There are a lot of cyclocross and gravel tires on the market. We can now choose tires for many conditions: better for ridding tarmac, hardpack, better for grass, better for difficult terrain and mud (CX races) and some all-rounders. Last time I was looking for something for autumn and winter and finally decided to use a proven solution – I bought Panaracer Gravelkings AC 700x35c. It’s their new name, because I already used them year ago, and their called Gravelkings Mud. Why Panaracer decided to change name? I think because they have few options: non-SK for tarmac, SK for gravels, and these AC / Mud for mixed terrains and all conditions. This post is a small review after several hundred kilometers in this, and previous cold season.
Weight, mount, tubeless
The most important information for many of users are real tires weight and measure after fit into rims. I checked weight of two pairs Gravelkings Mud / AC and all four tires are exactly or very close to official Panaracer data: 360 grams per tire, very nice result. According to manufacturer information, these tires don’t have any additional puncture protection. Is it any problem? I think no and will write about that in next paragraphs. About real measure: 700x35c tires used on DT Swiss 460b disc rims with 18 mm internal width are… exactly 35 mm. I expected 36-37 mm, because Gravelkings SK were wider that specification, but it’s ok. There is also 700×33 mm version, especially for CX races. I don’t plan to ride such races / official requirements are not important for me, because I’m only amateur.
What about setup? I used them (and use now) on these DT rims without any issues. They fit very well, and one tire spoon was the only required tool. I used them with tubes for some period and it was ok, no problems during installation. There tires are tubeless compatible, and last year, I decided to also try them in that option: also, without issues. I can tell, that these tires were the best tubeless option that I ever tried: now I use tubes, because I discovered, that tubeless sucks and don’t want to try it again. But… if you like it, go ahead, these Panaracers should work great in that option.
Speed – it’s ok
These tires are fast and rolls very well. Of course, they are slower than Gravelking or Gravelking SK, but it’s ok in that case – if you move from SK’s, you will fell higher resistance not only in road, but also on gravels. All depends of terrain, on hardpack it may by confusing, if you are looking for something very fast. But if terrain is mixed, and there will be some sections with sand or mud… You will be able to ride, without stopping, and it will be always better option than using tires faster only in ideal conditions. I can also say, that these tires are not noisy on tarmac. Yeah, if you use low pressure and try to ride very fast (more than 30 km/h), they will be, but in normal situations, noise is limited and not frustrating.
Grip and flats
Ok, but what about the most important thing in these tires, grip? It isn’t wide MTB tire, but it’s great, and can be better than many 40c or 42c trekking-bike tires. As I wrote before, I was be able to ride through sand and mud. I also rode in many places, where Gravelking SKs were not enough. Snow? Also, no problem, but on ice, you must watch a lot (but probably, it will be the same also on other tires). What about flats? No flats during few months and several hundred kilometers, also on tubes, so for me, it’s great. I tested these tires last year on very mixed trip on Jizera Mountains, and they were fine on all terrains.
I know, that some parts of this post may look as advertising, but it isn’t. I’m not related to Panaracer, they don’t pay me for anything and it’s only my opinion. I can say something like on post about Gravelkings SK: these tires are great on the conditions they are recommended for. SK’s are perfect dry gravel tires, AC / Mud version is little slower, but great for all conditions. What will you choose? I don’t know, but can recommend these Panaracers. If you have any questions about them, just write a comment.