Gran Fondo Tests the Steilacoom

Posted by: Jan Heine Category: Tires

Gran Fondo Tests the Steilacoom

It’s all nice and well when we talk about our tires – why we design and manufacture them a certain way, how we think they perform, etc. The real proof is when others test them. Especially independent testers who’ve ridden dozens or hundreds of tires. And if the review comes from far away, from riders who don’t know us and who aren’t supported by our ad dollars (or Euros), then it’s doubly meaningful.

So we were excited when we saw that Germany’s Gran Fondo magazine had tested our Steilacoom as an all-round gravel tire. (Also a bit apprehensive – what if they didn’t like them?) Their first comment didn’t seem like a great start: “At first glance, the Rene Herse Steilacoom TC Endurance looks much too aggressive for an all-rounder.” 

That’s a comment we get a lot: Why don’t you make a semi-slick with shoulder knobs like all the other tire companies? Wouldn’t that roll faster?

We know that we’ve designed our knobs so that they don’t squirm and fold, so they can be tall to offer more traction on loose ground, without adding rolling resistance. But would Gran Fondo agree?

Next they mention how easy tubeless setup was (on Stan’s Grail rims). They comment: “From a purely aesthetic point of view, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful gravel tire on the market!” They especially liked the small logo that’s only on one side of the tire: “You can choose to have it either on the left or right side, depending on whether you want it in the photo or not. 😉

When a reviewer talks highly about the aesthetics, it’s often because they want to say something nice before voicing their criticism about the performance. I read on with trepidation… I needn’t have worried. Gran Fondo’s Benjamin Topf really liked the tires:

“Due to their wide shape, the knobs do not fold even when you’re pushing the limits and there are no surprises. They easily cut through mud and they also offer excellent self-cleaning properties due to the square profile of the knobs and generous spacing between them. Off-road damping and compliance are among the best on the market despite the thicker Endurance sidewalls.”

He commented how well the tires rolled and handled on asphalt: “Vibrations or vague handling? With these tires, you won’t find any of the classic by-products of knobby tires on asphalt!” And since he didn’t suffer a single flat during the four-month review, he now wants to try the Extralight casing. The only dislike was the noise on asphalt at very high speeds – the Steilacoom hasn’t benefitted from our noise-canceling technology yet.

Benjamin concluded his review: “Once you’ve ridden the Rene Herse Steilacoom, you’ll find it difficult to go back.” 

Thank you, Benjamin and the Gran Fondo crew – and we’ll see about sending you a set of Extralights!

Further reading:

Read the entire review at Gran Fondo’s web site.

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