FMB Gripo XL Cyclocross Tubular Tire
Like all FMB products, the Gripo XL is handmade by François Marie in his workshop in Plurien, France. They're made the same way fine tubular tires have been made for decades: a latex tube is surrounded by a finely-woven cotton casing, and a 100% all natural rubber tread is laminated onto the casing. This construction method is noteworthy because it results in extremely supple, flexible tires. The more flexible the tire casing, the better and more quickly it conforms to the ground surface as it passes over it at speed. This means the tread works better, as it gains purchase on the ground more securely for superior traction. It also aids in cornering, where the increased gravitational forces allow the tire to splay out over the ground surface, creating a wider contact patch, and providing better and more progressive grip. You'll notice this softness as soon as you touch an FMB tire - it just feels pliant, flexible, and smooth in the hand. You'll doubly notice it on your first ride where your traction will be increased, and the bike will take on a feeling of floating over the ground. This great suppleness means extreme resistance to pinch flats and impact damage.
FMB offers several tread patterns to match a wide variety of riding conditions. We've opted for the Gripo XL tread as our all-around offering because we feel it is the best tread available. Part of the lure of cyclocross is that it offers every rider the opportunity to completely geek out on equipment. Tailoring the bike, wheels, and tires to a particular course and weather condition is almost as much fun as the actual racing. Having said that, if we could have one and only one tire for a whole season of racing, it would undoubtedly be the Gripo XL. The tread is based on the now-retired Racing Ralph tread. It is very fast-rolling on pavement, hard-pack and grass; exceedingly grippy on loose soil, dirt and wet surfaces. While it's not a dedicated mud tire, it dispatches muddy patches with surprising aplomb.
The Gripo XL is 33mm in width, which means it conforms with UCI rules. The sidewalls are a tan/white color on the standard model and are pre-treated with Aquaseal compound for long life and survivability in wet conditions. The PRO model gets a latex sealant on the casing and are green.
$115 Now $75 for a limited time - Standard Cotton Casing SOLD OUT $130 Now $85 for a limited time - PRO version SOLD OUT
- - 315 grams
- - 33mm width
- - Latex Inner Tube
- - All-natural cotton casing
- - All-purpose tread
- - Handmade in France
- - Sidewalls pre-treated with water sealant
Tubular Tire Disclaimer: Tubular tires rock, but they can be dangerous unless installed properly, which can be a tricky business. Properly mounting tubular tires requires both specific knowledge and extensive practice. If you lack either of these, please find someone who has both in abundance. Someone like a professional bicycle mechanic, who would love to glue up your sweet new cyclocross tubulars instead of performing yet another tune-up on a hybrid.