When I set out designing the Monster Cross frames 9 years ago, the tire I designed it around was the Panaracer Firecross 700×45. At the time, it was the biggest “cross” tire available. There were some that had short product cycles, like WTB’s MutanoRaptor 44, but the FireCross 45 had an actual knob-to-knob measurement of 50mm and it’s been available almost all the time since it was introduced. The FireCross worked great in the dirt, but was a dog on the road. The goal of the Monster Cross for my use is that is goes on the road to get to the dirt and then back on the road to get home. There were other tires that would be much better for my purposes, so emails went out to friends at WTB and Kenda. Between then and the present, there have been a lot of great tires introduced that make me happy: Bruce Gordon’s Rock ‘n Road 43, WTB’s Nano 40 and Riddler 45, Clément’s X’Plor MSO 40…there’s a bunch more, but those are what I have the most time on.
One day a few weeks ago, I followed a link to a Raleigh bike model and saw it had what were labeled Clément LZY 50 tires. What’s this? An email to my friend at Clément, Donn Kellogg and he confirmed the tire, but clarified that it’s name has been changed to MSO, since it has the MSO tread pattern. Tubeless? Yes. And as chance would have it, a distributor for Clément had a shipment of the tires arriving by air fresh off the production floor after the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ll take a box of them, thank you.
So, here they are and they are plump! They measure out at 50mm on a WTB ChrisCross i19 rim and weight about 800g. They have what feels like the 60tpi casing that is tubeless ready. And they’re big. And they fit just fine in the Monster Cross frame. And I can’t wait to ride them. Probably when it dries out a bit, but wow. I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time. For sale now in the shop and on the site.
(What’s playing: Cheap Trick Come On Come On)