Those following the blog know I have had the Moots CX in more or less a road configuration by running 25C Continental Grand Prix 4000 S tires front and rear. The configuration was pretty amazing in that it worked great on road rides, pretty well on gravel grinding and acceptable but not optimal on loose, rocky trails.
The road conditions are getting a little less reliable with leaves, debris and pine needles as fall progresses and I would like to start exploring more off pavement when able to ride. These all lead to choosing a tire that lets me do all of the above without too much penalty on the pavement in terms of weight, handling and noise. Another requirement is that it be tubeless both for the lower pressures and puncture resistance offered by this setup.
Eli was looking for something similar for another Moots customer and came across these cool Kenda Small Block-8 Cross 700c Tire they seemed to be the perfect setup for only 350g each. I got my first chance to ride them on a round-trip commute to downtown with all pavement in the morning and pavement with the HD trails on the way home in the evening. It was a great way to end a long weekend of testing for a client's system conversion. I had them set-up to about 50 psi and without tubes thanks to Eli.
The configuration felt a little slow on the pavement only portion of the ride, but may also have been due to my having a stomach bug for a couple of days before - I will need to assess more over the next few rides. I think the tread pattern and rolling resistance are good and seemed to work well on the loose sand of the HD trails. I was able to clean all of the rocky climbs and descents and felt a tad more comfortable that I did last week on the trails with the road tires. I still think I could try a few less pounds of air in each, but the ride quality of the bike was nothing short of amazing.
The frame geometry makes the bike go where I want it without being twitchy or unstable feeling. The frame, fork and larger 32C tires make for a supple ride over the harshest terrain without any mushiness or lack of feed back. I think I can get even better traction and ride with lower pressures and will experiment with it in the next few days.
I once again found myself not wanting the single track to end and kept reminding myself how fortunate I am to have a commute so varied and enjoyable.
See you out there.