I take my rubber seriously. And in this case, I am talking about the rubber I ride. On my bike.
Since I converted to tubeless, I honestly haven’t looked back. I’ve also found myself paying much more attention to the tire market. Tubeless appears to be slowly gaining ground, but the choices are still limited. A quick search on Competitive Cyclist yields 18 tubeless tires in comparison to 34 clinchers.
Thus I get excited whenever I see a new offering.
Although Zipp is best known for their highend carbon hoops and sweet looking cockpit bits, they also make tires. The Zipp rubber might be a bit underrated and far less prominent than the wheels, we think they are still pretty darn good and they have a small, but loyal following.
Personally, I’ve settled on the Schwalbe Pro One for the past year or so and I honestly think the Schwalbe guys are onto something good. In fact, I love ’em so much I bought myself four pairs and they now sit next to my seldomly-used collection of tubular tires. With that said, the search for the tubeless holy grail never ends, which brings us to the Tangente RT25.
At first glance, the RT25 looks just like any other tubeless tire: All black everything (I am still hoping to see a tubeless tire with a tan sidewall, guys.) My test pair weighed in at 290 and 300 grams… very good considering Zipp listed these $74, French-made gems at 292 grams. Zipp wouldn’t divulge which manufacturer makes the tires, but there are only a handful of tubeless tire manufacturers out there, and there’s only one French tubeless road manufacturer I can think of…
The Tangente RT25 was one of the easiest tubeless tires I’ve ever installed. I guess Zipp really means it when they say “No tire levers needed or recommended for installation.” It slid onto my Bontrager Aeolus 3 TLR D3 carbon clincher so effortlessly I was worried that I was going to spend some quality (read: way too much) time trying to seat a loose fitting tire. Not so. Not only did it not need sealant to help seat the tire, it popped right into the rim bed on the first try as if it had a tube in it. Zipp does recommend adding some sealant against puncture, though. So I just deflated it, injected some sealant, and inflated. I really liked the zero-mess and zero-fuss installation.
On the road, the RT25 were impressive. I’ve been running mine at around 90PSI for the past two months and they were buttery smooth and lively. The 127TPI nylon casing was supple while the 60 shore A tire compound was both grippy and durable. Granted, the RT25 is a racing tire where tire wear takes second place behind performance but the RT25 has shown little wear, even for those not particularly deep water-siping patterns on the side that I was initially skeptical about. I haven’t had a flat yet, but there’s a Polymide layer beneath the rubber should those occasions arise.
Overall, it’s hard to find any fault with the RT25. It’s fast, grippy, and durable. There are definitely lighter tubeless road tires on the market, but the durability and exceptional all-around performance of the RT25 is well worth the few extra grams. The RT25 reminded me of the crowd-favorite Continental Grand Prix 400 S II clincher in many ways. The Tangente RT25 is a tire that won’t let you down and it’s possible I just found my new favorite tubeless road tire.