New: 700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance PLUSJan Heine
One of the most popular tires in the Rene Herse program is the Oracle Ridge dual-purpose knobby. Now it’s also available with our ultra-tough Endurance PLUS casing.
At 48 mm wide, the Oracle Ridge hits the sweet spot between narrow gravel tire and mountain bike volume—ideal for the latest generation of gravel and all-road bikes. With tall and widely spaced knobs, it grips tenaciously long after most ‘gravel’ tires with their small (and mostly ornamental) knobs have surrendered to rocky and muddy terrain. And when the gravel turns to pavement, these knobbies roll and corner like slicks. (They really do!)
How is that possible? It’s simple, yet nobody had thought of this: Take a slick and remove as much of the tread as possible—until only knobs remain. If you do this right, you’ll end up with a knobby without giving up the properties that makes slicks roll fast and corner well. We use computer modeling to optimize the knob shapes and spacing of our dual-purpose knobbies.
The last thing we had to address was reducing the noise of the knobs hitting the ground. Because we don’t just want our tires to perform like slicks—we also want them to roll as quietly. Our award-winning noise canceling technology uses the frequencies of one knob hitting the ground to cancel out those of the others, eliminating most of the buzz that makes riding knobbies on pavement so tiring.
Of course, that’s just theory. “Show me the data!” I can hear you say: “Are Rene Herse knobbies really as fast as the best slicks?” Above are the results of roll-down tests that show: Our knobbies (Hurricane Ridge 42 mm) roll as fast as our smooth all-road tires (Snoqualmie Pass 44 mm). We’ve done this test many times, and the result is always the same. Real-world experience has confirmed this: You don’t give up anything when you run our dual-purpose knobbies. A local randonneur even rode the 200 and 300 km brevets to qualify for this year’s Paris-Brest-Paris on his Oracle Ridge knobbies—and he easily kept up with the front of the peloton.
Of course, most of us don’t plan to ride knobbies on all-paved rides. Does the pavement performance of knobbies even matter? For us, it matters, because most gravel races and adventures include at least some pavement and hardpack—in addition to gnarly terrain that may require knobbies. No longer do we have to choose between on-pavement performance and go-anywhere capabilities.
With such a broad range of abilities, it’s no wonder these tires have become the choice for epic bikepacking adventures. The biggest races in the world have been won on Rene Herse dual-purpose knobbies: Unbound XL, Tour Divide, Silk Road Mountain Race, Rhino Run, Hellenic Mountain Race, French Divide… to list just a few.
Our dual-purpose knobby tread patterns are unique, but there’s more that makes Rene Herse tires special: Our tires are available with four different casings, because different riders and routes require different levels of puncture and cut resistance. Our Standard casing is a great all-rounder: supple and fast, yet strong enough for most conditions.
For the ultimate in speed and supple comfort, our Extralights use ultra-fine threads usually found only in top-level tubular tires. Extralights are still strong enough for the Oregon Outback and the Dark Divide 300—they are my personal favorites.
Most racers use our Endurance casing. This uses the same ultra-fine threads as the Extralights, but in a denser weave and with a protection belt to greatly increase resistance to cuts and punctures. These are tires that survive thousands of miles in the Tour Divide and the Silk Road Mountain Race without a single puncture or the need to air up the tires.
If that level of protection isn’t enough, our Endurance Plus casing uses even stronger threads and a protection belt. The result is cut resistance that’s bettered only by dedicated downhill mountain bike tires. And yet even our Endurance Plus doesn’t give up much of the supple speed for which Rene Herse tires are famous.
With four casings, Rene Herse gives you choices where it matters. All our tires are fast, because they all use high-end materials and are made by hand to the most exacting standards. This allows us to use less material, making our tires lighter and faster than most—and yet keep the tread thick enough to last many, many miles. With a choice of four casings, you can optimize your speed for a given course, based on data from our real-road tests of tire performance. (Above is our 42 mm Hurricane Ridge in all four casings, plus a comparison with tires from other makers.)
We now offer the 700C x 48 Oracle Ridges in the Endurance Plus casing for riders who want to take their gravel bikes on adventures where only the toughest survive. The new tires are in stock now, together with all our other dual-purpose knobbies in widths from 38 to 55 mm, in 700C, 650B and even 26″. No matter which road you are taking and what bike you’re riding, there is a Rene Herse tire for you.
Photo credit: Nils Laengner (Photo of Adrien Liechti in the Hellenic Mountain Race)