In this age of hyper-specialized bicycles and components, do-it-all products sometimes get overlooked–or downright ignored–by gearheads. While it’s fun searching for the lightest or fastest gear, most of us are better served by equipment that performs well under a variety of conditions. For gravel and mixed-terrain riding, having the right tire can mean the difference between a great ride or drudgery. Drawing on the company’s deep cyclo-cross and gravel roots, Clément Cycling designed their X’Plor USH tire to excel in mixed conditions.
Clément X'Plor USH 700 X 35 - 60/120 TPI (Part #: 10052/10053) - Cyclocross, Commuter or Touring tire.
Clément offers the X’Plor USH in just one size: 700×35. Why 35 mm? Clément wanted a tire that would be compatible with cyclocross, commuter, or touring bikes. Despite Clément’s one-size-fits-all approach, the X’Plor USH is available in 60 and 120 tpi versions (MSRP $47 and $72, respectively). Both versions feature black sidewalls and folding beads, and my 120 tpi samples weighed 330 and 328 grams. Inflated to their maximum 105 psi, the tires measured 33 mm when mounted on 19 mm internal-width rims (several other tires also measured narrower than claimed on those same rims).
Having ridden my share of multi-purpose tires over the past six years, I can tell you that really good ones are few and far between. Some all-around tires have tread that’s largely ornamental, and others are better suited to cross-like conditions than pavement or hardpack dirt roads. Puncture resistance often comes at the expense of ride quality, and superior durability usually translates to excessively heavy. Clement must have done their homework, however, because the company’s X’Plor USH is one of the best mixed-condition tires I’ve tested in recent years.