Cyclocross - Kenda Small Block 8 v. Hutchinson Bulldog
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10-05-10, 07:33 PM
So this is my first cross season, and I will be riding in what looks to be (from the locations listed for my local race series) parks (grass) and loose dirt and possibly some light mud when the rainy season hits. My bike came with, and currently has, Ritchey SpeedMax tires. The tires seem good enough, but are not confidence-inspiring in the turns on the loose dirt and gravel trails that I ride on 90% of the time.
From what I've read on here, and have been told at cross skills clinics around town, the Bulldogs are THE tire for tubeless applications. Since I'm not looking to go that way quite yet (I'd need to buy new wheels), I am kind of at a cross roads between them and the SB8, since the Kenda tire also looks to have the right kind of tread for my local terrain.
The SB8 and Bulldog are completely different tread patterns. The Bulldog has large, fairly wide-spaced knobs. They are very grippy and a bit slow rolling.
The SB8s are a microknob pattern and should roll pretty fast on pavement with so-so grip offroad (I have used the mountain version but not the cross tire so there might be differences).
From what you've said the Bulldog would be abetter choice. I would continue to use your speedmaxes as training tires if you do a lot on the road, and maybe as a back tire for the faster courses.
Also, you can run tubeless tires with tubes. That's what I do with the Bulldogs.
10-13-10, 05:28 PM
Hey! I'm in Sac and it's my first CX season too. :thumb:
I have both the Ritchey Speedmax and the Hutchinson Bulldogs right now. The Bulldogs are sweet tubeless but what M_S said is right, they are a bit on the slow side, you do get grip and it is 2nd to none imho. Comes in handy on those tight grass turns. The Bulldogs will not steer you wrong, but you might get frustrated with their speed. Several guys I ride with use the SB8 Kendas and really like them and I'm thinking I may try them for my backup wheelset. Very tight micro-knobby pattern. They look fast and are easy to setup tubeless. Curious as to why you need new wheels for tubeless? Use the rim strips in your current rims and get rolling. I have been so much happier riding since doing so. Cross tires attract goatheads like magnets.
10-14-10, 12:20 PM
Bulldogs are pretty good for the goopy stuff. They also work well on turf because they dig in well. You can really rail corners in wet grass. On hard-pack stuff with a loose top, though, it feels like it's up on it's tip-toes. I think the Kenda SB8 would be better there. I also figure that the SB8 would be better on asphalt or just rolling resistance in general. I kinda want to give these a try because it seems like they might be a nice combo of the two http://www.serfas.com/product_details.asp?ID=797 . I've had pretty good luck with their road stuff.
Honestly, I've put some road miles on the Bulldogs, and I didn't think they were 1/2 bad on tarmac, which surprised me. I'm sure the Kenda is better, but the Hutch is better than you might initially guess.
Ultimately, 1 tire will not be right for every condition. You'll need to have a couple. The Speedmax tires are just OK IMO, but I've found them a little short on grip overall. Going in a straight line they're OK, but the transition from straight line to cornering is a bit sketchy. There's just too much of a difference in tread from side to middle. On them in a corner my bike would slide--bike lean--grip. It would eventually grip, but I thought I was going down 20 times per race when I would ride them.
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