So from what I've read a 120 tpi tire will be more supple and ride a bit faster than a 60 tpi. Conversely it will also be more susceptible to flat tires and wear faster. But that's all theory. Tire make/model being equal, is there a noticeable difference in the real world? If someone swapped the tires out on me overnight without my knowledge would I even notice a difference? Or is it one of those things you would need a stopwatch to record any speed gains? And would they flat more often?
I'm looking to replace the tires on my cyclocross bike and I'm down to either the Clement X'Plor USH or the Challenge Gravel Grinder. Both tires are available in either 60 or 120 tpi versions.
I plan on doing one or two cyclocross races this year but the tires would mainly be ridden on gravel or limestone trails like the Des Plaines River Trail or the IPP. And of course pavement to get to/from those trails.
Any input would be appreciated!
If you can tell the difference in ride quality between over and under inflated tires, you'll be able to tell the difference in tpi.
I'd rather buy two sets of cheap tires: an aggressive knobby for off road, and a smooth high volume tire like a (non tourguard) pasella. You'd be splitting the difference with a gravel tire and it'd be slow on the road and slick in the grass.
I would not agree that a higher tpi tire will be more susceptible to flats or wear faster. I've been riding 320tpi Vittoria road tires in Chicago for years with no problem. Well, nothing will stop a 2" nail. I would say that any tire that is overly worn will be prone to more flats, excepting maybe Gatorskins you can rub off all the compound on those tires and just ride on the kevlar casing.
There is a 60gram weight difference between the Clement 60 and 120 - the 120 is lighter at 340grams.
I've no big opinion between the Challenge tread pattern vs the MSO, though for purely CX reasons I'd go for the taller side knobs of the Challenge for cornering. However, the Challenge tire is a whopping 425grams (for the Plus version, the Race version is 17g lighter)
I did have to struggle between choosing the MSO and the USH last winter, for the Barry Roubaix. Went with the USH and like it very much, rolls fast on pavement but grippy on dirt. The USH tread pattern seemed to little of one and not enough of another, in terms of fast rolling but grip.
I run the challenge griffo xs on my clincher CX wheels, using challenge latex tubes and 40ml of caffelatex sealant per tire, I got about 750 mixed road/gravel/singletrack miles on them before the tread was worn through. These tires are 300 TPI and when paired with latex tubes they are the closest thing to tubulars as you can get with the convince of clinchers. I put the sealant in the tubes because it is better then chucking a a $18 innertube each flat.