The Tufo Calibra Plus clincher tyres are light at just 180g. It is possible that they are too light for a winter race series in which you spend twice as long commuting to each race over rough, debris strewn London roads as you do actually racing…
You can read the Preview of these tyres here but what are they actually like to ride?
Winter riding is tough on tyres and that is the idea; if they can survive winter miles, which isn’t really what performance rubber like this was designed for, then come ‘the season’ they shouldn’t have too many issues.
As a result I’ve been a bit unfair to these lightweight tyres, using them for commuting, racing, and long, filthy training rides plus everything in between, yet perhaps rather mundanely, I have had zero issues with the Tufo Calibra Plus. There are a few small cuts in the tyres – strangely more in the front mounted tyre, yet only the one in the rear – but aside from that they have held up well, with just one puncture caused by a small piece of glass in three months’ winter usage over some pretty poor London roads, testament to the effectiveness of the puncture proof ply Tufo use. Glass cuts can often finish some brands of performance tyre but the Tufo’s are still completely usable which is something I like a lot; they are well made.
This resilience is what I had hoped for but certainly not what I expected. I don’t mind admitting that I was slightly nervous about using these tyres at this time of year. Fortunately if you bought these tyres you’d be keeping them for best, undoubtedly putting them to use in ‘the season’, over spring and summer. It’ll be interesting to hear Paul Pickup’s views on their sister tyre, the Calibra, which he’s been testing and offers a bit more protection in the form of one extra layer of ply…
The wear on the tread seems minimal, certainly in the centre of the tyre, which is slick in pursuit of speed and smooth rolling. And they do hold excellent speed, undoubtedly helped by their lack of mass and the supple 240 TPI casing under that tread.
The casing changes to a stiffer 120 TPI in the sidewalls above which the shoulder tread is patterned for cornering grip. It works as well; the Calibra seems to have an abundance of grip, both during the races and during general riding and commuting, no matter what the weather. I have yet to find the limit, even in wet races. In the testing realm of high speed winter crit racing, they have provided good, reassuring handling when cornering, especially as the nicely rounded profile of the tyre, mounted on our wide carbon rims, means that there’s no sudden shift as you drop onto the shoulder of the tyre. It’s all highly predictable.
The test pair are 23mm section, not the new on trend 25mm. As all the research states that 25mm is faster, we can only assume they’d be better performing in that size, but would you really notice the difference? These 23’s are still very quick. But if there’s one area these tyres could improve on it’s comfort and every millimetre helps, so that extra 2mm of width might be what’s needed. The 23’s are a more unforgiving, out and out performance tyre in that respect.
Should you buy them? Well they are lightweight, they are fast and they are grippy. If you are a clincher user who wants the best tyres for racing or setting that fast time, then you can’t go wrong with these tyres. Expect to see me racing on them for a while yet.
Calibra Plus £35.76 / $49
Tufo UK (Sonic Cycles)
Tufo Calibra Plus from Wiggle
Tufo Calibra Plus from ProBikeKit
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