Umtanum Ridge 650B x 55 / 27.5 x 2.2Jan Heine
Ever since we’ve worked with Lael Wilcox to develop the 29″ / 700C Fleecer Ridge dual-purpose knobbies, we’ve been deluged with requests for 26″ and 650B versions with the same noise-cancelling tread pattern. We launched the 26″ Humptulips Ridge late last year. Now we’re excited to announce the 650B / 27.5″ version, the Umtanum Ridge.
The new tires have the same knob pattern as the Fleecer Ridge. They offer the same fast, quiet-rolling ride on pavement, yet they grip tenaciously on loose and muddy surfaces. One customer summed up the performance of the Fleecers: “The knobby that rolls like a slick – until you need knobs.” We’ve been testing the new Umtanum Ridges for a while now, and we’re happy to report that they offer the same performance in a wheel size that fits many gravel and all-road bikes.
The new tires are named after Umtanum Ridge, a steep and lonesome ridge in the central Cascade Mountains. Umtanum Ridge is so remote that European settlers never renamed it, and it carries its ancestral Native American name to this day.
When we explored the only gravel road over Umtanum Ridge a few years back, we found a broken universal joint of a 4wd truck on the road – somebody’s adventure didn’t end well! I suffered double pinch-flats on the 42 mm tires of the Bicycle Quarterly test bike I was riding. Mark, on my Firefly with 54 mm tires, was the only rider to clear the steepest section of the climb (above). For terrain this rough, the 55 mm width of the new Umtanum Ridge tires will be useful. The knobby tread easily deals with loose rocks, mud and the occasional snowpatches that persist deep into the summer months at these high elevations.
And yet, like so many of our remote routes in the Cascade Mountains, the approaches to Umtanum Ridge have plenty of pavement, where traditional knobbies are slow and buzzy. With our award-winning dual-purpose knob pattern, the Umtanum Ridge won’t make you long for a skinny-tired racing bike here. And the noise cancellation technology makes the tires quieter than you’d ever expect of a knobby.
With the Umtanum Ridge, we’re excited to introduce a tire that lives up to the terrain that inspired it. The new tires will be available in late Spring/early Summer.