Buyers Guide: Clincher Tires Oct29

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Buyers Guide: Clincher Tires

It’s cyclocross season, and that means that internet forums are all abuzz with people making up scientific reasons why the tire they just bought is probably the best tire available. I’m sure there’s some actual science behind it all. The knobs and ridges and stuff. But fuck science. It’s never given us anything except a bunch of cures for things and numbers and verifiable facts. Which is why I’m going to explain how tires should be purchased: pictures of them on the internet.

Road Race Tires

These all look the same, so picking one is kind of pain in the ass. If the tire is super expensive and wears out quickly, it’s a good race tire. If I tire is super expensive and doesn’t wear out as quickly, it’s an “all season” race tire. If a tire is inexpensive, it’s crap. Because good things have to be expensive. Also, the better the tire the bigger the text. If your tire has a 12 point font, it sucks and it’s making you slow. Better tires are ridden by faster riders, so the font has to be huge so people can still read it when they fly by. Also, the tire needs to come in brightly colored sidewalls to be good. Unless it comes in too many colors, and then it’s just for kids on fixed gears.

Editors Choice: Schwalbe Ultremo R.1 Clincher Road Tire
I’ve never ridden these. But my gut says they’re $70 each, they have giant words with an extreme name, and they come in pink. So they win.

Cyclocross Tires

If a tire is often out of stock and comes from Europe, it probably the best tire you can buy. If any part of a tire is “hand… something”, it’s also probably the best tire you can buy, because it’s an “artisinal” tire.

If you buy a tire with arrows or chevrons in the tread, they should point forward, because otherwise it looks like your tire wants to go backwards and no one wants to look down and see a tire that want to go backwards.

Michelin Cyclocross Mud 2: This tire looks really bumpy, so it’s probably good. Also, if a tire has “mud” in the name, it means that the company that makes it has enough money to make other tires that have names like “dry” and “rain” and “light snow” and “party cloudy with a slight chance of precipitation” in the name, and they know that you’ll probably buy each one and describe each one as the best tire for that particular condition. Because it’s right in the name.

Blue Michelin Cyclocross Mud: People sell these used on ebay for $100, so it’s the best. It reminds me of Disney’s VHS release of the Little Mermaid on VHS, and how they limited the release so it would be super rare, and people would end up fighting each other for copies in the electronics section of WalMart, pushing the prices up. Then they found a subtle drawing of a penis on the video cover and no one wanted it anymore, and everyone was decided that Aladdin was better anyway. Except people who like cartoon genitalia. Anyway, the blue Mud is still elusive because there are no penises on it. It’s like the Stratavarius of bike tires. Elusive like a unicorn. If you can find one, people will make fun of you for buying it. But you’ll be faster. Much faster. And you’ll corner better. And last longer in bed.

Continental Cyclocross Speed: These have almost no tread in the middle, so they are like secret road tires, because from the side everyone will think you’re riding cross tires, but they’re basically slicks. Apparently the tires that have “fast” or “speed” in the name just mean that the middle part is bald. You can do this to your own tires by riding them long distances without taking any turns.

IRD Crossfire: These look like waffles. God, I love waffles. If these tires came in a golden brown color, I would slather them in butter and nutella and eat a pair. The tires that just have a bunch of square knobs all over were created by a manufacturer with a boring designer. They should have put more pointy things or circles or something so that it looks like they at least thought about the science of dirt. They probably work just fine. Great even. But how are you supposed to brag to people about them? Tires need to be complicated, so we can talk about them.

Anyone that says that they cut their own knobs off on exicting tires to get better traction is obviously a faster racer than you are and they know more about knobs than you. Or the guy that designed the square ones. Also, it’s embarassing that someone would admit to that.

Editor Choice: Trick question. None of the above. Clinchers are for losers. But if I was forced to ride someone elses bike and that person had just been laid off and had to sell their sweet carbon tubulars and ride their shitty training wheels made of stupid, heavy material like aluminum or something, I’d probably go with something European on the front that I’d custom cut and the mythical blue Mud in the rear, because it sounds really complicated.