Hi, I'm looking for a dry-conditions, rear (clincher) race/pit/practice tire for use this year. I don't know whether many of the courses I'll be racing on in dry weather will feature soft dirt, sand, or tall grass, so I'd like to find something that is capable of handling a variety of terrain. I'd like to go with a tire with a larger contact patch, such as a 34 or 35 (listed). I've read (and re-read) Andrew's clincher reviews from several issues back, plus I've searched around on the 'Net a wee bit, too.
The Continental tires aren't yet available and it is unclear when they will be available. The Challenge tires both list a little smaller than the others; however, Challenge historically is one of the few manufacturers who lists tires as large as they actually are; hence, the Challenge 32s may really be larger than a few of the other options. The Grifo XS looks like a great option; however, the knobs that line either side of the tread are a bit small, which gives me pause. I'm really leaning towards the Mezcals. They're of reasonable size, versatile, and cost less than the Challenge models, but I'd like to get some other opinions about dry-condition rear clincher options before deciding.
I just snatched up one of the Mezcals that are seemingly always up for sale on EBay. I'm sure at some point in the next few seasons, I'll be using Grifos. Those tires are really hard to beat for most conditions. We're heading to Portland this autumn; hence, I expect many of the courses that are dry to feature at least some loose dirt or gravel.
I thought about the Ritchey Speedmax; however, they seem a bit small for what I'm looking for. I'm just not that into Kenda tires, although I have no good reason to not be. I used the XG tubulars for two seasons and loved them. I'd like to branch out and try something different.
That's too bad about Geax getting out of the 'cross tire business. They've been making a fair bit of headway with their 'TNT' mountain bike tires, and, with the tubeless options becoming more and more popular for 'cross, it seems like they could take advantage of that growing market.