Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Box-o-Goodness: Part III

Last time we spoke of the Clement tires here, I was focused mainly on the MSO model, which is a 40mm tire. You can catch up with that here. This time I will focus a bit on the X'Plor USH  .

I decided to switch my "rat-ride" Raleigh Grand Prix from fixed to free by way of using the Sante' wheel set I first used on my BMC Monstercross bike. The X'Plor USH tires list out at 35mm wide and the old school frame geometry and steel construction allowed me to mount these with a bit of room at the chain stays to spare. Mounted on the narrow road rims, these tires measured out at 33.2mm at 50psi.

I'm sure one could eek out the listed 35mm width on some proper, wider gravel road worthy rims, but this width on these rims does make these tires cyclo-cross legal, as long as no one goes by the Clement hot patch!

The X'Plor USH  features what Clement calls a "file tread" pattern. Well, if those things on each side of this tire are "file tread" patterns then they must be talking about a bastard file! More like spiky pyramid shapes, I would say.

The center section is raised and features a smoother, chevron negative tread pattern which at 50 psi, you are rolling only on this section of the tire on paved roads. The casing feels fairly stiff on these, and that is probably due to the puncture protection belt in the casing.

The tires roll reasonably fast on pavement, and hold up to abuse well. Grass and smooth dirt are no problem at all, but don't expect the same, floaty feelings you get with a tubular or even with the MSO Clement tire. I haven't made it out to the gravel roads yet on these tires, but from a commuter/urban standpoint, these seem like winners.

I have run over a fair bit of busted up glass with no issues to report. The overall feel is better than some commuter tires but you do give up a bit of that smoother feel over some straight up hybrid tires that do not feature as much tread or the flat protection.

But, with the word "X'Plor" in the tire's name, we maybe shouldn't be comparing it to supple tires with an ultra-smooth feel. As an adventure tire on, say a touring bike, I could see how these would be much appreciated. Loaded down these tires would no doubt feel a bit smoother than they do with just me on board.

I will continue to ride these tires and some gravel will be on the menu soon. I suspect that smoother sections will prove to be this tire's forte'. The narrow, crowned profile, at least on these rims, seems to me to be a recipe for bouncing around, but I'll give them a whirl anyway.

A Word On This Raleigh: This one is a '73 vintage and made in England, of course. The cranks, pedals, brakes, head set, bottom bracket, brake levers, and seat post are all original to this rig. The saddle, wheels/tires, stem, and Origin 8 Gary Bars, (version 1), are the only deviations from stock, along with the removal of all "shifty bits". The chain runs off the 39T sprocket to an 18T rear cog. Of note here is the fact that the Sante' hubs have the original style Shimano cassette hub body with a threaded on final cog, which I used as a lock ring to secure the spacers and drive cog. I haven't tried the big ring and lock ring, but it may be that I actually have a "dingle" here. However; I am quite unlikely to try that, as the 53 X 12 would be too tall for anything but time trialing!

Note: Clement sent these tires for evaluation and review at no charge. I am not being bribed, nor paid to give my opinions and thoughts on these tires. I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout this evaluation.


Ari said...

Does that bike have the "new" endurance geometry

Guitar Ted said...

@ari: Yeah....no kidding. I just need to un-hinge the seat tube and voila!

Ari said...

What a load of cow dung all this marketing thing does. I very much enjoyed Mike Varley's take on the whole endurance thing. My best riding bike is a full 531 reynolds Peugeot from the 70's

tcxjon said...

any idea when you can buy these tires?

Guitar Ted said...

@ari: I find it humorous that at one point the saddle to BB relationship was sacrosanct, but now with this seat mast/tube doing the fore-aft bendy thing, no one seems to be concerned. I mean, I've seen the video and the saddle is moving back and forth noticeably. (Not that it bugs me, I'm just pointing out that this seemed to be a no-no at one time.)

Seems like the old ideas just get re-packaged and slapped with some new materials technologies. Allsop beam bikes anyone?

@tcxjon: The MSO I've no idea on, the USH should be any day now.

Ben Bolin said...

QBP shows that they will have the USH in stock on 4/27. Today!

Thinking about giving these a go for the DK.