by Paul Guerra
Cyclocross Magazine got its first look at the new Cedric Gracia cyclocross tire at QBP’s FrostBike 2011 Expo, but now we’ve got a pair in hand for testing. Here’s our first detailed look at the new cyclocross clincher from Panaracer.
The newest member of the Panaracer cyclocross tire lineup is the Cedric Gracia CX or CGCX. The CGCX tire is a slimmed down version of the CGXC 26er and 29er tires designed by the famous French downhill mountain bike racer of the same name and has an similar but miniaturized version of the tread pattern featured on those larger, wider tires.
Panasonic manufactures these tires in Japan, a rarity in a day when many tires are made in China or Thailand, and even Shimano, the paragon of Japanese manufacturing, makes many of its components in less expensive Malaysia. The CG CX has a folding aramid bead and 126 TPI carcass, resulting in a claimed weight of 300 grams. The two tires Cyclocross Magazine received for review test weighed in at 293 and 289 grams. When being mounted, the foldable bead easily slipped on a 19mm wide Mavic Open Pro rim without tools. When pumped up to a common race pressure of 32 psi, the tire, on that same Mavic rim measured in at a svelte 29 mm. As is typical of most cyclocross clinchers, this measured width is significantly narrower than the listed 32c width, but it’s also lighter than advertised.
Two exclusive Panasonic features are the Combo Compound of the ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) rubber, designed to provide traction and durability, and the Anti Snake Bite chamber. Panaracer’s Jeff Zell says that the rubber of the CGCX features a 1mm harder layer of rubber to extend durability but not compromise ride quality. The Anti Snake Bite bead looks to us like any other bead, but Zell testifies that “it’s made from a material that will not compress like a regular bead under load and therefore helps to prevent pinch flats.” Stay tuned as we put that to the test.
The tread pattern is what Panasonic calls a “super fast rolling center tread combined with optimal rise side lugs.” The center tread is nearly continuous and the side lugs are an assortment of square blocks and chamfered blocks. If you look carefully, the tread has a design that includes a “C” and “G” in its pattern, as tribute to its designer, famed downhiller Cedric Gracia. We’re not sure how much cyclocross Gracia races, but if his friend and fellow gravity racer Brian Lopes’ success at cyclocross is any indication, he’d probably be great at it too.
Stay tuned as we give these tires a full test in the true cyclocross conditions that Mother Nature has presented Northern California recently. Our full review will be in our Issue 12, in both print and digital. (Have you subscribed yet?)
Panaracer Cedric Gracia CXCG cyclocross clincher tire:
Weight: 291 grams (average)
TPI: 126 tpi
MSRP: Expected to be $48.99
More info: Panarcer’s Website