The Paso de Cortés

The Paso de Cortés

Where is the best place to test an Enduro Allroad bike? That is what we asked ourselves as we planned the Summer 2016 Bicycle Quarterly. It had to be a ride that went beyond the capabilities of the Allroad bikes we usually ride, with their 42 mm-wide tires. And yet we couldn’t just take it to a mountain trail, because the Enduro Allroad bike still is a road bike…
We found the perfect road in Mexico. The Paso de Cortés is one of the highest passes in North America. The uphill is made from very soft gravel, perfect to test whether 54 mm tires are wide enough to float over loose surfaces rather than sink into them.
After climbing to an elevation of 4000 m (13,100 ft), we launched into a paved downhill with dozens of challenging turns. It was one of the best descents I’ve ridden anywhere in the world, and that includes the incredible Shirabiso Pass in Japan…
This rollercoaster ride would challenge any bike’s handling. How does a 54 mm tire feel on pavement? There is only one way to find out!
It was a ride that pushed the limits of our endurance. After 12 hours on the bike, you notice whether your bike performs well or not!
Our ride took us deep into Mexico, with its beautiful mountains and fascinating history. We explored a country that isn’t known as a cycling destination, yet we found wonderful riding and amazing landscapes. Riding over the Paso de Cortés was our greatest adventure yet! The full story and bike tests will be published in the Summer 2016 Bicycle Quarterly, which is going to print today.
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Comments (7)

  • Willem

    I have just returned from two bike camping long weekends in the Dutch province of Drenthe and in the Belgian Ardennes, riding the Rat Trap Pass in anger for the first time on my loaded custom tourer. The tyres were a great joy, smoothing the gravel and crushed seas shell trails of Drenthe and the terrible tarmac in Wallonia, and forest trails of the Ardennes. The others in the group clearly had a harder time. Even so, in ther Ardennes I was glad to have my Thudbuster ST seat post. Also, on some wet Belgian forest trails the soil was slightly muddy and slippery. It did demand subtle steering. In an ideal world I might have preferrred a tyre like Schwalbe’s Furious Fred, but only for these stretches. So all in all a great tyre.

    May 17, 2016 at 4:52 am
  • Pawl Barer May 17, 2016 at 6:37 am
  • verbekeerik

    Years ago you wrote a post about your transport choices and their effect on the environment. It seems that now Compasscycles and BQ are growing, it is becoming more difficult to have a small carbon footprint. I wonder how you feel about that and if/how you decide when to travel and when not.

    May 18, 2016 at 5:49 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      For my personal transportation choices, my carbon footprint is quite small. My car is driven about once a month. For my work, I view it on a “per-reader” basis. If 20,000 readers enjoy the article, then the pollution per reader is negligible.

      May 18, 2016 at 7:11 am
  • Mitch

    Any gravel descending? I have two bikes on RatTrapPass ELs but no off-pavement descending yet until mountain roads are passable. Soon.

    May 18, 2016 at 6:19 am

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