Mountain Gear

Sea Otter ’11: Challenge MTB One Tubular Tires

Young Cal Giant/Specialized racers trying out tubular mountain bike rubber at Sea Otter

Cyclocross stars have been toping mountain bike leader boards for years, from Ryan Trebon in the U.S. to Sven Nys and his top-ten finish in XC at the last Olympics.

Young ‘crossers Nick Weighall and Cody Kaiser (Cal Giant/Specialized MTB) are aiming to continue that trend, applying their fall talents to the spring and summer cross-country seasons. caught up with the two after the pro short track at Sea Otter on Friday, which saw both get stuck with poor start positions in the 110-man field only to get pulled mid-way through the race.

Both were running Challenge’s brand new MTB One tubular mountain bike tires, mounted up to dirt specific 26-inch Reynolds carbon tubular rims. Such tire setups are slowly gaining popularity, particularly for smoother courses like the one here at Sea Otter.

The tires are still in a bit of a testing phase, with Challenge marketing man Bill Marshall requesting open feedback from the Cal Giant crew on both durability and performance.

The tires measure just a hair under a true 2.0, and have a nice round shape that should aid cornering. Both Weighall and Kaiser were running them right around 20psi, since the risk of burping is eliminated. Both said they usually run 25-28psi on their tubeless Specialized tires to avoid burping.