • 1 0
 and also because of the conditions they're using lower tire pressures looking for traction and the ProCore provides rim protection against rock strikes

I wish Schwalbe would get off their @ss and offer the ProCore with a longer primary valve stem. It's too short to be used with many modern carbon rims (20mm max rim depth); the ones that need it most. They're missing a large part of the product market.
  • 2 0
 Interesting article, always tried to find out something about this topic
  • 1 0
 There ya go, the best tires have basic knob shapes, like an MX tire, nothing overly elaborate.
  • 2 0
 Awesome stuff PinkBike, keeping the Stoke factor high !
  • 1 0
 I seems that just like suspension setup there are many opinions on what's right and very few that agree.
  • 1 0
 I'm so pumped I had a couple beers and just cut down my back tire, put new tires on the wifes bike and cut hers too!!
  • 1 0
 Schwalbe are geniuses. They sell you a $90 tire and then get you to spend another $30 on a tool to cut them to bits!
  • 1 0
 Whats the deal with these procore specific tires from schwalbes first ride program? I need some of those!
  • 1 0
 All this tire talk and no mention of size? Most must be running 26ers...the "industry" doesn't like that.
  • 2 1
 those are some good lookin knobs on those tires!
  • 3 2
 I have allot of hope for Hope in these hopeless conditions.
  • 2 0
 Great reading material!
  • 3 2
 This I could never get tired off
  • 1 0
 I want that tread cutters.
  • 2 0
 Pekoll don't mess about
  • 1 0
 Great Article more like this please.
  • 1 0
 Reading all that tired me out.
  • 1 0
 Never overlook the importance of using the proper rubber
  • 1 0
 "Small knobs for less knob flex". Well it works for me .....

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