I’ll admit I was confused when the package arrived, a pair of sweet looking, traditional cyclocross tires with an Islabikes return label. Islabikes, for those of you without offspring, is the premier maker of high quality kids bicycles. Anyone who has ever hefted what mostly passes for a child’s bike has thought to themselves, “Whoa. That’s heavy,” has not encountered Islabikes, who make the sorts of machines you or I would want to ride if we were 9.
Islabikes has developed a Pro Series, of which these are just one piece, with more of a focus on performance level equipment. You could argue that my personal performance level is pretty low, but that’s not an argument I’d show up for.
Back to the tires. You know, it says something about brand consciousness that we so easily dismiss things that don’t have the right labels on them, and I have to put up my hand and confirm that I looked at these tires, fresh out of the box, and thought, “They look great, but they can’t be good, can they?”
I rode them a lot. I rode them on the road, and they’re pretty fast, 32mm but with a scattered enough tread to leave relatively little rubber on the pavement. I rode them on dirt roads, with similar results. I road them on single-track, and I liked the way they bit. In all, I probably have four months of steady riding on these, and I had zero flats and zero instances where I thought, “Hmmm, I need different tires.”
I did not race them, so I won’t speak for their race worthiness, but they held well at lower pressures. They are tubeless ready. I imagine they’d be good in loose soil, mud, etc. You could probably drink a beer, while riding a hairpin, wearing a banana costume, on these tires, but I haven’t tried it myself.
It’s petty and vain of me, but what I liked best about these was how they looked over time. The tan sidewalls took on that orangey patina. People asked me about them constantly. They ride really well, and they look good.
Check them out here. 185 TPI, tan sidewalls, 325 grams. Tubeless ready.