Reviewed: Clement goes tubeless with MSO adventure tires
Weight: 450 grams
The first of Clement’s tubeless ready tires has finally hit U.S. soil. The fast-rolling 36mm MSO tire is the newest addition to the company’s X’Plor lineup of adventure and all-road tires and is the company’s first tubeless-ready offering.
“It took us some time to get to this point, as we wanted to ascertain that our sidewall material was impermeable and air tight while still maintaining a supple ride quality,” Clement’s Product Development Manager Johs. Huseby said.
Here at VeloNews, we got our hands on Clement’s new tubeless MSO tires to test at the Grinduro gravel race in Quincy, California last fall and have since put hundreds of miles on them in a long-term test throughout the winter. After diving through loose gravel corners and spending hours on long rides over rough roads, the MSOs proved exceptionally durable and fast rolling, making them our top choice for mixed terrain riding in tough conditions.
First introduced in 2012, the MSO non-tubeless ready tires — available in 32mm and 40mm widths — have long been a staple in the gravel racing community. The tread is made from a soft rubber compound for extra grip and shock absorption and it includes a distinctly Clement pattern of polygonal and hexagonal shapes. The tightly packed center knobs make for fast rolling on pavement or packed dirt roads, while the more aggressive shoulder lugs provide great traction and cornering control.
We put this traction to the test during the Grinduro’s challenging single-track timed section with loose, off-camber turns and sharp, rocky sections. The tires held up exceptionally well and the extra traction through corners inspired confidence, letting us dig into loose dirt and rocks as we rallied down steep switchbacks. Back at home in Colorado, the smooth center tread meant quick commutes on mixed dirt, cinder, and paved trails to and from the VeloNews office.
Durability was also impressive with the MSO tires. In five months of testing on trails, roads, and everything in between, we’ve experienced exactly zero punctures and didn’t see any significant pressure loss either, even when we didn’t ride this bike for several days. On the more rugged trails, the tires cruised over jagged rocks and ate up bigger hits with no problem. At the Grinduro, we were impressed with the durability of these skinny adventure tires, especially as we flew past countless riders who were stopped on the side of the trail fixing flats. Thanks to the tubeless setup, we could blast through these rocky sections a little faster and spend less time picking our way through in fear of punctures and pinch flats.
The initial setup and installation of the new MSO tires with their puncture-protection belt was one of the quickest and easiest tubeless setups we’ve experienced. Using a floor pump and a bit of sealant, the tires seated immediately on our 24mm wide, tubeless-compatible wheels. While we haven’t had any mid-ride flats or mechanicals thanks to the tires’ durability, we’re willing to guess that changing a puncture on the side of the road would be just as smooth and easy.
Inflated to 30psi, the tires measure true to size at 36mm — an ideal width for tough gravel races like Land Run 100 or Dirty Kanza 200. The non-tubeless ready MSO 32mm tires are a bit narrow for these rugged gravel roads, and most ’cross bikes won’t easily fit the 40mm option. Clement hits the sweet spot at 36mm and the tubeless-ready capabilities make them a home run.