Japanese tyre manufacturer Panaracer has updated its gravel tyre range for 2016 and there’s a new tubeless road tyre as well.
Panaracer launched the Gravel King in 2014 and it has come along at just the right time, with gravel and adventure bikes, and unsupported bikepacking with events like TCR getting more popular every year, changing the way many people look at riding a bike. I was impressed with the slick and treaded versions of the Gravel King tyres I tested recently, and for 2016 the company is expanding the range with more width options.
One small but significant change is to call the treaded tyre the Gravel King SK (small knob) to avoid confusion with the slick tyre of the same name.
The Gravel King SK sees the introduction of a new 40mm version to go alongside the existing 32mm tyre. Both cost £29.99, 32mm tyre weighs a claimed 320g, the 40mm comes in at 490g. The 40mm tyre is tubeless-ready as well, which will really appeal to gravel racers who want to ditch the inner tubes for complete puncture resistance.
The Gravel King slick tyre range grows, and is now available in 23, 26, 28 and 32mm widths on the 700c platform. Panaracer tell us the 23-32mm tyres can be used tubeless, but only up to 60 psi.
And then there is the brand new Gravel King 27.5in tyre, available in 1.5 and 1.75in widths. This is a tyre that Panaracer developed at the request of Cannondale for its boundary shattering Slate gravel/adventure bike. It costs £29.99 and weighs a claimed 410g and has an Anti-Flat Casing with ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) compound rubber.
It remains to be seen how big a market there is for such a tyre size, and whether we’ll see more 27.5in gravel and adventure bikes off the back of the new Slate. There’s certainly nothing to stop you fitting this tyre to a 27.5in mountain bike wheelset and slotting that into a cyclocross or road bike.
On the road side there is the new Race A Evo 3 Tubeless. Panaracer has developed a brand new bead which it claims allows the tyre to be inflated using just a hand pump. Tubeless on the road is slowly winning fans, but there’s still a serious lack of tyre choice, so it’s good to see another tyre company investing in tubeless.
Panaracer claims this tyre increases puncture resistance by 24% compared to the previous Evo 2 tyre, thanks to a new Protite puncture proof material. The tread compound is also claimed to improve cornering performance. The new tyre will cost £59.99 and will be available in spring 2016.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.