Based on reports from the field that tires with cotton, silk, or other natural fiber sidewalls with open tubular style of construction were degrading quicker than expected, we launched a study to understand the validity and prevalence of these claims. As a result of this investigation, we confirmed that tires using natural sidewall materials with an open tubular type construction, are not fit for use with ENVE carbon rims.
It is important to note that through this study, we reached out to many dealers as well as other wheel manufacturers to see if their consumers are having the same results as ours. The response was an unequivocal confirmation that these tires were fatiguing prematurely and in some cases resulting in crashes and injury to the rider when the tire sidewall failed or the tire came off the rim without warning.
There are two specific failure modes that have been documented and are not limited to ENVE rims, rather these failures have been consistent in our test lab on a variety of other manufacture’s rims, both alloy and carbon.
The first failure is best defined as a cut or wearing through of the natural fibers on the sidewall of the tire at or near the rim’s hook bead.
Once cut through, the tube extrudes through the tear and bursts, often unseating the tire from the rim resulting in sudden loss of control and a crash. The cutting of the sidewall is the result of soft fibers (the cotton or similar textile) being abraded by the harder edge of the rim during the rotational compression cycles of wheel and tire.
The second failure mode is that of the tire itself stretching off the rim. This is can be caused by a variety of factors, among them, low bead stiffness, varying tire diameters, over inflation, or some combo of the three. The tires most susceptible to this failure are those with a “handmade open tubular” type construction.
Given the large selection of tires on the market that deliver excellent performance with reliability, it is our recommendation that ENVE customers should not pair these tires with their ENVE wheelsets.
BRANDS THAT ARE NOT RECOMMENDED
Vittoria Corsa Non-Tubeless (Not ALL Vittoria Tires) – This tire features cotton sidewalls in black, para (tan), and anthracite (gray). This tire has been described to us by Vittoria as a race day only type of tire and that it is not recommended for training or prolonged use. This tire has been the main offender for cut sidewalls. While this one tire is not recommended for use with ENVE wheels, Vittoria’s Rubino model tires and the tubeless ready Corsa Speed have proven safe and reliable in our testing.
Challenge Handmade Clinchers – These are Open Tubular Non-Vulcanized Tires
Models: Criterium SC S, Strada SC S, Paris Roubaix SC S, Strada PRO, Paris Roubaix PRO, Elite PRO
RECOMMENDED TIRE BRANDS
Vittoria – Just not the Corsa Open Tubular
Specialized – Only known exception is the S Works 2Bliss 28mm which is not compatible with hookless rims like the G23 or SES 4.5 AR