Since equipment choices impact cycling more than swimming and running in a triathlon, the right tires can really enhance your performance. For not much additional cost, you can buy pro-grade tires that last 2,500 miles and greatly improve your traction and handling. Advanced rubber compounds make these tires more pliant for a smoother ride and wider contact patch. This translates to better road feel, more stability in turns and the confidence to go fast.
You can't beat the Continental Attack/Force tires for competitive high-speed riding, according to Greg Pelican of triathlete outfitter bethelcycle.com. This low-profile, two-tire set won third place in beginnertriathlete.com's 2005 guide to the best triathlon gear. Its wide rear tire has a balanced tread pattern with durable rubber. The lighter, narrower front tire has minimal tread and softer, stickier rubber. The symbiotic relationship between the rear "Force" and front "Attack" tires reduces rolling resistance, increases speed and improves overall handling.
Michelin Pro Race 2
The Pro Race 2 is a long-time favorite and proven all-around performer. These clincher tiers won first place in beginnertriathlete.com's 2005 buyer's guide and are endorsed by Pelican. Michelin pioneered the movement from tubular to the more durable clincher tires with the arrival of the Hi-lite in 1985, according to roadcyclinguk.com. The Road Race 2 continues Michelin's racing legacy with its long-lasting, puncture-resistant casing and excellent performance in all riding conditions.
Vittoria Open Corsa EVO CX
If you're looking for one tire that does it all and does it well the Open Corsa EVO CX is hard to beat. Pelican calls it the best all-around tire and says he uses it year-round for every type of riding. Vittoria is a leading supplier of road racing tires, and this model is as close to the ride of a tubular as you'll get with a clincher. Its meaty cross section with hard center rubber and softer rubber on the sides makes for a smooth ride with excellent traction on corners. The 290 threads per inch of its durable and flat resistant casing give the Open Corsa EVO CX the highest thread count of any tire.
Hutchinson Fusion 2
The Fusion 2 so impressed Tour de France officials that they made it the official tire. Pelican also appreciates the many improvements in its current revision and applauds Hutchinson's practice of pre-stretching their tires to make installation easier. Hutchinson's Fusion 2 has a Kevlar casing that resists punctures and a triple compound tread for extended wear, excellent traction and low rolling resistance. The triple compound tread uses hard rubber in the center with progressively softer rubber on either side to deliver grip without sacrificing durability.
Article Written By Dan Eash
Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.