Kenda adds the Slant Six and the Happy Medium to its ever-growing cyclocross tire line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Kenda adds the Slant Six and the Happy Medium to its cyclocross tire line. © Cyclocross Magazine

We often say that the only true cyclocross-specific component, besides a frame and fork, is the cyclocross tire. And thus it’s often the first thing we, as tire geeks, seek out at Interbike. Just a few days ago, we highlighted new cyclocross tires from Schwalbe, Hutchinson and Challenge. But with some dedicated digging we found new tires from Kenda, Vittoria and Clement on display at Interbike 2010.

Kenda Brings Treads and Tubeless to Cyclocross

Kenda adds two new tires to its line-up with the Slant Six and the Happy Medium cyclocross clinchers. Both treads are inherited from Kenda’s mountain bike line-up.  The Slant Six has an aggressive tread with a lot of knobs to grip in what Kenda calls “intermediate to hard pack conditions.” The tread was inspired from two popular mountain bike tread patterns designed by mountain bike legend John Tomac – the Small Block Eight and the Nevegal. The tire comes with the Iron Cloak technology which is said to reduce flats, and is available in widths of 32c and 35c. Weight and price are TBD.

The Happy Medium tread is also tread pattern used in Kenda’s mountain bike line, and was designed by downhiller and BMXer Eric Carter. The tire features aggressive side knobs with small center knobs. Both types of knobs are a bit larger than those found on the typical semi-click cyclocross tire. Kenda offers this tire in three different widths: 32c, 35c, and a whopping 40c. Weight and price are TBD.

Both tires feature Kenda’s DTC technology, which means two different hardness of rubber are used to form the tread (harder in the center for durability and rolling resistance, softer on the edges for grip). But the biggest news is that both new tires will be available in a 32c version that offers Kenda’s new SCT rubber – a new sealant-compatible rubber that should resist even the more corrosive sealants when used as a tubeless tire. We hope Kenda will also offer its wider 35c in the SCT tubeless-ready rubber.

Will the company offer their other tread patterns with the SCT rubber? We saw a brief preview of a tire that makes us believe it’s only a matter of time…

Vittoria Gets Fat for Mud

Vittoria now has their mud XM tubular in 34mm. © Cyclocross Magazine

Vittoria now has their mud XM tubular in 34mm. © Cyclocross Magazine

New UCI tire width rule or not, Vittoria knows that amateurs not racing UCI races still buy a lot more tires than the pros. And thus despite the late notice of the tire width rule, they continued to push forward in developing a wider version of the XM tire (reviewed in Issue 10). Now the XM tread, like the XG and XN, comes in a 320tpi, 34c option that’s an attractive option for sloppy and bumpy conditions, especially for bigger riders.

Is it really true to size, or can it escape the wrath of an UCI official if you suddenly have a chance to race with the big boys? Ryan DeLong of Vittoria says technically the tires measure out to be just 33c when new, but after a month of riding they’d likely stretch out 1mm, as risk probably not worth taking if you’re gunning for UCI points.

Clement Tires are Back

The Clement LAS is listed at 34c, but on a narrow clincher rim, it squeaks under 33c. © Cyclocross Magazine

The Clement LAS is the company's semi-slick cyclocross tire. © Cyclocross Magazine

Clement marks its return to bike tires with the release of the LAS and PDX cyclcoross tires (reviewed in Issue 10). These two models are named after the locations of the CrossVegas and USGP Finals (Portland) – and thus they are designed to master the conditions typically found at these events. Both tires have impressive weight-to-width ratio, coming in around 320g and measuring nearly true to width (34c), they make attractive options for the clincher tire user.

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eric carter mountain bike racer