top of page

The CST Xpedium (Level 6) 700x35c Single Compound 60Tpi Wire Bead Tyre DB
715g £36.99

The CST Xpedium Level 6 700x35C Single Compound 60tpi Wire Bead Tyres are a quick rolling, compliant and dependable model aimed at commuters. Choice of widths is more limited than some might like but lends them to lighter/weekend touring and other contexts where reliability counts. They’re also a bit quicker than some iconic favourites and to date, similarly reliable. 

Pros: Compliant, lower rolling resistance than size would imply, good in wet, greasy conditions, excellent uncture esistance, E-Bike compatibility, keenly priced.

Cons: Sizes favour framesets with big clearances.

bicycle cycle bike rad velo tyre tie test review

Specification

The Xpedium are available in two 700c widths (35 and 42mm) and old school 26x1.75, which is great news for folks running older mountain bikes as commu-touring lorries. Ours were the most puncture resistant with a thick aramid/nylon double-breaker belt running bead to bead. For context, level 1 is the baseline model employing 0.7mm of added rubber, the level 3 EPS (Exceptional Puncture Safety) boasts an extra layer of tightly woven rubberised Poly fibre sandwiched between tyre and casing.

CST say the level 6 offers 40% greater protection, while weighing less and being 5% faster. Weight wise, at 715g, they’re a bit lighter than Kenda Kwick Journey KS Plus and Zee Tire Co Zilent MK2 but noticeably so alongside Schwalbe Marathon Plus (970g for a 700x35).

Water channelling grooves spark quite a lot of debate. It’s true that slick (not bald) casings offer most grip and control and that bicycles do not aquaplane in the wet, like a car potentially can. However, they are designed to capture water and use it to flush mud and potentially embedded sharps out. This pattern also lends itself to light off road diversions too- unmade dirt roads, canal paths etc. In my experience, the water displacing properties are most effective when tackling roads with lots of standing water.

Another boon is their compatibility with e-bikes capable of 50kmh. 60Tpi is what I’ve come to associate with a dependable, yet not too ponderous casing and single compound designs bode well for longevity. Retro-reflective sidewalls are another welcome touch and will entertain old school bottle dynamos. 50-75psi pressure ranges give some tunability, while being achievable pressures for most mini and frame fit pumps- spoiler alert, high volume models are the most efficient, but thankfully I haven’t punctured in the last 500 miles.

Test Bike/Fitting

In stark contrast to the mighty Marathon Plus, the Xpedium rolled effortlessly aboard 19mm rims - Halo White Line Classic  and Evaura . Ours arrived during a freezing spell and I could still scoop them aboard with my thumbs. Admittedly, a solitary bargain basement tyre lever came in handy getting the last 10% home, but it was still realistic sans tools. Mind you, you’d still want a single lever to coax them off. Plenty of clearance at the fork but despite being a moderate 35mm, the treads’ residual rubber still tickled the front Mudhugger Gravel Hugger Mudguard, at their narrowest points. 

tire tyre test eview

This residual rubber took a good while to wear down and some would say, to be expected from a tyre at this end of the market. Something to bear in mind if your tourer will “just” manage 35mm sections and guards, for example.

Ride Quality/Handling 4/5

Some tyres of this genre can feel a bit wooden and surprisingly harsh, but this hasn’t been my experience with the Xpedium. From the outset, the casings feel grippy and supple, gliding over washboard and pockmarked tarmac. A sharp freeze gave way to flooded, greasy roads, presenting the perfect opportunity to assesses their qualities. Though not leach-like, they’ve held their line predictably with no pregnant pauses, despite provocation on my part- I've coaxed them up to 30mph along a one in 7 and they’ve not missed a beat- even at 75psi.

Taking a suspension stem set to a very firm setting into account, they’ve proved comfortable, ironing out lumpy stuff, which can’t always be spotted at these speeds, and I’ve found changing course to swerve holes, impacted mud, kamikaze wild animals etc similarly predictable-even when I’ve been physically and mentally weary. The water channelling grooves have done a decent job of keeping the tread pattern clear of mud, stones, flints and sharps, while keeping good contact with terra firma.

Much the same story around town and tackling railway crossings, inspection covers and similar raised ironworks, although I’ve been tackling these at 15mph, or so.

Getting them up to speed- say away from the lights, exiting roundabouts, or entering the flow of traffic hasn’t been a hardship and I’ve been able to cruise along at 17-18mph with modest effort. Closest in characteristics to the Vee Tire Co Zilent Mk2 but easier to coax up to speed. Kenda Kwick Journey KS Plus  are a little quicker, conserving a little energy over longer distances but feel more direct at comparable pressures (although I suspect these factors are partly attributable to their narrower profile). Most of us will stick with bog standard butyl but switching to This Pirelli Centurato Reinforced Smart Tube  which weighs a feathery 68g made a surprising difference to acceleration. 

Off road basically means light dirt roads, forest trails and canal paths but the sort of thing many a curious commuter, or tourer may want to investigate. 55-60psi seemed to be their sweet spot in these environments, offering decent traction, acceleration and comfort. Personally, I’d go for the 42mm versions if you were regularly mixing things up and clearances allowed, but with the 35mm I’ve always felt in control at 15-16mph. 

Bodes well for a rough stuff commu-tourer/workhorse based around an older cross country mountain bike frameset. A machine likely to escape the maddening crowds more often. Back on terra firma, dropping the pressure to 50psi gave greater confidence following sharp frosts and without trading much zing. 

Puncture Resistance/Durability 4/5

I’m pleased to report no flats in 500 very wintry miles. Not uncommon for tyres with this level of protection, but reassuring, nonetheless. I’ve regularly ridden through lanes resembling Paris-Roubaix, the sort that commonly gathers thorns and hedge clippings, made beelines for shards of glass at junctions and generally called their bluff. All they’ve done is inspire me to relax and enjoy the ride. Whether this level of protection will wane toward the end of their lives is difficult to say, but for now, they’re proving super dependable. No nicks, scrapes or cuts in the casings and I’d be happy enough to take them light/weekend touring.

Value 3.5/5

£36.99 is competitive, but there are some with a similar specification for similar money. Kenda Kwick Journey KS Plus are a bit cheaper at £31 and come in a wider choice of 700c sizes-32,35,38 and 40mm. There’s also a 26x1.75 version to complete the set. I’ve run them for many thousands of miles without flatting. However, their ride quality is a little harsher than the Xpedium and Vee Tire Co Zilent Mk2. These are also available in a nice range of sizes and will double as very solid, dependable touring tyre. 35, 38 and 42mm being the 700c options and yep, there’s a 26x1.75 option, too. However, at £39.99 each, they’re slightly dearer and rolling resistance is more palpable than the others discussed here. Schwalbe Marathon GT365 remain a firm favourite of mine. Extremely dependable, they’ll cut it in most conditions- on and off road and come in a similar range of 700c and old school 26-inch mtb versions. They’re also compatible with E-Bikes producing 50kph. However, at 1048g apiece (26x1.95) they’re considerably heavier than the CST Xpedium and this is very palpable on metaled roads.

Summary

The CST Xpedium are a very competent, versatile choice for commuting but more general, everyday riding, too. CST’s purchase power means the brand can pass these economies to end consumers, which keeps specification and price extremely competitive. There are quicker models around this price point but the most puncture resistant Xpedium are well worth a closer look. 

Verdict: 4/5 Dependable but surprisingly quick tyre all-rounder with broader horizons than commuting. 

 

Michael Stenning

 

CST Tyres

PUBLISHED MARCH 2023

FANCY A REMORP FOR YOUR ORP? $5 DISCOUNT CODE HERE FOR 7DC READERS

BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES

Ryton On Dunsmore

Coventry  CV8 3FH

cycleframes@hotmail.com

30% DISCOUNT CODE ON ALL TITLES FROM PM

IMG_4241.JPG