There’s a massive puss-filled blister on the edge of my thumb and my girlfriend has fallen out with me because our living room is now knee-deep in little black squares.
Two hours ago I started crafting my own pair of cut-down downhill tyres and now they’re finally finished. Like a wizened old bushman knocking up a canoe out of a tree trunk I’ve whittled my way through a wall of rubber and come out the other side. The once spikey Maxxis Wet Screams are freshly knobbled. It’s a satisfying feeling.
The Wet Scream itself is a pretty special tyre. It was specifically designed for one track in-particular: Les Gets. When the going gets extra-sloppy on the famous French hillside the heavily spiked Wet Scream slices through and hooks up propelling the world’s fastest racers to podium glory. It’s so well thought of in fact that even riders sponsored by different tyre manufacturers have been known to run Wet Screams with the logos blacked out.
However, the current trend is to lop down these vicious beasts and run them in slightly less torrential conditions. When it’s been raining loads, puddles linger about and greasy mud coats every turn. This July basically.
So with the Sunday shod in the new skinny-look rubber I hit our top-secret MBUK DH test facility to see what all the fuss was about.
Under braking into the first corner the difference is tangible. So much so that the braking spot I usually pick in the wet leaves me rolling at half speed through the bermed turn and having to get on the gas hard on the way back out. The studs just dig in and stop you, no flat surfaces to skid across or wide profile to balloon its way wide, just spade loads of hungry grip. Through the turn as well there was nowhere near any sign of front-end wash out. This is good.
Through the following mossy rock section the Super Tacky 42a rubber lets me away with it, just. The skinnier tyres moving around nervously before I hit dirt then we’re back into the grip again and away. As the days go on my runs feel quicker and quicker as I rely more and more heavily on the tyres and it becomes more and more fun as a result.
So was it worth it? For me and my massive blister it definitely was. Going this fast in the wet has never been so much fun. I just wish I wasn’t having to do so in the summer…