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    Turbo Trainer Tire Tips

    How's the weather where you are? Many of our athletes are stuck indoors for some or all of their riding this time of year, due to darkness, temperature, precipitation, or sub-optimal road conditions. Thanks to our pal, XTerra and MTB stud Ned Overend and his Bouré Cycling Clothing company newsletter, we pass along some info regarding tire compounds and use on indoor trainers.

    Brett Hahn is the National Sales Manager of Bike Mine, an Oklahoma City based company that represents Continental tires in North America, and he had this to say in the December Bouré newsletter about tires for use on indoor trainers and the issue of whether you should change tires when riding indoors for extended periods:

    "Today's tires utilize specific compounds designed for improved traction under various conditions, extended mileage, and even to add color to your tires. For example, Continental tires use an activated silica compound that reduces rolling resistance and helps give superb traction for cornering under both wet and dry conditions. This compound can heat excessively when used on a stationary trainer due to the small contact point and the relatively high friction caused by resistance trainers. In this case, the silica compound can overheat and break down and is not the best choice for this application. Instead, a compound with a higher carbon black content and no silica will hold up better and likely outlast the silica compound tire. In the Continental world, this means a less expensive tire, as the silica tires are more expensive. If you need to identify your tires, simply look for an ALL black tread and one that has no mention of silica in its list of features (unfortunately tires containing silica can also be black).

    Continental models that use a natural rubber, non-silica compound include: the Ultra Sport, Ultra 2000, Ultra Gatorskin, and Grand Prix. The more expensive Ultra 3000, Grand Prix 3000, Grand Prix 4-Season, GP Supersonic and TPS Attack/Force all have the ASC silica compound, as do all of Continental's tubulars."

    Composition will vary in other brands of tire as well. Regardless of what brand of tire you use, best to select a natural rubber non-silica compound for extended use on your trainer. If you are unsure of the composition of a particular tire ask your shop or contact the manufacturer.

    This is one of the few times in cycling where the best solution is less expensive than the alternatives. Happy Indoor Cycling!