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review

Panaracer GravelKing X1 R-Line TLR

8
£64.99

VERDICT:

8
10
The X1 excels on dry gravel, and its low rolling resistance and light weight mean it feels very quick too
Lightweight
Rolls very fast on most surfaces
Great grip on loose gravel
Tricky to mount
Hopeless in mud
Weight: 
440g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Panaracer GravelKing X1 R-Line TLR is the new premium race-focused tyre from the Japanese company that was one of the pioneers in the gravel tyre scene, offering specialised rubber for the fledgling discipline back in the mid 2010s. The X1 R-Line offers rapid speed and good grip in a lightweight package thanks to a slew of technology, however it's most at home on gravel roads, byways and broken tarmac rather than slippery roots and mud.

The X1 weighs a scant 460g in the 700x40c guise, in part thanks to a new casing that improves the tyre's suppleness without adding weight. And the X1 is also available in 35mm and 45mm widths to suit conditions. The 120 TPI TuffTex-R casing offers bead to bead puncture protection – also without adding additional weight – and Panaracer says it offers the lowest rolling resistance of any GravelKing Tyre.

2024 Panaracer GravelKing X1 R-Line TLR.jpg

While it's tricky to test rolling resistance out on the road, I can report they feel fast yet comfortable over broken surfaces. I conducted most of my testing in the gravel paradise of Aberfoyle in the Scottish Highlands and rode everything from gravel smoother than tarmac to loose and rocky trails than would present a degree of difficulty even on a mountain bike.

2024 Panaracer Gravelking X1 R-Line on Rim.jpg

Panaracer has developed a new compound for the X1, which it has dubbed ZSG Gravel. It says the compound 'guarantees exceptional resilience against temperature variations from freezing cold to the sweltering heat and boasts minimal rolling resistance and grip'. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to test the tyres in freezing or sweltering conditions but I was able to push the limits of their grip.

2024 Panaracer Gravelking X1 R-Line on Rim2.jpg

The tread pattern is made of a densely packed arrangement of square-edged shapes. Along the centre line of the tyre runs a series of tightly packed longitudinally placed blocks with more widely spaced, angled rectangles spreading out to the shoulders. I found this arrangement offered plenty of grip when descending rapidly on loose terrain, with the tyre losing grip in a predictable manner when I was pushing the limits.

2024 Panaracer Gravelking X1 R-Line on Rim5.jpg

I've found some tyres need to be pushed hard in the corners to get the maximum grip from the side knobs but this wasn't the case with the X1. You could dispatch long, sweeping descents without issue, and a quick glance to my head unit confirmed that these tyres are quick.

Durability and set-up

Despite the low weight, I had no issues with durability during testing and experienced no punctures. Even after 400km of riding, the tyres still look almost new, with no cuts or nicks in the tread or sidewalls.

2024 Panaracer Gravelking X1 R-Line on Rim4.jpg

Installing the tyres was tricky though, and required a lot of huffing and puffing on my part to get the beads onto the rim, but once there they seated with a track pump. I ran them tubeless and found they retained air well, only requiring a small top up every week or so.

Value

Retailing for £64.99, the GravelKing X1 R-Line TLR is a few quid dearer than the Pirelli Cinturato RC that George found was an excellent all-round tyre, and £15 more expensive than the venerable Specialized S-Works Pathfinder that Jamie praised for its speed on dry terrain.

The X1 is considerably lighter than both of these tyres and is a very versatile tyre in dry conditions that you could use year-round on all-road duties. Conversely, if it's a race-focused gravel tyre you're after, the X1 is hard to beat.

For more options check out our best gravel tyres buyer's guide.

Conclusion

High-quality lightweight tyre with very good rolling resistance that's suitable for a wide variety of surfaces – provided it's not muddy.

Verdict

The X1 excels on dry gravel, and its low rolling resistance and light weight mean it feels very quick too

road.cc test report

Make and model: Panaracer GravelKing X1 R-Line TLR

Size tested: 700x40

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: "The newest member of the Gravel King family also comes in the race level ultimate performance level tyre. Designed to be the fastest rolling tyres in the line, along with the expert features expected from Panaracer.

"The all new GravelKing X1-R uses the best technologies available to allow us to create the greatest range of light weight, exclusive performance orientated tyres available today. Whilst retaining the ever reliable ZSG Gravel Compound, the R-Line uses an all new TeffTex-R casing that is more supple that the standard version, giving incredible weight savings, whilst preserving the DNA that is the essence of every Panaracer Gravel King Tyre. The new BeadLock, ensure that the trye is easy to mount, and will stay locking in whether you're riding hookless or clincher rims."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

ZSG Gravel Compound

120Tpi TuffTex-R Casing

BeadLock

TLR / Tubeless Ready / Folding

Sizes: 700x35c / 700x40c / 700x45c

Weight: 390g / 460g / 510g

Colours: Black/Amber

Also Available in Standard & Plus Versions

Made in Japan

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Available in three sizes, all with a 120tpi TuffTex R Casing and ZSG Gravel Compound that Panaracer says is specially engineered for gravel terrain throughout a wide temperature range.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

The X1 felt rapid on everything from tarmac through to loose rock descents. The casing felt very supple on rougher terrain and provided plenty of grip when I was pushing through the corners. When the grip did run out, loss of traction was gradual and consistent. Mud provided to be the X1's undoing, rapidly clogging up and becoming slick.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

I've ridden over 400km on the tyres and they show minimal wear. The tread still has sharp edges and there are no cuts or nicks in the tread or sidewall. I had no punctures through the test period either.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Their weight is very competitive, both Pirelli's race-focused Cinturato RC (700x40c) and the ever-popular Speciailized Pathfinder Pro (700x42c) weigh 540g, which is 80g heavier than the X1.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Comfortable on all of the surfaces I tested on.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

The X1 is more expensive than many gravel tyres but as a performance/race tyre, it's highly versatile both on and off road, which reduces the requirement for multiple tyres for training and racing over different surfaces.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

I was very impressed at the speed the X1s managed to hold over pretty much all surfaces. Smooth fire roads and tarmac were dispatched with ease and the tyres inspired confidence on both fast and technical descents. Aside from going very fast over almost everything, the X1 proved versatile on tarmac too, with only a marginal rolling-resistance penalty.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The X1 is both a fast and versatile tyre; I never wished for more traction or less rolling resistance throughout the test period.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

They were trickier to mount on the rim than other tyres I've tested as they were a very tight fit onto the bead. They're also pretty hopeless in thick, wet mud.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The X1s are slightly more expensive than some other race-focused gravel tyres at £65, but their low weight and rolling resistance it's a worthy premium to pay.

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

The Panaracer GravelKing X1 R-Line TLR is a fast, comfortable and lightweight tyre that rolls very well over a variety of terrain. Pushing hard on fast descents they inspire confidence and when the traction does run out, they are predictable. The low-profile tread does not fare well in the mud – but it's no worse than other dry-weather race-oriented tyres.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 25  Height: 6  Weight: 95kg

I usually ride: Santa Cruz Stigmata  My best bike is: Vitus ZX-1

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, mtb, Gravel. bikepacking

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3 comments

Avatar
riggbeck | 4 weeks ago
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For me, on Reynolds wheels these seated easily with one boost from an Airshot. However, it was too loose to inflate only with a track pump. On smoother surfaces they are like growling slugs compared to something like the G1 RS but on loose stuff and wet grass they are much safer. I have zero expectations from a 'gravel' branded tyre in mud and they perform there as expected. The ride is well damped on bigger rocks. Overall I'm happy with them. Just wish they were a bit less draggy.

Avatar
IanGlasgow | 4 weeks ago
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"excels on dry gravel ... hopeless in mud"

This seems to be a common theme with gravel tyres - they're rated for dry conditions or mud, but nothing else like .. wet gravel. Wet conditions doesn't always mean mud.

I don't off-road much and when I do I use an MTB. But I do live in an area where it rains a lot and ride on paths with surfaces ranging from smooth tarmac, via potholes tarmac to gravel. I'd like a tyre that's made for wet gravel, I'm not much concerned about mud. Experience tells me that tyres that grip well on dry gravel or tarmac often don't grip well on wet gravel or tarmac (ask my dentist how I know this!).

Avatar
OnYerBike replied to IanGlasgow | 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Bicycle Rolling Resistance gives tyres a wet grip score, might be worth checking out - https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/cx-gravel-reviews?orderby=wga. Although definitley also worth being aware that a friction test on a hard surface doesn't necessarily translate to grip on gravel (or mud/soft surfaces). 

Wet gravel seems like a complicated situation to design for. Are you interested in the grip between the tyre compound and individual bits of gravel? Or do you want a tread pattern that digs in between the gravel? Or a bit of both? I would have thought that a tread pattern designed to grip gravel might cause problems on tarmac - for tarmac, a wide, slick tyre (with an appropriately grippy compound) will be best. So you might have to compromise between grip on tarmac vs. gravel.

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