Most semi-serious serious cyclists you talk to will be gear-heads of some sort… I think we’re all guilty of a little gear lust. After all, who doesn’t want the crispness of the new SRAM XX components, or the bling of a Crank Brothers wheelset. But until I started racing with some level of regularity I didn’t realize that most of the gear talk surrounds only one component on the bike… The most discussed, the most contested, and arguably the most important component on the bike… The tires.
Now, either I’m a ‘bad’ cyclist, or I’ve just been fairly fortunate with my choices. I’ve never really experimented with tires. I always just got what I thought was a good tire and rolled with ’em (pardon the pun ;-). Now that I’ve been immersed in the race scene for a while, I’m realizing just how crazy cyclists (especially cyclocross racers) are about their tires. I’ll leave the pandoras box of tread pattern for another post (I find many times it just comes down to personal preference), but today let’s focus on tubed vs. tubeless tires.