Donnelly Cyclocross Tires Review and Buyer's Guide

November 15, 2020

Donnelly Cyclocross Tires Review and Buyer's Guide

If you're shopping for cyclocross tires, the Donnelly brand will definitely make your short list. Donnelly offers a variety of tire types and tread shapes to suit all cyclocross riders - 4 different tire types and then 4 tread shapes to consider when making your decision. 

By matching the right tread shape and tire type for your specific needs, you'll enjoy better handling, more aggressive cornering, and faster laps. 

Donnelly Tires Tread Shapes

The four tread shapes are MXP, PDX, LAS, and BOS. Each is named for an airport code (Milan, Portland, Las Vegas, and Boston) and is perfectly designed for the conditions you find in those geographic regions: 

MXP - Donnelly's "all-rounder" tire for mixed conditions. If you can only have one set of wheels, grab a pair of MXPs and you can be confident in wet, dry, grass, and dirt all season long.
The MXP is one of two tires (the other being the Challenge Grifo) I generally recommend for racers who can only have one set of tires/wheels which must work acceptably at every race they go to, in a variety of weather and course conditions. See all our MXP tires
 
PDX - a dedicated mud tire inspired by the wet conditions of Portland, Oregon. Although it's labeled for mud, it makes a fine all-conditions tire and many riders use it as their only tire. A top seller. See all our PDX tires.
 
LAS - this tire features a file tread in the center that rolls FAST, but you still get PDX-style edge knobs for cornering grip. Imagine the dry grass of 'Cross Vegas - LAS is perfect for those conditions.
LAS is also a very popular choice in the RideCX backyard - the SoCalCross series has many courses with hardback dirt, dry grass, and pavement where the LAS excels and rolls fast. See all our LAS tires.
 
BOS is Donnelly's tire for the worst conditions. It's the best choice for deep, wet conditions, slippery roots, and features widely-spaced knobs to clear mud. The knobs are taller and firmer than on other tires, so they reach down through the mud to firmer terrain where you can find grip.
Although it rolls slower, you'll appreciate the BOS when you're riding wet, muddy trails and need extra cornering grip and tractor-pull straight-line power. See all our BOS tires.
 
Got those tread shapes memorized? Next, let's take a look at each of the different casing options those treads are offered in: 
 

120 TPI Clincher Donnelly Cyclocross Tires

These are Donnelly's traditional bicycle tires for use with inner tubes. They aren't tubeless-compatible. Their primary benefit is being very economical - a great choice for casual use or getting started, but racers will want to look to Donnelly's tubular or tubeless-ready options for better performance, so let's move on to the higher-end options.  

Tubeless-Ready Donnelly Cyclocross Tires

The tubeless-ready model is the bread-and-butter of the Donnelly line. Each of the MXP, PDX, LAS, and BOS tread shapes is offered in tubeless-ready. These tires work great with sealant on modern tubeless rims for cyclocross racing and training. (I recommend Caffelatex sealant for use with tubeless 'cross tires.) 

If you don't want the complexity of tubulars, but take cyclocross seriously, these are a great choice: 

Shop: Donnelly MXP Tubeless-Ready Tire
Shop: Donnelly PDX Tubeless-Ready Tire
Shop: Donnelly BOS Tubeless-Ready Tire

A primary benefit of tubeless tires is the ability to quickly change tires to suit the conditions on any single day, while using only a single wheelset. This means you can bring one wheelset to a race, but pack spare tires, and then change the tires at the venue. 

WC (World Cup) Tubeless-Ready Cyclocross Tires

The WC (World Cup) is a higher-end casing version of Donnelly's tubeless-ready models. It uses a 240 TPI casing, so it's super supple and lightweight. Additionally, some tubeless tires can exceed the UCI width limit - the PDX WC is specifically designed to comply with the tire size rules. At RideCX I recommend this tire for racers who want the best available tubeless tire for cyclocross race bikes. 

As of this writing, the PDX is the only Donnelly cyclocross tread shape offered in the World Cup version: 

Shop: Donnelly PDX Tubeless-Ready WC World Cup Tire

Tubular Donnelly Cyclocross Tires

The four Donnelly tread shapes - MXP, PDX, LAS, and BOS are each offered in a tubular tire version. This is the classic, high-end choice of professionals and enthusiast amateurs. Tubular tires are taped or glued to a tubular-specific rim, and while they require extra setup and care, they also offer the highest possible performance for enthusiast athletes, which is why tubulars are used almost without exception at the highest levels of the sport.

If you've never ridden tubulars before, you're in for a treat! Donnelly is a great choice for your first set of tubulars.  

Each Donnelly tubular - regardless of tread shape - uses the same rubber coated sidewalls for durability, removable valve core (so you can easily add extenders for deep carbon rims) and are compatible with sealant for repairs.

Shop: Donnelly MXP Tubular Tire
Shop: Donnelly PDX Tubular Tire
Shop: Donnelly LAS Tubular Tire
Shop: Donnelly BOS Tubular Tire

History of Donnelly Tires

If you're wondering "isn't the PDX a Clement tire?", you aren't alone! The tread shapes and compounds from Clement you already know and love are now sold under the Donnelly label in the United States. 

Donnelly Sports re-launched the Clement line back in the United States in 2010, licensing the Clement name from Pirelli. Pirelli has since decided to start making bicycle tires, so they are now a competitor to Donnelly. 

Donnelly, who created and owned design of the common tread patterns you know and trust (PDX, MXP, etc.) has as a result decided to re-launch those proven tires under the Donnelly name. Clement tires are discontinued and out of production. 

You should now have the knowledge to choose the right Donnelly tires for your needs. Good luck at the 'cross races! 

 

 



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