Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Long term review Grand Bois Cerf 700x28c tyres

Like their slightly wider counterparts, the Grand Bois Cerf's are a very nice tyre. They're light and supple and roll beautifully. I've done almost exactly 1200km on the set I bought from Compass Bicycle in June and I'm very impressed. With a heavy heart I'll be taking them off the bike today though - they're just to prone to punctures for my liking.

The Grand Bois tyres in general are a lovely tyre. They roll beautifully and seem to go even better up hills, which is where I need help the most. They run nicely at a range of pressures - from 80psi for cruising around town and on unsealed roads to 100psi for spirited audax riding. But I suspect one of the things that makes them so delightful to ride - the seeming lack of any sort of puncture protection within the tread - is also the source of their greatest downfall. Most modern tyres have a thin strip of material, often kevlar, sandwiched between the tread layers. It tends to reduce punctures but also adds weight, reduces the suppleness of the tyre and very slightly increases rolling resistance.

For some reason, the Cerfs haven't worn particularly well for me. After only 1200km of use on sealed road and bike paths the rear tyre is worn far more than I would expect. I'd estimate that tyre had another 1000km of travel left in it, which is a real shame for a $60 tyre.

Whether it is related to the wear problem is hard to say for certain but I've also suffered a series of punctures with these tyres - four in the last month. At first I suspected that the problem was my failure to properly find and fix the root cause of the first puncture but looking at the tubes I've spent this morning repairing, each of the tiny pinhole punctures has happened in a different spot. One seems to have been caused by a tiny piece of glass, another by a small piece of wire. I suspect that many modern tyres would have shrugged these off. The Grand Bois Cypress suffered a similar run of flats before I hung them up too but I put that down to back luck. I guess I'm a slow learner. Four punctures in a month is more than I've suffered in the last couple of years and it's why I'll be sadly handing up the Cerfs and putting the Continental Gatorskins back on. A much lesser tyre, but at least I'll be spending more time riding and less time changing tubes.

2942km so far this year.

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