With the Tour De France underway, we bring you the 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!
Some tires will be brand new models including a few early prototypes we’ve received, others will be old favorites with updated reviews, so check in each day to see what’s in store for this 21-day tour. As with all our tire reviews, we’ll include actual width measurements (as mounted on a standard narrow Mavic Open Pro clincher road rim) as well as actual weights, TPI, and even note about its tubeless compatibility.
(Of course, we haven’t forgotten about Lars Boom or John Gadret, the two cyclocrossers racing in the Tour, and we’ll be keeping tabs on them throughout.)
Stage 21: Clement LAS Cyclocross Clinchers
Today marks the last day of the Tour de France (and if all goes as expected, the day the first Australian winner of the race is crowned, thanks to the amazing racing of one Cadel Evans.) While we’re sad that this means the end of our Tour de Tires, we wanted to go out with a bang, so we’re bringing you one of our most recent tires, the Clement LAS Cyclocross Clinchers.
Stage 20: Panaracer CrossBlaster Cyclocross Tire
With only one more stage after today, it’s time for racers to pull out all the stops. We wanted a versatile tire that could handle most terrains, so for today, we’re looking at the Panaracer CrossBlaster Cyclocross Tire.
Stage 19: Kenda Tomac Small Block 8 Cross DTC Clincher
This hilly stage will really set the tone for the rest of the race, while eliminations loom for some of the back-of-packers. For this stage, we like the Kenda Tomac Small Block 8 Cross DTC Clincher, which is simple, but fast and effective on dry courses.
Stage 18: Schwalbe CX Pro Sport 26” Cyclocross Tire
Today’s stage finishes at the highest altitude in the race’s history. Additionally, this stage will almost certainly set the “stage” for those in contention for the overall title. With only three days of racing after this, the race is truly heating up. We could see something different, some crazy strategies and hopefully some unexpected twists, so we decided to choose an unexpected tire: the Schwalbe CX Pro Sport 26″.
Stage 17: Vittoria Cross XG Pro 34 Cyclocross Tire
With only four stages to go, riders are sure to be making their moves in the next couple stages. They need to be ready for anything, so for today’s 179 kilometer stage, we like the Vittoria Cross XG Pro 34 Cyclocross Tire for our Tour de Tires.
Stage 16: Hutchinson Piranha CX Tubeless Ready Cyclocross Tire
In this stage, which is the start of the final week of racing for the Tour de France and the final week of tires for the Tour de Tires, it’s considered to be not flat, but not hilly either. So a tire that’s both fast and comfortable is key for getting through this 162 kilometer stage. Because of that, we like the Hutchinson Piranha CX Tubeless Ready Cyclocross Tire.
Stage 15: Michelin Mud2 Cyclocross Tire
Today’s stage is the last stage before the Alps and can be brutal if the temperature is soaring. A hefty tire with some serious durability would be our cyclocross tire pick for today, so we looked at the Michelin Mud2 Cyclocross Tire.
Stage 14: Maxxis Larsen Mimo CX Tire
There are “six tough tests” in today’s stage, the last of the big Pyrenease stages, so we wanted to find a tough tire to put to the test for today. Since mud is to cyclocross what hills are to the Tour de France, we went with a tire known for it’s mud abilities, the Maxxis Larsen Mimo CX Cyclocross Tire.
Stage 13: Kenda Kommando Folding 35 Cyclocross Tire
Sprinters are out of the equation, and apparently today is the day for breakaway specialists who can go up hills to really shine. To that end, we wanted to showcase an understated tire that can just sneak away from the group without being noticed. For that, we like the Kenda Kommando Folding 35 Cyclocross Tire.
Stage 12: Specialized Tracer Cyclocross Tubular Tire
The first major climb of the Tour de France is today, so we wanted to roll out something special and new for it. So, for today, we’re highlighting the Specialized Tracer Cyclocross Tubular. Cyclocross racers should rejoice as Specialized just offered another attractive choice particularly for racers with just one set of race wheels and are looking for one tire to handle any condition.
Stage 11: IRD CrossFire
The Tour has been pretty dangerous this year, and we hope today’s stage will avoid any more catastrophes. This stage is 167.5 kilometers and it’s one of the last times for a sprinter to really make his mark on the race. So for a tire that really stands out and shows off, we had to choose the IRD CrossFire cyclocross tire. Why? The color selection alone is enough to make you stand out in the pack, but the great handling the tire offers make it a good choice in a race where handling is key.
Stage 10: Maxxis Raze
Stage 10 is only 158 kilometers of rolling terrain, but the heat of the day will take a toll on the riders. Because of this, the cyclocross tire we chose to complement this stage is the Maxxis Raze Cyclocross Tire, which is best suited for fast, dry courses that we typically see early on in the season when temperatures are still high.
Stage 9: Hutchinson Bulldog CX Tubeless Ready
In Stage 9, we’re looking at an up and down stage that’s been called a “leg-breaker.” Because of that, the perfect cyclocross tire would be one that can function over any terrain, grass, dirt, mud, snow or ice, so we’re looking at the Hutchinson Bulldog CX Tubeless Ready cyclocross tire.
Stage 8: Challenge Grifo
It’s said that Stage 8 sees the climbers move up in the rankings, surpassing the sprinters, so a tire that can dig into all terrains would be key for a “cyclocross stage 8.” To that end, we like the classic Challenge Grifo.
Stage 7: Continental Speed King
This 218 kilometer stage is considered one of the flattest stages in the race, and will go by in no time. A tire suited for fast paced races is key in Stage 7, so the Continental Speed King cyclocross tire sounds like it fits the bill perfectly.
Stage 6: Panaracer Cinder-X
Gear up for the longest stage so far at 226 kilometers of rolling hills. For this, a tire that is ready for anything is key, so we chose the Panaracer Cinder-X, since its versatile, durable tread provides grip and bite on most surfaces.
Stage 5: Ritchey Excavader
A typically windy stage suited for sprinters, stage 5 demands a tire with some heft to it, better for not blowing over in the eschelon. A tire that really digs in when dealing with loose conditions is ideal for this “cyclocross stage,” making the Ritchey Excavader our tire of choice for today.
Stage 4: Maxxis Locust
With climbing and twisting roads all over this 172 kilometer stage, a tire made for climbing and cornering is ideal. The Maxxis Locust cyclocross tire provides “both great traction and confident cornering due to its stiff side knobs.”
Stage 3: WTB Cross Wolf
In the 198 kilometer stage today, sprinters will have one of their only chances to really shine, so a tire that’s got some serious aggression to it would be ideal for this stage. For that reason, the WTB Cross Wolf Tire Cyclocross Tire is our pick for today’s stage.
Stage 2: Michelin Jet
Because the course today is short, flat and fast, the Jet is the perfect cyclocross answer to this stage. The Tour’s stage 2 is a 23 kilometer team time trial on a flat course, so speed is key. The same is true with the Michelin Jet cylocross tire, which may not be the best for muddy courses, but when racing on grass or packed dirt, it’s a speedy choice.
Stage 1: Ritchey SpeedMax Pro
Stage 1 of our Tour de Tires is a review of the Ritchey SpeedMax Pro cyclocross tire. We chose that one for today because it’s a fast tire that can handle a little wet tidal Passage du Gois mess (remember the 1999 Tour anyone?) of the early kilometers, and the side knobs will keep riders up as they ride along jagged cliffs and coastal roads. But as the lead-out trains start battling for the intermediate sprints and finish line, the low profile knobs will keep you moving forward at maximum speed. Read the full review of the Ritchey SpeedMax Pro cyclocross tire.