When it comes to rubber, an all-road tire should be a capable companion in the dirt, but not feel like it's dragging you down on the road; this is where the Clement Xplor MSO shines. Available in 700x32, 36 and 40c widths and in 60tpi or 120tpi configurations the Xplor has options that span most bike setups.
While the term all-road has come to encompass many new bikes and products this year, all-road means different things to different riders. Personally, when I grab my road plus bike I'm thinking about where the nearest dirt can be found. This could be the four mile stretch of hard packed single track I can pull on my commute to work, or my next trip to the north woods.
I've had the good fortune of being able to test these tires in the north woods of Wisconsin where rock hard gravel roads turn loose then solid again at each turn. Often the gravel routes are connected by rocky, rolling single track or quick trips down rural highways. The Xplor was sure footed in every condition.
As a believer that bigger is better when your traveling by trail and gravel, I opted for the 40c version. This turned out to be the right choice when rain turned ATV trails into swamps and bike packing gear was loading down my ride. Throttle on and letting the bike float turned out to be the best way to let my fully loaded Crusher make its way through.
The Xplor came in pretty true to width when mounted to set of Shimano WX05 rims. The 700x40c came in right at 40mm in width. Weight is reasonable with the 700x40c 60tpi version weighing in at 481g.
When setting out for the road less traveled you're never really certain about what's around the next bend. Having confidence in your gear and the wherewithal to deal with the unexpected is all part of the adventure. As the part of your bike connecting you to your journey don't overlook a good set of tires, they can be the difference between savoring a great day's ride or rolling in at the end of the group.