Czech tire maker Tufo introduced us to an all new cyclocross tread at Eurobike that they have developed for this season, the Flexus Primus. The Primus name carries over from the prior model, but the tread pattern is a reboot of their all-conditions cyclocross tire. It actually looks to borrow the fast rolling, arrow shaped center tread from their old, well-regarded Elite cross tire line from a decade ago, while combining with the more aggressive side knobs of their more recent designs. We’ve been promised a set in the coming months, and will be be very interested to see how they perform in the lead up to Cross Worlds in the Czech Republic this winter.
Tufo also had a good bit of new information on road tires, which account for most of their sales, so roll past the break for their new clinchers, specified weight road tires, and some rumors of growth…
This season Tufo has also added several new road tires to their line-up, which can be generally broken down into a completely new foray into clinchers, and a couple of new lightweight tubulars. The move to produce clincher road tires was partly about simple product diversification, but also a bit of curiosity of how the unique Tufo was of building tires in central Europe would translate into high level clinchers. In the end Tufo came up with a single road race tire family – the Calibra – with three different versions. The heaviest basic model is claimed at 205g for a 23mm (220g for 25mm) with bead-to-bead sidewall and puncture protection, plus the tread off the Elite Ride (see below). The mid-level Calibra Plus goes with the faster smooth center/hatched shoulder tread of the S3, and drops the sidewall protection for a claimed 180g 23mm tire. The lightest Calibra Lite keeps the anti-puncture ply under a slick tread and guarantees a weight less than 150g for the 23mm offering. We’ve been riding a first run sample of this tire since the early spring and can report that it has performed excellently so far. The rubber compound is quite sticky making for excellent traction, and the lightweight paired with a set of latex tubes has been nice change for a few long distance and big elevation rides. As of yet, the tire hasn’t shown excessive wear, but we will report more on that when we get more time on the tires. What may be a stand out in the clinchers is their value.We didn’t get finite pricing on the clinchers from Tufo, but the base tire is available online now for ~€30, with the higher end tires ~€50.
The new Elite S3 tubular is a guaranteed specific weight (<225g) race tubular, that builds on the success of their previous best-selling <215g tubular. With a bit more rubber and puncture protection, a higher tpi, and an improved tread design (smooth center section with cross-hatched shoulders) Tufo expects this version to continue to be their best seller. The Elite S3 will be available in both tubular and tubular clincher varieties. Pricing hasn’t been announced but expect similar prices to the previous version of ~€70 for either version. Also in the tubular construction is a new S22 Special, which adds puncture protection to their popular S33 Pro training tire.
As for other recent tire news, at the end of the last cyclocross season Tufo had just updated their mud tire to the more all-around Flexus Cubus wet conditions cross tubular. We took a quick shot to show you here if you haven’t come across it yet, since it is available now and works pretty well for courses that get really muddy. Tufo’s cross tires are tubular-only (there is a dry conditions file-tread too), but each one comes in a less expensive ~€50 lower tpi training model and a race-level ~€75 210/315 tpi Flexus model.
More on the rumors front, we’ve been talking with Tufo about everyday riding on their tubular and tubular clincher Elite Ride 25s that were on our long-term Festka Zero test bike, and it looks like some wider versions could be in the works. The 25mm tubulars regularly measure about 26.3mm after they have been ridden for a while, so we could only guess that a 27mm version might be an even more cush tire to train on, where all you have to carry is a tube of sealant in your pocket!
If you aren’t familiar with Tufo’s tubular tires, they are made in a unique way that sets them apart from everyone else on the market. All of their tubulars (and tubular clinchers) are made with a butyl-rubber layer bonded into the interior casing of the tire in what could be described as a tubeless tubular, unlike most tubulars which have a latex tube floating inside of the casing. This results in a tubular tire that is much more durable, even less-susceptible to pinch flats, and able to be repaired with tire sealant. Generally a downside is a slightly less supple tire, although Tufo tries to combat that on their top-end tires with higher threadcounts. It makes for an interesting tire, especially for training, and we are excited to say that we have arranged with Tufo to tour their tire production facility this fall to show you deeper into how the tires are made. So stay tuned.