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Old 08-25-15, 10:37 AM   #1
EmperorSnu
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Can we talk about Tires? Lets talk about tires.

I couldn't find many threads with good info on the best and worst tires that money can buy, so I made one in hopes that it'll help me, and other rookies, find out what tires I (we) need to grab for my (our) first season of racing. Since tires are pretty important, I think it would be good to have a thread shows what the preferences is of this forum's users are.

Post what tires you're currently riding, or what you raced with last season, or whatever. Try to give the pros and cons of the tire and let us know if they're worth the money.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:01 PM   #2
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Tires are incredibly dependent on many factors- course conditions, terrain, rider weight/riding style, rim type...
I'm an experienced, not overly svelte racer in Idaho. I'll be using Specialized Terra 2bliss front, Terra/Tracer/Trigger rear depending on conditions.

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Old 08-25-15, 03:33 PM   #3
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this is a pretty good read.

Mechanical Monday: Adam Myerson Examines Tread Selection - Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Bikes, Photos, Videos
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Old 09-05-15, 09:18 AM   #4
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I've got 3 different tires/wheelsets I'll be using this year. My all-rounders and schwalbe racing ralph tubulars, then I've got clement pdx tubulars for the mud, and schwalbe sammy slick clinchers for grass crits.

That said...I used the sammy slicks while I was lapping on a 90% grass course that was crammed into a small space (lots of tight turns) and wasn't super happy with how they cornered. Though they rolled easier, when I switched to my tubular racing ralphs I was much more confident in the corners and my laps were about 30" faster with a lower avg power. After that, I'm really trying to figure out when I'll be using the semi-slicks!
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Old 09-17-15, 07:45 AM   #5
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Just ordered Conti Mountain King 700x32's to replace the original tires that came with my Nashbar special bike a few years ago. Looking forward to doing my first race.
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Old 09-17-15, 10:12 AM   #6
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Clement PDX are a good all-around tire if you have generally soft or muddy courses. They aren't the fastest rolling tire and may not be the best for a grass-crit or hard pack. But I think they'll be a solid performer for most people.

Maxxis Mudwrestlers are also a good all-around tire, not as good on mud as the PDX but maybe a little faster. The Mudwrestlers will wear out fast, though.

Last year I was on Vittoria Cross XM, they are supposed to be a mud tire but I wasn't impressed. Forward traction in slop was good, but cornering they are weak. And they were not good for me side-hilliing on grass.

I have also used Panaracer Crossblaster, needed a rear tire and it was the only thing I could find in town. Superlight, nice tread and fast. But really small, they claim they are 31s but they are more like a 28 or 29. If you are light and nimble, they may be a good option.

I agree with what was said abobe about Sammy Slicks. They are a fast tire, but not confident inspiring on corners. And squirrelly as **** going downhill on gravel.
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Old 09-17-15, 12:39 PM   #7
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If you get serious about cyclocross it has a way of filling your garage with tires and wheels. I love cross, but I'm not competitive and never will be. This keeps me from going all the way to collecting tubulars, but it hasn't stopped me from collecting tires.

I've got four sets of cross tires in my garage right now: Clement LAS, Clement MXP, Clement PDX and Michelin Mud2. My primary choice of tire progresses from LAS to MXP to PDX as the courses get muddier (which, conviently, is usually a straight progression from bone dry September to soupy November in these parts). The Mud2's stick around because I've got two bikes and I haven't decided if I like the Mud2 or the MXP better as a second choice for muddy conditions.

The LAS are great on pavement, grass, gravel and hard packed dirt. They don't do well in mud. The PDX are wonderful in mud -- they provide good traction and don't accumulate mud in the tread unless it's really sticky. The MXP are somewhere between these. It doesn't shed mud as well as the PDX, but it provides good traction in light mud. This, of course, fits the theory that the LAS is a file tread, the MXP is an all-arounder and the PDX is a mud tire. It's probably worth noting that while Clement labels these tires as 33's, they are much closer to 35 on a 23mm wide rim. That's a good thing IMO.

As a rookie, you probably only want to buy one set of tires. Which to choose depends on where you are racing. The standard wisdom is to be an all-around tread, but if you are racing in the Pacific Northwest you're better off with mud tires if you are only going to have one set. If you live somewhere extremely dry, a file tread might make sense as your first choice.

Aside from tread pattern, you should also consider the suppleness of the tire. Most pro advice you read says that you should race on tubulars, and this is primarily because of how supple they are. Assuming that you will stick to clinchers, you should still consider this factor. Stiff tires are slow and don't provide as much traction. Obviously I like the Clement tires in this respect. If you're considering other options, look at thread count as an indicator of what you're going to get. Ideally, buy from a local store where you can actually touch the tires.

Assuming you stick with clinchers and don't go tubeless (that's its own can of worms), think about the tubes you're using. I like Continental tubes and generally run a size marked for 32-47. If you're at the upper end of the range, you're more likely to pinch flat. Of course, bigger tubes sacrifice some speed. I've heard great things about latex tubes, but I haven't tried them.
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Old 09-17-15, 08:43 PM   #8
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I have used challenge grifos for the last 3 seasons they are pretty good over all, I only find they suffer in deep mud.

baby limus is another good tire from.. better in the mud but rolls a bit slower
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Old 09-18-15, 12:19 PM   #9
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Tubular tires I've used: Challenge Grifo, Clement MXP. Both are all-rounder treads. The Grifo is the classic dot-and-chevron, the MXP is a more modern variation on the chevron tread. It has "soccer cleats" on the shoulders instead of dots, a "split" chevron in the middle and transition knobs in between. The Grifo is okay, but I think the MXP is far better on grass. In American cyclocross, that matters. The chevron is also better articulated thanks to the gaps, which in theory should help both grip and rolling resistance. For me, the difference I notice is in cornering grip, where the MXP is just better. The Clement MXP has the added benefit of being ridiculously easy to glue.

Clincher tires I've used: Continental Cross X King, Michelin Jet. These are different types of tires, so not directly comparable. The Conti is frankly not a good choice for a cross tire, and I would not recommend them for CX in general. It's just not a discipline that Continental has any interest in. They took a mountain bike tread and shrank it down. That doesn't actually work all that well. What I will say for the Cross X King is that it has excellent cornering grip on grass at normal clincher pressures. And it hooks up okay on packed dirt. Overall, though, not great, and slow.

The Jet is pretty interesting. It's basically a modern re-imagining of the file tread, in the same way that the Clement MXP is a modern all-rounder. Because it's a file tread, it's fast. Like, really fast. The downside is grip. But there's a secret with the Jet (and pretty much all file treads) - if you run the pressure down low enough, the grip on grass and packed dirt is actually really good. I'm light, and we have a practice course around here with very few pinch flat hazards, so I've used this tire at some stupid low pressures there. As in, 16.5 PSI in the front tire, maybe 19 in the rear. High speed off-camber grass turns were no problem. The downside is that the grip really goes away if things get wet or loose. Definitely useless in mud. Because the MXP is so good, and because my tubular wheels are so much lighter than my clinchers, I never race this tire. But it's on my pit wheels for dry days.
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Old 09-18-15, 12:45 PM   #10
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What makes, for example, a MXP faster then a PDX ? and is it much faster ? I dinf the PDX velcro like on grass (so I considered it a good grass crit tire). The center thread of the PDX looks like it would help with speed, that's why I'm wondering how is the MXP faster. Thanks !
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Old 09-21-15, 11:23 AM   #11
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I don't think the MXP would be hugely faster. The PDX is a little bit chunkier, but as mud tires go it's not the most aggressive out there and I see a lot of people using it as an all-around tire. I do think the MXP is more of a true mixed condition tire and the smoother center pattern will roll faster on hard surfaces, but it's really a matter of preference.
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Old 09-21-15, 12:05 PM   #12
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I would second what grolby said about MXP vs. PDX. The center lugs on the PDX are narrow and a bit taller, so I would expect that they flex and twist a tiny bit more on hard surfaces. Honestly, I don't think I feel a difference between them, but I haven't tried to create a scenario for a direct comparison.
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Old 09-21-15, 12:11 PM   #13
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Ok thanks for the info. I can see it now. On grass they would be closer in straight speed, if I understand.
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