Zipp’s original foray into tires were focused on improving the aerodynamics of a wheel/tire combination. Pretty important since you need both and they always go together.
Now, they’ve upped the ante to lessen rolling resistance as well, making the system faster than ever. They’ve also made wider versions and lightened them up, too. On paper, it’s the total package – faster, smoother, more comfortable and with better control.
Here’s how they did it…
What we’ve learned over the years, particularly with mountain bikes, is that lower air pressure keeps the tires in contact with the ground better because there’s less bouncing. When it comes to road bikes, you can only go so low before risking pinch flats or squishy ride feel. The next step was to improve the tire’s inherent ability to deform around the terrain.
The new Tangente tires use a more supple sidewall and tread cap, allowing it to deform more easily. They use the term hysteresis, which, when discussing the elastic hysteresis of rubber, refers to the difference between stretching and rebound speed. Rubbery naturally stretches under load more easily than it contracts when the load is removed. With regards to bicycle tires, that means it takes more energy to deform around the terrain than it does to return to normal. If you can lessen the energy needed to deform the tire, you lessen rolling resistance. More supple sidewalls and rubber compounds do just that.
The sidewalls were made better by using a specific pattern and angle in the threads of the carcass and using softer rubber.
Those savings were quantified on BikeBlather (commissioned by Zipp) via his roller test if you like hard numbers.
Click to enlarge for sizes, weights and pricing.
The tradeoff is longevity and puncture protection, so there are various models to fit your comfort level. We still think tubeless should be options on all modern road tires, but, baby steps… In the meantime, if you’re looking for some of the fastest tires out there, Zipp’s introduced some new speed weaponry.
They’ve also introduced custom color decal kits for your wheels. They’re available aftermarket for a $20 per set.
Related by parents only, SRAM’s RISE 60 wheels come with a decal sheet with even more colors at no charge.