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I’m calling this one the “Urban Bomb.” Fixie riding is downright abusive to your tires.
Not only are you pedaling full speed over potholes, curbs, and glass, but you also use skidding your tires as your braking system.
Those skid marks are brutal on tire life.
When you ride a fixie, you acknowledge that your tires will have a short lifespan. It’s a given.
Enter the ThickSlicks.
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WTB wanted to create an urban tire that was a substantial value for college students. With 2x the rubber, they were counting on students getting twice the lifespan out of these tires.
We college students saw the doubled rubber and decided to see how much we could abuse the tires before getting flats.
Running over broken glass on purpose became our new game.
Reinforced Against Punctures
WTB has revisited this tire design several times and continually reinforced the tire with more puncture-resistant features each time.
The entire tire has a reinforced casing to help prevent punctures and slices. However, I especially like how the sidewalls re-strengthened
Typically, sidewalls are the weaker part of the tire. There are several reasons for this. For one, you want the sidewall to be able to flex more when going over bumps.
You also want to shave off weight anywhere you can, and sidewalls are an ideal place to do that.
It appears that WTB went the other way and reinforced the sidewalls.
They know that we college kids are sitting there with razor blades, testing them.
As with any slick, you want to put some miles on them to rough them up a little.
A couple of weeks of daily riding should get them broken in sufficiently.
I’ve always been pleased with how smoothly these guys ride. I have a lot of friends who have used them on their mountain bike or hybrid to complete their first triathlon or century.
And these babies ride like butter.
If you are used to a racier tire like a Vittoria, you may feel like they lack a little bit on the sprints.
But they seem to corner better than most of the other puncture-resistant tire that I’ve ridden.
Which is key for city riding where having a bike wheel slide out from under you on a corner can ruin your life.
These tires always leave me feeling confident and in control — even in wet conditions.
ThickSlicks Vs Gatorskin
Two big decisions here are cost and weight.
I love the Gatorskins for Tandem Bikes and Touring across the country. They seem to be very comfortable on long rides, and I’ve seen them handle insane mileage.
However, I’ve also had to deal with a lot of slices. That happens in our sport.
While the Thickslicks may not offer the same ride quality (my opinion), they seem to provide the same or better flat prevention.
For the college student, courier and urban rider, I think the ThinSlicks would be a perfect pick.
For the triathlete or mountain biker who wants an affordable road slick, these bad boys might just convince you to switch disciplines permanently.
Stop Flats Permanently
Regardless of the tire, I like to go over my tires at least once a week and look for small pieces of glass or rock that may have embedded themselves in the rubber.
With the added thickness of the ThinSlicks, you have a lot more opportunity to catch these hazards before they can migrate to the core.
They seem to be more forgiving in this regard.
Optional Upgrade: Buy This For Added Flat Protection
Tire liners are a necessity if you hate flats as I do.
The tire liners are a little cumbersome to install, so you’ve got to hate flats to go for it.
But I’ve noticed a huge difference when using tire liners.
These Rhinodillos seem to work pretty well.
The Best Trainer Tire For Mountain Bikes
Bike trainers are notoriously hard on tires. The constant friction of the roller against the tire chews them up like the ex-wife when she sees you with the new bae.
A lot of companies have started offering a trainer-specific tire with a harder rubber.
While this isn’t a trainer-specific tire, I fully expect it to last you all winter long.
And for you mountain bikers with 26-inch, 27.5-inch and 29-inch tire needs, they are sure to have a size that will work perfectly for you.
Should I Buy The Race Versus Comp
Ok, so best I can gather, the “Race” version uses Kevlar for the wire bead (the inner part of the tire that grips the rim).
This shaves off a lot of weight.
The Comp version uses a wire bead and is heavier.
In my experiences, Kevlar beaded tires are a little harder to put on for newbies. Entirely doable, and we all have to do it at some point.
But you might swear a few times and pinch a couple of tubes in the process.
The lighter the tire, the better.
The tire is where centrifugal force is created. Added weight on the wheel is felt more acutely.
White Special Edition Tire
I don’t know how long they’ll have this Special Edition, but you 700c fixie riders will love this tire.
I get it; the white color is eventually going to look dirty.
But even when it has turned gray, the tire is still something different. Something unique that everyone else doesn’t have.
And it can look so snazzy when paired with a color rim. I especially like the Special Editions on the Pure Fix fixies. It gives them some extra pizzaz.
For urban riding and as a road training tire, the ThinSlicks are perfect. If you want to ride gravel on a road bike, these might work ok, but you’ll be pushing them to their limit. And if you want to do a lot of touring, you can either go with these bad boys or the Gatorskins.
The Gatorskins might be more comfortable over long straight stretches.