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Michelin waiting for ProTeams to come asking for tires born from its coveted auto-racing program

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Mar. 6, 2013
  • Updated Mar. 6, 2013 at 10:04 PM EDT
The guy in the dark blue shirt with the yellow stripe across the shoulders works specifically with the Risi Competizione team, but works for Michelin and monitors the tires. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com

Science

Each team on Michelin tires has a dedicated Michelin technician — identifiable by yellow-trimmed uniform — at the racetrack. Among many other duties, he or she checks the temperature of the tires at every pit stop. Williams says that 200-220F is the ideal running temperature for a car tire. Temperatures above 240F cause loss of grip due to the tire pressure becoming too high and the tire components liquefying. To keep temperatures lower than that, technicians use Nitrogen, a gas that resists humidity and its related temperature increases, for inflation.

This devotion to research and development has helped make Michelin a giant in the auto tire market and the biggest manufacturing employer in South Carolina.

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Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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