Ritchey Shield WCS Cyclocross Tyre
Ritchey Shield WCS Cyclocross Tyre
By Tim Granshaw
Review of the clincher Ritchey Shield WCS Cyclocross Tyre
The Ritchey Shield WCS, a tyre Ritchey claims is designed for “predictable grip in dry and hardpack conditions” was much more than we bargained for. The combination of a sticky rubber compound, a large casing (3-4 millimeters over UCI limits), and an ingenious tread design ensure the Shields kept gripping long after many cyclocross intermediates give up the ghost. We loved the tyre, switching to mud tyres only after the first major storms of the British winter turned local cyclocross courses into sloppier affairs. More detail? Read on below.
Pavement (3 out of 5): The Shield is not a pavement rocket, particularly when ridden at the low pressures the tyre thrives on when off-road. The low profile, tightly bunched center tread and dual rubber compound are saving graces: They keep the large volume tyre rolling smoothly and relatively quickly. Cornering is very good thanks to the round tread profile and prodigious contact patch.
Hardpack and dry grass (5 out of 5): Phenomenal. We couldn’t get the tyre to break loose in grass corners despite our best efforts. Even sprinting into a turn and leaning it over, the tyre stayed planted. We lost our nerve before the tyre lost bite. Equally impressive, the rubber is reluctant to slip under braking or acceleration. It can be done, but it took ham-fisted brake usage on our disc brake-equipped ‘cross bike to get a moderate slip.
Wet grass (5 out of 5): Again, this tyre is glued. The tyre was slightly more unsettled under braking and acceleration,probably because the center tread is a much lower profile than the rest of the tyre. The side knobs continue to grab and hold fast to the ground even as a slightly tacky line starts to wear between the course markers.
Sodden grass and light mud (3 out of 5): The center tread starts to become a little overwhelmed here. As the mud starts to mix with the grass (a few laps into a race on a wet field), the tyre starts to slip pretty significantly under braking when upright. As you turn in and the side knobs start to bite, the tyre settles back in. This is helped by the large casing as at lower pressures the side knobs engage earlier than if we were running a lower volume tyre at higher pressures.
Mud (2 out of 5): The tyre center doesn’t pack as most intermediates would be expected to, due to the low tread profile of the center knobs. It behaves a lot like a file tread. The side knobs do experience a little packing when it gets really gloopy. With a tyre this wide, that can become a bit of a problem as the relatively low chainstay clearance plus sideknob packing means the chainstay area can get pretty jammed when the going gets tough. The side knobs do keep traction predictable, though the center knobs are prone to slipping at slow speeds. This was never sold as a mud tyre but rather a dry weather intermediate, so performance is still more than respectable.
If like us, you’re not racing UCI races any time soon, the Ritchey Shield WCS is an excellent all-round intermediate tyre. The low profile center tread and round casing will take you a long way through the early season, while the large casing and reasonably large side tread hold on in more difficult conditions of late October and early November. Color us impressed.
Ritchey Shield WCS Cyclocross RRP: £40.00.
For more information see the Ritchey Website
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