The New C Line Tires are available CLICK HERE to purchase
We have been working with soma since last Spring to bring some wide, supple, high quality tires to market. The results are in and the new C-Line tires are looking great out of the box, and on initial test rides.
Background: There has been a bit of a hole in the market for a well made, light weight and wide 700c tire. I have been happy with their New Express 700×37, but having ridden both the NE and B-Line versions of this tire in the 650b size I knew that there could be more. Starting with everything good about the well-regarded Panaracer Pasela and New Express tires, the inquiry was made about the status of their 700x3xxmm molds. Apparently it had worn beyond use, they were in the process of making new molds and we were given a bit of a clean slate. Taking notes from the B-Line we asked for the tread width and pattern of the 35mm Pasela, the casing of the 37mm, No extra protective lining, a folding bead, and since we were going this far we asked for color options on such a relatively small run of tires. Panaracer said yes, and the wheels were rolling.
The first batch made its way from Japan to Soma and now us. Testing and distribution began yesterday. Using aspects of a proven design and partnering with a high quality producer like Panaracer we are confident that the tires will meet and exceed expectations. This batch has two color options, Terra Cotta with tan skin walls and Black with Tan skin walls. The color does not influence performance, and is only aesthetic. I will be riding a set of the Terra Cotta tires over the next few months.
The 76g drop per tire totals up to a savings of over a 1/4 pound of rotating mass. Paired with a lighter wheel set like the Velocity A23 rims and some light weight tubes the weight savings can add up fast. The weight saving in the tire comes from two places. The C-Line has a different, slightly narrower tread pattern, as well as no hypertext protective casing.
Both of these characteristics not only shave weight but decrease rolling resistance. This translated into a tire that is easier to accelerate to speed, keeps rolling longer, and delivers the silk pillow like ride that only fat tires can give. The days of wide tires being perceived as heavy and slow are quickly coming to an end.
Next up was getting them mounted up on My Velocity A23 rims, which are known to have a tight fit, particularly when tires are new. I am happy to say that both front and rear went on with my hands only, no tire levers needed. They inflated round and evenly along the bead without talc on the tube or any of the other tricks like soapy water at the bead.
the tires slid on, the bead popped into place around 60psi. I took them up to 110psi to give a bit of initial stretch and confirm evenness than backed them off to 60psi for a starting point to wide. Initial width on the 23mm rims is 37.8mm, and I am sure they will stretch a bit in the first weeks of riding.
The only downside I can see to these tires is the lack of sidewall protection. This is not a surprise and is part of the design. Only putting the tread rubber where you really need it. The thickened tread section wraps just to the road side of the tires apex or bulge. The price of improved performance on the road means that these may not be the best choice for dirt roads with sharp or tall rocks. Like all things in life there are tradeoffs, performance often coming at the cost of durability.
I have been able to get out for a quick 8 miles or so, and am very happy with the ride quality. They feel in many ways just like the B-Line, as they should, but with the subtly different handling that the larger diameter brings to the equation. Like new “component” day often does I am excited to get out there and put some miles on these. Follow up impressions will come in a couple of weeks.