Pick Your Poison – Tyre Choice Val Di Sole
By Steven Jones
The track here at Val Di Sole is steep, technical and when ridden hard for several days becomes blown out with dust concealing rock and root in some of the most horrible places. Tyre choice appears to be leaning towards intermediate tyres, considered by many to be muds (although in reality a mx style stud pattern dry tyre) that aids braking and cornering with their slightly more aggressive side knobs and lack of ramped front edges.
For some teams….in fact for several top teams tyre availability is limited hence they will be running unbranded rubber from other companies, the preferred choice being the Maxxis Shorty at present. For others such as Specialized the top racers Bruni and Brosnan have access to Butcher dry in 2.35 and 2.5, Hillbilly intermediate and Storm wet weather. Both Brosnan and Bruni are in fact trying cut down versions of both the Storm and Hillbilly.
Santa Cruz have an incredible amount of options both in tyres and also rim widths, this clearly has an effect on the tyre profile. For practice Greg seemed to be lined up with super wide rims opening out the Shorty considerably.
Danny Hart and the Mondraker team look set on Maxxis Shorty’s at present but Danny has the Minion as a dry option.
Much of the talk evolves around traction in the dust however avoiding the dust (and the unknown that lies beneath) will factor into both line choice and therefore the rubber that ultimately gets chosen for race day. There’s still a lot of thinking to be done as it shows from the talk (and actions) amongst the top riders.
To get a balanced view on the situation Bontrager Tyre Engineer Frank Stacy took time out to go through the reality of rubber choice here in Val Di Sole, and also discussed options with the top guns for the weekend, including their star racer Rachel Atherton, one of the few to race intermediate weather G5 rubber.
Here’s the current status with tyre choices… if it rains then all hell brakes loose