We’ve been riding rough roads for ages — dirt, cobbles, you name it. So why did it take so long for capable, wide tires like Clement’s Strada LGG to become available to the average rider?
Much like Bob’s Country Bunker in “Blues Brothers,” a bar that plays both kinds of music — country and Western — cyclists in the recent era had to chose between 21c and 23c tires.
Remember, we’re talking about tires that the average person can buy from a shop and install themselves. Yes, there have always been special, cave-aged, pro-only tires that get lovingly glued to Ambrosio rims for one day in Northern France each spring.
But for the rest of us, is the 28mm, 120 tpi Clement Strada LGG a better choice than its narrower brethren?
A tight squeeze
For starters, your frame and fork might not accommodate a 25mm tire. It was a tight fit on our Focus Izalco with a 3T fork, but it worked. Fortunately, many “endurance” road bikes have more clearance than the standard race chassis.
Mounted to fairly conventional Shimano RS80 wheels, the LGG measured an honest 28mm at its widest point. Each tire weighs approximately 250g.
If your frame and fork won’t accommodate a 28mm, Clement offers the same tire in a 25mm size.
Road riding around our Boulder, Colorado home base is always best with a healthy dose of dirt roads. So much so that we rarely regretted riding the 25mm LGG full-time.
No, a wide tire like this doesn’t have the raw speed of a narrower race tire on pavement. But it gives you a wider range of options. We experimented with pressures as low as 60psi (rider weight: 145 pounds) and found the wide tires to be sublime on the chop.
For everyday riding, we preferred about 75-80psi, which provided a balance of compliance and rolling speed, even on our area’s tougher paved climbs.
The LGG’s extra traction was a noticeable improvement over standard 23, even 25mm, tires. This translated into confidence in corners seasoned with spring grit.
Corners weren’t the only place we loved the LGG. Its steady grip made for better braking on dirt descents, especially the kind with rough, sharp corners and steep drops — the places you need it most. We can only imagine how sublime these tires would be with a disc brake-equipped road bike.
Also of note when considering the LGG’s grip is the dual-compound rubber and chevron tread on the sides. Beneath it all is a puncture protection belt, which worked flawlessly for us.
Though we didn’t fall victim to any sharp rocks, it’s easy to imagine how regular dirt riding would take its toll. Happily, the LGG’s MSRP is $50, which is about $15 less than Challenge’s Paris Roubaix. Clement’s tire is also 35g lighter than it’s the Paris Roubaix.
Are there any good reasons not to go with a wider tire? Whether you choose the LGG or something else, there are few drawbacks. Unless you’re a slave to paved speed, you’ll enjoy the way a pair of LGGs expands your bike’s capabilities.
Pros: Versatility to help you ride nearly any road comfortably, excellent traction, affordable.
Cons: Won’t help you win the town line sprint on your Wednesday night ride … But do you care?