Here's the follow up to the last post about clinchers. I promise it won't be so long winded. (Not true. I had my fingers crossed!) If you want to know what I like (long walks on the beach, curling up with a good book, fine dining, blah blah blah) or where I race (in front of you, unless I happen to be lapping you), then you'll need to look back at the last entry. The only time Blanco Suave repeats himself is when I decide someone is worthy of two roundouse kicks to the head, Tonkin-ator style.
This here ree-view is about the sublime world of tubulars and all the glue huffing goodness that goes with them. I don't know if the fumes make you long for Belgian ale and frites, or the other way around, but the tires really are the bees knees. I know lots of racers who try all sorts of way around running them , from the voodoo tubeless conversions, to Stans's, to waiting with baited breath that Hutchinson and Shimano's joint tubeless venture will be the answer. Some are even foolheaded enough to keep on running the Tufo red headed bastard child tubular clincher abomination. To this, Blanco Suave says, please continue and thank you. It's a fact that even a bad tubular is faster in most conditions than a good clincher, and as a user of great tubulars, I encourage everyone else to continue running clinchers. The only reason to run clinchers is if you are on a budget. It's way cheaper to throw another tube in and get back up and running for $4 and 10 minutes than it is to spend another fumigated night out in the garage peeling and regluing another $100 tire. Or if you only have one bike and one set of wheels, then clinchers make perfect sense. You can commute during the week and race on the weeknd. But as we all know, if you are racing cross, budgets are something only to be looked at after you've spent the rent money on another set of obscure French silk sew ups; because the casing had a special strip under the tread that your other 6 pair didn't, and that would make them that much more perfect for one 45 minute race you do in those conditions, and if you are going to spend all that money on one set, then don't you need another set for your pit bike as well? See where this leads?
Any-whooo. here's the shizzy. Feel free to disagree with me, but then as you can see by the slick commercialism of this site, I obviously get paid a ton of moulah to spout off, so I must be right. Oh yeah, feel free to pay me tons of moulah to spout off.
It's the red ones, but the yellow are just as bad. The two redeeming factors they have are that they are available in something bigger than a 30 and are reported to be pretty good in the thorny and rocky areas of the country. I think the two things they have going for them is they are they are cheap on the interweb and, well, they are cheap on the interweb. They have almost no side knobs to speak of, and the transition knobs point stright out to completely open areas on the casing. Actually the other thing they have going is the base tape. Since Tufo doesn't sew a tube in the casing, but vulcanizes it, the base tape is nice and flat and makes gluing all the way to the edges a breeze. Good luck fixing a flattened Tufo. There is no tube to patch back up . (Not that you would, but there are businesses that charge way too little to do this for you!) Most Tufo riders wind up dumping about a gallon of the Tufo sealant into the tires, hoping to get them ridable again. The upside to this is they become heavier than your commutron wheels and you do get some kick ass training in. I say save the gooped Tufos for race day! (Again, better for me. Follow along.)
Vittoria Cross Evo XG
Cool shiny silver euro goodness offset by not the most supple casing and a base tape that likes to seperate from the casing. These are pretty decent if you are on a budget and live in a pretty rocky and rough area. They also clear mud pretty well and have okay side knobs. Beware that the casing is a little tough (again, good for the rocks, lead butt) and that the 32 is tiny where as the 34 is nice and big. My first set didn't have the straightest casing and wouldn't roll through my buddy's chainstays. I would recommend these to someone who wants to try out tubulars, but is scared of what to do if they flat. (But buy them on sale.)
Here's the first real step towards buying uber expensive tubbies. The first time you buy a set, they will be your special race tires, because he casing feels so much more supple than anything you've tried so far. You'll also pick up an unhealthy obsession over the accuracy of the gauge on your pump, wished it read in BAR in easily readable fine increments, and you'll buy a stand alone pressure gauge. It's really the first big leap into Euro snobbery and single ring coversions using sandwich gaurds and not some chain keeper thingy. The first generation used the same tread glued onto all the diffeent sized casings and was originally made in 30c only. In fact it was called the Largo when the factory was Clement and not Challenge. The Grifo was the pinner 26c tire for all the old school hard men. Any-hoo, when they applied the tread to the larger sizes it was a bit under sized in relation to the casing. It worked okay in 32, but a 34 had it's knobs seemingly just on the top of the tire. You's still get pretty good traction if you ran the pressures low enough. The new ones have an extra row of knobs on the side and they rock. It's a tire that makes you feel a gear faster on bumpy and power sucking grass.
All the euro pros run these. They'll make you buy a digital pressure gauge and talk a buddy into "pitting" for you. You'll pit bikes every other lap if it's at all moist, let alone muddy. Just so you can show off to the crowd and to give the official something to pay attentin to. The new tread simply rocks. It's the first tread that matches (or comes closer than any tread ever has) the quality and ability of the casing to provide traction.
I haven't tried the classic Typhoon yet beacause my wife found and confiscated the Blanco Suave's Visa card. She said something about feeding babies and then I zoned out thinking about Duvel beer and frites. (MMMMMM,frites.) Damnit Woman! Doesn't she know that I need a set of Duggies for faster, dryer courses and somehow my two set of Challenges won't quite cut if for mid pack domination??
Any-hoo, these are the big dogs on the block when it comes to performance. Sven Nys's personal mechanic is the owner of the company. He bought it from a French hobbitt who learned his craft from God. Be prepared to be amazed at the lovely suppleness of the casing. If you don't know who Sven Nys is, then you'll never appreciate a Dugast tire and you should just go ahead and run Kenda Knarly's on your flat bar Redline. Remember to pick a color that matches your baggy shorts and the bottle cage you refuse to take off, you troglodyte!
P.S. Your blinky tail light fell off at the last set of barriers when you decided to carry your bike in one hand like you were going to throw a javelin.
Next up on the docket for blogification: Gluing and how your wrong and I'm right.