Cross is here!
Cyclocross season is here, and the means a lot of mental energy thinking about tires! Let’s try an hit the high points of all things tires.
Types of Tires
These days, we have 3 category of tires to choose from: clincher, tubeless, and tubular. Tubeless used to be a houseboat (bad house, bad boat), but these days are much easier to set up and ride very well. Tubular give you the best ride, save some weight, and great flat protection but can be more labor intensive to set up. Clincher are OK to train, but have less of a place for racing.
Types of Treads
In broad terms, there are three types of treads to pick from: dry (aka file treads), intermediate (or mix), and mud. From there, there are some sub-options as well (deep mud, for example). Most people should steer away from file treads. The trade off of faster rolling really doesn't help when you are losing time sliding in corners. Most people want a set of tires in the mix area as well as a set of mud.
Tubeless has come a long way, both in the rims and the tires. These days, for most racers, tubeless is perfectly good and a great way to get benefits of all categories without some of the hassle of tubular tires.
Tubular are still the preferred choice for top level. Tires like FMB are a noticeable difference in ride and grip. Check out cxisboss.com for a great selection of these top tier tires.
If you have only one tire set you can use, a mud tire that rolls well is really the best way to go. You will never be without grip, and the extra traction in dry conditions will hardly hurt you. The Donnelly PDX is a great choice. Now in a nice tubeless, this is a versatile setup. The FMB Super Mud is also a great choice for tubulars.