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EB18: Tire Trends – Tubeless, Brands, Sizes, Wider

New Tire Trends in the United States

Introduction

This year, the tire market in the United States has seen numerous new additions, with a focus on expanding sizes and options for various types of bikes. From road bikes to mountain bikes and commuter bikes, there are now more widths, price points, and e-bike rated versions available. In this article, we will explore some of the specific trends in the tire industry.

More and Better Tubeless Tires

Over the past year, the market has seen a significant increase in the number of tubeless tire options for all types of bikes. Many new brands have entered or re-entered the market, offering a wide range of choices. For example, Terrene, a relative newcomer, has introduced new fat and commuter tires. Wolfgang Arenz, a tire compound guru, is launching his own range of tires under the Wolfpack name. Even older brands like Panaracer are making a comeback. Automotive brands such as Goodyear and Pirelli Velo are also expanding their presence in the tire market. Overall, there is a growing number of companies developing new tubeless tires.

More Wider Road Tubeless Tires

Even European brands that were previously hesitant to adopt road tubeless tires are now joining the trend. Czech tire maker Tufo, known for its skinny tires and vulcanized tubulars, now offers a wider range of 28mm road tubeless clinchers. This expansion reflects the growing popularity of road tubeless tires.

More Wider Gravel Tubeless Tires

With the rise of gravel biking, more tire options for gravel bikes are becoming available. Challenge, for example, offers slick Strada Biancas for converted road cyclists and fatter Gravel Grinders, which are essentially scaled-up cyclocross race tires. These tires are available in medium width 700c or even wider 650b versions. Other brands like Mitas and Vittoria have also introduced new gravel tires with wider sizes and improved puncture protection technology. Kenda is set to release their 40mm Alluvium Pro gravel race tire.

Race-Ready Tubeless Cyclocross Tires

Traditionally, high-quality cyclocross tires were only available as tubulars or handmade open clinchers. However, brands like Challenge are now offering TLR (tubeless) versions of their popular cyclocross treads. This development reflects the industry’s efforts to recreate the grip, feel, and durability of tubulars in tubeless form. Road tire brands are also acknowledging the efficiency of tubeless tires compared to tubulars.

More Aggressive XC Mountain Bike Tires

While trail and enduro tires dominated the market in the past, XC (cross-country) tires are making a comeback with the introduction of more technically capable XCO race bikes. To accommodate these bikes, tire manufacturers are taking two approaches: creating more aggressive XC treads or offering wider XC tires. Brands like Hutchinson, Schwalbe, Tufo, and Mitas have all introduced XC tires with increased aggressiveness or width.

Size Options for Trail MTB Tires

The growing popularity of lightweight yet capable trail bikes has led to an increase in tire options for this segment. Tire brands are now producing well-knobbed patterns that strike a balance between aggressiveness and grip. These tires offer good grip, fast rolling, and decent tear and puncture protection. Additionally, there are more size options available, with bikes and forks able to accommodate 2.4 to 2.6 widths. Maxxis, Kenda, and Schwalbe have all expanded their mountain bike tire offerings to cater to this growing demand.

Fatter Fat Bike Tires

Lastly, even fat bike tires are getting fatter. As the popularity of fat bikes continues to grow, tire manufacturers are producing wider tires to enhance performance on various terrains.

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