Smoother than a porn star's bits, Freedom ThickSlick Sport looks almost identical to the ThickSlick Elites reviewed recently but saves 80g and £20 (pr) over their urban siblings. Admittedly, you lose the Kevlar belt and sidewalls but put through the same paces, ours seemed friskier, just as impenetrable with more refinement to boot.
465g could never be described as light, especially by road standards but then it's pretty reasonable given the density of their casings. Wire beads add to the bulk but keep the costs favourable for winter hacks/daily drivers and getting them aboard the rims couldn't be simpler since there's no directional arrow to follow and the beads don't creep away from the rim like some folding types when you're seating the final sections. Sensible 25 and 28mm widths extend their horizons to Audax and weekend touring, although devotees of the tyre drive dynamo should opt for the urban versions.
The most challenging part of the Sport's installation was locating the recommended pressures-they are stamped on the sidewalls but in the smallest print imaginable. I am a wallop up to maximum and bowl along gracefully sort of chap but they'll entertain 25psi variations should you like to experiment or want a little more contact with terra firma when things turn picturesque. Manners are impeccable, combining speed and traction by the bucket-load. Bowling along the lanes and tackling the climbs, their improved zest and comfort wasn't the stuff of 10 mile TTs but perfect for long, steady miles and sufficiently brisk for winter training.
Greater comfort was only discernable after 20 miles or so but directly attributable in my view to the omission of the otherwise welcome Kevlar. Merciless, I thundered through the towns, collecting as much grit, glass and similar debris as the casings could handle without so much as a nick, let alone hiss and this was equally true of rural lanes littered with cuttings from freshly pruned hedgerows. Passage across manhole covers and similar ironworks, if not leach-like proved more predictable too, although I remained vigilant for the obvious reasons.
Bargain tyres for winter training and general road duties.
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Make and model: Freedom ThickSlick Sport Tyre
Size tested: Black - 700 x 25c
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Twice the protection of a standard rubber casing tire. The ThickSlick is designed to withstand the harshest urban elements. Throw in versions with Urban Armor Casing and DuraStrip and the ThickSlick competes with the strongest urban tires in the market.". Well suited to winter training, Audax and light touring too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Twice the Puncture Protection of a standard rubber casing
Urban, Commuter, 700 x 25c, 700 x 28c. Operating pressures between 85 and 110psi, wire beads.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The sport might be the budget versions but roll slightly faster and with no obvious loss in durability over their "urban" siblings when subjected to the same envioronments.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Quick, dependable and great value.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the desgn brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)