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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 09-06-10, 01:22 PM   #1
Brightwork
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Best all 'round rubber for new CX racer

I have a Scott CX Team with D/A, no extra set of brakes on top and the 32H Ultegra/Mavic wheels it came with and a set of 50mm Token Carbon tubs I planned to use. Never done a CX race, so plan to ride the first race with a set of clincher Speed King tires. I assumed I'd fall my first race. Rather fall with the cheap wheels. Assuming I make it through the first race without hitting a tree, any advice for tires? I've seen diamond and more traditional CX tread patterns. Can the diamond rasp pattern do it all, or would I be best off getting something like Dugast Typhoons - or something like them, but cheaper? I don't want to have to change tubs every week, or even at all during the season if possible. Thanks.
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Old 09-06-10, 02:18 PM   #2
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Clincher: Maxxis Raze
Tubular: Challenge Grifo
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Old 09-06-10, 03:29 PM   #3
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Clincher: Maxxis Raze
Tubular: Challenge Grifo
Is it just me or do the Raze not come in a 32 - or anything other than 35? The Grifo looks like the same kind of tread as the Typhoon, but half the price. I like that!
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Old 09-15-10, 07:05 PM   #4
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Firstly, I'll have to razz you about you're sweet setup having never raced before... To me cyclocross seems more accessable than road racing as far as equipment. i.e. you can do pretty well on a basic setup ($800 bike and clinchers).

Anyway, it looks like you're pretty dialed on the bike. Tires are a personal preference to many, and also depend on conditions where you race. I am still on clinchers (for now) and have a few suggestions:

For a Clincher:
If you don't expect too much mud (like here in Colorado), I would suggest a Kenda Small Block Eight. These have a lot of small, square knobs and a nice, round profile. The round profile and even knobs give predictable handling. You can feel them start to give around corners, rather than finding yourself in the dirt before you saw it coming. If your courses are bumpy, and the new UCI Rules don't concern you, look for the 35c version, otherwise the 32c worked great for me all last season. I used 40F/45R PSI and weighed 185 lbs rider+bike.

For mud, your speed kings will work well in sticky mud, with their widely spaced knobs. If you're riding slop and need more traction, I'd look into the WTB Crosswolf.

-Russell
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Old 09-15-10, 08:57 PM   #5
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I'm not convinced there's any such thing as a good "all-around" tire - it's always a trade-off. If you're really only going to buy one set of tires, I'd go with a fatter tire and a more aggressive tread, like a Hutchinson Bulldog. It'll slow you down some on faster surfaces in dry conditions, but not as much as a smoother tire will in muddy conditions.
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Old 09-16-10, 04:59 PM   #6
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I'd be willing to set up a couple sets of clinchers for different conditions, just don't want to mess with the tubs more than once before spring. I'll look into the clinchers mentioned. I'm not expecting to win, just to finish with my pride intact. And to not be last - I really don't want to be last. Oh, who am I kidding, we all want to win; I've already got 5 pints of my blood waiting for me to transfuse. Not for doping, but actual blood transfusions, in anticipation of the accidents I'll be in from trying too hard.

Any tubes that do better with low psi or pinching? Or is every tube about the same?
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Old 09-16-10, 05:29 PM   #7
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I have three sets of tires that I use depending on conditions. I put the set most suited for the day's race on the bike and use another of the sets for my pit wheels. My Trek XO1 came with Bontrager Jones CXR's which are general purpose. I have a set of Michelin Mud 2's for wet muddy conditions where the tire needs to cut through slop, and a set of Continental Speed's with the rasp tread for fast dry surfaces. The Mud 2's don't have any lugs on the side of the tire and can be unpredictable when riding across loose stone and off camber's but the ticket when it is really muddy and sloppy as the tire cuts through the slop down to hard ground. Last year in a race I fell two times while crossing a loose gravel driveway and twice on a dirt pathway with an off camber turn during a race while riding on the Mud 2's.

It only takes about 10 minutes to switch a set of tires on the wheels. I'd recommend that you get a set of tires for the different needs on the courses in the area you race. If you watch the sales at PBK you can pick up a set of tires for the price of one at your LBS. At your first race take a look to what the guys in the upper categories race and copy them. In the beginner classes many riders will use the tires that came with the bike and not a condition specific tire.
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Old 09-16-10, 06:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Brightwork View Post
Is it just me or do the Raze not come in a 32 - or anything other than 35? The Grifo looks like the same kind of tread as the Typhoon, but half the price. I like that!
I recently measured the width of my 700x35 raze tires, they measured 32mm wide when mounted on somewhat narrow rims.
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Old 09-16-10, 07:29 PM   #9
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I disagree with the recommendation of the Maxxis Raze. In my experience, it doesn't work well with lower pressures because it's likely to roll or "burp" off the bead in hard turns. It also hasn't worked particularly well for me in wet grass or mud.

I like the Michelin Mud 2 much better for all conditions. It has much better traction in wet grass and mud, and it feels much less squirmy on hardpack and pavement. Mine have incredibly tight beads, but so far they've handled lower pressures than the Maxxis Raze did, and they haven't burped off the rims. I tried the Mud 2 after reading the Velonews review here: http://velonews.competitor.com/2009/...choices_101423

I don't have any experience with tubulars yet, but the Challenge Fango is popular around here for most conditions including dry and wet grass, mud, and sand.
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Old 09-17-10, 07:46 AM   #10
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I've been using the Raze for a couple of weeks, the first race I did was alot of single track and gravel/wet tarmac and they were great on this nice and fast. Last weeks race had a grass field section that I should have lowered the pressure for but otherwise they were great. If it keeps raining until Sunday I'm putting the WTB crosswolfs back on. I'm 162 and run about 45psi.

So basically backing the get a couple of sets if possible. By the way both sets of tires I have came by way of the community bike shop and I think I paid maybe $30 for all 4.
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Old 09-17-10, 10:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by pretzelface View Post
I'm not convinced there's any such thing as a good "all-around" tire - it's always a trade-off. If you're really only going to buy one set of tires, I'd go with a fatter tire and a more aggressive tread, like a Hutchinson Bulldog. It'll slow you down some on faster surfaces in dry conditions, but not as much as a smoother tire will in muddy conditions.
I'm running Bulldog's right now, and I'm surprised at how much it _isn't_ slowing me down on hardpack or asphalt. The knobs seem to be spaced so that they maintain a smooth contact with the road. There's really no 'knobby' sound on the road and it feels smooth. On wet grass it has really good grip. In sand / dirt it's reasonable. I haven't gotten it muddy, yet. I probably won't have the opportunity.
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