Cyclocross technology has come a long way. Nowadays racers can walk into a store and walk out with an 18 pound carbon ‘cross bike with an ultralight, stiff, carbon frame and fork with oversized tubes, headsets, and bottom brackets, easily adjustable brakes, an amazing 20 speeds (and indexed!) and complete with clipless pedals. Yet on our race wheels, many of us are riding tires that haven’t changed much in nearly 30 years.
A NOS pair of Clement Grifo Neve tubular tires was recently posted on eBay from Munich, Germany. A quick look at the tread (from as far back as the late 70’s) reveals the same tread as the Challenge Grifo tubular tires of today and a similar tread to that of the Dugast Typhoon, Vittoria XG and Tufo Prestige.
Todd Wells complained about exactly this lack of progression at the Superstar Seminar held during the Portland USGP weekend. Yet these exact same treads are continuing to win national championships (see our Issue 2 and 6). Is the ‘cross tubular the one thing that was perfected decades ago? Drop your thoughts below, we’re curious to hear your thoughts.
And if you’re in the camp that believes a fine tubular should be aged like a fine wine, perhaps this pair of tires on eBay not only has a perfect tread, but is aged to perfection and may not be just a nice piece of ‘cross history worth owning, it may have the most supple ride ever known to man. Just avoid The Worlds Longest Cyclocross Race, as this pair holds air for only “a couple of days.”