Guest Post: My year on tires called Rene

Posted by: Jan Heine Category: Uncategorized

Guest Post: My year on tires called Rene

When we posted about the tires ridden by Sofiane and other top-ten finishers in the Tour Divide, Mark Rude contacted us and asked—maybe half in jest—whether we’d want to look at the tires of a heavier rider after a full season of gravel racing. Mark seemed surprised when we took him up on his offer, but for us it was a no-brainer: Seeing how our tires perform under a rider who isn’t a typical racer is very useful for our R&D. So we sent him a new set of tires in exchange for his well-worn pair of Fleecer Ridge Endurance Plus. Before we look at the tires, let’s hear from Mark about his experience:

So what do you do when you have one gravel bike that’s a single speed. You have a very full race calendar. And and you don’t want to rethink your tire strategy every month.

Get yourself some Rene Herse Endurance Plus in the biggest size you can fit. You know what’s faster than some esoteric rolling resistance algorithm? Not having to worry about flats—and especially not having to stop and fix flats. I suffered through multiple group text chains before every big event about my friends’ tire theories, and which tire they were thinking of running. They all had issues at the end of the day, while I just kept crushing rocks with my 55s without a hiccup.

And I’m no lightweight, either. With a rider weight of 195-215 lbs (88-98 kg), some gravel was definitely crushed. In case you wonder, I usually run my tires at around 30 psi (2.1 bar). For my weight, that seems like a happy medium with such a big tire—neither too hard nor to squishy.

So here’s what I did on one set of 700C x 55 mm Fleecer Ridge Endurance Plus tires in 2023:

  • Rough Road 100 (wet and windy)
  • Dairy Roubaix long course (111 miles of snow, rain, sleet, wind)
  • Mid South (100 miles in perfect conditions)
  • Bear (100 miles of rain, mud, grit)
  • Unbound (200 miles; don’t need to tell anyone what that was like)
  • Hot Dish (100 miles; hot, smoky)
  • Core 4 (110 miles; hot, humid)
  • Gravel Worlds (150 wet, gritty, relentless miles)
  • Big Sugar (100 rough miles)

At the the end of the season, that was about 1,100 miles (1,750 km) of racing and about another 800 miles (1,300 km) in training on my one bike and one set of tires. No flats, no issues, other than getting crashed out at Big Sugar—apparently the tires are tougher than I am.

Thank you for sharing your story, Mark! Above are the tires Mark sent back. Let’s have a close look:

These tires have been through a lot! The tread blocks are more than half-way worn. It’s obvious that Mark is a powerful rider. One side knob has suffered a bit, probably when Mark went over a rock at high power, and the entire force was transmitted by that single knob.

The sidewalls have lots of scrapes and scuffs. Mark definitely has crushed some rocks with these tires! Yet all the damage is just cosmetic—even the sharp rocks of the Flint Hills of Kansas were no match for the ultra-tough Endurance Plus casing.

After all those races, all those miles, all those rocks, Mark’s tires actually have quite some life left in them. Of course, we’re sending him a new set, so he can start the new season on fresh rubber. We hope Mark enjoys them as much as his first set!

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