2007/08/17

Time for new rubbers



I like to have different tires, some fast and light ones most of the time but some mean meaty destroyers sometimes too. The big bad boys I use are the excellent Barracuda 2.3 MRC Medium UST from Hutchinson. Thanks to their thread design (see the above picture) and the medium grippy counpound, they grip everywhere, on everything, never slip whether your on rocks, roots, mud, dirt, you name it. They have some of the most aggressive cornering blocks to rail turns. They also have a strong indestructible casing. A tire to use when the trail is rough, nasty, hardcore and preferably, going down. All that grip and size makes for heavy and slow tires. They are almost 1kg each! The big tall knobs make them slow rollers too so if you want to whip yourself into shape, good choice. Since I'm more into cross-country and trail riding (even after that will you believe?), I'm not using them too often, especially the rear one.

My speedos used to be by Hutchinson again. The french tire company makes excellent tires, they pretty much invented tubeless with Mavic and were the first to release Road Tubeless. I was using the Bulldog Tubeless Light 2.1. At 665 grams, they were light and fast but still had decent knobs for those days where you need to deal with mud, not too much but they had acceptable performance in most situation, excelled in others. Cornering is okay but don't lean too far, the side knobs don't go too far down the sidewalls. Since Hutchinson Tubeless Light casings are on the thin side, I always used them with Stan's latex to prevent punctures. I may be lucky or the stuff works, I never had a flat with them. Well, now that I think of it, I never had a flat since I started using tubeless tires a few years ago. Now those tires are pretty much dead, all cracked and eaten by the nasty chemicals in the Stan's liquid, knobs worn out and all torn off. Time for new fast tires, especially after trying my friend's Scalpel with the fast and light Pythons...



I decided to try tires from Maxxis to make a change. While the new Monorails that were designed for Cannondale look fast, they are not yet available so my choice stopped on the CrossMark UST. Reasonably light, fast rolling, good cornering knobs, Swiss flags and puncture protection built-in. They have what Maxxis calls LUST (Lightweight Ultimate Sidewall Technology) which is a layer of magical stuff in the sidewall that apparently gives better air retention, puncture resistence and lighter weight. Well, time will tell if it's true or not, I'm slapping those, front and rear, without Stan's goo. I'm tired of that messy stuff.

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