Sunday, 9 August 2009

inside an fmb superprestige tub

OK, disclaimers out the way first - this one is about as nerdy as it gets. However, there is a chance that there is even 1 person out there that is as geeky as myself, so in the public interest, here is the inside scoop on the internal workings of one of Francois' finest creations, the Super Prestige cyclo-cross tubular:

En version SSC ou SSC Sprint; le ring en latex de 0,8mm d'épaisseur est spécialement conçu pour absorber les chocs et maintenir un contact maximum avec le terrain. De plus la résistance naturelle à la perforation du latex diminue les risques de crevaisons.

I have argued over the relative merits of FMB and Dugast in a previous post. I got a pair of these SPs some time ago, when John Holmes from Cyclocross Imports offered to ask Francois to make a pair of custom Dugast Rhino treaded Superprestige as an experiment. The result that came back from this 'one-off' was spectacular. With Bentley Racing Green sidewalls in latex, and the standard Rhino tread fixed on to the 34mm FMB carcass, the high quality was evident. The latex bonded on to the standard cotton sidewall has the effect of stiffening the wall, as well as protecting it leading to an impossibly plush and supple ride.

There were murmurs too about the SP being puncture proofed - my basic French discerned that there was a thin strip inside the tub but I wasn't sure whether that meant the sidewalls or under the tread. The untimely demise of one those green specials presented an ideal opportunity to check. Peeling off the Rhino tread for re-use on another casing, I thought I'd have a little look inside.

The blue strip under the tread clearly worked well at puncture proofing them because on peeling off the Rhino tread, there were a couple of nice little thorns that had lodged in the tread, but not got through to the tube.

The latex walls mean that you don't have to bother Aquaseal-ing or Seam Grip-ing the side walls and hence the life of the tire is prolonged. The downside is that they are fairly pricey even in the rarified price point bracket of handmade cross tubs. However, you save on sealant, they definitely last longer than Dugast as they are better made in my opinion, and you are less likely to pay for pucnture repairs. With the increased range of tread choices that FMB offer including the new Fango mud tread there are plenty of options to keep crossistas happy. Take your pick from the range on offer.

I sourced some one-off 34mm SP Fangos in blue from John over the summer which should be absolutely superb for the rocky 3 Peaks Cyclocross as well as any bumpier races this season. Report to follow post gluing......

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