The Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team recently debuted a new 'cross tubular from Dugast called the Small Bird. Billed as a sort of hybrid between the current Typhoon and Rhino treads, the Small Bird is Dugast's first 'cross tubular with a dual-compound tread – and it's already been used to win U-23, Elite and Junior races at the recent World Cup in Tabor, Czech Republic.
As the name suggests, the new Dugast Small Bird is similar to the company's Fast Bird mountain bike tubular with sharp, hook-shaped knobs derived from the mud-slaying Rhino but with knob heights and sizes varying across the width of the tire.
According to team manager (and current exclusive US importer) Stu Thorne, the Small Bird's side knobs are tall and stout to pierce through softer ground and provide a firm, secure shoulder for attacking corners – just like the Rhino.
However, the knob height and size decrease progressively as you move toward the center of the tread in order to provide a faster roller and less knob squirm when on harder ground. In addition, the Small Bird is the first tire from Dugast to sport a dual-compound tread with harder and faster rubber down the center mixed with a softer and grippier compound on the sides.
Hutchinson is making the treads for Dugast, and the French tire giant also has its own dual-compound cyclocross tubular now, the Black Mamba.
The Small Bird is Dugast's first cyclocross tubular with a dual-compound tread
Thorne claims the Small Bird is likely now the most versatile tire in Dugast's lineup with cornering traction nearly on par with a Rhino but straight-line speed similar to the long-running Typhoon.
"I think it's going to be perfect for America," said Thorne.
Stock durability on the new Small Bird should be better than previous Dugast tires, too, with a protective coating applied to the cotton sidewalls applied direct at the factory that supposedly improves the tire's resistance to abrasion and rotting in wet conditions without adversely affecting the suppleness. However, Thorne still advocates supplemental coats of Aquaseal just to be safe.
Dugast will make the Small Bird only in 32mm and 33mm widths. Pricing and weight will be consistent with other Dugast models – around $125 and 366g for the 33mm size – but Thorne says availability will be "super limited" for now. In fact, even the team only has two sets on hand at the moment.
The buying public will be able to purchase their own Small Bird tires in a few weeks (Thorne's Cyclocrossworld.com company is the exclusive US importer) but save for a lucky few, most amateur racers probably shouldn't count on getting any on their own bikes until next season.