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Having the ‘right’ tyres can make life a great deal easier and conversely rolling on the ‘wrong’ tyres can make life so much harder than it need be. Recent forays along the seemingly endless network of Welsh farm tracks and forest roads, would suggest that selecting the ‘wrong’ tyre for your crosser / gravel racer / call it whatever is not only easy but also makes a massive difference to your cycling pleasure / effort ratio.

The tyres fitted to my crosser are / were 35c Kenda Kwickers. I’d love to say that they found their way on there after great consideration and deliberation but in reality they found their way on there because they were fairly light, had a reasonable looking tread and very importantly … they were cheap. This years mild Winter presented the Kwickers with a perfect opportunity to shine. The aggressive tread allied with the 35c width allowed them to cut through the gloop and find a reasonable degree of purchase on the sodden ground. Fast forward a few months though and the Welsh countryside had undergone quite a transformation, everything was baked hard and the Kwickers positive Winter attributes now seemed to be working against me, rather than with me … new tyre time.  

Kenda on the left, Gravel Road ont’ other side.

Anything called a ‘Gravel Road’ should be good for riding on gravel roads – right? On-One describe the tyre thus “The Gravel Road is for tough endurance riding in challenging conditions” and “Built for the challenges of gravel riding, but versatile enough for everyday multi-trail use“. They also say, “excelling as it does on soft to medium ground” but seeing as I wanted a tyre for medium to hard ground I chose to ignore that bit and promptly ordered a pair.

Upon arrival I cut the packaging label off and paid a visit to the shrine of geekyness and the home of the Bear Bones scales. On-One quote a weight of 450g for the 40c version and the scales of truth backed this up by registering 446g – not stupid light, not stupid heavy. In a blur of luminous pink tyre lever (I’ve only got the one) the tyres were fitted and the bike duly ridden round the yard. Mounted on a 19mm rim they measure up at 38mm across the widest point and have a nicely rounded profile without starting to become ‘pointy’.

The double row of centre blocks are closely spaced and feature directional ramps to help minimise rolling resistance, while the edge tread is less pronounced with much more space between the blocks. They also feature dual compound, a 120tpi casing and foldable bead … which in theory should make them ideal for the rigours of forest tracks and farm roads. 

Happy in its natural enviroment.

The first thing I noticed was just how well they roll, the second thing I noticed was that there was no shortage of grip available, even when provoked. On any ground you could term as ‘hard’ the rolling resistance is negligible, it actually feels like you’ve gained an extra couple of gears … they don’t half roll well. Venture onto the softer stuff and there’s more than enough grip whether you’re climbing, descending or pootling along the flat without sacrificing speed. As with the majority of ‘cross’ tyres how much air you stick in, can have quite a dramatic effect on how the tyre feels. My initial impressions were based on running 40psi front and back but in an attempt to soften the ride I dropped the front to a shade under 35psi and promised myself I’d ‘ride lightly’ … Straight away you could feel an extra level of drag that wasn’t there before and although the reduction in pressure did smooth things out a little, it also made pinch flats appear with boring regularity. I also tried upping the pressure to 45psi in a quest to further minimise effort and maximise speed but didn’t gain anything worthy of note, so play around with your tyre pressures, you might be pleasantly surprised, plagued with punctures or have your teeth rattled from your head.

Even though I ignored “excelling as it does on soft to medium ground” when I fitted the tyres, I’m hoping that statement is correct and that they’ll continue to perform well with the onset of Winter, if they can’t handle the impending slop I can always re-fit the Kendas but if they can, then I think we might just have discovered the perfect ‘all year’ tyre for gravel roads.

Available in 33c and 40c for £14.99 per end from On-One

3 Comments

  1. DaveW says:

    Suitable for the WRT?

  2. There's enough grip for the majority of conditions and it rolls well, so ideal really.

  3. jade says:

    when compared to a brand new Michelin off the shelf. Secondly, Cheap Tyres

Comments are closed.

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