for racing, tubulars despite the mess. but there's no way I'll train with them. I haven't been able to afford the expensive ones (dugast, challenge, fmb) but the vittoria ones have been alright. A bit heavy but the wide ones are pretty wide!
for clinchers, mud2 of course for most courses, but the wtb tire is decent in the front. for some courses the semi-slick ritcheys (in wider format) are pretty good in the back - kinda of like the old michelin sprint tires.
i want to try tubeless.
the main goal is low pressure - you can go pretty low with clinchers, depending how you ride.
I dont really have a favorite tire, but I will say that manufacturers stated widths are BS. I have measured quite a few tires that were way off the mark in the way of width. I think there's a definite need to have a source of all actual widths for most of the tires out there. Perhaps an article for CX?
I've gotten pretty hooked on the FMB SSCs (32s) for muddy conditions and the FMB SSC Sprint (34s) for dry conditions. My pit wheels have the Vredestein Primiatos - which, speaking of widths, are a very, very narrow 30, and another set with Schwalbe CX Comp 35s. The Schwalbes are cheap, have good sidewall protection, and hook up great in corners. I'm with Tire Snob. The low pressures are the key and I used Vittorias for two years and was quite pleased with them.
Have raced Michey Mud2's for the last few years. Run 'em super low and never a flat (crossed fingers, knock on wood). And I'm not a daintly guy! 165! The trick is using a big fat tube! Usually run the back at 35 and the front 30, depending on conditions, but I can honestly say I've only been sorry with too much air not too little. Love 'em when I get that spongy-bouncey feel. On rare occasions I will put a Michey Jet on the rear if it a fast track with grass. In snowy conditions or real deep mud I'll put the Jet on the front and the Mud on the rear. This year I'm going tubular with Challenge Grifo's 32's and 34's, but I'll probably still use Muds when the going gets rotten.
Other tires I've tried 32 Vits: too small and slippy, nice fast tire, but twitchy, the round profile really dives you into turns and I'm not that good! Specialized Houfz 32s: for a lightweight this tire just seems to drag like a lazydog, I think the sidewall is weak and needs too much air to make it stand up and work. Not sure about this one. Have tried all sorts of pressures and nothing feels right yet. At that low weight you'd think it would rock! Vedestrein Campo (28) and Preimato (30): way too narrow, not enough volume to run the right pressure, but nice rubber - maybe the 34? Panaracer Cross Blaster: people like these, light fast, but no feel and too hard for me. Ritchey Speedmax: nice tire, flings mud great, and durable, good road tire, leaves something to be desired on grass, not great feel, but okay. Old Specialized Tri-Cross, a great tire for rough conditions, but just a little too heavy. Vittoria Green Tigre and Master Cross ... for a sparse tread they held onto every piece of dirt and mud they rolled over. Heavy tires. Make my legs burn just thinking about them now. Had run some of the old Continental Twisters: nice tire, just too much tread sticking out everywhere.
I'll be interested to see the tire width test report. My guess is the Michey Muds and Jets are 34s.
I've been using stan's tubeless for the past two years, including the 355 29er rims with only the yellow tape. The wide rim gives the tire a nice profile, but the rim is not that protected with CX tires on. Certain tires work really well: Panaracer in particular. At 150# I am racing with 25 psi f and r; 28f, 30r for trail riding to help avoid denting the rim on rocks. Mounting the tires is not too hard with a compressor, but requires some patience to seal up the bead sometimes.
On the trail, cuts seal up OK, but sometimes it takes a few minutes to get it to seal reliably-that is to not start leaking when you begin to roll again. If using just the yellow tape, bring a pump and an extra tube for longer rides away from home. CO2 fouls the sealant and sometimes you need to add more air and may run out of cartridge.
On the race course, I've not had any problems for that 45 min. race with the preceding hour of warm up on the course.
You can race on a flat tubie if its well glued, but not on a flat tubeless clincher. However, tubies are not as rock and branch resistent if the course is a bit urban.
Mud, Jet, Campo, Crossblaster, Excavader, Hutchinson Pro, Kenda Kwik, Racing Ralph, Tufo T-C have also been tried along the way, but not all as tubeless. Only the crossblaster, racing ralph, and excavader really.
I have tried: Michelin Mud (not the 2) - they were too delicate/I had no control/skills at the time. I destroyed 3 of these tires riding trails. Mainly sidewall damage that took them down, and one rusty nail.
Ritchey Speedmax - rode for mixed commuting: gravel, trail, asphalt. Good all around tire, greasy in loose turns, center tread pattern wore down quick (but expected for road use). Would not race on these.
Challenge Grifo - 07 first year riding tubular. these are really great all-arounders. i find it odd that i have two different tread patterns (one has the "extra" side knobs, the other does not). had one that just would not hold any air for more than 15 minutes, out of the package. post-season, I noticed the tread rubber itself has separated from one of the tires tire in a few spots (1-2mm sections, easily re-glued). seems like the price for these would be better around $75-80 per based on the inconsistencies noted above, but I really do like them when they are in use. i have the 34mm version. i have nothing to add about the description that has not already been stated by others on this forum.
I have no problem gluing tubies after racing on the track for a few years. For the grifos, I used tape method first go around (had a bad flat - no fix-up goo would help) and have decided against doing it again. Holds too well. It took 3 beers to get that tire off.
Panasonic Crossblaster - these are the only clinchers I still use. Held well in most conditions.