Flashback Friday: Michelin Hi-Lite Cross Cyclocross Clincher

Pin It

This holiday season we’ve got a lot to be thankful for, and cyclocrossers can add plentiful tire choices, both clincher and tubular, to that long list.

For anyone who started racing cyclocross this millennium, there’s always been at least a dozen of clincher options, and cyclocross clincher and tubular choices have grown every year as our sport has grown.

That certainly hasn’t always been the case, and jump back just to the mid 90s, the beginning of the Tim Johnson and Jonathan Page eras, and there were slim pickings for clincher tire racers, if you could even find them at your local shop. Specialized had its Tricross tire (version 2), Ritchey and Tioga had a few tread options, Vittoria offered its narrow green Tigre and Mastercross, and then there was the Michelin Hi-Lite Cross tire pictured here for this late Flashback Friday piece.

Michelin Hi-Lite Cross 700x28c cyclocross clincher. © Cyclocross Magazine

Michelin Hi-Lite Cross 700x28c cyclocross clincher. © Cyclocross Magazine

The Hi-Lite Cross was a narrow, 337g  28c clincher tire based on Michelin’s popular and relatively supple but fast-wearing Hi-Lite road clincher. Michelin took the same road casing but added narrow chevrons and small, low-profile dots in attempt to convert the tire into cyclocross-worthy rubber. It preceded the famous, highly-desired green Michelin Sprint and Mud 700x30c clinchers, and typically retailed for less than $25.

Unique, long chevrons serve as center and side knobs on the Michelin Hi-Lite Cross 700x28c cyclocross clincher. © Cyclocross Magazine

Unique, long chevrons serve as center and side knobs on the Michelin Hi-Lite Cross 700x28c cyclocross clincher. © Cyclocross Magazine

The Hi-Lite Cross design attempted to use a long, single chevrons that transitioned from perpendicular blocks for driving traction, to parallel, tapered side knobs for cornering grip. Unfortunately both the dots and edge of the chevrons weren’t very tall, and offered little cornering of off-camber bite in anything loose or sloppy.

Needless to say, the tire’s narrow width, listed at 28c, but often much narrower on typical road rims, was the tire’s biggest limitation, as it offered little bump absorption and flotation over rough terrain, and made it susceptible to pinch flats.

The tires are still in demand, however, and can retail for up to $75 on eBay

Michelin Hi-Lite Cross 700x28c cyclocross clincher. © Cyclocross Magazine

One of just a few cyclocross clinchers available in the mid 90s. Michelin Hi-Lite Cross 700x28c cyclocross clincher. © Cyclocross Magazine

With a growing number of cyclocross tubeless tire options available, and dozens of clincher and tubular models on the market, cyclocrossers now have an option for every course, condition, and budget.

Yet some will say, there was something pretty fun and simple about livin’ (with) the Hi-Lite. When tire selections were so limited, equipment choice was less of a factor in performance and we spent less time obsessing about race day setup and more time riding. That doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?

 

 

Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
Tagged as: , , , ,
9 comments
craigmacintyre
craigmacintyre

We actually need something like this today!  A 28mm tire with cross treads to put on my road machine for gravel assaults .... that's the ticket

NorCal vs SoCal California State Cyclocross Championships
NorCal vs SoCal California State Cyclocross Championships

Specialized Bicycles Tri Cross…the only clincher worth riding back then! Got us thru the Santa Crux sawdust piles, poison oak and god knows what else…oh, and 17th at elite nationals at Sonkas apple ranch, baby! 1993?!

Steven Elmes
Steven Elmes

Those were my winter tires when I was a messenger in Boston.

Stuart Reeves
Stuart Reeves

They were the best you could get in clinchers for a long time. Worked well with my MA2 rims!

Jason Elliott
Jason Elliott

They were the worst cross tyre i have ever used!

Cyclocross Magazine
Cyclocross Magazine

Heath, you sure? We know the later Sprint and Mud did but never saw this one in green.

Heath Dotson
Heath Dotson

I had some of those. They came in mint green later on as well.

Stay up to date:

Search for a product, review, race or racer:

Visit these cx-loving companies:





Become a CXM Supporter:

Like the content on cxmagazine.com? We're just a tiny two full-time person operation with big aspirations. Help us continue to bring you awesome cx content: Become a CXM supporter today:

Polls

What do you do in the off-season?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Support CXM at no extra cost to you: