Written by Joel Liefke Wednesday, 23 November 2005 00:00
Enter Alan and his e-mail asking if anyone wanted to test out the Panaracer Cinder X, I was excited to say the least. When I worked at Raleigh/Diamondback in 98 & 2000, I worked with their regional sales rep Jeff Zell. Jeff would always give me new products to test out (I was one of the first to test out the Fire XC Pro and the Trail Blaster). So to say the least, I am somewhat loyal to the Panaracer line, and to get to again test out a new product, I was pretty excited.
Before I received the Cinder X tires, I did some quick research to see what I was about to get myself into. I was a little worried, as I really liked the tire weight of the Cross Blasters (280g) and the Cinder X are around 360g, so a considerable more amount of weight…yeah, I’m a weight weenie, but only when it comes to wheels and rolling resistance! I also noticed that the tread pattern was similar to the Cross Blasters, but had another knobbie on the outside and inside of the tread which looked like a rolling stabilizer for the tire, yes, this excited me due to the previously mentioned “accident.” So to say the least I was excited, yet skeptical of these new tires.
When I pulled them out of the box, alongside my flashy new Bikeman.com Jersey, I saw a great looking tire, that didn’t seem to weigh as much as proclaimed. I actually did a side by side “taste test” to see the weight variance…not much from my vantage point, so I decided to slap them on and test them out at our Wednesday Night Cyclocross World Championship Race at the Marymoor Velodrome.
My initial inclination was to run the tires at a low PSI, I started with about 38 PSI in the front and 40 PSI in the rear. The decreased rolling resistance that I feared, did appear in the deep grass outside the velodrome, but not to the extent that I had imagined. There was only a little bit of sand and mud, so I didn’t get a good gauge for that until later on in this review. The transition from the velodrome surface to the grass and dirt was amazing, no slipping and the tires grabbed nicely, very sticky to say the least.
Based on this, it was time to take them out on the race course, and the Emerald City Cup #5 race was next on the list. At Donida Farms, I would be able to test the tires on mud, dirt, waterholes, sand, grass, deep grass, road, and many other substances around the course. The course itself transitions between an actual horse race track made of sand/silt, and the various surrounding elements. I’ll break down the experience based on composition:
1) Deep Grass: The tires performed well, but I did notice that at times they’d get bogged down in the deep wet grass increasing rolling resistance. I felt that on the course, this was where the tires did not perform up to the Cross Blaster standard as they were wider and heavier and didn’t cut through the muck as well. Rating – C+
2) Sand/Silt: Here is where the tires shined. I saw many other riders on various tires riding around the horse track with what seemed like a giant donut on their tire due to the stickiness of the sand. The Cinder X tires shed the sand amazingly and minus the deep sections of sand performed outstandingly with little wavering and again shedding even the stickiest of sand. The Cross Blasters also perform well in the sand, but the extra stability was greatly appreciated on this course. Rating – B+
3) Mud: There were two mud runups and two mud downhills on the course. On the downhill portion, the Cinder X tires performed again, phenomenally. I was able to let it go w/out fear of the tires washing out and was able to make up a lot of ground on other people in this section. I felt as though I was riding on low cut grass vs. mud which at times was 5-6 inches deep. Rating – A
4) Low Grass: As you’d expect the tires performed great. I didn’t notice any rolling resistance and the traction was again outstanding. Again traction was not an issue and I felt like the tires were going to keep me upright regardless of how tight I angled in/out of the corners. Rating – A
5) Cement/Road/Concrete/etc.: This is where I noticed the greatest difference between the two tires. On this surface the Cinder X, although not as quick as the Cross Blasters, had a huge advantage. In moving from road to another surface or from another surface to road, the tires grabbed the surface and ensured that you were not going to have any slippage. Rating – A+
I was quite impressed with these tires, as I’ve ridden the Michelin Jets, Michelin Muds, Ritchey Speedmax, IRC Mythos, and the Kenda Kross tires, and out of all of these, the Panaracer Cinder X were the best tire for any course where there was at least a hint of wetness to the course. I was unable to test the Cinder X on a dry course, but will do so next season. Overall I’d give the Panaracer Cinder X two thumbs up!
|Panaracer Cinder Cross: 700x35. Great new all-conditons cross racing tire. Tread pattern based on the Cinder MTB tire makes the Cinder Cross roll fast on the flats and hook up like mad in the corners. Small block tread holds in any condition and sheds muck. ZSG compound grips when wet....|
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