Having loved the Teravail Rutland tyres I was intrigued to test something else from their range for summer. The Tripster ATR V3 takes up to 50mm tyres in 650b so I thought I’d test the limits with the Teraveil Sparwood in 650b x 2.1inch (53mm)! The Sparwoods only come in a 29er/700 x 2.2″ so the 700c Cannonball is the option to look at for narrower sizes.
The Sparwoods are a big volume low tread the same tread as the narrower Cannonball but wider and designed for tour divide racers (on MTBs). Having always historically run narrow tyres I am finding that modern wider tyres produce far less drag than you might expect and keep going wider as I like the comfort and grip they give with little compromise to speed. Not long ago I was racing mountain bikes on 1.95″ tyres and now I am riding 2.1″ on long road rides! The first impression is the Sparwoods roll fast and feel light on the climbs (strava can attest they climb fast). They set up easy enough with a high pressure pump and comparable to the WTB tyres I have been running.
The first test ride was to hammer them on my standard tyre destroying descent towards the Bowbeat Wind farm near my home in Scotland. This hits 60kph on rough gravel and they survived unscathed giving me immediate confidence they are tough! 3 months later and they have still not so much as burped air, nor do they show signs of wear. Despite this strength they feel supple and comfy and not heavy and damp like the Panaracer Gravel Kings for example. This reflects the great quality I found with the Rutlands too.
In terms of ride they are quite a rounded profile giving a narrow contact on road so maintain a good speed with little tarmac buzz for the width when at higher pressures. Off road the minimal side lugs do hook up on lose corners eventually but they do feel sketchy at pressures over 35psi. At the lower pressures you then notice the fact these are are 53mm compared to the WTB Resolutes in 42mm I was running on the road – so vary the pressure according to route!
The 53mm 2.1″ width did exceed the limits in the rear of the Tripster and on non-carbon out of perfect true wheels it would be too much. After a few rides I opted to run a 45mm in the rear to prevent any unwanted rubbing and then I stuck with the 2.1″ on front, this was the ideal combo giving comfort but a tad more speed with less drag than both being the wide.
Altogether if your bike can handle the width, then the Sparwoods make a great high volume – low profile, reliable and strong summer tyre. Many will find the volume more than they need or their bike can handle but for others I think just running one on the front makes a lot of sense to soak up the bumps and buzz then something narrower on the back.
I just got some Hutchinson Toureg in 650b x 47x to test next….