Introducing the Humptulips Ridge 26″ KnobbiesJan Heine
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 patented noise cancellation. 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