40mm of pure fun
Clement describe their X’Plor MSO is as an all-rounder tyre for “gravel roads, trails, cyclocross, urban assault and even pavement.” That’s a big claim. The situational requirement of all those surfaces are wildly different. Could this tyre possibly do all of that?
Words and images - James Raison
ABOUT THE X'PLOR
The X’Plor features a plump 40mm width and a graded tread pattern. The centre is smooth and knobbly to keep rolling resistance down on smooth surfaces. Moving to the shoulder, the knobs get more aggressive to grip onto the looser terrain. I tested the 60tpi non-tubeless ready version on my Giant TCX.
Fitting the X’Plors was odd; they’re easily the loosest tyres I’ve wrestled onto a rim. Getting them on was easily doable without any tyre levers or thumb-damage. It's a welcome change from most tyres that show nothing but hostility to my tyre levers and feeble cyclist arms.
To my immediate surprise, the X’Plors rolled nicely on tarmac. I’d switched from a Maxxis Mud Wrestler CX tyre whose tall, knobbly tread caused high rolling resistance. No such complaints about the X’Plor. I didn’t even feel the need to take them off for my work commute because of their (relatively) efficient rolling. Ploughing through potholes, drain covers and other bumps was an enjoyable novelty at times. When the roads go uphill, things get less impressive. All that rubber tips the scales at 480g per tyre. That’s the price you have to pay for all the functionality.
Gravel grinding was a blast, and is the X'Plor's trump card. They give you bucketloads of grip with such a big contact patch. I found 40psi best for days with lots of loose surfaces, well below the manufacturer's recommended minimum of 55psi. The low pressure allowed the tyres to use their tread properly, with the smooth centre and grippy shoulders working in tandem. The X’Plors were most effective on gravel, so those who enjoy regular vitamin G riding should take note.
They even handled some scrappy mountainbike trails. There’s enough cushioning at low pressure to rumble over rugged terrain. Sure, you won’t be doing it with the same reckless abandon as a dualie or XC bike, but they can handle it. Occasionally the smooth tread would get overwhelmed and slide around on slick trails, but that is to be expected.
The tyres may not master all terrains but they're very good on most of them. What you get with the Clement X'Plor MSO is a tyre that allows you to comfortably spin on the tarmac, veer off to grind some gravel, then throw your bike down a loose single track all on the same ride. Sound like fun? It is!
These are a compromise tyre but that’s not a bad thing. Compromising allows them to be a jack-of-all-trades. They’re excellent on gravel, good enough on sealed roads, and proficient on the trails. A tyre that gives you that versatility and freedom can lead to some fun days out on the bike. That is what’s most important.
Clement X'Plor MSO tyres retail for $69 AUD each.
Are you a gravel grinder? What's your tyre of choice? Let us know in the comments below.