Cyclocross races are run on courses of all kinds. A sure way to get a one-up on your competitors is by having the right treads for the course and conditions. While you may make your tire selection based on the courses you’re racing don’t kid yourself and think you’ll only be running them on race day. Consider the training routes you take and ‘cross rides you do the rest of the season to make the right tire selection.
Kenda Kommando X Pro
The Kenda Kommando X Pro will let you attack two types of terrain. Orient the tread one way if you face hard surfaces, and even those with a bit loose gravel. For wet conditions, switch the tread direction. The casing is 120 t.p.i, giving the tire a good amount of flexibility to help with grip. The Kommando also has traction help from a softer rubber compound on the edges of the tread, while in the centre, a harder, more durable compound ensures the tire rolls well and lasts. The Kommando’s defence against punctures? It’s called the Iron Cloak, which lies under the rubber.
Maxxis Speed Terrane
Geoff Kabush had a hand in designing the Speed Terrane’s pattern, Maxxis’s take on a file-tread tire for fast ’cross courses. “A lot of North American CX is dry and fast, a.k.a. summer ’cross, and this is where a tire like the Speed Terrane is really great,” Kabush says. “It has great straight-line speed, but the good cornering knobs give it a much bigger bandwidth, so I can use it in a lot more circumstances.” When Kabush first tested the Speed Terrane at the West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix in 2016, he won. A Canadian Cycling Magazine staff member, on his first race on the Maxxis tires, won a cookie. These tires seem to bring victories of all kinds.
The Continental CycloXKing, in its 35c incarnation, is great for your gravel rides on which traction is a premium. It also performs well in non-UCi ’cross races with no one checking tire width. The three-ply casing with
84 t.p.i. offers a lot of durability. The tire is designed mostly for hardpack, but rides fairly well in the wet stuff. (For the real muck, go for the Mountain King CX.) If you need your treads to be UCi legal, the CycloXKing also comes in a 32c version, which has a higher thread count and uses Continental’s highperformance BlackChili compound.
Schwalbe X-One Speed
Schwalbe’s X-One Speed rounds out the company’s performance cyclocross tire lineup. The Speed, released in August, draws upon the circular and oval knob shapes of the One Allround, but in a tighter pattern. The X-One Speed also features long, siped oval knobs that keep things rolling fast, while providing good traction. Its side knobs give you solid grip in the corners. This tread is great for quick, dry courses. When the race commissaire checks the width of the these 33c tires, you should be good. Schwalbe says the X-One Speed will work well on rims with internal widths ranging from 17c to 23c.
IRC Serac CX Sand
If you want a tire for a sandy course, put a pair of irC Serac CX Sand on your rims. Each tire’s tread features a regular pattern of closely packed diamond knobs made to give you traction at your local Koksijde. The 32c tire has a claimed weight of 260 g. This premium tread comes at a premium price, however. You can run it tubeless. Whether you go tubed or tubeless, do use irC’s tubeless tire levers when you mount the Serac CX Sand tires.