Bombproof, supple, just plain badass—they’re terms we’ve used to describe Panaracer’s Gravelking tires. Needless to say we’re fans, but we’re greedy. We want tubeless, we wanted more volume. Panaracer must have read our minds. For 2016 the tire is going tubeless, going 40mm and in a move we couldn’t have predicted, going 27.5-inch for the new breed of do-it-all drop-bar, 27.5-inch bikes.
Riding a road platform, ’cross bike or gravel rig off- road puts demands on tires exponentially tougher than the worst asphalt. What amazes us about the Gravelking is how it effortlessly handles the nastiest fire road, gravel lanes and ridiculously rocky single track without cutting and rarely flatting, yet manages to feel fast and supple on pavement.
Much of the credit is owed to its ZSG Natural compound. With more natural rubber, it manages to retain a supple ride quality and low rolling resistance, yet is incredibly tough for cut resistance and a long wear life. Next up is the 120TPI AX Casing, which lets the compound shine, easily deforming to surface imperfections.
The file-tread Gravelkings are incredible do-it-all tires starting at only 220 grams. Perfect if your bike does duty as a club-ride special and dirt-road campaigner, but they can be overwhelmed in deep gravel. Enter the knobby Gravelking SK. The 320-gram, 32mm tire rolls better than any hard-pack ‘cross tire on the road, but manages to offer tangible hook up in the dirt. Even these can get overwhelmed in deep Iowa-style gravel where you surf your bike around corners.
The new 40mm Gravelking SK will answer that call. The tire’s new tubeless compatibility will only enhance its appeal with better puncture resistance and low-volume performance.
Along with Schwalbe’s new tubeless tires, the new Gravelkings mount more easily than any other tubeless brand and the tires are inexpensive. They range from $40 to $50 dollars, adding serious value to the Gravelking’s already impressive résumé. $50; 490 grams (Gravelking SK 40mm); panaracer.com
Tread Options Left to Right: 700x40c; 27.5×1.75; 27.5×1.50
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