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Wayne Stetina Interview - Part 2by Matt Howey
PART 1 | PART 2 | more coming!
SP: What age did you start racing at? Everyone starts riding as a little kid for the most part, but when did you really start riding seriously – competitively?
Wayne Stetina: I started riding a bike with my dad and as far as racing bikes – actually it's interesting, I got my first bike in about 1961 or so I was probably 7 or 8. I was so proud of it and I had gone out riding with my mom who had been Ohio State champion several times – she hadn't done the bike in years. She just…crushed me.
Wayne Stetina: So that was an interesting reality check…when you're an 8 year old and your mom just destroys you. My dad was working down in Indianapolis for a few years before we moved. I had raced for a few years before we moved down there – I think I did my first race back in '64. So I was probably 10.
SP: Wow – so you started early I guess you could say…
Wayne Stetina: All of my brothers started sooner – and I'm the only one still doing it.
SP: Well, that’s a good thing for you, that you're still out there…
Wayne Stetina: Part of it is just, you know, job-related – I get paid to ride a bike.
SP: …which is obviously a nice situation for a cyclist…Speaking of your job – many people know that you've been at Shimano for a long time…
Wayne Stetina: 21 years. It will be 21 years on December 4th (2006) – that's my birthday.
SP: That's my wife and sisters birthday as well! So what do you do over there? What's your day-to-day Shimano…
Wayne Stetina: Well, my title is "Vice President and Road Product Specialist". About four years ago I was Vice President of the Bicycle Division in the US and Kozo Shimano thought I should do more product development and promotions and PR things. I was a little bit leary at first, but it's worked out extremely well…
SP: It's always nice when your job works out…
Wayne Stetina: I like to do the PR stuff with dealers developing next-generation products. I mean I get things like 10-speed to make sure that it's perfect before it goes to the pro teams and the Lance Armstrongs. I've probably ridden more miles on the Hutchinson Tubeless tires under the joint development that we just launched at Interbike…
SP: I was going to ask you about the tubeless technology actually…what is it, the Dura-Ace 7801?
Wayne Stetina: It's the 7801 SL Scandium Wheels. When you ride it, it rides smoother, in terms of a comfortable ride than sew-ups and yet it's much faster rolling than a sew-up. Sew-ups are kind of lumpy, they're not as round as clinchers. They also have the flexing base glue, unless they're shellacked for the track. The Hutchinson Tubeless, according to Hutchinson, is over 10% lower rolling resistance, even at a 15 PSI lower pressure. Basically, the same pressure as – well, I weight 165 lbs – and I like to ride about 90 or 95 PSI in the front tire and maybe 100 in the back. Of course, if you ride that pressure in a normal clincher you'll pinch flat.
SP: …right…and be slow…
Wayne Stetina: Actually, a clincher with that pressure is actually quite fast. People think that if they don't feel the bumps, that it's not responsive. But every time you feel a bump, you're getting slowed down. Like on a mountain bike, you know, the lower the pressure you can ride, the faster it rolls. You never ride on a perfect surface. There's always strips and edges and expansion joints…
SP: Interestingly enough…there was a recent conversation on my local bike club list-serve here, where they were discussing rolling resistance. Someone had read an article saying that high-pressure and skinny tires aren't always the formula for a fast setup…
Wayne Stetina: Well, if you want to beat the crap out of yourself and have no traction in every corner…but the less you feel road imperfections – edges of tar strips, expansion joints, or just any type of chip and seal pavement that has a grainy texture, the faster you're going.
SP: …very interesting…
Wayne Stetina: …because it's not bouncing you up. The tire just rolls over it and absorbs that imperfection in the sidewall. You cannot keep the power on if you're pedaling with hard tires on a rough surface – it can really upset your ability to pedal the bike.
SP: See – now I'm going to have to cut this out of the interview because all the competition is going to know the secret next year…
Wayne Stetina: [Laughs] …Sean Kelly, and all the old pros, always used to know that the secret was to run your tires at about 90 or 95 psi. Of course, these are little guys. They're not 165 or 170, they're 150 pounds. If you try to run your clinchers like that, you'll pinch flat every time that there's any type of a pothole edge or rock. So, it was never feasible.
SP: So for a bigger guy like myself, what would you suggest?
Wayne Stetina: Cut your pressure by about 10 to 15 psi from what you normally run and you'll have a real responsive ride, that doesn't feel mushy. You can just sit on the bike all day as well as getting much better traction…Hutchinson's biggest problem is delivery right now, they've had some delays. They were originally going to have the tires at the distributors on December 1st, but now it's looking like some time in January. They have a triple compound tire that is decently durable in the center, like a Michelin Pro-Race, which for me is 1000 miles. I know some people get 2000 on those, but I get 1000 on the rear because it's hilly, I do a lot of climbing with a lot of high-speed 50 to 60 mile an hour descents around here that sometimes you have to stop at the bottom. Tires go away pretty quickly. Anyhow, then it's a soft compound, then it's an ultra-soft compound on the edge so when you lean over with these tires, they really grip.
SP: Have any other manufacturers been working on a tubeless that works with the Dura Ace wheel?
Wayne Stetina: They were working on it and [illegible] had some great prototypes that didn't quite hold air after a couple of weeks – that rode great. They shelved it for a little while and now all the sudden they've got excited. Michelin ran into a dead-end of development using and Aramid bead, like they do on a mountain bike tire. The Aramid bead on a mountain bike tubeless is about twice the width that it is on a road tubeless – which is what creates the seal.
SP: Sounds like holding air is the big challenge for a road tubeless…
Wayne Stetina: …the Michelin wasn't big enough to put a regular road tube in the tire if you puncture and you need to make an on-road repair, so it's a non-starter. Hutchinson came up with an all-carbon bead that you can put 200 psi in each tire and they don't blow off the rim.
Wayne Stetina: …because it doesn't stretch, and yet you can put them on and off very easily by hand. As a matter of fact, I never use tire irons unless I'm trying to get a tube in or out of a tubeless tire. Hutchinson ran a mechanics contest at Interbike where the mechanics who hadn't practiced would just take a wheel out of stand, mount a tire, inflate it with a floor pump to 100 psi and clamp it back in the stand. The winning time was 28 seconds with a lot of people in the low-30's. Without tools. You can't even approach that with an inner-tube.
SP: Do you see this tubeless technology becoming the norm in the next few years?
Wayne Stetina: The issue is how low can we bring down the price? We haven't been able to get tubeless below XT level, so there will probably be an Ultegra level wheel, which is a $500 wheelset in the future. Right now, all we have is a $900 wheelset (Dura Ace 7801 SL). It has to be an unbroken bead. All of the solutions that have other types of sealing just start to add tons of rotating weight if you take a normal clincher rim and modify it. Mavic was working with Michelin. They weren't following our standard because the Hutchinson bead was too thin to seal with the Michelin tire technology. They have an unbroken rim with their Ksyriums. So it's easy for them to make a tubeless profile. It's a very quick fix…the same for Campy on the Fulcrum and a lot of their newer wheels that are un-broken. Even a HED 3-spoke for example. You know, any of the disks or three-spoke wheels that have an unbroken innerline, all they have to do then is just get the right rim profile…and they're done.
SP: So it really sounds like a few companies are steering towards this tubless technology…
Wayne Stetina: After the test rides, and after Zen and Matt Philips were saying that this was the best road technology introduced at Interbike, a lot of people started to notice. Even the Mavic people came and they test rode back-to-back and would come back with their jaws on the handlebars. It was way better than I think they expected it to be. Michelin had re-dedicated themselves even before Interbike…I think companies like Maxxis, Continental, Michelin – anybody that makes standard tubless car or motorcycle tires – I think it's going to be easier for them to figure out than it is for companies who are ONLY bicycle tire manufacturers.
SP: This technology is different from the, oh let's say, Tufo cyclocross tire…?
Wayne Stetina: This is exactly like the standard mountain bike technology that everybody races. You can't get a pinch flat, but what I do is – against Hutchinson's suggestion I might add – I put 10cc's/10 grams of Stan's No Tube in every tire. That will destroy the casing if the inner liner gets breached because the polyester casing will just get eaten apart and it will beging to bulge out. It's a really caustic base material, you know hydroxide in that latex. But what happens is everytime where you get a slow leak where suddenly the tire is soft or you're on the rim and you're thinking "when did that happen?" – that's completely eliminated, it never happens. I've had guys, instead of puncturing every other week down here, with all the glass in the bike lanes…I've got test riders that go 6 months without puncturing, they're wearing out rear tires and they take them off and they've got staples and thorns and pieces of glass sticking on the inside that they didn't know about, because it doesn't matter.
SP: That's fantastic…
Wayne Stetina: If you get a big slice, it will go flat. But if you just get a small cut, you'll start hearing that "swoosh swoosh swoosh" and it will re-seal at about 40, 50, 60 psi and you can ride it all day as a soft tire.
SP: So what is it that reseals the tire again?
Wayne Stetina: Stan's No Tubes. That's what all the mountain bikers use. There's Slime, there's a bunch of different ones.
PART 1 | PART 2 | more coming!
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