Category: tires


SONY DSCSo a lot of us commuter types end up riding road (ish) bikes with road (ish) tires. Unfortunately, this often means we end up using road tires meant for racer folks, not commuting folks! While they’re not the only players in the game, Continental definitely brings a good solution to market with the Super Sport Plus tires we’ve had on long-term test. They’re equipped with an anti-puncture belt, which according to Continental is “Nearly impenetrable.” The Super Sport Plusses (henceforward referred to by me as SSPs) have just enough tread to lend a bit more confidence on the slightly-sketchy stuff (for super-sketchy stuff you’d be better off with something like this, or possibly this!). The SSPs also come with extra-thick tread – something us commuters can appreciate (because hey, tires can get expensive!). My set was 700×25; they also come in 700×23 and even some 27 inch sizes for those of you riding what I’ll call… “classic”… bikes.



So how do they ride? Well, I mounted them up to my old Bridgestone single speed to test them out, and the verdict was… Smooooth. Also pretty fast for a tire that isn’t that lightweight (no I didn’t weigh them, who do you think I am?). Riding unloaded, I was able to maintain pretty respectable speeds over the course of an hour or two. Recommended inflation on the 700×25 size was 95-120 PSI, but I found 90-95 was the sweet spot for me.
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In terms of wet – they work well there too. No real sense of lost grip (though I’ll warn that might change with the narrower sizes – it’s hard to tell what was because of the tire and what was because of the tire size). I would recommend against snow though (sorry E, they’re not gonna be your Chicago winter tires!).

The verdict on flat protection? Well, it’s always hard to prove a negative… I didn’t get any flats on these! I’m not usually riding any glass or tack-studded roads though, so it’s hard to say. I did hit one sharp-edged bump at about 20mph… so I CAN say at a minimum that they don’t pinch flat easily!SONY DSC

Street price for these babies seems to average around $30/tire, though there are a few deals out there depending on which version you’re after. My verdict? Worth the money. You won’t find a heck of a lot that’s much cheaper, and knowing that you’ve got quality tires under you is worth quite a bit.
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Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

So as I previously mentioned, I’ve been riding the WTB Freedom Cruz 29er tires on my Redline Monocog 29er – and I’ve now got enough time logged on them for a review!

The basics: at a 29 x 2.0″ size (they come in 26″ as well), these are not for your typical city bike or hybrid! Per product description, they’re meant to “turn your 29″ dirt-crusted steed into a quick and nimble commuter workhorse.” While in general I prefer to keep my mountain bikes on mostly dirt, I had the bike available and a new bike I was riding more, so on the tires went!

A (rather technical) caveat up front: these tires are mounted to Mavic A317 rims, which only have a rim width of 17mm. WTB recommends (per the tire sidewall) rim widths of 25mm+ (which is somewhat standard – but not universal – for mountain bike rims). So right off the bat, my experience with handling may be different than someone else’s, as a wider tire on a narrower rim doesn’t hold its shape quite as well as a wider tire on a wider rim or a narrower tire on a narrower rim. I never felt super comfortable on these on sharp turns – but that might change quite a bit if they were used with the recommended rim size.

Now back to riding impressions!

After a couple months of solid riding, I can definitely say the Freedom Cruz fits the bill for commuting! Very smooth-rolling for sure. They also seem to track well on surfaces ranging from pavement to hardpack dirt – I wouldn’t want to try them out in a lot of mud or loose dirt, but on smooth surfaces they work well (wet or dry). The suggested tire pressure is 35-65psi – after some testing, I ended up running the rear at 40psi and the front at 35psi (this for an average guy+gear load of around 160-165lbs). I also found that the tires held air pressure pretty well – I only had to add a small amount of air every couple weeks. My typical experience is that I need to add a more significant amount of air once a week, so this was a pleasant surprise. It may simply be due to the lower pressure – tire pressure on my other commuter bikes ranges from 55psi to 100psi – but it was nice nonetheless.

The hard rubber compound and sidewall on the Cruz did seem to lessen the bump-absorption properties normally associated with wide tires to some degree – I think most of my mountain tires provide a bit more cushion than these do. However, they do seem durable – after about 350 miles of riding I can’t really see any signs of wear.

For the price (MSRP is $33.99 per tire and they can be found for $6-10 less), the Freedom Cruz 29 tires are a very reasonable way to convert a mountain bike into a smooth-riding city bike. They aren’t overly beefy, and once I had my bike up to speed I felt like it took very little effort to keep it at speed. If you’ve got an extra MTB sitting around and want to give it some new life, $50-60 can get you a tire that will give you a smooth ride for a long time… and the all-black styling means your “mountain” bike won’t be hurting too bad for street cred even without the knobbies!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

A month ago, my commute changed from a 6-mile commute one-way to a three-mile commute one-way. It also changed from an office with a shower to an office without a shower… so my approach to my commute definitely had to change!

Previously, I’d taken the approach of riding as hard as I wanted in more bike-y clothes, then showering and changing. With no shower available – but a much shorter commute – I decided to take advantage of our lowering morning temperatures (mostly below 70 now) to try riding to work in my work clothes and going slower. This also gave me the ability to put three products we’ve received to a better test.

My “new” commuting rig is my Redline Monocog 29’er single speed mountain bike… with a couple modifications. I’ve kept the gear ratio the same (33×16) – it’s low, but it means I can’t ride too fast and therefore can’t get too sweaty!

The Monocog in commuter guise

The three products I’m reviewing are:
WTB’s Freedom Cruz 29 tires
WTB’s Freedom Cruz Grips
Cycle Cuffs
Look for reviews of all three of these shortly!

Freedom Cruz 29

Freedom Cruz grips

Cycle Cuffs

I enlisted the help of my younger brother Roy to put this tires through a thorough testing. For some reason, Roy had a habit of averaging 2 flats per week on whatever bike he rode, Freedom Bicycle claims that the ThickSlick is one of the strongest urban tires in the market so I thought it was a perfect fit for Roy’s riding habits.

About the rider: Roy is 20 years old, 5’10 and about 155 lbs, he is a college student and rides his bike to school and loves to go on urban adventures with his buddies.

Here are his observations of the Freedom ThickSlick tires:

Thick and Slick are two words that best describe the tires that I have been riding for about three months now. They are slightly wider than your typical road bike tires but they are twice as resilient. I come from a background of frequent flat tires due to riding through rough terrain, debris, broken glass, and sometimes even from catching some air.

Out of these last three months I have had zero problems with these tires. I use my bike as an urban bike and spend most my time riding though the streets of Los Angeles County. I have ridden through rocks, dirt, sticks, and even small shards of glass and to my surprise I have experienced zero flats. I can certainly say that I’ve beaten the crap out of these tires. Since I live in Sunny Southern California, I didn’t get to ride on the rain, however the tires never slipped on any puddle of water that I came across.

Despite looking like two over-sized inner tubes I have received many compliments by other riders, some have asked me if the tires were tubulars. I guess that is a compliment since my brother says that tubular tires are very high performance and very expensive tires!

As “Slick” as the tires appear, I experienced loads of traction on the road. Handling on these tires was a great experience, I was able to handle turns at high velocity and at low leaning angles. Braking on these tires was excellent, a couple times I needed to brake suddenly due to moving cars or other bikers, fortunately, I was able to stop with minimal skidding and enough time to avoid any collisions.

Prices for the Freedom ThickSlick vary from $15 to $30, these tires easily pay themselves off by saving on tire tubes. So if you are looking for a tire that would be able to handle all the harsh conditions of Urban riding, its durable, handles great and looks good, I highly recommend you get yourself a set of these tires.

For more information and tech specs on these tires, please visit http://www.freedombicycle.com.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Where do I start? Yesterday I replaced the stock tires on the Torker Graduate and went for spin down the Southern California Coast. My spin turned out to be 45 miles ending at Oceanside California; this has a lot to do with the Freedom Ryder tires, they were trouble free and allowed me to keep rolling until my legs were fried.

With 80 psi in the tires I thought it would be a rough ride. It was not and yet still very grippy in the loose stuff. The miles just kept clicking off; part of the ride was though Camp Pendleton Marine Base. The bike path on the base can be rough at times and can flat a tire with ease — the tires held up great over slab cracks and gravel.