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The Panaracer GravelKing Plus TLC is ideal if you want a wide, slick tyre for road use but one that is also capable of taking you off the beaten track thanks to its strong build and decent puncture protection. It's a decent price too.
Just under a year ago Pat tested the standard GravelKing and was mightily impressed. The Plus model has some added puncture protection to increase durability, which has added about 40g per tyre in this 35mm size, but they've retained their very fast and grippy ride.
The ZSG compound has a tacky feel to it and I was really impressed with the adhesion levels on the road in the bends, especially when taking technical downhills at speed. In the dry they are very good indeed, and offer pretty much the same levels of grip in the wet on all but the greasiest of roads.
If they do start to break traction, they seem to do it in a progressive way rather than just letting go without warning (unless it's ice, obviously).
They are also surprisingly supple feeling for such a durable tyre. In their construction, Panaracer uses what it calls AX-a (Advanced Extra Alpha), an extremely narrow cord that's weaved at high density into the casing for lightness and flexibility, which is obviously what's helping that suppleness.
Off-road grip is fine if you are on a dry, compact surface and their 35mm width benefits cornering. With a slick tread, though, they'll be no use in the mud.
In a bid to put the puncture fairy on the dole, the GravelKing Plus uses a puncture-resistant belt and Pro-Tite Shield Plus which, according to Panaracer, is: "Ultra-strong reinforcing material wrapped around the whole tyre, with nylon taffeta lining the treads to provide added protection against side cuts as well as punctures from dented rims or piercings."
Pat didn't have any issues with punctures on the standard GravelKing, which doesn't have the Pro-Tite, so it may be overkill but I didn't flat throughout the entire test period – even going out of my way to ride over fresh hedge clippings and hitting sharp-edged rocks on the gravel paths.
This version of the GravelKing Plus is tubeless-compatible (you can also get a tubed version for the same price), and fitting was no issue whatsoever. Installing them on a set of Hunt 4-Season Gravel Disc X-wide wheels was a quick and painless exercise as they just popped straight on.
The sidewalls of the Panaracers aren't porous, and I didn't have any issues with sealant leaking out when first inflating to the recommended 60psi maximum pressure.
The only thing you need to watch out for is width if your frame's tyre clearance isn't massive. On a set of modern wide rims like the Hunts, these 35mm tyres measured up at 37.5mm.
Priced at £49.99, the Panaracers sit competitively against some tough opposition.
The 700C version of the Vittoria Terreno Zero TNT is available in a 35mm width and a near-smooth tread pattern like the GravelKings. They are quite a bit lighter at 248g each compared to the Panaracer's 353g, and a little cheaper too at £44.99.
We can't talk smooth road/off-road tyres without mentioning the Schwalbe G-One, a very good tyre indeed, but with an rrp of over 60 quid they make the GravelKings looks a relative bargain, especially considering how similar the ride qualities are.
Overall, the GravelKing Plus TLCs are a very good option if you want a wide tyre for road use or to tackle dry, compact gravel trails in the summer months.
Grippy and fast-rolling road-cum-gravel tyre with added puncture protection over the standard model
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer GravelKing Plus TLC 700 x 35 tyre
Size tested: 700 x 35
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?
Panaracer says, "Gravel and dirt. Rough and smooth pavement. The most durable version of the 'GravelKing' series."
The small increase in weight over the standard GravelKing is worth taking for the added protection.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Panaracer says, "The strongest version of GravelKing now has even better puncture resistance, with the use of ProTite Shield Plus for withstanding tough conditions. Developed with ZSG compound to enhance durability and wear resistance. Lightweight, ultra-thin 'Ax-Alpha Cord' has been used to make it even lighter in weight."
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They work well on the road while being tough enough to cope with gravel tracks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A great all-rounder.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There isn't really anything to dislike.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are in the right ballpark for a quality wide, slick tyre, being just a little more expensive than the Vittorias but cheaper than Schwalbe whose models I've mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A very good road tyre that will also take on the firmer off-road surfaces. It's fast, grippy, robust and not a bad price either.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!