Tan wall tyres movement

Seriously why?

Pro level? Yeah coolio. Minions to buff em up. IRL. They ain’t staying tan for long.

Marketing gimmick or what?

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I had a period of riding tan wall tubulars.

In winter, there does become a stage where you can no longer get them looking good, but they do hold up ok…

In summer why not? IMO they look just good.

Saying that, I’m on all black tyres this year - I stocked up on GP5000s before these new ‘cream’ ones came out. In the case of Contis, I’m not sure I’d take a 50-60g weight penalty for fashion anyway…


Had em on a few different bikes. In all honesty pure vanity, think they look real nice on black bikes. Turbo cottons were my summer tires the past 2 years, didn’t really have a problem keeping them clean, even with riding in the rain, but I do think disc brakes helped here. Wife’s gravel bike has a set of WTB’s with tan walls that got a bit grubby, but a lot less than expected. I have had a set of Panaracer Pasela’s on my commuter that are black at this point, but truly could not care less there. The only place I explicitly chose tan walls was the Turbo Cottons, again for vanity. The others either came with the bike or were the cheaper option.

They are faster - proven, indisputable fact. :grin: :grin:


Riding turbo cottons all year long. Once you put them on you simply can’t go back.

They feel super fast and cornering is unbelieveable. The Gp5000tl might be a bit faster but certainly don’t nearly feel as comfy to ride. Imo the ride feel makes more of a difference than 20 psi less on a Gp5000.

Ow and the sidewalls look decent still even after a couple rainy days.

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The only problem I have had with the cotton turbos, and I do love them as a tire, is that I’ve had to replace three of them so far this year due to some sidewall blowout or major puncture. Two of them were on those 28 hell of the North’s which are supposed to be tougher. Kind of driving me crazy right there since I love the tires but man they’re not cheap.


I agree the Turbo Cotton feels better than most cornering and is super fast. They felt like Veloflex open clinchers imo yet, faster. But, holy hell have I had bad luck with flats. I know it’s a n=1 thing but, I gave mine away. Just had no confidence in them.

As to why…Not sure if still true but, open clinchers are more supple because the casing is exposed. Again, i don’t know this for sure, but I assume this makes them more prone to cuts and sidewall problems. Has been my n=1 at least.


I have been a Continental 4k and now 5k guy for a long time. I wanted to try something different just to try something different. So I bought some Vittoria G2 with the gum walls to see how they performed and looked. So far they perform fine. Nothing notable. As for the looks…they can make some bikes look good and some not so good. I don’t like the look on my bike and with no better performance I’ll be going back to the Conti gp 5k.


My bike had white walled tires :man_shrugging:

I had whitewalls for a while, they seemed to keep clean ok, was mostly a dry weather bike though

Have the WTB “tan” walls, but its more a brown wall on my CX/gravel bike, defintely looks better than black tyres on a mostly black bike


Turbo Cottons are definitely a luxury item, but I’m hooked on the 28c Hell of The North version and justified picking up another set today. They ride just as smooth and fast as anything out there with just enough puncture resistance. I’m in a very rural area though, so not much in the way of pointy metal road debris and I rarely get cuts the way I did in Seattle or suburban CO.

They have a bit more rubber thickness at the tread and the tread it goes a mm or two further down the sidewall. Not as durable as a low thread count clincher though.

I’ve been on the same pair all summer and rotated once for wear. Took a wrong turn this weekend and went down a very long, very steep gravel descent with A LOT of sharp small rocks at high speed. Got back home and immediately saw the sidewalks are toast with multiple tears and abrasions. Very surprised they made it. I’d rally that type of road on 28c Gravel Kings every day and barely see a scratch on them.

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Great info thx! I’ve been so focused on the GP5k’s I didn’t even realize Specialized made the Hell of The North version. Would you use them for crits or road races?

Friend of mine sent me this, I didn’t see this for sale yet.


I’d use them for either. They roll well enough I don’t feel like you’d be giving up much over the 26c. The center file tread doesn’t seem to slow them down at all.

I run them with tubes at ~75psi. They grip like nothing else in the corners and are super stable and smooth at high speeds. Lots of very steep up and down where I ride so hit 50mph+ regularly and 60+ is the norm on one particular descent.

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Another option: Nostalgia. When I got into MTB a million years ago skinwalls were pretty common. Then they disappeared. Now they’re back, because they look so good. And what looked good on Ritchey Z maxes then looks fine on my old mans road bike today.

In terms of the whole tire? Oh hell no…

In terms of a color-matching stripe? Absolutely.

Conversely, back in the day, Michelin dominated the tire market for a period (late 90’s)…green tires were everywhere, road and MTB…didn’t matter what color scheme you had on your bike. Toss in mandated color schemes for many suspension forks (yellow Judy SL or blue SID forks form Rock Shox) and you had some truly heinous bikes. :rofl:

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I can add a bit to this as well, been running the 28c Hell of The North as well on both my Tarmac and Roubaix 2020, and they are fantastic. Been run through lots of gravel and shady bits during my rides.

Only had one puncture from December till today, 4000km ish, and that was at an intersection in town where all the night clubs and shit are, so there it was a big piece of glass from a bottle that had punctured it…

Question for those others who run the Hell of The North version. When do you guys deem the tire too worn down and in need of replacement?

Since there are no tire wear indicators on the I find it super hard to know when to replace…

On my rear tire the middle area has just gotten “slick” after running down the threaded part there.

79kg and running 6 (87 PSI) bar rear, and 5,5 (80 PSI) bar front. Found that this was a good balance :blush:

Yes! Used to have a Cannondale Saeco team bike back in the late 90s (Caad2 era) which was bright red with yellow decals and chromed stem, bars and seat post. Seemed only right to add matching yellow bar tape and tires to it. I’m not even sure it was a sin in those days.