Rene Herse Tires – Which Casing is Right for Me?

Rene Herse Tires – Which Casing is Right for Me?

Rene Herse tires are available in many widths, with two tread patterns and four casings. All this so you can find tires that are ideally suited to how and where you ride. Today, let’s look at the different casings. Which is best for you?

Our standard casing is the workhorse of the Rene Herse tire program. It features the supple casing that has made our tires famous. That means it’s comfortable and fast, yet it’s also strong to withstand considerable abuse. It’s the tire most of our customers choose, and it’s also our most economical one. You can’t really go wrong with the Standard casing.

The Extralight casing is our ultimate: Ultimate in speed. Ultimate in comfort. Ultimate in light weight. It’s an extremely fine and supple casing that you’ll otherwise find only on hand-made tubulars. Riding the Extralight will make you fall in love, and riding your bike will never be the same.

All that supple performance makes the Extralight’s sidewalls a bit more fragile. If you scrape along rocks (or curbs), the sidewalls will abrade or cut more easily than other tires. Is that a problem? Not if you’re running tires that are wide enough for your terrain, and if you ‘ride light’ on your bike. Descending Japan’s highest pass road (above), I took the bike to the limit, yet my Extralights were none the worse for wear. If your daydreams revolve around supple tires, then these are the tires for you.

We’ve developed the Endurance casing for gravel racing. When you are riding in a peloton at 30 mph, you can’t see where you are going, and you’ll hit big rocks at high speed. In that situation, you’ll give up a little speed over our Extralights for extra sidewall protection. Because gravel racing is first and foremost a race of attrition: To win, you need to be in the lead group when you approach the finish!

The Endurance casing uses the same extra-fine thread of our Extralights, but pushes them closer together for a denser weave. It also adds a protection layer on the sidewalls and under the tread. Both greatly increase the resistance against punctures and abrasion. If you’re heading into the Flint Hills of Kansas to get dirty in the front pack, you’ll want your rims shod with Endurance rubber.

The Endurance Plus casing is a different animal from our other tires. It uses thicker threads for even more strength and resistance against cuts and abrasions. It has an even stronger protection layer on the sidewalls and under the tread. If the Superlight casing is the sportscar among our tires, the Endurance Plus is the off-road racing truck. It’s one of the toughest gravel/all-road/bikepacking tires anywhere, yet still as fast as possible.

This is your tire when you are heading into the unknown. If you’ll plunge into deep rivers during the Rift Iceland (above) or traverse the mountain ranges of Kyrgystan, the Endurance Plus is designed for you.

Which tire is right if you mostly ride pavement? Both the Standard and Extralight casings work great on the road. They entice you to seek out scenic lanes with little traffic. They filter out the rough pavement that hasn’t been replaced in decades. The Standard casing will make you smile with every mile. Riding the Extralight, you will make you understand why generations of pro racers have used handmade supple tires, even if they have to buy them with their own money.

If your roads are littered with debris and you get too many flats, the Endurance casing is your friend.

Whichever casing you pick, you’ll enjoy the speed, comfort and grip for which Rene Herse tires have become famous. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference a great set of tires makes. You’ll fall in love with your bike all over again!

Photo credits: Natsuko Hirose (Photo 3), SBTGRVL (Photo 4), Ansel Dickey (Photo 5), Donalrey Nieva (Photo 7).

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Comments (32)

  • G in London

    Would you suggest a heavier user veer away from or towards a particular casing type simply due to weight? Say a 240 pound rider on +/- 42mm mostly in a busy city?

    November 11, 2019 at 6:36 am
    • Jan Heine

      All our casings – even the Extralight – are strong enough to withstand the bumps and jostles of urban riding. The more supple Extralight requires a bit more air, so it doesn’t pinch flat, but otherwise, there is no difference in durability between the two.

      November 11, 2019 at 7:51 am
  • Chris J.

    Thanks for this–I’ve been on the fence between the standard and extralight casings, but now think I’ll go with the latter. Is there any difference at all, other than aesthetics, between the black and tan sidewall options?

    November 11, 2019 at 7:17 am
    • Jan Heine

      The only difference between the black and tan sidewalls is the color. It’s only the rubber that is tinted differently – the casing underneath is the same.

      November 11, 2019 at 7:53 am
  • Mike M

    My own favorite is the Rat Trap Pass in Extralight casing when my budget allows, and the RTPs in Standard when it doesn’t. Riding 52mm extra-supple rubber is like riding on a turbo-charged cloud. It really transforms old MTBs like my daily driver into a fast and comfortable ride.

    Both tires require tubeless rim tape and the soapy-water-on-the-bead trick to mount properly on my rims with tubes, which is the only downside. I wonder if the endurance casings, with their stouter construction, would be any better than the lighter ones in this regard.

    November 11, 2019 at 7:51 am
    • Jan Heine

      Older rims often don’t have very deep wells, which makes tire mounting a real chore. Mavic’s MA-2/MA-40 was notorious. Generally, the mounting difficulties are due to the rim, not the tire casing. As long as you push the tire bead into the lowest part of the rim well all the way around the tire – often twice – all casings mount the same. It’s just that this step is more important with the more supple casings, because the tire can flex more and ride up onto the sides of the rim well more easily.

      November 11, 2019 at 8:13 am
  • Rw Benton

    Any plans for a 700×55 tire with the endurance plus casing?

    November 11, 2019 at 8:30 am
    • Jan Heine

      We don’t usually comment on future projects, but it makes a lot of sense to offer that tire in the sturdier casings.;-)

      November 11, 2019 at 9:11 am
  • matt rumora

    Somewhat related question…I have a pair of Barlow Pass Extra lights on an all road bike with Campagnolo mechanicals. The front derailleur cable drops down from the top tube and uses a pulley which decreases the clearance between tire and seat tube. The Barlow Pass yields about 5mm clearance to the cable… question is, does the Steilacoom have the same relative diameter as the Barlow Pass? The Barlow Pass is an excellent tire (favorite ever), just want more grip for climbing non-paved roads. Thanks!

    November 11, 2019 at 8:31 am
    • Jan Heine

      I think the Steilacoom will fit fine. The clearance will be a bit tighter due to the knobs, but you won’t lose 5 mm.

      November 11, 2019 at 9:12 am
  • Gene in Texas

    I am hoping the models other than Extralight will someday be offered with black sidewalls

    November 11, 2019 at 9:20 am
    • Daniel M

      Seconded. I prefer black sidewalls aesthetically, and I strongly suspect that tan sidewalls are more prone to UV damage (or otherwise less durable) than black ones. I first experienced this riding the RTP’s spiritual ancestor – the Tioga Cityslicker – on my rigid mountain bike in the 1990s. The sidewalls inevitably failed before the tread wore through.

      November 11, 2019 at 10:37 am
      • Jan Heine

        I can’t comment on 1990s mountain bike tires, but with Rene Herse tires, there is no difference in UV resistance or durability for the different casing colors. UV light is not too bad on tires, but very sunny urban areas often have more ozone, and ozone damages all tires. It’s even worse if you store your bike near electric motors like freezers, heater furnaces (with a blower), etc.

        November 11, 2019 at 10:50 am
      • Daniel M

        Thanks for clarifying. I should add that my only sidewall failure on a Compass/RH tire so far has been because of a rubbing kickstand! I doubt black sidewalls would have made any difference there…

        November 11, 2019 at 11:27 am
  • Rick Thompson

    I’ve been riding Snoqualmie Pass Extralight for a couple of years on road and gravel, the ride is excellent and tubeless completely prevents goathead flats. My one issue is that the sidewalls constantly seep sealant, enough that it splatters onto the bike and needs frequent topping off. Stans, Orange Seal and even the Panaracer sealant all seep on these tires. Would the endurance casing improve this? I would be willing to give up a little of the ride quality for less seepage.
    I’m also thinking of running the slightly smaller Barlow Pass sometime, just to compare. Will they be available in the endurance soon?

    November 11, 2019 at 9:51 am
    • Jan Heine

      If the casing seeps sealant, that is a warranty issue. (Of course, make sure you shake the sealant vigorously for 60 seconds to distribute the solids.) In very few cases, Extralight casings can be too porous to seal. This happens because we try to make our casings as light and supple as possible – with no excess rubber. With the inevitable tolerances of making floppy things from rubber, some tires have a little less rubber than others. Those tires are great when you run tubes – even lighter and (slightly) more supple – but the casing can be too porous to seal. In more than 60 Extralight tires that I’ve set up tubeless, I have not yet encountered this, but if you get one of these, we’ll replace it under warranty.

      That said, the Endurance casing has an extra layer that makes it easier to seal.

      November 11, 2019 at 10:47 am
      • Rick Thompson

        Jan – Thanks for the response. On the bike now I have one older tire and a fairly new one, both are seeping steadily (I shake all sealants). I’m not going to make a warranty claim, will just ride these until they wear out, but will try the endurance next as the solution. The protection layer under the tread can only help with goatheads also.
        One odd note on the Panaracer sealant: I re-filled with this after past fill of Orange Seal had dried out. There was a quick heavy weeping of bright orange all over the sidewalls and at many old thorn holes (both tires). It seems the new sealant dissolved the seals from the OS and liquefied it. After a while, the holes were back to sealed and the sidewalls weeping as before.
        You did not reply on the Barlow Pass – will they be available in endurance soon?

        November 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
        • Jan Heine

          The old sealant dissolves when you top it up with new sealant – which is why you can keep topping it up, rather than having to change the sealant. However, this is the first time that I’ve heard of new sealant opening punctures! Usually, this doesn’t happen.

          November 12, 2019 at 9:41 am
  • Richard

    Let’s say you damage a sidewall badly enough to render a tire unusable, even with a boot. Let’s also say you have a low-line bicycle you don’t care about – the kind that sits outside and might only ever be locked to avoid inconvenience, not because of its value. If the rims are wide enough, it can be feasible to nest a slightly narrower well-worn tire inside the damaged tire (emphasis on “nest” and “slightly”). The inner tire provides casing integrity and the outer tire simply becomes a wearing surface. Years of testing with a dumpster-rescue bike have revealed only one drawback. When eventually necessary, tire or tube replacement can seem like a wrestling match. On the upside, ride and handling can be surprisingly acceptable. Other benefits of such a setup include superior puncture resistance and near run-flat capability. Perhaps best of all, having that option available might help justify purchase of Extralights for your “good” bike 😉

    November 11, 2019 at 10:58 am
  • JH

    I’m planning to purchase either a pair of BonJon or Stampede’s on Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels with 25mm internal width.
    It seems a current trend is for tires to be WIDER than listed. It’s actually more desirable the wider they are.
    That said, will a 35mm tire at approximately 40-50psi be 35mm side? Same question applies to the 32’s?
    I was running stock Bontrager R2 32mm tires, but had to remove them because they’re boat anchors. Terrible for the steep and repetitive climbs in my area. I went to a 28mm R3 which is much better.
    I’d like a lightweight fast rolling 35 but it cannot be massively over sized.
    Thanks for your awesome blog and great products.

    November 11, 2019 at 3:50 pm
    • Jan Heine

      The Bon Jons usually are very close to 35 mm. With your relatively wide rims, they might be a millimeter wider. The 32s tend to be a tad narrow – 31 mm on most rims, 32 on wide ones. There are also small variations with casings (more supple tends to be wider) and if you run tubeless (also a little wider).

      November 12, 2019 at 9:42 am
  • E.Mann

    Do you typically observe any differences in the mounted height and width of a given tire model when comparing the standard and extra light casings? Say I were to mount a standard casing Babyshoe Pass(BP) tire on a given rim. Should I expect any differences in the height and width of an extra light BP tire on same rim? Just curious for purposes of retrofitting old bikes when clearances can be tight.

    November 11, 2019 at 7:11 pm
    • Jan Heine

      There are small differences, as the supple casings expand a little more with air pressure. It’s so small (<1 mm) that it usually doesn't matter – I hope you don't run clearances that tight! Also, remember that tires do 'grow' a bit over time, so a tire that has just 1-2 mm clearance when it's brand-new may start rubbing after a month or two.

      November 12, 2019 at 9:44 am
  • thebvo

    Will there be a roll-down test to truly know the differences in casing? Or is that a conflict of interests?
    Also, here’s an odd thing that happened: I put compass 700×55 (__IDR__pass) tires on my low trail bicycle and it began to shimmy when ridden with no hands. Any ideas why that’s happening? Maybe I should remount them?
    Someday I’d love to try the extra light casing! I wonder how much different it would feel and how much faster too! That leads me back around to my first question about tests.

    November 11, 2019 at 8:12 pm
    • Jan Heine

      Shimmy can have many causes – often multiple ones on the same bike – so it’s hard to diagnose. Generally, it does seem that bikes with wider, more supple tires can be more likely to shimmy. Sometimes, it’s an issue of frame alignment, which can be fixed.

      Regarding roll-down tests – of course, we’ve done our internal testing (actually with a power meter on the track). We need to do some more testing before we publish it. I think the differences between casings are something that would be of general interest. If we publish tests that show our tires being fastest, then perhaps people will be skeptical, which is why we prefer to refer to tests by others.

      November 12, 2019 at 9:50 am
  • Stuart Fogg

    I purchased a pair of Snoqualmie Pass tires with Endurance casings just after they became available and I couldn’t be more pleased. Almost all of my riding is on urban roads which seem to be either broken up or covered with glass. I’ve had only one flat, far better than with my previous Barlow Pass Extralights. If the Endurance casings add a few watts of rolling resistance I can’t tell the difference and since I don’;t compete I wouldn’t care anyway. Well done!

    FWIW I mounted the 44 mm tires on 30 mm (internal) offset rims. The combination looks and rides like a good road setup except for greater rotational inertia (which, unlike Jan, I prefer) and far better comfort and security on uncertain surfaces.

    BTW I find the 44 mm size optimal for my bike and my situation but I’m sure others could benefit from Endurance casings in a wider variety of sizes.

    November 12, 2019 at 12:07 pm
    • Jan Heine

      Glad the Endurance casing works so well for you. Every rider is different and every ride is different, that is why we offer four distinctly different casings.

      November 12, 2019 at 12:10 pm
    • PStu

      Endurance in a 35 mm size would be great, as I can’t run fenders with anything larger on my bike.

      November 14, 2019 at 10:24 am
  • rtmitchell

    Can the standard RTPs handle the roller of an old fashioned (Busch & Muller) bottle generator? I’d like to put a pair on a tandem.

    November 12, 2019 at 10:20 pm
    • Jan Heine

      You can run a generator, if it has a rubber wheel (or you can put a rubber cap on the wheel). A metal wheel may chew through the sidewall. The alternative is to mount the generator so high that the wheel touches only the black tread, not the sidewall…

      November 13, 2019 at 8:46 am
      • rtmitchell

        Thanks, it’s got a rubber ring around the wheel. We’ve been riding on Schwalbe marathons on this bike. Very solid and puncture resistant, but not the best cushions for the bumps on the roads around here. I’m looking forward to trying some better rolling tires on it.

        November 13, 2019 at 9:54 am
  • Pam

    I recently bought the standard Juniper Ridge and they have completely transformed my hard tail mountain bike. Now, riding to and from the trails is a pleasure, rather than a slog. The bike feels as fast as my go-to regular bike (which has standard Loup Loup Passes.). I cannot imagine a better ride quality, so I imagine that the major benefit on dirt of the other casing is about weight. And for riding on trails that sometimes have quite a bit of gravel, I like the security of the regulars. Thanks, Jan, for a truly great tire!

    November 14, 2019 at 1:41 pm

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