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Old 09-12-2007, 07:47 PM
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Default Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

This past weekend was my first time riding on loose dirt. It felt like the tires were slipping and the bikes response over all was slower.

My husband says with my knobby tires, that I have better traction on loose dirt than hard packed.



I donít understand how that is true.
I didnít feel more traction.

I feel like I have better traction on hard packed. The bike moves/responds where I want it to a lot quicker and easier on hard packed.

Is it just because all I know that hard packed, so it feels better to me?


Can someone try explaining whatís going on traction wise, so I can understand better?



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Old 09-12-2007, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

Good topic Mama, My understanding of it is that the contact produced by your pair of tyres is all that connects you to the ground, and that frighteningly small area is responsible for driving you forward, cornering, and braking. Different compound tyre's suit different applications so a soft tyre will work better in some conditions than a hard tyre. It is really all about getting the right amount of contact to the ground.
Tyre pressure has a profound effect on the size and shape of that contact area, and variations in inflation pressure can have as much, and sometimes more, of an effect on a tyre's performance as the tread pattern, rubber compounds, and casing size and construction.
Most tyres will have an optimal pressure based on rider weight, trail conditions, and tyre construction that allows for the design-intended amount of casing deflection that optimizes rolling resistance, traction, comfort, and durability. Excessive tyre pressure may not allow the casing to deform as designed, leaving some knobs with too much contact pressure and others perhaps not touching the ground at all (or very minimally). Conversely, inadequate pressure may not offer enough casing support to remain stable during hard cornering and can roll slower than necessary.
Just as important as all of that is your body position on the bike while your riding. Transfering your weight in the right way will enhance the amount of traction on the tyre's.

Last edited by pjg351; 09-12-2007 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

Thanks, that all makes good sense but I am still wondering

is there more traction in loose dirt?

It seems if the dirt is moving as the tire spins, I feel less grip to the surface I am riding on.
Wouldn't that mean less traction?
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

How much traction there is largely depends on what tire compound and pressure you're running. I think Pete explained it pretty well. I think there are too many variables to just say, "yes, there is more traction in loose dirt."

The tires on your bike, say they're for hardpack for example, might not handle very well in the loose dirt at all. And, much like a two-stroke, you can control how much drive/traction you get/feel with the clutch.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mxmama View Post
Thanks, that all makes good sense but I am still wondering

is there more traction in loose dirt?

It seems if the dirt is moving as the tire spins, I feel less grip to the surface I am riding on.
Wouldn't that mean less traction?
Okay, if you were riding in sand,the sand will move under the weight of your bike and maintain a more constant contact area with your tyre's. where on hardpack the contact area is reduced if say for example you layed the bike over further in a corner. Here is a better description of what i mean.

Tyre Selection
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by char393 View Post
there are too many variables to just say, "yes, there is more traction in loose dirt."

I can accept that

So that would mean I could be feeling more traction on hard pack because of all the "variables"

Thanks for the help

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Old 09-12-2007, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

This topics is making me think way too hard.....I don't even know how to explain it and now I'm cross eyed just thinking about...Thanks alot!!

-Kevin-
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

I don't see how loose dirt will give you better traction than hardpack. Even if you air down in loose dirt, your still not going to have the traction you will on hardpack. PJ is right IMO. Different tire compounds. Myself I run a softer tire in the hard pack. Yes it will wear faster, but the traction is better then a harder tire compound.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freak View Post
I don't see how loose dirt will give you better traction than hardpack. Even if you air down in loose dirt, your still not going to have the traction you will on hardpack. PJ is right IMO. Different tire compounds. Myself I run a softer tire in the hard pack. Yes it will wear faster, but the traction is better then a harder tire compound.
I beleive in soft terrain that the tyre compound does not matter that much. On hard pack soft compound will give you less wheel spin and will probably wear better than hard. Hard compounds are abrasive with hard pack terrain and increase wear. tyre pressure is the key!
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: Help me understand traction (loose dirt vs hard packed)

Did someone say TRACTION?

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