TIOGA CITY SLICKER TYRES
700x32c 420g £25.99(each)
Tioga’s city slicker tyre is something of an institution. Indeed, they were my go-to town rubber, in the late 90s. I was delighted to discover they’ve lost none of their quick, compliant charm. However, though the blend is still very relevant, some modernisation, including a puncture repelling belt, would be welcomed.
Pros: Quick, compliant and keenly priced. Wide choice of sizes.
Cons: No puncture repelling belt.
The City Slicker are, as their name suggests, a semi-slick 60tpi commuter/street tyre with water channelling grooves. As we’ve discussed on several occasions, a slick (as distinct from bald) tyre provides the best grip in all conditions, save for snow and ice, when spikes are called for.
The water channelling patterns are primarily, for psychological reassurance. Many riders feel comforted by some form of tread. Tioga graphics, directional arrows and recommended pressures are your lot.
Wire beads continue this old school theme. Ours were the 32mm sections but there are 28 and 38mm alternatives in 700c. There is also a 27x1.5 and 26x1.0, 1.25, 1.5 and 1.95 for older mtb biased commu-tourers/street hacks. Operating pressures are genre typical, between 50 and 75psi.
Indicative of a compliant ride, while also being well within the reach of most modern mini pumps, should you flat by the roadside. Talking of compliant, they’re an absolute doddle to fit, slipping aboard the rim sans tools. Removal calls for a single, very basic “giveaway” type tyre lever.
I generally opt for a wider section35mm at the rear and 38mm up front on my cyclo -cross inspired fixed gear winter/trainer. Primarily, because I like to fill the clearances and enjoy a more compliant ride. Especially across washboard surfaces that I regularly encounter, on local, single track lanes.
It’s also worth mentioning that I traversed London on the 26x1.95 and loved the big section’s capacity to smooth out raised iron works, smaller holes and other random nonsense. Nonetheless, 32mm is arguably bang on for older tourers, flat bar road whippets, or cyclo-cross bikes in civilian dress, serving as asphalt trainers.
Rather like old flames, there is always the risk of pronounced disappointment. However, I’m delighted to report the city slickers can still hold their own, in most respects. Coaxing them up to a decent speed, and moreover, maintaining the tempo requires surprisingly little effort.
Extended, traffic-light controlled roadworks provided the perfect test. Suffice to say, I acceleration and keeping pace with other traffic was a cinch, making these delays almost fun.
The narrower sections certainly helped here and proved a little nimbler around holes, glass and similar debris.
Along the open road, little effort was required to cruise at 20mph and along greasy descents, they hugged the surface better than I had any right to expect.
Even at 70psi and 28mph. I risked 30mph, on a couple of occasions, with no ill effect, although by this point, they were telling me to ease off, just a touch.
A similar story when tackling roundabouts and other right turns at pace.
Raised inspection covers and similar ironworks induced a more noticeable loss of traction, compared with some contemporary rubber, including Vee Tire Co Baldy or Schwalbe Marathon GT . Similarly, I’ve dropped the pressure to 60psi, on some very chill nights, when a carpet of frost has been seemingly forming in front of me. That said; the city slickers give ample warning, things never turned bandit. Many would rightly point out, the latter also cost a good bit more.
Undoubtedly, the test rig’s Redshift Sports Shockstop Suspension Stem irons out intrusive low-level vibration.
However, the city slickers felt more compliant across over-banding and similarly uneven surfaces. Since we’re on the subject, canal paths are as close as I’d come to venturing off road.
Just one flat, these past few weeks and 400 miles. A viscous hedge clipping, not the stuff of suburbia. This hasn’t resulted in any obvious wounding, so no call for super glue, let alone a “boot” beneath the casing.
Though I’ve tended to brush the casings down, every few outings. On wetter days, small shards of glass and stones have largely flushed out, rather than into the “water channelling grooves”, which is as I remember things.
Iconic is one of those words, bandied about to the point where it’s almost lost its meaning. However, its relevant when discussing the city slickers. Despite being unchanged for donkeys’ years, they’ve aged very well.
While still competitively priced, specifications and puncture repelling tech has come a long way. If you aren’t particularly puncture prone, then their weight and perky persona have a definite pull. However, if you are wanting more security and are prepared to trade some compliance, designs such as Vee Tire Co Baldy might be a better fit.