GCN Tech Clinic: Why do tubeless tyres have less rolling resistance?

Alex is joined by Tom Sturdy to answer your latest tech questions

Clock16:51, Wednesday 24th May 2023

Alex is back for the latest edition of GCN Tech Clinic, the place where we answer your biggest tech questions. He’s joined by a special guest, Tom Sturdy of Sturdy Cycles, for another jam-packed edition.

How do pro teams bed in new disc brake pads?

After fitting new disc brake pads, it’s important to allow them a small period of time to bed in. This essentially means wearing off any surface contamination and transferring an even layer of brake pad material to the rotor which should result in better braking performance.

Considering the high speeds pros travel at, you may think pro mechanics have a special process for this. In reality, as Alex suggests, they likely just warn riders once new brake pads have been fitted so they know to take it easy for a while.

What size pot should I buy for chain waxing?

Many riders now dabble with chain waxing. Doing so requires a way of melting the wax and many riders opt for a crockpot or slow cooker, but what size appliance do you need? On this occasion smaller is better otherwise you’ll end up melting more wax than you need.

Check out our full guide to waxing a chain below.

Why do tubeless tyres have lower rolling resistance?

Next up, our tech gurus delve into the science of tubeless tyres to explain why they have less rolling resistance than a tyre-inner tube combination. It all comes down to friction as an inner tube and tyre rub up against each as a wheel rotates. That’s not a problem for tubeless setups and as an added bonus, tubeless tyres are thinner which also leads to less rolling resistance. It’s all very scientific but Alex is on hand to break it down.

Should I account for air loss when pumping up tyres?

Getting tyres pumped up to the correct pressure can make a big difference to a ride. That’s made easier by pumps with pressure gauges, but should you be accounting for air loss when removing the pump from the valve?While a little air may escape, it won’t be much and certainly not enough to make a noticeable or meaningful difference.

That being said, track pumps with pressure gauges aren’t always accurate and if getting the pressure spot on is your kind of thing, it’s worth investing in a separate pressure gauge for that added accuracy.

What’s the most aero water bottle position?

Moving to another of modern cycling’s favourite topics, what is the most aerodynamic position for a bottle? Brands spend lots of money and time in wind tunnels fine-tuning their products, making them as aerodynamic as possible. Bottle position hasn’t escaped this testing and some research suggests that it’s best, aerodynamically speaking, to store bottles in rear pockets. Like most aerodynamic topics, there are a lot of factors to consider though.

Should I get a 1x setup if I usually ride in the small chainring?

This week, pro rider Primož Roglič caught everyone’s attention by using a 1x setup on certain stages of the Giro d’Italia. It proved to be a winning choice for the Slovenian who went on to triumph at the race. Could a 1x setup also be a good option for anyone who spends the majority of their time riding in the smallest chainring? Alex and Tom explain why they think so.

Could inflating tyres with hydrogen help to save weight?

Carrying on the tyre theme of today and combining it with one of cycling’s most popular obsessions, would inflating tyres with hydrogen lead to weight savings? The world of cycling is always on the hunt for ways to shed precious grams and hydrogen could be the latest solution. It’s a question Ollie would have loved but in his absence it falls on to Alex to explain why it might not be the best of ideas.

Have a question you need answering? Head over to this week’s Tech Clinic video over on the GCN Tech YouTube channel and add your question to the comments along with #ASKGCNTECH.

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