The Tires We Recommend


I’ve had a long standing observation that the second piece of information any male wants to learn about any female is “is she good looking.”  It’s like there’s some social geometry where the good lookingness of a woman will allow us to triangulate every other piece of information we may learn about her – but only if we have one other piece of information first, whatever piece of information that might be. 

While I find this to be nearly 100% accurate as an observation (that guys do this), I advocate neither its propriety nor its efficacy.  But there must be some greater thing at work here because guys do it in other venues.  To wit: tires.  No one’s first question is ever what kind of tires we recommend for use with the Rail, but having asked one question first, nearly everyone then asks what kind of tires we recommend.  Generally, we think any tire that you like, you’ll like better on Rails.  Specifically, we’ve tried long-standing favorites like Challenge Criteriums, Vittoria Corsa EVO CX, and Michelin ProRaces of various iterations, and they’ve all been great on Rails.  For width, either 23 or 25 work great.  25 tends to feel like a little bit overkill, as tires set up wide on Rails (a “25mm” wide Challenge Strada goes 26.75mm wide on a Rail, for instance), and 23 is the standard width that all tires seem to come in and be readily available in. 

Based on a few recommendations, we tried Continental GP4000s recently.  These are tires I’d tried before but that hadn’t blown me away, and then fatal tread cuts bade them a premature end anyhow.  They must have done something with the compound, or maybe it’s just a magical combination with the Rail, but holy crap.  So smooth, so fast, so nice in the turns.  23mm ones measure bang on 23mm on Rails (which means they’re narrower on whatever you’ve been using them on).  They’ll be my go to this year for sure. 

An auspicious first is on the way for me – my first gran fondo.  I’ve never found the concept that appealing, to be honest, and I go into this one luke warm.  I’m excited for it as an event, an experience, but the strategy of how you “win” the things is off-putting to me.  In any case, I’m giving it a roll at the Garrett County Gran Fondo on June 22nd.  Doing the whole hog Diametrical Double or whatever it’s called – 125 or so miles.  This will be my longest ever ride.  Don’t tell anyone – I’ve never actually done a 100 mile bike ride.  Want to know what wheels I’ll be using?

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  • Dave on

    Geoff – See you there.Chris – Indeed I am using 4000s. Must be the new compound. These things are butter.David – We just sent your new alloys.

  • David Gudgel on

    I'm running the Conti GP 4000's on the 50mm predecessor to the Rail and love that combo as well.

  • ChrisC on

    I wonder if your previous experience had been with the "normal" GP 4000 and you are now using the newer GP 4000 'S' with the "black chili" rubber compound… Anyway, best of luck in the Gran Fondo. If you ride the Rails, please give some feedback on comfort over 100+ miles. You've commented before that they are pretty stiff.

  • Geoff Chin on

    Me and Triston will see you there then! I'm guessing you'll use the FSWs or was that a rhetorical?

  • Triston on

    Dave – I've been riding and racing my FSWs (20/24 with the house Novatecs in red) wrapped in Vittoria Corsa Evo CXs (25) for a couple weeks now. Words I've used to describe them include eager, poised, stable, capable and sure-footed. I'm betting that's not all tire, either. I'll be riding them Saturday at the Garrett County Gran Fondo. I haven't linked photos on Facebook yet because I wanted to give them a complete review, including the fondo along with a few group rides and crits.It'd be great to see the Rail and/or a Wheelhouse…I don't suppose you'll make yourself conspicuous with a sign or something at the finish?

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