Introducing the Humptulips Ridge 26″ Knobbies

Introducing the Humptulips Ridge 26″ Knobbies

It’s been a long time coming – the latest of our dual-purpose knobbies, the Humptulips Ridge 26″ x 2.3″, is in production now. The tires renew our commitment to the 26″ wheel size, whether it’s for modern all-road bikes like my Firefly or classic mountain bikes that can be a lot of fun with the right tires.

Humptulips Ridge is at the southern edge of the remote Olympic Mountains. A beautiful narrow gravel road climbs one side of the ridge, then descends the other, in an otherworldly loop that ranks among the best riding experiences anywhere.

Humptulips Ridge is so remote that few cyclists have been there. Strava showed just three records before Lael Wilcox and I rode there a few weeks ago. We took the first ferry across the Puget Sound, then rode all day to to get there. We reached the ridge just before sunset. Typical of our adventures in the Pacific Northwest, we encountered a variety of conditions: fast pavement, smooth and rough gravel, and muddy patches where springs emanate from the hillsides. I’m happy to report that the new tires excelled in all of them.

The Humptulips Ridge is our most extreme tire to date – a full 54 mm wide and with knobs that are spaced widely so they don’t clog up even when things get really muddy or snowy.

The new tires don’t give up any noticeable on-pavement performance. The last test before going into production was a week’s worth of riding with Lael all over the Pacific Northwest. On paved climbs and descents, our speed, both on the straights and cornering, were indistinguishable from when I’ve ridden the same routes on our smooth all-road tires.

The Humptulips Ridge features our noise cancellation technology. In most conditions, they are almost as quiet as a slick. Only at certain speeds on very smooth pavement, the widely spaced knobs generate some frequencies that don’t completely cancel: You can hear a bit of the hum that is usually associated with knobby tires on pavement.

The upside is that the widely spaced knobs will not clog up even when the mud gets really sticky – although Lael, who’s been riding our Oracle Ridge 700C x 48 mm all year, reports that they perform great in mud, too. The photo shows Lael’s tire tracks on Humptulips Ridge.

We’re happy to honor the indigenous history of the Northwest with the name of this tire. The ridge is named after the Humptulips River, which has its origins here. Humptulips is a Salish word that means ‘hard to pole’ – the river with its many logjams was difficult to navigate for the Salish in their canoes. It’s this remote location that inspired the development of this tire. Now that we’ve been there, we can say that it’s a truly magic place to ride a bike.

The new tires will be available in January 2021, with Standard, Endurance and Extralight casings.

Photo credits: Rugile Kaladyte

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Comments (36)

  • Nate

    Finally a 26″ knobby! Also very cool the name honors the native americans who’ve explored these mountains for thousands of years.

    November 30, 2020 at 12:52 am
  • Sean H

    Worth the wait. Thank you Jan, for bringing this to market!

    November 30, 2020 at 1:18 am
  • César

    Welcome Humptulips Ridge!!! 26” rules!!! And thanks Jan for your admirable commitment!!

    November 30, 2020 at 1:19 am
  • Gerhard

    Cool, that one I was eagerly waiting for.
    Can’t wait to let it compete to my so far 26” Knobby favorite, the Continental Race King.

    November 30, 2020 at 1:32 am
    • Jan Heine

      It’s a very different tire. The Rene Herse all-road tires are very wide high-performance road tires, so they’ve got a much more supple casing. The strength of the Endurance casing comes from even higher-grade materials, not tons of rubber to insulate the casing from cuts and abrasion…

      November 30, 2020 at 10:23 am
      • Gerhard

        Hi Jan, you are certainly right. After I have switched first to Grand Bois Hetre and then to BSP EL on my Randonneur, I know that your tires opened a whole new world.Therefore I was always eager to replicate as good as possible this joy of low rolling restance for my 26″ MTB HT, which I use for my paved and unpaved commutes, and for my tough stuff touring. The Conti RaceKings are as close I could get in the main stream market for suppleness. As a tire from a large main stream company it has a surprising supple casing, without addtl. protection layers etc.
        But I’m convinced the Humptulips Ridge will top the RaceKings for sure.
        I’m eager to find out by how much.

        December 1, 2020 at 12:54 am
  • Laurent

    Hmm, this may be a good tire for an atypical application : my Surly Big Dummy cargo bike. I currently have 26″ slicks on it since it is primarily an urban hauler, but I’m starting to take the bike out on trails and gravel for family camping trips. Would need endurance casing for the extra weight though.

    November 30, 2020 at 1:33 am
  • Jon B

    What makes them more extreme than a fleecer ridge?

    November 30, 2020 at 1:57 am
    • Jan Heine

      The knobs have wider spacing – so they clear mud even better.

      November 30, 2020 at 8:24 am
  • David Cummings

    My Elephant NFE is super excited! When there isn’t snow in the shoulder seasons around here, there is often slick mud that makes riding challenging with RTPs and I’m looking forward to some extra bite with the Humptilips – thanks for doing this, Jan et al!

    November 30, 2020 at 3:31 am
  • Paul Jackson

    Great news. Looking forward to riding these! What is the actual inflated width?

    November 30, 2020 at 4:09 am
    • Jan Heine

      Actual width is 52-55 mm, depending on casing (Extralight is wider), inflation pressure (more air makes the tire wider), rim width (wider rims make the tire a little wider) and whether you mount them tubeless (which makes them wider).

      November 30, 2020 at 8:24 am
  • Vince

    Great news. I’m not sure my frame can handle them (but do hope so). Can you indicate the minimum width between chain stays required to fit theses tires please? Thank you.

    November 30, 2020 at 5:24 am
    • Jan Heine

      You need at least 60 mm at the widest part of the tire. Also, compared to a narrower tire, the widest spot will be closer to the BB, where the stays are closer together. Yes, it’s a big tire…

      November 30, 2020 at 10:21 am
  • Bo

    Thanks Jan! Been excitedly waiting for these…my Schwinn Cimarron will finally be complete!

    November 30, 2020 at 7:32 am
  • Jon Muellner

    Yay! Both my 2017 Troll and 1990 Ponderosa tour/trail bikes will love these. Can’t wait to also try them out in the AZ desert. Thanks Jan for keeping us 26-ers in style!

    November 30, 2020 at 9:03 am
  • Keith Benefiel

    Yahoo! The ’82 Stumpjumper has finally come of age!

    November 30, 2020 at 9:24 am
  • Singlespeedscott

    Awesome stuff.

    Out of interest, why has it taken so long to develop this tyre?

    November 30, 2020 at 11:28 am
    • Jan Heine

      We do one tire at a time, so we can incorporate what we learn into the next one. With bikepackers clamoring for 29″ tires – Lael needs them for Tour Divide, Sofiane for the French Divide – we moved those to the front of the list. So the 26″ had to wait. I think it’ll be better for it – absolutely love the prototypes I’ve been riding with Lael. Even on routes that are 70% paved, I never felt the knobby tires held me back.

      November 30, 2020 at 11:34 am
  • Ford Bailey

    Thank you ! I’m very excited to ride on these new 26″ knobbies !

    November 30, 2020 at 12:28 pm
  • Nathan

    Hello Jan, will the Humptulips fit my 54cm 2007 Surly Long Haul Trucker with 26” Mavic A719 rims?

    November 30, 2020 at 12:34 pm
  • Martin

    Cool! Will they come in tan sidewalls too?

    November 30, 2020 at 2:49 pm
    • Jan Heine

      They’ll come in tan sidewalls. In fact, the black casing is only for the prototypes – it was some left-over casing from a production run of other Rene Herse tires.

      November 30, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Are these tires using the same casing as the 26″ Rat Traps? I am using the Compass Rat Traps with tubes and they measure out to 50mm wide on my Specialized Roval mtb wheels, which is the fattest I can go with my fork. I am asking because if the casing is the same, then these should fit the same as my Rat Traps? Do the edge knobs stick out past the widest part of the casing? From one of the pics above, it looks like the knobs do not, but I cannot tell for sure.

    Were you able to switch bikes with Lael while riding over rocky terrain to see if there was any difference between your 26″ wheels and her larger wheels? If so, I would appreciate any feedback and observations on how the two compare. I know on my circa 2001 Kestrel CSX, even with a longer wheelbase than road style bikes, the turning and flickability of it is quite a bit faster, but I do not know if the general claim of the superior rolling over obstacles is hype or not.

    November 30, 2020 at 6:13 pm
    • Jan Heine

      The molds for each tire are different, and the width is about 1 mm wider than the Rat Trap Pass. So they’ll be a tight fit on your bike.

      Lael and I are very different heights – even though her bike looks so tall in the photo, because the wheels are on the ridges in the road, while my Firefly is in the tire tracks – so we can’t really switch bikes. That said, we were riding on gravel, and all testing has shown that 26″ wheels roll as fast on gravel – even very rough gravel – as larger wheels.

      December 1, 2020 at 9:27 am
  • Owen

    Related question: do you have a rough knob to knob measurement for the Oracle Ridge tires? Hoping I can fit these in my new BMC Monstercross frame.

    December 1, 2020 at 12:41 am
    • Jan Heine

      With the round profile, the knobs don’t stick out on the sides. So our knobbies are as wide as our smooth all-road tires. The difference in height is about 2 mm. The knobs are taller, but the tread in between is thinner, since it doesn’t wear.

      December 1, 2020 at 9:24 am
  • Phillip Cowan

    26 ain’t dead and you’re proving it! Thank you. Can’t wait to try these.

    December 1, 2020 at 3:47 am
  • Kahnkrunch

    Are there plans for a similar tire in 27.5? Or do we rely on the juniper ridge to fill that role?

    December 1, 2020 at 5:11 am
    • Jan Heine

      The Juniper Ridge measures 50-51 mm on most rims, so it’s close. But there’s room in our tire program for a wider 650B tire…

      December 1, 2020 at 9:23 am
      • Packs

        I’m patiently waiting for a 27.5×2.3, perfect for an Open WI.DE!

        December 2, 2020 at 2:02 pm
      • Michael

        I’m running the Juniper Ridge on my Elephant NFE with great success. It’s true that they are very close to the smooth tires for rolling on pavement yet they provide confidence on dirt road descents when it comes time to turn. I run them under the XL Rene Herse fenders (62mm) and can’t see either coming off my bike any time soon.

        December 2, 2020 at 9:51 pm
  • william

    “But there’s room in our tire program for a wider 650B tire…”


    December 1, 2020 at 12:12 pm
  • Mike M

    Thanks for developing the new tire, Jan & co! Would the Humptulips Ridge be good in snow? If so, the I might have found my next set of winter tires.

    December 2, 2020 at 6:20 pm
    • Jan Heine

      All our knobbies are great in snow – that’s one reason we developed them. The all-road tires grip well if the snow is cold – the fine ribs interlock surprisingly well with dry snow – but if it’s slushy, knobs are much better.

      December 2, 2020 at 7:39 pm

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