Legendary tire maker Clement will make a return to the bicycle market this month after a five-year hiatus from the world stage. Though best known for its high-end tubulars, Clement will take a more calculated approach this time around – clinchers will be launched first with tubulars to follow about a year from now once the casing and tread designs have undergone more development and testing time.
Coming any day now is a 32mm-wide nylon clincher 'cross tire called 'Crusade PDX', in homage of Portland, Oregon's enormously popular Cross Crusade race series. The aggressive tread bears some resemblance to Dugast's Rhino with a fast rolling center rib, triangular knobs for multi-directional grip, a solid-looking shoulder that extends a fair bit down the sides of the casing for cornering hold, and transition knobs for accelerating out of turns. Knob height is set at 2.8mm as compared to Dugast's 3mm and Challenge's 2.5mm.
Though 'cross tubulars won't be available until 2010, the company has already lined up some marquis talent to help in their development: look for handbuilt prototype tread and casing designs under the Kona cyclo-cross team and burgeoning young talent Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs/CYBC) this season.
Two nylon road clinchers will follow the Crusade PDX: a 28mm-wide Roubaix-style tire with a smooth center and herringbone shoulders and a similar design with a 25mm casing.