Cross is Upon Us

Cross is officially here. Prepare your equipment for the challenges that lie ahead this season with these tips and tools.
Optimizing Tire Pressure For Cross
Of all the cycling disciplines, CX is the one which has led the way to lower and more rational tire pressures more than any other. CX combines the need for aggressive cornering, flotation, low rolling resistance and impact absorption all in a
tire which is in many cases limited in maximum width by the rules. World class racers have long suggested that the ‘ideal CX pressure’ is ‘as low as possible’ but how do we define that and what variables come into play when fine tuning for your optimal pressure.
One of the simplest rules of thumb on CX tire pressure is to pick a pressure that has you (lightly) bottoming the tire on the rim once per lap. This is an easy one to say and understand, but can get you into trouble for one very specific reason: you are not pre-riding the course at race speed. It is important to remember that bottoming out over a root or rock at warm-up pace could result in rim or tire damage at race pace. We also find it important to note that we often see riders pre-riding courses not only at lower speeds, but in less aggressive riding positions than they may be racing in. This makes sense when you consider how low and forward a rider will get on the bike under heavy efforts. As a rider adopts a more aggressive position, the weight shifts forward on the bike. This forward weight shift combined with higher speeds during racing combine to form a significant risk to front wheel and tire when racing compared to warming up.
Even just a few years ago, we were still suggesting front pressures as much as 8-10% lower than rear pressures, but as our data set has grown larger, we find that some of the most successful CX racers at the professional levels are running front pressures within between 0-3% lower than the rear. We’ve even found that front pressures are occasionally higher front than rear if the course has particularly steep downhill sections with roots, rocks or other obstacles where
rim and tire damage seems to be more concentrated on front wheels.
Tire size and choice. We strongly recommend the largest tire you can fit in your frame or if
you are racing UCI, the largest tire that will fit within the rules. There are no courses or conditions we have ever seen in cross that favor narrower tires. For years the conventional wisdom was that narrower tires were faster on
harder pack surfaces when conditions were dry. It was believed that the narrower tires would roll faster at slightly
higher pressures and also that the reduced weight was a significant advantage. Modern data collection
combining power measurements with highly accurate GPS have shown this to really never be true. The weight advantage of a
1-2mm narrower tire is very small and the rolling resistance penalty to higher tire pressures on rough surfaces can be quite high. For this reason, we recommend the lightest, most supple tire you can find at the widest width you are allowed to use in
your event. And of course, if you are not running tubeless, then you MUST be running latex tubes whether you are
riding clinchers or tubulars. Latex tubes have lower rolling resistance by as much as 3-4 watts per tube, are more
resistant to pinch and puncture flats, are lighter weight, and provide significantly improved ground feel through the tire. It has been shown over and over again in testing that riders on latex tubes are not only faster at the same power
output, but also have a better feel for what is happening at the contact patch of the tire.
Want to begin the process of optimizing your tire pressure and machinery for this cross season? Here are a few items from us to help get you started.
Quality Tools
T-Handle Folio
A cross bike takes a physical beating throughout the season so odds are you'll need to make some adjustments. This sliding t-handle set gives you the ability to make a variety
of adjustments and the bag it comes it makes it ideal for taking with you to have in the pits just in case.
Versatile Pump
TATTICO Bluetooth
Every cross course has it's own unique challenges which can make optimizing your tire pressure for one a daunting task. This mini-pump features a Bluetooth gauge that's as accurate as our floor pumps. Take it out on course with you before the race and make your adjustments as you go.
Durable Chain Lube
 Adverse conditions are synonymous with Cyclocross. While fun to race in, these conditions can wreak havoc on your drive-train and if not serviced. This chain lube is some of the most durable on the market and was formulated to perform in tough conditions for hours.
Log or Journal
Anniversary Journal
 Take notes of your experiences and the experiences of similar sized riders with this special edition Leuchtturm A5 notebook. Keeping a log of your pressures and the results is a tremendous time saver and will help you get dialed in with more certainty compared to other methods.