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I am starting as a beginner racer, 6'0", 175lbs on Iron Cross rims and SSCX bike. Looking at the Bay Area series (prestige etc.) and Sacramento stuff. I did order a pair of Mud 2s so far but feel I should get a file tread and one or two alternatives. Also wondering if I should get some Latex tubes just-in-case...



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hi mike,

i race BASP, NorcalCX, CCCX and Surf City.  I've been very happy with my specialized captain controls.  Most of the mud i've encountered around here has been of the light variety.  only the santa cruz county fairgrounds in watsonville is where i've seen mud actually pack up a tire. 

another great tire for the area is the clement PDX.  it's a mud tire by design but also great as an all arounder.  it's probably the most voluminous 33mm tire i've seen too.  supple casing and sticky rubber.  Can be run tubeless by some reports. 

i'm hoping to avoid buying another set of tires, but if hutchinson ever releases their 34mm Toro tubeless, i'll probably get a set of those. 


I know those Captains are hard to find but did track down a pair of 2Bliss CX - hope that is the same thing if so I'll get them since I heard they work very well with Stans rims. PDX seem readily available thank goodness. Also found The Raven locally too.

Do people normally run the PDX with a latex tube if not doing tubeless?

i don't think you'll need a file tread honestly.  those are great for grassy courses but most of the courses around here (haven't raced Sac) are super loose, rocky, sandy, dust on crust type of courses

the captns could be the one tire you race all season.  other options out there...vitorria 2br XG pro.

can't comment on latex tubes.  i always ran regular tubes when i raced PDXs last season.  I use them for training tires now w/ tubes.

check out the Vittoria XG TNT

I heard the XG TNT is pretty tight on Stans rims though. Maybe the XG Pro or XG Pro 2 (which I think are not tubeless) actually fit better (read: easier and less chance of damaging) as well? I saw a pair of each of these in Mt Tam Bikes yesterday. Looked like nice tires.

I've run the XG TNT on Stan's Alpha 340 rims and they are not tight. In fact, I'd describe them as easy to mount on those rims. They are very nice all-around tires for NorCal courses. I've run them as low as 25 PSI front (I'm 6'0/160). 

The othe contributors have offered excellent recommendations! I will only chime in about latex tubes, as I've never had a good long term experience with latex tubes even in the road. They feel great and are lighter, but in 'cross they pinch flat more easily primarily because they're thinner, though also maybe because they're more flexible so they bottom out more easily for a given pressure. I'm not heavy (155#) and that's been my experience. There's no reason you should need tubes with the set ups that have been out lined here! (Except if you cut your tire during warm up :( )

tubeless for norcal? Specialized Captain has a bit more volume than the Mud2, but the tread isn't all that different. The Captain and Mud2 should cut it for most races. The PDX is marginal on tubeless, you can also try Kenda's 35c version, or get your hands on the older XG, but maybe that's not that much bigger. Stan's own tire is close enough to a file tread and high volume. Good luck.

hey c-note, given Cyclocross Magazine's CXM Labs pinch flat tests in an old issue, latex tubes doo actually resist pinches better than a standard butyl tube of the same width.  FWIW.

If you are going tubeless I highly suggest using tubeless rated tires.  I am running the Kenda Slant Six SCT (sealant compatible tire) and have gone as low as 20psi (145lbs rider), though they did get a little squirmy that low.  No burps and holds air pressure for over a week.  Kenda makes a few SCT cyclocross treads.

So mounted one of each of the tires I have in the pic. I ordered a pair Captain CX 2BR as well. 

The raven (35c) is 1mm less wide than the Mud 2 (30c) but as you can see the tread stops further in from the edge with the Mud 2. Guessing volume is close. 

Had a fun time mounting the Raven though. I have a 60Gal compressor and still had to resort to first using a tube to seat one side @ 60psi. Then each time it would deflate one bead or both would pop off. Start again! Mud 2s popped up a treat.

Might look at the Vittoria TNT if I can find one.


Heard back from Specialized. They are no longer making the Captain CX tires. 

damn!  really?


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