Stewart has been on the Ultradynamico Cava tires for the last two months. He has been gracious enough to share his thoughts in this Ultradynamico Cava review below. – AH
For many of you, Cava elicits fancies of fine wines tasted on a veranda in Spain. As a Utah boy and specifically one of “those” Utahns, I was unfamiliar with the nomenclature of this tire or any of the myriad other offerings from the Portland, Oregon based group of tire enthusiasts, Ultradynamico. From what one reads on the About page of their website, these dudes behind the Ultradynamico Cava tire on review here are passionate about rubber and being located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, seem to be fond of wine.
Ultradynamico has a moderate offering of tires aimed at a specific group of riders. I have to admit that I only discovered this after seeing these tires hanging almost hidden amongst a wall of Schwalbe, Panaracer, WTB, and Maxxis tire offerings at Contender Bicycles in Salt Lake City, Utah. Half exposed in off-white netted bags hung tires that were unlike anything I had ever seen. Because I like “stuff,” these tires jumped out right away. I love the old gum or brown colored sidewall offerings out there today and am always looking for the next piece of kit to outfit my gravel rig (OPEN UPPER). As many who like the same thing may have discovered, finding good tubeless tires with the throwback light sidewalls can be a bit of a challenge.
So when I picked these up to admire them, a couple of things stuck out immediately. They are light and really soft. Almost scary soft. I quickly put them back as I saw the price ($85 a tire) and picked up what I had come to the shop for and left. However, I couldn’t get those tires out of my mind. I couldn’t remember the name and my son (who conveniently works at what I consider the best bike shop in the world – Contender Bicycles) couldn’t remember either. I am not sure how I couldn’t remember. How do you forget Ultradynamico? Even without the name, I couldn’t forget it, and so I had to wait another week to find a reason to sneak back in for a look.
(It should be noted that I have been limited by my lovely significant other to no more than one visit per week but it is preferred I only go once a month.)
By then, my son had texted me the name and I had researched the company and the tires. I found one review on the whole of the interwebs and so I was left with a choice. Do I drop $170 on tires that I have no idea how they ride or their durability in the name of dress ups for my bike? Because let’s be honest, the Panaracer Gravel King SK tires that I was running are spectacular tires. I mean some of the best I have ever ridden. So why change. Unadulterated vanity. Plain and simple. So vanity is a personal thing and some of the pundits out there may disagree with my form of it. But nevertheless, I didn’t buy these for better grip or faster rolling tread or anything related to getting wider tires or lower pressure. It was my quest for just that little something else to bling up my OPEN.
The guys at Ultradynamico in plain and no uncertain terms tell you their stuff is fast and supple and is NOT built for durability. Sure, I’ve read advertising hype before and found the product woefully lacking. In this case, it took one test ride to the end of my street after setting the tires up on my Stan’s Valors to realize there was something different about these tires. Because I didn’t believe what I was feeling, I asked my son to give them a rumble up the street. He came back and said one word, “butter”. That was it. Not wine, but butter. He later explained that it felt like the bike had suspension and he was right. Inflated to 32psi (Ultradynamico are quick to give a very specific tire pressure recommendations) these tires roll differently than any tire I have ridden on the road. They remind me of my tubular Team Edition Challenge Grifos which have a full cotton casing.
I found myself riding up Emigration Canyon on a recent ride. There was a typical afternoon tailwind. But here is the catch. Onboard the OPEN equipped with a pair of Cava tires I pulled off my third-best time ever up the canyon. Now that is huge when you consider I was riding 42mm tires and a gravel bike. My best time ever was on a fully race-ready aero rig.
Now to the data. I am sitting at my normal FTP plus or minus a couple, so I am not more fit than normal. I had not planned on killing it up the hill, so I had a one-minute rest between my intervals, so there is substantial slowing which might explain the 40 second differential between my 2nd best and yesterday’s effort. Point is, those tires are fast even taking into consideration butter-smooth fresh pavement.
After a number of rides, I am smitten. While I don’t imbibe I feel I have found my vice in Ultradynamico and I will be drinking from that bottle in the future. I hope this group out of Portland, Oregon makes a real go of this and continues to create fine tires just like the wines for whom these tires are named.
I have been told by friends that there is a massive difference between where a wine is grown and its age. I have to take their word on that front, but in this case, I have sampled the wares and I am stocking my tire cellar.
Contender Bicycles has a range of Ultradynamico tires in stock in both 650b and 700c wheel sizes. They’d look great on an OPEN WI.DE Ultradynamico Edition, or just about any bike of your choice. Contact email@example.com with any questions.
Photos by Cody Wignall