tubular tyres what the hell is going on


tubular tyres. what the hell is going on?

fmb grippo xlI got an email from Francois a week ago:

“Bonjour, FMB vous présente ses nouveautés 2009. Cordialement, Francois”.

Looks like FMB is releasing some new treads!


Wait a second. These are tread patterns that already exist on other tyres. I can’t keep it straight. But I know someone who can;

I met up with Donn from Challenge tyres this afternoon. The cyclocross is in full effect.

fmb griffo mediumAs he explains it: “I’m playing Switzerland (read: neutral party) in all this. We love Francois, he has been to our factory. We are selling him our treads for FMB use.”

“But Donn” I say, “why the hell would I buy a Challenge tyre from FMB?”

Hands in the air: “Hey, don’t look at me.”

One could argue that a handmade FMB coton casing is superior to a handmade Challenge cotton casing. “only by someone attuned to the subtle nuances of various tubulars and their properties” – why thank you Donn.

But, with that said, I did tell him: “the Fango? meh.”

“alright, I’ll get a little defensive about the Fango, I mean, I had a lot to do with the design process. It has won a lot of races! It is a great tire!”

“Fair enough Donn, fair enough. I’m not saying it sucks, I’m saying it does not give me enough performance over the traditional Grifo tread. Who needs killer cornering knobs when you are sliding through all your corners anyways?”

“Well, what can Challenge do then?”

“Design another badass tread design. A mud tread design! Something for the NW. Something for mud, not like a Racing Ralph, kinda like a Rhino but not quite like a TUFO.”

“fine.” he says. And, proceeds to show me photos so secret and so fresh on his laptop that he is also seeing them for the first time.

“boo yah.” I say. “convince Alex to keep those side lugs and you are in business.”

I also got a call from TIRE ALERT! yesterday looking for a source for 700×30 latex inner tubes. He can’t find a source for them. And, I can’t seem to find a supply of them either.

I had Francois build up and send me some last year for my own stock to send along to TIRE ALERT! when I had FMB and Dugast repairs that needed latex tubes as TIRE ALERT! was not putting latex back in my fancy cx repairs.

How many times can I write TIRE ALERT! in one paragraph?

There you have it. I’m not even going to touch on Vittoria, Continental, Geax or others. I like the traditional, the time tested and race proven. I’ve seen some dope tread designs out there but, I’m convinced that any Euro on any day of the week can win a muddy US cross race on file treads and 15 psi. So, at a certain point tread design it is not the issue eh? We just need to be riding faster and handling our machines better.


8 comments for “tubular tyres. what the hell is going on?”

  1. Do you re-glue on old base tape or do you have TIRE ALERT! put on new tape (if time isn’t an issue)?

    Posted by Toob Noob | May 30, 2009, 7:11 am

  2. Molly, need some latex cross inner tubes…maybe I know a source…we are gearing up that part of our production for this season.

    Rock on!


    Posted by donn, call me swiss, kellogg | May 30, 2009, 12:33 pm

  3. I hear you about the tread design thing. I mean, it’s cool and I checking out all the new stuff and having options, but at some point you wonder “is making this knob shaped like that instead of this going to make any difference in wet soft carpety grass?” I haven’t been near a BMX track in years, but the Tioga comp three was the only real tire to run for at least two decades. I think the basic grifo type tread is CX’s comp three.

    Posted by Jason | May 30, 2009, 12:39 pm

  4. Donn is truly the man. I’m stoked to see what he comes up with!

    Posted by Tim | May 31, 2009, 9:25 pm

  5. I’ll have TIRE ALERT! replace the base tape on my tubulars.

    Affordable and quick.

    Posted by Molly | June 1, 2009, 7:58 am

  6. “riding faster and handling our machines better”


    Posted by miguelaron | June 1, 2009, 2:44 pm

  7. I saw you fall down go boom on file treads once.

    Posted by TIRE ALERT | June 2, 2009, 7:17 pm

  8. I like to make breaking ribs a season goal.

    Posted by Molly | June 2, 2009, 8:39 pm

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