Saturday, 15 August 2009
Testing tyres in many ways is one of the easier things you can test. Take off the old ones, discard old tubes (if you are being really good), fit new ones inflate and ride. Damn sounds really easy. The hard bit comes in trying to find different types of surfaces to try them on and in varied weather conditions. Over the period of the test neither have been a problem.
Okay to the first ride. This also happened to be my last epic ride in Hertfordshire so it has clear and fond memories. I left the house early, the weather was gently simmering away, not hot but at the same time not cold, ideal conditions in my books. Not bothering with knee warmers I ensured the legs had some embrocation on them, just in case. Jacket stuffed into the back pocket I was off.
Ten kilometres into the ride I had to stop, bollocks I thought I have a puncture. Getting off the bike and giving the tyre a knowing squeeze I was surprised to find that the tyre was solid. Great I thought, but I thought wow this tyre is supple. Concerned I may be too heavy (this tyre is very light at 210g) for it I was conscious of the road terrain so not to tempt fate.
The ride turned out to be an epic 100km one, which hadn't been planned but just ended up being a great first ride test. I had encountered the rough lanes of Herts plus some unplanned off road section of around 3km. So that was the varied terrain covered. Weather wise as I have already mentioned was a nice Spring day, warm at 16 degrees but towards the last 25km it started to rain. It was the nice warm rain that is surprisingly refreshing to tired legs.
Onto the performance. As I mentioned above this tyre is very supple. I think that this is the closest I have ridden to a tubular performance on a clincher. If you wanted to go for the ultimate experience you could try fitting a latex tube as this would narrow the gap. Dry weather performance is awesome with the herringbone and file treads combined with the tyre's compound offering bags of grip. Rolling resistance, or the lack of it, is awesome even at 120-130 psi. I put this down to one thing the 320tpi casing of the tyre, which although is only 30tpi higher than the original has transformed a great tyre into a "must have' one.
I have ridden these tyres in rides where it has started off dry and ended up being wet and greasy, Unlike some top end tyres that require some adjustment to your riding style once the conditions turn the Open CX just kept on offering bags of grip time and time again. Railing around corners in the wet or dry was awesome and never once did I have one of those moments when you think 'oh shit'.
I have ridden around a 1000km on this tyre on a multitude of roads and two different countries and I have to say that this is a 5 star tyre, truly is a real performance enhancer for your bike. In the test period I never suffered a single puncture and small cuts are to a minimum, which considering the price is welcome as it enables you to buy with confidence. Some of this has to be down to the 320tpi casing and the new PRB 2.0 Aramidic protective belt, it's light and it works better than the previous version.
Now the big question Would I Ride it at Flanders (WIRIAF), that would be a resounding yes, especially as they have a 25mm tyre which would offer more comfort and grip over the cobbles. I'll be buying some more once these wear out, I'd advise you to do the same they are brilliant.