Design & Innovation Award for Fleecer Ridge

Design & Innovation Award for Fleecer Ridge

We’re excited that our Fleecer Ridge tires won the 2021 Design & Innovation Award in the Category Off-Road Components. This prestigious European prize is based on real-world testing. The 30-strong, international jury consists of journalists, test riders and engineers who are amongst the most renowned experts in their respective fields. They spent fifteen days riding and evaluating the finalists before handing out the awards. The Fleecer Ridge is the only tire that received an award. They noted “the Rene Herse tires generate masses of traction both off-road and on asphalt when cornering and always handle predictably. Whether in the damp or on loose surfaces, the jury wasn’t able to get the tire to break out unpredictably.”

What I found even more encouraging was that the jury mentioned how the noise cancelling tread pattern allows riders to experiencing nature, “without the constant rumbling” that you get with most knobby tires. With all the focus on performance, it’s easy to forget that everybody benefits from good tires. I’m not a fast rider, and yet it was eye-opening how different my bike felt when I first rode with really supple tires, the Rene Herse Elk Pass 26″ x 1.25″ Extralights. Before that, there simply weren’t any supple tires that fit my bike.

As the Design & Innovation Award jury mentioned, a great tire improves the riding experience as much as it increases speed. The bike feels more alive and is more fun to ride. For a racer like Ted King, performance is everything, and how much noise the bike makes isn’t so important. For ultra-racers like Lael Wilcox, a noisy bike may be more of a concern, since she spends so much time out there. But for someone like me, who’s riding just for fun, a quiet bike is an important part of the experience. So is a comfortable bike, and a bike that rolls with ease and encourages me to continue.

The role of the tire is to support the rider, both literally and figuratively. That’s why our tires have very subtle logos. We want the bike to fade into the background, so the rider can focus on the landscape, nature and the ride itself. It’s nice that the Design & Innovation Award jury agrees.

Here is the full report from the award:

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Comments (15)

  • Christian Arras

    bonjour je roule en 27.5 y aura t’il bientot un pneu en 55 mm

    January 21, 2021 at 4:24 am
    • Jan Heine

      Yes. We’re working on a 650B/27.5″ version. Until then, we offer the Juniper Ridge, which measures 50-51 mm on most rims.

      January 21, 2021 at 8:11 am
      • JaBig

        Quelle bonne nouvelle! Vivement ce jour!

        January 23, 2021 at 11:57 am
  • daniel

    Can’t wait to see that pattern on a 26×2.1!

    January 21, 2021 at 6:22 am
    • Jan Heine

      The Humptulips Ridge is a little wider – 54-55 mm – but it’s got a similar tread pattern.

      January 21, 2021 at 8:12 am
  • Eric Poholsky

    Will this dual purpose knobby tread be produced in a 650b x 55 tire? I have the 700 x 38 tires on my cyclocross bike and want them for my gravel bike that uses 650b wheels. I know from experience that the 48c dual purpose tires are not tall enough and will lead to increased pedal strikes and poor handling on my gravel bike. Please sell me some 650 x 55 dual purpose tread tires!

    January 21, 2021 at 8:11 am
  • Chris R

    Your timing for this article is perfect. I spent much of yesterday thinking about my do-everything next bike. My current ride is a hopped up randonneur that I’ve pushed into all terrain riding by putting the largest tires I can squeeze in there. Yesterday was a bit much for the terrain, but entirely made possible by the tires. I’m going to be building the next bike around the Fleecer Ridge tires.

    The ride yesterday was mixed terrain on Rene Herse tires: Juniper Ridge up front, Switchback Hill on the back. Pavement to fire road to broken pavement to rock strewn slide covered trail back to great fast descending pavement to the worst choss I would ride without front suspension and then back to pavement. On each of these the tire pattern did everything I needed it to. 5400 feet of ups and downs, with plenty of bad lines when I was getting tired. I even hit a hole bunch sharp 2″+ rocks and still just rolled along smoothly.

    The silent spinning in the dark back to my house was magic. With a little more volume, I will planning even more of these adventures.

    January 21, 2021 at 8:27 am
    • Ed650B

      I have a bike with the Fleecer Ridge tires and they are amazing on everything. I can hold a wheel on the flats and tackle all sorts of off road terrain!

      January 22, 2021 at 10:23 am
  • Rainer Zufall

    Congrats! As soon as my Salsa Cutthroat arrives I intend to get the Fleecer Ridge 🙂

    Any plans to make them even wider? 2.4inch or 60mm?

    January 21, 2021 at 9:18 am
  • Matt Flanagan

    Congratulations, it just makes the anticipation waiting for the Humptulips even greater. Any idea when we will see dealers with stock to sell?

    January 21, 2021 at 2:28 pm
    • Jan Heine

      The Humptulips Ridge 26″ knobbies should be in stock in a few weeks.

      January 21, 2021 at 2:35 pm
  • Garth Liebhaber

    The knobs remind me of early dirt bike tires. I can’t help but wonder if some of those early designs were onto the same concept you worked with…

    Great work!

    January 21, 2021 at 6:55 pm
    • Jan Heine

      Thanks. Yes, some early ‘cross tires had simple round knobs, and they worked very well, especially when it comes to shedding mud. We tested that, and found that straight edges in the directions of force (both acceleration/braking and cornering) are useful. So we made our knobs a bit more squarish, but kept the corners round to give the mud less grip. The self-cleaning of the tires is essential to retain their performance when it gets muddy. Otherwise, you’re riding on slicks that are half rubber and half mud… Beyond that, it’s the arrangement of the knobs that takes all the engineering and calculations to give predictable cornering and the noise cancellation.

      January 21, 2021 at 9:01 pm
      • Ed650B

        The noise cancellation on the Fleecer Ridge is amazing, they are quieter than my Steilacooms while having a much larger contact patch.

        January 22, 2021 at 10:26 am
  • mobk


    I totally echo what Natsuko said about everyone benefiting from good tires. In my ignorance I used to think tires were just an afterthought. But now I have seen the light. Getting my first pair of light supple tires was amazing, It was like I’d bought a whole new high performance bike. Funner, faster, comfier, lighter.

    Now I realize that good tires are the cheapest and most impactful bike upgrade you can make. Even a set of the most expensive tires are not that expensive compared to many other possible bike upgrades.

    January 23, 2021 at 10:11 pm

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