Friday, September 21, 2012

The Latest From Interbike

I was at Interbike in Las Vegas this week and got caught up on all the latest road tubeless developments. I will have lots more to write, but here is a quick summary:

Hutchinson - Had a nice long talk with the Hutchinson people to figure out where there tire line is at for this year. Basically, they went from three tires to five +. Last year they had the Intensive, Fusion 3, and Atom. This year they added an Intensive 28c and the new Atom Galactic. 

The Intensive 28c may or may not be called "Top Speed" or perhaps some other name. Basically it is the mass market version of a tire they developed for professional riders racing Paris-Roubaix. I have seen it, and it is definitely 28c. One of the criticisms that the Intensive received was that it was marked as a 25c tire but was really closer to 23c, not sufficiently wide enough for a commuter. Rest assured the new 28c version finally plugs the gap between racing tires and cyclocross.

The Atom Galactic also addresses a valid concern. Many felt that the standard Atom cost more than the fantastic Fusion 3, but was barely any lighter (260g vs 290g). The Atom Galactik at 240 solves this problem and is an actual candidate for pro-tour use. I actually rode a pair of Atom Galactiks yesterday on a 3 hour training ride, and came away very impressed. I will have a full review shortly.

Finally, the Fusion 3 is now also available in a white striped color. No actual change to the compound, just a different look.

Schwalbe - As I have noted, their Ultremo ZX is poised to enter the market. What was cool to see was how heavily they were promoting it at their booths with a billboard sized picture saying "Go Tubeless". Wonder where they got that slogan from?

Maxxis - They were showing their Padrone race tire and a prototype of a radial tire that will be for training.

IRC- IRC has four great road tubeless tires, but they are hard still to find in the United States.

Others - Others I heard that were looking to road tubeless tires include Kenda, WTB, Bontrager, and Specialized, although none had products on display this year.

Wheels - American Classic is getting into tubeless in a big way. They already have their road tubeless wheelset is coming in at under 1200 grams, and they just showed another, slightly heavier version. This is in addition to their conversion strips and valves. Stan's reinforced its Alpha 340 and came out with a stronger Alpha 400. They now sell both in several models of tubeless road and cyclocross wheelsets for both disc and rim brakes. I also came away impressed with the Velocity A23 rim that can be built up in a variety of colors. Throw in great models from Shimano, Campy/Fulcrum, DT Swiss, and others, and it is clear that the major wheel builders are all-in on road tubeless.

Other - A company called Orange Seal is selling a tubeless conversion kit and an innovative sealant that coats the tire.I also liked the American Classic valves, and Hutchinson sealant which I just installed and am testing. Look for a full review of the Galactik, Hutchinson sealant, and American Classic valves really soon.


  1. I thank you for your great coverage on what we both agree will be the future of tires and wheels. I would love to see how the orange seal works in comparison to Stan’s and Caffelatex. I have been plagued with huge clumps from using Stan’s in a relatively short time frame of being injected into the tires. But, It gets the job done and is a bit of a double edged sword, especially when using tubulars that don’t allow you to remove them.
    There are also great deal of tape offerings, I would be very interested in your take of the pros and cons of the different versions. I actually use gorilla tape as a low cost/ highly available alternative to dedicated tubeless tape. It is waterproof and has high tensile strength, only drawback is it requires you to cut it to size as the narrowest size available is 1in.

  2. Did Hutchinson give a release date on those 28c's? We've been waiting on those for over two years now! I sure would like to have a pair before winter. How about msrp?


  3. I cannot find any place that sells this Intensive 28 mm, I only find it here, at Bikerumour, and bikerader. Any ideas where to find them?

  4. The main benefit of tubeless tires is the ability to use low air pressure for better traction without getting pinch flats because there is no tube to pinch between the rim and an obstacle

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  7. It's the end of Dec. 2012 and I'm still looking for someplace, anyplace, to buy Hutch. Intensive Road Tubeless in 28c size. Any suggestions?

    1. QBP has them listed, but not in inventory. MSRP should be right around $100. They said they're expected 12/31/12, so should be any day now.

    2. Thanks, Matt. I will continue to annoy QBP on this.

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