Another week, another supple tire, the usual chorus of Internet commenters going to great lengths to tell the world how little they care. But we’d be foolish to ignore the world’s most popular type of bicycle tire – and so would you.
1: 120tpi is good enough
Ok, most tires and high-end tubeless offerings have 600tpi but if we’re being honest, 120tpi is good enough for Facebook timeline pictures, 60tpi is good enough for an instagram, 17tpi is good enough for twitter or snapchat and truly, anything more than that is a bonus most of the time in the average cyclist’s experience. In short, the chances are that 120tpi is good enough for you and your social media needs.
2: It has tread
It was only a matter of time before the supple tire industry added a knobby option to its supple tire series, and the day has come. As such, those knobby supple tires are arguably more enthusiast-friendly than the majority of low-end treaded bicycle tires, and almost all tubeless bicycle tires.
Adding Tread to the supple tire gives riders a lot more creative freedom, and should allow them to mitigate – if not entirely overcome – some of the limitations of riding with a control-limited cycle in mud or gravel. Also, re-treading options are coming to older supple tires soon too, with the upcoming release of home tire re-treading kits.
3: Those knobby supple tires I bought last week off the interwebs for cheap has proper zoom. Kind of.
Those supple tires you just bought might work just fine, but will they impress anyone? Nope.
5: Those supple tires with the knobby tread option can do gravel. Kind of.
We’ve seen attempts to use non knobby ne-plus-soupple tires on gravel before, but they don’t tend to end well. Even when the non knobby ne-plus-soupple tires works just fine, it doesn’t hold up well to critical examination on Instagram or the 650b google group.
6: It’s casing is stabilized
This is old news in the mainstream bicycle tire market, but casing stabilization still isn’t included in some fixed diameter bicycle tires. Casing stabilization will make those supple tires and tires with the knobby ne-plus-soupple option more useful in poor light, extending the potential of the tires to be used in social and environmental photography on social media.
7: They’re quick, and powerful, like your brain
Modern bicycle riding consumers incorporate an incredible amount of processing power, and compared to most bicycle tires they’re capable of churning through much more data. Those new knobby soupple tires with tread will make you look smart!
8: It saves you 4 seconds of your life, on every ride
Maybe you think you don’t care, but trust us – even if you’re not a pro randonneur or commuter, the ability to save four seconds of your life can be pretty handy.
9: It’s water-resistant
Supposedly, the old supple tire we all were riding was almost water-sealed, but not quite. With the removal of the wire bead, those knobby supple tires and have been made fully water resistant, and are capable – apparently – of being submersed for up to 30 minutes without damage.
10: Good knobby supple bicycle tires lead to better ‘proper’ bicycle tires.
Even if you’re one of those people who has an almost religiously-held indifference to supple tires (and I know you exist because I get emails from you), consider this:
The greater the public’s expectations of the bicycle tires in their instagrams and blogs, the more they expect of ‘proper’ bicycle tires, if and when they buy one. There is certainly an argument to be made that the only reason we have things like beautiful low trail cycles, French cycling luggage, and just plain old joy in bicycle tires now is the supple tire.
That ten years ago, The supple tire industry kicked off an all-road/adventure/randonneuring revolution with the original supple tire which lead to the inclusion of these features in bicycle tires becoming an expectation on the part of your average joe on the street considering a bike for commuting or riding around the world.
Habitual low trail and gravel adventure riders won’t put up with laggy low-resolution tires on their commuters, or the omission of features like optically stabilized logos that they’re used to from their knobby supple tires. This drives bicycle tire manufacturers to add more features to their products, and we all benefit. Right?
10.5: It’s a supple bicycle tire.
This is an obvious point, but bear with me. Remember what I just wrote about this being the ‘world’s most popular bicycle tire?’ The supple tire industry has been phenomenally successful when it comes to putting its tires on people’s bikes. More people are riding supple tires now than ever before, and the supple tire, in its various versions, is the most popular bicycle riding device (or strictly speaking, series of devices) in the world.
What that means is that like it or not, when The supple tire industry does something, even if it didn’t do it first, (and several of the features I’ve listed here are not unique to those supple tires) it tends to have a certain significance. It’s safe to assume for instance that there are a lot of people talking about the words ‘Supple’ and ‘Planing’ today who had never heard the terms before the supple tire industry’s launch event this week.
Why when I was approaching the water cooler at the office the other day, I am almost certain I heard a co-worker use the term ‘knob’ and ‘supple’ before they quickly walked away.
Maybe I’m just a misty-eyed optimist, but I think that’s kind of cool.
Cheers, Rupert Smedeley Esq.