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.

13 Responses to Gran Fondo Tests the Steilacoom

  1. Brian Roth October 15, 2020 at 12:10 pm #

    Will this tread make it down to 26″ tires?

    • Jan Heine October 15, 2020 at 12:11 pm #

      Yes – we’re testing our new 26″ knobbies right now…

      • Pat October 15, 2020 at 7:33 pm #

        Yeah!

  2. FjForrest October 15, 2020 at 1:02 pm #

    We need these for 26”!!!

  3. Karl October 15, 2020 at 1:39 pm #

    Which of your knobbies have the noise-cancelling technology today, and which tyres can we expect to get this in a near future?

    • Jan Heine October 15, 2020 at 2:25 pm #

      The Oracle Ridge 700 x 48 and the Fleecer Ridge 700 x 55 (or 29″ x 2.2″, if you prefer) have our patented noise-cancelling tread design. We’ll incorporate it into other new models in the future. At some point, when molds wear out, the current knobbies may get noise-cancelling treads, too.

  4. Colin Cox October 15, 2020 at 2:59 pm #

    Jan, you make the best tires in the world period.

    • Jan Heine October 15, 2020 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you. There’s a whole team at Rene Herse Cycles, and they deserve as much of the credit as anybody! Not just our employees, our engineer, but also our testers and suppliers. They’re all passionate about what they do, and I hope it shows in the final product.

      • Brian S October 17, 2020 at 6:34 am #

        Jan,

        It would be nice to learn more about the full team, or those that do not normal appear in articles, e.g. “our engineers.” Rene Herse has engineers?!?!

        • Jan Heine October 18, 2020 at 7:33 pm #

          We’re a small company, but we put our resources into research & development. We have a full-time engineer. I don’t have the training to do all the calculations, and you need a team to create great products. Things like our 12-speed chainrings or our noise-cancelling knobby tires take hundreds of hours of engineering time, and the finite element analysis for our cranks and brakes is similarly complex. For all these things, you need more than just back-of-the-envelope calculations. And you can’t make superlight parts that are safe without proper engineering…

          Plus, we want somebody at our suppliers’ factories when our parts are being made. Most small companies work through agents, but they don’t do much more than place the contract with a supplier. Working directly with suppliers – and having our engineer in place when products are being made – is essential to ensuring high quality.

  5. Joe October 15, 2020 at 4:31 pm #

    Would anybody out there happen to know if these tires fit the 2020 trek domane? Thanks in advance 🙂

  6. Deveren October 16, 2020 at 3:35 pm #

    I absolutely love your tires, and won’t ride another brand. I’ve been to the mountain top, and I’m not coming down. I run Extralights, and they are worth the small sacrifice in more maintenance!

    I do want to try the Hurricane Ridges in Endurance to see how much of a difference there is.

  7. Conrad October 17, 2020 at 9:51 am #

    These tires are so good, they made me give up on the hassle of tubulars for cyclocross. Which is funny because now you are the importer of FMB too…