Mudsters of the Universe is a Brisbane based blog aimed
at raising Cyclocross interest in South East Queensland

Monday, March 28, 2011

Which Tyre to Choose?

When you start looking at tyres for your cross bike you soon notice that every manufacturer has a choice of mounting options, tread and sizes. When you add them all up you get about a kazillion different cyclocross tyre options. What do all the options mean and which is the best tyre for you?

Mounting Options

There are really only two mounting options tubular and clincher. Tubulars glue onto the rim surface and are lightweight, strong and can be run at lower pressures (10-15 psi) without risk of pinch flats. Tubulars also take longer to mount to a rim because of the gluing/curing process and they are more expensive. Just about every pro level racer will be using tubulars.

Clinchers on the other hand have the exact opposite pros/cons. They are heavier then tubulars and must be run at higher pressures (40-45 psi). However, flats are quick to change and they are cheaper then tubulars. Clinchers will be your choice for training or if you are beginning in the sport.

Tread Types

Lets break tread types down into 3 categories; all round, file tread and mud.

There are lots of choices for all round tyres, they will perform well on grass, loose dirt and mud. These tyres have wide spaced knobs to allow mud and dirt to fall off while still giving good grip. If you can only afford one set of tyres this will be them. Some examples are Continental Speed King Cross and Vittoria Cross XG Pro.

File tread work well on hard packed courses, but can also be useful as a front tyre in the mud because they 'cut' through the mud. Some examples are Continental Cyclocross Speed and Vittoria Cross XN Pro.

Finally there are mud tyres and they work best on muddy courses - der. The best of these would be the Michelin Mud 2.

Tyre Size

The majority of cross tyres will be between 28-35mm. The narrower tyres are suited to muddy conditions because they move through the mud, not over it. 32-34mm seems to be the sweet spot for all other racing. The wider the tyre the lower the tyre pressure you should be able to run. But to get the wider tyres on you will have to make sure you have the enough frame clearance. Some manufactures might not offer exactly the width you are after, but there's when you might have to muck around with tyre pressure to get the ride you like.

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