Unless you’re made of cash, don’t trash (your nice stuff) (I’m a headline genius)

In seasons past, I never gave much consideration to the idea of shelving my race wheels during the crappy months of the year. Through the sand, salt, and muck of spring, I’d run my Ksyrium SLs, clad in Michelin Pro Race tires. This never really seemed like a big deal to me, until this winter.

This winter I started to notice how expensive wheels and tires have become. And maybe not so much getting more expensive, but that the discounts I could find in the past are simply no longer there.

As an aside – I started to feel this a little last season, when I lost two perfectly good Michelin Pro2s to sidewall punctures. Punctures induced from chainring contact while my bike was in transport. In spite of being careful when I packed my bike into the car. Wheelbags now solve that issue. Good lesson.

Now that I’m on the road more in the winter, I’m more aware of how awful the roads are this time of year. I’m one nasty pothole away from trashing a tire and a wheel or two. And I can’t afford to replace these things! Realizing that SLs are much different now than they were a few years ago, it’s still a matter of $600-$900. That would suck. And the MSRP on the tires is $65 a pop. Double ouch.

Anyway, I got a speck of intelligence floating around in there somewhere. Needed to find it.

Trip to the LBS and I picked up a pair of Specialized All Condition Sport tires. Wire bead, 25c, $30 a tire.

They’re not flashy, hardly svelte, but they’re tough as nails, ride exceptionally well, and the tread pattern inspires a lot of confidence when blasting through the crap littering the shoulder in January. One of the best investments ever. Mated to The Major’s Bontrager Race Lites, which have survived 7 seasons on the road and a cyclocross season with nary a hiccup, this should be what I need right up until track racing begins in April.

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