cyclocross gear and bike reviews
A simple stroll through the Eurobike trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany is impossible. It’s the largest bicycle trade show in the world, and such a distinction means it’s a sensory overload of all things bicycle. Two-wheeled (and three- and four- and one-wheeled) eye candy of all shapes, sizes colors and versions assault the visitor’s senses on several levels.
The Challenge Limus cyclocross tubular tires are making their way across the country, just in time for cyclocross season. We have received a review pair …
Clement made its return to tires and cyclocross in 2010 with the new PDX and LAS cyclocross clinchers. PDX, of course, is the airport code for Portland, and LAS the code for Las Vegas. As one might guess, the LAS is designed for gamblers, and the PDX is designed for bike commuters.
As the Tour de France continues, so does our Tour De Tires! For every stage of the Tour, we’ll be bringing you a review of a tire. Since it’s just about time to start gluing up tubulars or deciding what type of clinchers you’ll be riding this season, the timing couldn’t be better.
Ideally, the tires we feature will be tires deemed advantageous to an off-road version of the stage of the Tour De France, though we’re more interested in the dirt than the roads of France!
Like the Cinder-X, the CrossBlaster has a versatile tread that does well on all types of terrain, but its narrower width handles grass better than its bigger brother.
The beauty of clincher tires is that changing tires is a snap. Plan to hit the dirt on the cyclocross bike? Got a dirt or gravel road on your commute?
The Hutchinson Piranha is currently only one of three ‘cross tires officially made for tubeless use, but you’re able to run the tire with a conventional tube as well.
Michelin’s Mud2 replaced the famous green Mud tire six years ago with an updated black tread and sidewalls, but not everyone thinks the changes were upgrades.
The Steve Larsen-designed Mimo CX looks like an old Vittoria Tigre on steroids and LSD. The round knobs vary in size and surface, with ramped center knobs surrounded by small, smooth knobs and flanked by rows of medium- sized knobs with X cutouts.
The Kenda Kommando was the biggest surprise of this group. With such an understated tread and small, short knobs, this tire is fast and begs to be raced on a dry grass or hardpack dirt course.
Specialized has been working on a new line of cyclocross tubular tires for several years now, and with input from riders like 2010 National Champion Todd Wells, it developed several prototypes last season. The Specialized Tracer cyclocross tire comes in three configurations: the 290tpi, 423g Tracer Tubular, the folding 282g Tracer Pro clincher, and the Tracer Sport wire bead clincher (weights are average of early prototypes, as measured by Cyclocross Magazine) . All three models are listed at 33c to fall within UCI regulations. Our early tubular versions measured out at 32c, and Specialized informed us that the production versions will have slightly larger casings.
Tired of black tires? How about red, blue, or pink? That might be enough of a selling point for some. But rest assured, this miniaturized version of Panaracer’s Fire XC-Pro tire isn’t just designed to look pretty.
n Transitions, the ’cross movie, we witness former pro and former Hutchinson guy Marc Gullickson clipping some of the knobs off his old Hutchinson clincher before a race to get ready for the “peanut butter” mud he expects to encounter. Perhaps the Bulldog is the type of tire he was trying to create at the time.
A tread that’s been around longer than most ‘cross racers has gotta be pretty good, and these “open tubular” Challenge tires, sporting the legendary Clement tread, are great all-around tires that can handle most conditions well.
Continental adapted its popular Speed King mountain bike tire for ’cross, and it’s easy to see why this tread has been popular in the fat tire world.
This is the big brother of the CrossBlaster. If you race mostly deep grass courses, the Cinder-X is not the tire for you. But if you ride and race your bike on a mixture of surfaces, this tire could be an ideal choice.
The Ritchey Excavader is aptly named, as this tire digs into the soft dirt really well. On the pavement, the tire rolls quite smoothly, thanks to its semi-continuous center tread.
The Ritchey Speedmax is a time-tested design and has been around longer than any other clincher tire in this test. There’s a good reason for that, as it’s a fine choice for fast, dry courses, especially as a rear tire. The low profile center tread grips grass, dirt, and pavement well. Cornering traction is very good thanks to the raised knobs. The Speedmax does better as a rear tire, and when things get muddy or loose, reach for a different tire. The Speedmax is also available in 35 and 40c widths.
Ridley, a company based in Northern Flanders has deep roots in cyclocross. While the European pros primarily ride the flagship X-Night, the U.S. Ridley-sponsored riders are all on X-Fires, as they make for easier flying without the seatmast of the X-Night. Though in the new catalog, the 2012 Ridley X-Fire is so new it is not yet on their website, but we have an early edition that we’ve been riding and will be reviewed in Issue 13.
We’ve been sitting on this info since March 1st when we originally posted about Shimano’s new cyclocross components, but now that Shimano has finally lifted the embargo date on it, we can give you the real scoop on the new Di2 electronic shifting for Ultegra.
Going tubeless for cyclocross is an attractive option for anyone tired of pinch-flatting clinchers or gluing and re-gluing (or flatting) expensive tubulars. Cyclocross Magazine has …
It’s a popular belief that if you can upgrade only one part on your bike, it should be your wheels. There are a lot of good reasons behind this, as wheels have a profound impact on predictable handling, braking, acceleration and even coasting. In cyclocross use, we’d argue that most of these variables are exaggerated when compared to road cycling and that upgrading to a new set of wheels for cyclocross is even more justified.