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Worldwide shortage of Dugast?

Well, it looks like this guy has most of the surplus of Dugasts around his neck! this is a gret article on A-Dugast's which are the most lusted after rubber known to man. If you haven't ridden them, there is a true/real/demonstrable difference in their feel and hook-up. Just as expensive as all hell.

This is copied from CyclocrossWorld:

Keeper of the Cotton
by Chris Milliman

January 26, 2007

For years, word of André Dugast’s special cyclocross tires circulated through North America like some kind of urban legend. These tires, the whispers said, allowed you to ride in places otherwise unrideable, go faster than ever before, achieve a cyclocross euphoria impossible to imagine. But since nobody but the best pros could ever find a pair of the elusive white-sidewalled beauties to actually buy the legend grew but hard facts remained elusive.

Here are the facts: an elderly Frenchman, André Dugast made tires the old fashioned way. Cotton casing with hand glued treads made the Dugast tubulars a perfect combination of light weight and responsiveness. Their indescribable ride characteristics emanated from their old world construction methods, methods that kept the original output to something just greater than a dribble. If you wanted Dugasts you had to go to France.

Enter Richard Nieuwhuis. In 2001 Nieuwhuis, personal mechanic to Dutch cyclocross legend Richard Groenendaal, took a load of tires back to Dugast to get re-conditioned. After a long conversation that continued on to the World Championships in Zolder, Belgium, André Dugast, then 72, asked Nieuwhuis and Groenendaal to buy the company from him.

“It was not a big decision,” remembers Nieuwhuis. “Mr. Dugast used to make about 40 tires a week, that was fine for him.It got him enough money so he could buy himself some nice wine. It was good for him. Maybe he would sometimes make 80 tires a week but he really didn’t want to make more.”

Seeing an opportunity to bring Dugast production to a wider market Nieuwhuis bought the molds, the tools, and the secrets that had allowed Dugast to create cotton casing racing tires with an otherworld suppleness and feel. Everything was moved to Holland and a larger production of the famous and rare tires began.

Today Dugast can turn out up to 108 tires a day from its seven-worker factory but averages somewhere around 400 a week. Cyclocross tires make up about 25 percent of the company’s tire production with the other 75 percent going to road racing tires.

“The hardest part is to keep improving the product,” says Nieuwhuis. “Always I am trying to make them lighter while keeping them safe, staying ahead of the competition. It’s because of my relationships with the other tire and rubber companies that I can use the newest materials and keep moving forward.”

Nieuwhuis admitted that he does extensive private label and custom production for larger more mainstream tire companies, producing specialty tires for their road and cyclocross squads. While you’re never likely to see the Dugast emblem on the tires used by a Pro Tour team at Paris-Roubaix the chances are good that many of the tires were made by Nieuwhuis.

As for cyclocross, responding to requests for a better mud tread than the old school Typhoon pattern Nieuwhuis introduced the Rhino tread design in 2005. Dugast had become know for custom making mud tires using other companies’ tread glued onto Dugast casing, but the Rhino put that bit of custom business to sleep. Nieuwhuis says one of the major trends in ‘cross tires in the past few years has been the move to bigger tires.

“We’re seeing a lot more people wanting the 34mm tires. I think it has to do with the courses and the later winters,” says Nieuwhuis. “The riders are now racing in shirt sleeves in December sometimes, no mud, no shit on the ground. That makes the courses bumpy and on that you want comfort and for comfort you want a 34.”

Nieuwhuis is nothing if not a tire fanatic. He’s constantly toying with new glue to use with the tires, new rim strips to build up the rims for better tire adhesion, new sidewall treatments to lengthen the life of the cotton casing. No detail is too small to keep Nieuwhuis from tweaking the Dugast formula, maintaining all the time the essence of what created the Dugast legend in the first place.

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