Introducing the Oracle Ridge 700Cx48mm

When bikepacking legend Lael Wilcox talked about the tires she wanted for her bikepacking adventures, she mentioned a 48 mm-wide knobby in addition to the Fleecer Ridge 700C x 55: Ideal for many modern gravel bikes like her Specialized Diverge. Lael suggested a great name for the new tire: One of her favorite routes is climbing the dirt road to Oracle Ridge, then descending the backside of Mount Lemmon on ultra-fast pavement.

When we discussed the qualities and specifications for this tire, we decided to optimize the Oracle Ridge even further for road riding. Each of our tires builds on the experience we’ve gathered from the previous models. We’ve pushed the noise cancellation – which already makes the Fleecer Ridge one of the quietest knobbies – one step further. We’ve rearranged the knobs so they roll even smoother when you ride on pavement.

Of course we didn’t want to give up traction on loose and muddy terrain. The knobs are spaced wide enough that they self-clean as the tire rotates, and they are tall enough to provide excellent grip.

Lael has been testing pre-production samples the new Oracle Ridges in Alaska. Here’s her report:

“I’ve ridden the Oracle Ridges for 1,800 miles in Alaska this summer on an even split of gravel and pavement, mainly for long tours, but I also won a 40-mile gravel race on them. They are fast-rolling, quiet and comfortable. They roll smoothly on pavement yet also grip well on gravel and even shed mud without clogging up. At 48 mm, they hit the sweet spot between a narrow gravel tire (38 mm) and mountain bike volume (55 mm) – perfect for me as the new Specialized Diverge has clearance for 50 mm tires. I love them!”

Since she gave us that report, she’s ridden her Oracle Ridges even more – so much that she’s already worn out the first set. We’ve just dispatched two more to Alaska! For everybody else, the new Oracle Ridge will be available later this month with Standard, Extralight and Endurance casings.

Photos by Rugile Kaladyte.

22 Responses to Introducing the Oracle Ridge 700Cx48mm

  1. T Alex August 3, 2020 at 1:50 am #

    I was literally navigating over to the RH website to ask you if you had plans for a knobby between the 42mm and the 55mm, and what i found was the launch article for the Oracle Ridge tires! How lucky could i be? 🙂
    Thank you – brilliant tire idea! Just what i need to maximize the tire clearance of my 2021 Specialized Diverge.
    PS: What casing is Lael using in these photos?

    • Jan Heine August 3, 2020 at 6:34 am #

      She’s riding the Endurance casing, but all casings fit on the new Diverge.

  2. T Alex August 3, 2020 at 3:08 am #

    And a second set of questions
    – how would one go to order/preorder these tires in Europe? (I live in Switzerland)
    – what kind of inner rim width(s) would you say would work best for these? i am considering multiple choices – a 20mm internal width carbon wheelset that would be very light and would counter a bit the tire weight, a 23mm carbon wheelset – a bit heavier but still light compared to alloy or a couple of alloy choices in 24 or 25mm inner width that will come with a weight penalty although will probably be a tad more comfortable then the carbon ones
    – the article mentions the Diverge as having 50mm clearance in 700c; Specialized only quotes 47mm official clearance – how far did you or Lael find you can push this clearance in practice? it’s also related to the rim question as for example a 25mm inner width rim could push the to 49mm, while a 20mm rim would probably make it a more manageable 46-47mm.

    In any case, absolutely brilliant tire idea! This is the kind of tire that deserves to build a gravel bike around 🙂

    • Jan Heine August 3, 2020 at 6:40 am #

      We’ll have the tires in stock in about two weeks. You can order directly from our site. Our Swiss distributor Tac Tac Cycling will get them a bit later. Regarding rim width, check out this post – it doesn’t really matter with supple tires. If you’re concerned about clearances, stick to a medium-width rim…

      Regarding the clearance on the Specialized Diverge, all bike makers are conservative when they list clearances. The last thing they want is having a customer whose tires rubs, even though it meets the specs. And tire makers are on the other side, putting the widest possible number in their spec – for the same reason. That means that a tire that is 1-2 mm wider than what the bike maker ‘allows’ usually fits without trouble.

  3. steve mcallister August 3, 2020 at 6:00 am #

    I had always hopped for the creation of this tire. It always seemed that would be a popular width for that style of tread, at least for where I ride.

    And by the way, I live and bike in the Tucson area and the name is appropriate.
    The Oracle area is a great place to ride if you like a mix of pavement and gravel.

  4. Lael Wilcox August 3, 2020 at 7:50 am #

    I’m thrilled to see these tires are released! They are an absolute joy to ride. I just wish Rue’s gravel bike had bigger clearance so she could ride a pair too.

  5. Paul Richard August 3, 2020 at 8:01 am #

    Jan, will there be a 26” knobby someday?

    • Jan Heine August 3, 2020 at 8:58 am #

      I want one as much as you do! Seriously, each tire benefits from the experience of the last one, so when it comes, the 26″ knobby will be very nice.

      • Sean H August 5, 2020 at 12:36 am #

        “When it comes” …those are the words I was hoping to hear!

        Put me down for a 26” and also a 650b x 55ish version too. Will pair very nicely with my excellent Juniper Ridges.

  6. Andrew August 3, 2020 at 8:20 am #

    This is great news!! I was looking for a 47/48 knobby option so this is perfect. Do they measure true to size on a 23 internal rim? My Ritchey’s stated clearance is 47mm.

    • Jan Heine August 3, 2020 at 8:57 am #

      On a 23 mm internal rim, you’ll end up with a 48 mm tire with the Standard or Endurance casings. The Extralight can be up to 1 mm wider. This is at max. pressure. Most of us run lower pressures, of course, and the tire will be a bit narrower then.

      • Andrew August 4, 2020 at 7:40 am #

        Thanks so much. Sounds like the perfect tire for what I have in mind. I have the 44’s on one wheel set and will put these on the other. I’ll order as soon as they are available.

  7. SteveP August 3, 2020 at 9:27 am #

    Thank you for making this tire. : )

  8. Stuart Fogg August 3, 2020 at 1:41 pm #

    Great addition and thanks for providing accurate dimension info!

    What tread life would you expect on pure pavement with 200 lbs of rider, bike, and gear?

    • Jan Heine August 3, 2020 at 2:32 pm #

      With a tire this wide, the wear is spread over a lot of knobs. From our experience, you can expect about 4,000-5,0000 km (2,500-3,100 miles) until the center knobs are worn so much that cornering isn’t great any longer. (You’ll still have a gravel tire with shoulder knobs at this point!😉)

  9. Morten Fyhn Amundsen August 3, 2020 at 10:48 pm #

    Have you been able to make any kind of recordings to show the noise difference between your old and new knobbies?

    • Jan Heine August 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm #

      No recordings, but the difference is quite noticeable. And the old ones already were among the quieter knobbies…

  10. George August 4, 2020 at 2:29 am #

    Would love to see this tyre size in a smooth profile version; any chance to see that happen?

  11. Alex T August 4, 2020 at 4:08 am #

    Looking at the current RH tire lineup, would it be a stretch to assume a 700x48c slick anytime soon? 🙂

    • Jan Heine August 4, 2020 at 8:46 pm #

      Nothing is certain! The Oracle Ridge rolls so smoothly on pavement that there may not be a need for a road version. So for now, the 700C x 48 will be available in the dual-purpose knobby tread only.

  12. Dave August 4, 2020 at 9:46 am #

    Wonderful. Any idea if these fit on a Trek Checkpoint with the stock wheels?

    • Jan Heine August 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm #

      Should be no problem, since even our 55 mm tires fit on the Checkpoint. You may get toe overlap, though.