Friday, October 23, 2015

Choosing A Cyclo-Cross Tire

Get A Grip

Thanks to QBP for the research to give you some solid information on tire selection for Cyclo-Cross racing:

“What Cyclocross Tires Are You Running Today?”

It’s one of the most commonly heard questions at every cyclocross race, and for good reason. Few things can affect the outcome of a cross race more than tire choice. If two riders on a muddy course are equally matched in their abilities, but one has file treads and the other has mud tires, it’s pretty easy to predict who the victor will be. 
For the most part, cyclocross tires can be grouped into three categories: file tread, mud, and all-condition.
File Tread (Probably too late in our season for this tire choice)
File treads are the perfect choice for a dry course with a lot of grass and dirt. File treads have a series of tight and extremely short knobs down the center of the tire. (Think about the metal file you have in the shop and you’ll get the idea.) Many file treads, like the Clement LAS, feature shoulder knobs to give the rider a little extra traction while cornering. Since file treads are so condition-specific, and not a great choice for muddy courses, they may not be ideal for riders who have to choose one set of tires to ride all season. If riders have a second set of wheels or plan to switch out tires based on course conditions however, having file treads on hand is a great way to ensure that all of their bases are covered. 

Mud (A very good choice this time of the year)

Cyclocross and mud go together like peanut butter and jelly—and as it happens, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re riding through peanut butter on many cross courses. For those conditions, a mud-specific tire is crucial to be able to even finish the race, much less have a chance at a podium spot. Mud tires feature very aggressive knobs along both the center tread and the shoulder of the tire. It’s not just the size of the knobs that make them great in the mud, but also how widely spaced they are and how they’re angled. The combination of these three things gives mud-specific tires superior mud-shedding abilities. While the Challenge Baby Limus and the Clement PDX are the two most commonly seen mud shedders, other models like the Schwalbe Rocket Ron and the Maxxis Mud Wrestler are also superb at throwing muck to the wind.


With treads that aren’t quite as minimalistic as a file tread and not as aggressive as a mud tire, all-condition tires are the perfect choice for someone who is looking for one tire to ride all season. All-condition tires feature a center tread of knobs that are spaced similarly to a mud tire but aren’t as tall, so as to minimize the amount of rolling resistance on grass, pavement, and packed dirt. Larger and more spaced-out knobs line the shoulder of the tire to aid in cornering and provide a bit of mud shedding. Look to the Challenge Grifo, the Continental Cyclo XKing, the Schwalbe Racing Ralph, and the Vredestein Black Panther for an all-around tire that will do the trick on just about any cyclocross course.
There are other tires that don’t quite fit into into any of the above categories but are still great options in the right conditions. The Surly Knard tread, for example, while not technically a file tread carries all the same advantages as a file tread with slightly larger footprint.
For more information on any of the above tires stop by the shop today or tomorrow from 10-6.
Want a great way to test out your bike?  Purchase the bike and sign up for a slot of our Indoor Training Series.

Indoor Training Series is on right now.  Information HERE!
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