When it comes to cyclocross, your tires are the most important component of the entire bicycle. Traction, suspension and overall handling confidence come from the relatively narrow patch of rubber and casing. So which tire should you choose?
Here we look at the latest offerings from 10 tire brands, and cyclocross tire expert Stu Thorne of Cyclocrossworld.com shares his advice on what you should do, including the most important facet of your set-up: tire pressure.
First, you have two categories of tires. Clinchers allow for relatively inexpensive flat repairs as they use tubes, but tubulars provide a much more supple ride as the glued-on tires can be run at very low pressure. Each requires its own type of wheel, and virtually all cyclocross bikes are sold with clinchers.
A select few companies also offer tubeless cyclocross tires, where a tire similar to a clincher is used with sealant. More on that below.
Next, you have tread pattern choices. Most tire brands offer variations on three types of treads: fast, all-condition, and mud. While some hardcore enthusiasts will swear you need a set of each to match the given conditions – not to mention wheelsets to mount them on – some riders just go with one. In this instance, Thorne recommends that you go with a tire that performs well in the mud.