Choosing the right tyre can be a real headache!
The choice of profiles is determined by certain criteria, which turn out to be very important in Cross-Country:
Tyre choice depends on the terrain and the conditions you will be riding in. The tyre profile will obviously be different according to the use you make of it.
Here are the features of an XC tyre profile:
• the centre lugs
• the side lugs
The centre lugs:
The centre lugs are very important in XC cycling. They provide grip, but above all traction, and have a big influence on the tyre’s performance.
The lugs are generally quite low to provide the least possible rolling resistance. According to the terrain, lug height will vary.
The space between the lugs is also smaller, to provide as much contact with the ground as possible.
The side lugs:
The side lugs are just as important as in the other MTB disciplines, providing grip in bends.
Some races confront riders with highly technical and tricky sections, and this is where the side lugs come into their own.
We will take a look at several different models according to the different terrains.
Let’s begin with a model dedicated to dry conditions, on hard and compact terrain, the Continental Race King.
The centre lugs on the Race King are in plentiful supply. There are two kinds of lugs:
• a low, wide, arrow-shaped lug (in green in the photo below) provides low rolling resistance. These lugs are very close to each other to ensure maximum contact with the ground, encouraging grip and traction
• double lugs (in red in the photo below) ensure good stability, as well as good mobility. These lugs also play a major role in braking since they guarantee braking power.
The side lugs:
There are also a large number of side lugs on the Race King, but they can be divided into two parts:
• a lug close to the tyre tread, providing good grip in fast bends (in red in the photo below)
• three lugs that are set very close together (in green in the photo below), that make up a block of side lugs, providing enough grip in tight angles.
The Schwalbe Racing Ralph is a tyre designed for mixed terrain (earth, stones, roots), in dry conditions.
There are two groups of centre lugs:
• a group of five grooved lugs (in green in the photo below): four small lugs provide good traction in pedalling sections and a larger lug at the centre gives the bike good stability in straight sections
• two grooved lugs (in red in the photo below), providing mobility and extra grip.
There are two kinds of side lugs:
• a wide, slightly tilted and grooved lug (in red in the photo), providing grip in bends, but also vital support, thanks to its width. It is slightly trimmed on the outside part to increase deflection and grip. The tilt results in a good attack on the terrain, giving the tyre a strong grip.
• a more slender, slightly tilted lug, which is also grooved (in green in the photo below): it provides better grip, because it is adapts to the terrain more easily.
The Hutchinson Toro is perfectly adapted to loose terrain in wet conditions.
The Toro has two kinds of quite similar centre lugs:
• two slightly tilted lugs with hollow centres (in green in the photo below): they provide good grip and good mobility
• three slightly tilted lugs with hollow centres, placed closer together (in red in the photo below): they provide a larger surface contact area, increasing grip, stability in straight sections and traction.
Two types of lugs can be found in the lateral block:
• a wide lug with a hollow centre (in red in the photo below), providing stability and grip in bends, due to adaptability produced by the hollow in the lug’s centre
• a more slender lug with a hollow centre (in green in the photo below), reinforcing grip in bends, since it is more slender and adapts better to the terrain
The Michelin Wild Mud is highly effective in muddy conditions.
The centre lugs are well spaced out so that the tyre clears mud more easily.
These lugs are made up of two parts: a wide base, and a more slender upper part, so that the tyre can get a deeper grip and traction in liquid mud.
The side block is made up of two kinds of lugs:
• a wide, « twisted » lug, set at the edge of the tyre, provides good grip in bends, while maintaining support. The lug’s wide base goes down deeper into the surface layer, is more rigid and increases stability in bends
• a more slender, « twisted » lug, set further inside the tyre profile, provides better grip since it improves the profile deflection
Here are a few major models:
• Continental X-King: a very versatile and effective tyre designed for mixed conditions. The lugs provide good performance, good grip and good traction.
• Hutchinson Python 2: its numerous low lugs make this a tyre with a very impressive performance. It has excellent grip and provides good mobility. It is designed for hard, compact terrain and dry conditions.
• Maxxis Ardent: with a versatile profile, the Ardent is very effective in mixed and loose terrain, mainly in dry conditions. The low centre lugs are good for rolling, but also provide mobility, while a pronounced side block provides maximum grip in cornering.
• Rubena Kratos: the Kratos has quite a pronounced profile with large lugs that are adapted to mixed, loose and stony terrain in wet or dry conditions. The side lugs provide good grip in bends, while good spacing between the lugs means mud can be cleared easily.
• Hutchinson Taipan: the most versatile model in the Hutchinson range, it is ideal in mixed, loose or muddy conditions. High side lugs provide good grip in bends, perfectly placed centre lugs are good for rolling, and there is enough space between the lugs to evacuate mud.
• Schwalbe Nobby Nic: versatility personified. Quite an aggressive profile, adapted to mixed and loose terrain. The side lugs give the tyre good grip in bends, while the centre lugs help preserve a highly acceptable rolling resistance.
• Vittoria Saguaro: designed for hard / compact to mixed terrain, it provides exceptional grip, thanks to a large number of lugs. The wide centre lugs set in staggered rows on either side of the rolling tread give it excellent mobility.
• Schwalbe Rocket Ron: ideal in mixed, loose and even muddy terrain. The profile provides very good mobility and good performance along with a good grip, evacuating mud quite easily.
Many models are available, and if you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us to find the right tyre for you!
Our team will be delighted to recommend the model to match exactly what you are looking for!
Enjoy your ride!
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