Round up: Hot wheels and traction-enhancing tires for 2016

Nothing changes the feel of your ride like a new set of wheels and tires

Tires Wheels

No. 1 upgrade for your road bike? Hard to argue with benefits of a new set of high-zoot wheels. Lower rotating weight means a faster you going down the road. And hey, who doesn’t like the look and sound of a little carbon fiber whirring below you. Tires can also make a huge difference in your cycling experience. Old worn out rubber increases the likelihood of a puncture, and cornering traction can be compromised. So what’s new in wheels and tires this year? Check some of the most exciting product we saw during tradeshow season.

Everything from the 202 tubular to the 808 clincher had its price reduced by $500.

Everything from the 202 tubular to the 808 clincher had its price reduced by $500.

Zipp Firecrest Carbon Wheels and Tangente Course R30 Tires

Form and function will always be important but when the price of a wheelset goes down by $500, our heads really turn. That’s the story with Zipp’s line of 2016 rim brake Firecrest carbon wheels. Everything from the 202 tubular to the 808 clincher had its price reduced (New MSRP is between $2000 and $2350 depending on model). The new wheels also now utilize Zipp’s 77/177 hubset, the same one on the wheel maker’s disc wheels. They’ve also ditched the pre-load adjustment, which is now set in the factory, and the spokes are stronger. Learn more at www.zipp.com.

The water-siping tread pattern and increased durability is geared for training rides.

The water-siping tread pattern and increased durability is geared for training rides.

Along with price cuts to its carbon wheels, Zipp is answering the call of the consumer with wider tires. First introduced last year in 23c and 25c versions, the Zipp Tangente Course now comes in 28c and 30c offerings. The Indianapolis-based wheel and tire maker sees this new rubber particularly useful for the road disc brake crowd, who almost surely has the frame space to accommodate these wider tires. The water-siping tread pattern and durability is geared for training. Other features include 120 tpi nylon casing and a nylon protection strip under the tread. Claimed weight for the R28s is 260 grams; the R30s are 306 grams. MSRP: $55. You can also get a faster rolling Tangente Speed in a 28c that’s 44 grams lighter ($65). Learn more at www.zipp.com

The Graphene material in the new Vittoria Corsa Speed tires is claimed to make them faster, grip better, more puncture resistant, and last longer.

The Graphene material in the new Vittoria Corsa and Corsa Speed tires is claimed to make them faster, grip better, more puncture resistant, and last longer.

Vittoria Corsa and Corsa Speed Tires

In scientific terms Graphene is a new material that comes in the form of a thin, nearly transparent sheet of pure carbon. In cycling terms it helps makes tires faster, grip better, more puncture resistant, and last longer. At least that’s the PR spin attached to the new Vittoria Corsa and Corsa Speed tires. Indeed, Vittoria claims the tubeless-ready Corsa Speed with Graphene has 40 percent less rolling resistance and 3x the tread mileage as the same tire without the miracle material. The new tires come in widths from 23c to 28c and there are also tubular versions. The top-end Corsa Speed is a has a tubeless corespun casing that keep weight for a 23c at an ultra low 205 grams. MSRP: $$89. Learn more www.vittoria.com.

These 35mm deep climbing wheels come in at 1340 grams, have 16 spokes front and rear, and use house brand (and also U.S. made) TdF5.5 hubs that are equipped with Enduro ceramic cartridge bearings.

Rolf Prima’s 35mm deep Ares 3 climbing wheels come in at 1340 grams, have 16 spokes front and rear, and use house brand TdF5.5 hubs that are equipped with Enduro ceramic cartridge bearings.

Rolf Prima Ares 3 Wheels and Ballistic Armor Coating

Oregon-based Rolf Prima continues to offer an impressive made-in-the-USA wheel line-up, including the carbon fiber Ares 3. These 35mm deep climbing wheels come in at 1340 grams, have 16 spokes front and rear, and use house brand (and also U.S. made) TdF5.5 hubs that are equipped with Enduro ceramic cartridge bearings. MSRP is $2400, or if your budget is tighter than that, Rolf Prima also offers the $1900 Ares 3 ES, which uses a less expensive TdF3.0 hub, has 16 spokes front/20 rear, and weighs 1440 grams for the wheelset. Learn more at www.rolfprima.com

The ballistic armor coating is a thin durable ceramic-based coating that adds minimal weight, while allowing customized colors on hubs and some rims.

The ballistic armor coating is a thin durable ceramic-based coating that adds minimal weight, while allowing customized colors on hubs and some rims.

Rolf Prima was also showing off what it’s calling its ballistic armor coating option, which is a thin durable ceramic-based coating that adds minimal weight, while allowing customized colors on hubs ($150 up charge) and some rims ($300 up charge). Learn more at www.rolfprima.com.

Continue to page 2 for more of 2016’s most exciting tires »
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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