Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rock & Road

Looks "right & proper" now.
Tires- I've probably ridden more types of tires than most folks on a bicycle, but they keep making more! Sometimes you have to wonder, "How can they make anything really different?" I mean, what type of tread hasn't already been tried? I find it to be kind of funny how many tires actually don't work very well, especially when there are tread patterns that work really well, and could be slightly altered to be someone elses tire that works reasonably well.

Well, however that works, I don't understand, but here's something unusual in the bicycle tire world: A tread design made up by a Mountain Bike Hall of fame member in the late 80's that you can still buy today, and still gets rave reviews. The Bruce Gordon Rock & Road tire.

I was up late last week on a Facebook page for cyclists here that trade and sell components and bikes. I happened to jump to this page 13 minutes after a Nebraska friend posted two Rock & Road tires with minimal use for sale. I did not hesitate to pounce. The deal was fair, and I have always wanted to try a pair of these out. He already has another pair anyway, so these were not getting used. A win-win, you could say. 

These tires get thumbs up from many users yet, even 25 years after they were first made. Gravel riders, dirt riders, and even folks that mountain bike with these. It's a tire made by Panaracer in Japan, so the quality is top notch. Plus- it's got snazzy skin walls!  I like that myself. (For the party-poopers, there is also a black wall version.)

Funny thing about tread design. I once heard it said, (or read this somewhere), that the best design for an off road tread is one that uses square blocks. Just look at most any dirt tire from any discipline and you'll see that a squarish block pattern is predominately the favorite type. Notice the Rock & Road's pattern? Well, I've heard it said that these do quite well on dirt, and I will be finding that out soon. 

The Rock & Roads are 43mm wide and true to spec, mine weighed in at 540 grams. I mounted them to the HED Ardennes+ wheels and used tubes, but honestly, they fit so tight and snapped into place so well, I probably could have gone tubeless. Anyway, I am sure they will work just fine with tubes. I'm not going to lose any sleep over that.

So, gravel and dirt will be assaulted with these tires and I will be back with a report. Although these are not "brand spanking new" Rock & Roads, they are the next best thing to it, and I suspect I'll be using them for quite some time to come.


.s.s. said...

I've got a pair of these and they are great. Very supple. For a knobby they roll quite well on road, but not as well as a non-knobby.

On the gravel roads, around here (NYC) at least, I don't feel the need for knobs, but the 43mm width is perfect.

Derek weider said...

had them on TI and the death ride, have been great so far, knobbys and the width are nice to have when climbing the loose iowa gravel roads ss.

-derek w