If you read my blog regularly, you know, that I test a lot of gravel tires. In last year I tested few different models like Continental Terra Speed, Gravelkings AC/Mud or Gravelkings SK in the past. I tested also other tires but didn’t write reviews yet. Why I make such tests? Because I still looking for best tire for me: for gravel of course and with enough grip in forest paths, but also fast, not very wide, well accelerated on tarmac. Something universal, but for amateur sport and speed instead of slow recreation – I like slow rides, but… it’s not time for that yet. I wrote that I’m looking for, but probably it’s not true, because… I found such tires?
Few months ago, Panaracer announced their new gravel tires version: Gravelking SS – I’m not sure real producent meaning for that symbol, but it’s probably “Super Sport”. In this post I want to real quick describe my first impressions about these tires. They were not available in Europe in June and July but are available now and I ordered them as soon as possible. Now I’m after few rides, after about 150-200 mixed kilometers and can say my first words. According to Panaracer, Gravelkings SS are something exactly between Gravelking (slick) and Gravelking SK – with different, finer tread without big knobs, but not slick anymore.
TL; DR: fast, with great grip
As always, I decided to use 700x35c size, it’s best for my frame, fast and without any sluggish. Tires weight about 380 grams per tire – very similar to SK version, heavier than slick, but still very good. They are easy to mount on frame. Can’t say anything about tubeless setup, because I don’t use it and don’t want return to tubeless (there is a post about I don’t like this crap). Similar to slicks and SK version, they are unidirectional, so you don’t have to looking for any arrows on tire during mounting. First ride and… they are damn fast! Of course, not as fast as slick version, it’s not road-only specific tire, but is real quick and accelerate very quickly on tarmac. Important thing: in contrast to SK version, they don’t throw small pebbles into our frame and people behind us, great improvement.
Gravelkings SS are also fast on gravel. Tested on some segments and local paths, everything was ok. It was nice surprise for me, because grip is very similar to SK version: very, very good! Cornering with high speed: one time I felt that the bike back is slightly sticking out, but I’m not sure and must test it again in similar situations. Last days it rained a lot in my area, so it was possible to test SS also on wet conditions, wet sand and mud. It was another surprise: they are better than SK in such case. I really felt surer with them. They also cleanse themselves quickly. In distance mentioned above, I didn’t have any punctures, after that there are no signs of wear – rubber compound is similar to other Gravelkings, so maybe tires don’t provide excellent comfort, but should live longer.
Need time for full review
Ok, it’s all that I can say not. There a lot of rides, kilometers and time to test them deeply. Everything shows, that Gravelkings SS will be my primary tires, and they will replace Gravelkings SK with dignity: first impressions are only whow, great, amazing. Panaracer does great things and fix issues reported by users. If you are interested in full review, observe my blog.