Category Archives: tires


I might have a problem. I’ve tried to get help, but nobody understands. I age my FMBs loosely wrapped in my office desk drawer. Why? When I need comfort or just want to relax, I can open the drawer slightly, slide my hand in, and fondle them ever so gently. No other tire, even Veloflex, has the same feel…


…and until now, no clincher even came close.

Today, I received a pair of 32 mm Grand Bois Extra Légère tires from Compass Bicycles, and the feel in the hand is pretty damn close to FMBs. At 232 grams they are lighter than many 23 mm tires and most 25 mm tires. They are going on the cross bike tomorrow, and next week I’ll be taking them off again to mount them with Challenge 28-35 mm latex tubes (finally found a place with them in stock!)


I have high expectations.

Now, Jan…give me a true 25 mm Extra Légère tire, please. Or even just produce the 26 mm tire in an extra light version. The Grand Bois Col de la Madeleine also comes in an Extra Légère version; I may just have to satisfy myself with that until I can get something a little wider.

In any case, this is as excited as I’ve ever been for a new tire (aside from my yearly FMB restock, of course!) As far as I know, this is a limited edition tire until further notice; hopefully if the demand is high enough they’ll make them a regular part of the program.

Oh, and by the way, I’m really not a tire fondler. I was exaggerating for effect. Plus, I’ve made an effort to control myself since the second time my girlfriend caught me late at night, hand in drawer.


Challenge Eroica: Tight!

…and I don’t mean “tight” in the positive sense.

Last night I attempted to mount a set of 30 mm Challenge Eroica tires on my new cross bike (which isn’t actually intended for cross, but more about that later). They were so tight that I couldn’t even stuff a tube under them. So for 2 hours of effort all I got were some blistered thumbs and a popped tube (Exhibit A).

Exhibit A: Human thumb after failed attempt to mount a Challenge Eroica 30 mm tire*

Tubular Thumb

I’ve never had a set of tires that were so tight that I couldn’t mount them. Even Veloflex tires, which are ordinarily quite tight. In this case, I couldn’t even use a tire jack because I couldn’t get the tube in. It was so bad that even Winston was disgusted. Exhibit B shows a typical feline reaction to Challenge Eroica tires.

Exhibit B. Feline reaction to Challenge Eroica tires.

Lamb Doesn't Like Challenge

In any case, I’m returning these and getting some of the new Grand Bois Extra Legere 32s: 230 grams for a 32 mm tire (and 181 grams for the 23–lighter than Veloflex)! I’ve used the Grand Bois 23s, 32s, and 42s in the past, and they were great tires.

Now, I just need to track down some 28-32 mm latex tubes. Every place I’ve checked seems to be sold out. Anyone know of a source?

I’ll let you know how the Grand Bois tires work out after some serious gravel road abuse.

*The blistered thumb in Exhibit A is actually from removing a too well-glued tubular tire a few months ago, but serves as an example of what you can look forward to if you try to mount Eroicas.