The Choice of Experienced RidersJan Heine
When Bikepacking.com featured the bikes of more than 120 riders in this year’s Tour Divide, there was a wide variety of bikes for this incredible race from Canada to the Mexican border. About half the riders prefer drop bars, the other half flat bars. Some use suspension, others run rigid forks. Many riders use aerobars. All the bikes are carefully spec’d, based on months or even years of testing and fine-tuning.
Imagine our surprise when we counted that 19.6% embarked on the 2,666-mile trek with Rene Herse tires. Considering how many brands of gravel and adventure tires there are, that’s huge.
Now the front of the pack has arrived in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. We’ve seen that of the top-ten riders, no fewer than four were on Rene Herse tires. That’s 40%. We are humbled that so many of the best ultra racers place their trust in our tires. There was the winner, Sofiane Sehili (above in a photo from a great article in the NY Times)…
…and 4th place finisher Abe Kaufman. Both Sofiane and Abe rode 29″ x 2.2″ Fleecer Ridge Endurance tires.
Sixth place finisher Danny Green from the UK chose 700C x 48 Oracle Ridge Endurance tires.
Tim Tait finished in 8th place, running 650B x 55 Umtanum Ridge Endurance tires. He wrote us: “No side wall issues or punctures to report.”
Danny, the sixth place finisher, contacted us after the race to tell us how much he liked his Rene Herse tires. He sent us a few photos he snapped while racing along the Divide.
Danny reported: “I rode a Canyon GRIZL CF SLX and laced her up with a set of Rene Herse Oracle Ridges (Endurance). Not a single puncture, very little loss of tyre pressure. The tyres were rapid on gravel and road, and made light work of the rock/boulder sections. I hammered these tyres for 2700 miles, and they still have a third of their tread left…awesome!”
Racing for more than two weeks without a break is never easy, yet this year’s Tour Divide was even harder than usual. Whether snow, headwinds, rain or mud, the course threw everything imaginable at the riders. Sofiane, the winner, told me on the phone after the finish: “There wasn’t a single day where it wasn’t hard. There was no rest, physically or mentally.”
Whether you dream of adventures this big or prefer rides that finish before dark, you’ve got to admire the riders who push themselves to the limit in this incredible race. For us, these riders also test our tires. We’re glad to hear that none of the riders above reported any tire trouble.
These riders commented on how fast the dual-purpose knobbies rolled on pavement and how well they worked in really rough sections. It’s good to know that Rene Herse tires performed so well in the Tour Divide at race speeds. If the tires can handle that, they’ll be great for whatever adventures you have planned for them.
Updated 7/6/22 with feedback from Tim Tait.