Grand Bois Hetre 650B x 42 mm with White Tread

We just received our shipment of Grand Bois Hetre tires with white tread. Thank you for all who waited so patiently. Red ones are on the way, expected in a week or so. And black ones have been available all along. Here is how the white tread looks on a bike:

While I usually am not fond of colored tires, I have grown to like how the tire tread blends in with the fender, rather than showing a narrow black band between fender and tire sidewall…

By the way, Grand Bois thinks that the white tread should be marginally faster, as it contains more natural rubber. We haven’t tested this. We have tested the adhesion of the different-color treads in wet and dry, and found no difference to the black tread. They all stick great to wet and dry roads. They are among the grippiest rubber we have ridden.

Click here for more information or to order.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into the high-performance components we need for our adventures.
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19 Responses to Grand Bois Hetre 650B x 42 mm with White Tread

  1. Tom says:

    When will it be available in 26×1.75″?

  2. Willem says:

    The smaller the wheel, the wider the tyre should be. The Pasela 26×1.75 is only 42 real mm on my bike with quite wide rims. As I said elsewhere, I think a 26×2.0 Hetre would be a better size to fully exploit the possibilities of this wheel size. 50 mm is quite a standard tyre size in 26 inch wheels, and it looks rather nice to have the same distance between tyres and fenders, irrespective of tyre type. I like transforming my touring bike from heavy duty off road tourer into fast bike with no more than a change of tyres (and a reduction in luggage). Big Apples are 45 real mm, and my Marathon Extremes are 47 mm. My new and wonderfully grippy Conti Topcontact Winter II tyres are 44 mm (they may still grow a bit). A 26 inch Hetre should be in the same range, and preferably at the wider end of the range.

    • A 50 mm-wide 26″ tire would be fun to try, but you reach limits of what you can package between chainstays without moving to wide cranks and very long chainstays (like on a mountain bike). Going from 650B to 26″ gets you another 3-4 mm in clearance between the chainstays (assuming you keep the length the same). It’s hard enough to fit a 41 mm-wide Hetre on a bike, so anything much wider than a 45 mm-wide 26″ tire will be difficult.

  3. Spiny Norman says:

    Jan, what do you make of Jobst Brandt’s insistence that carbon black is necessary for optimizing wet traction and durability? Can you comment on whether alternatives lacking carbon black such as this one are equal, and if so, why?

    Thanks, Spiny

    • I seem to recall that Jobst’s comments were based on one tire model that was made many years ago… You’d have to ask him about it.

      Some of the worst-gripping tires I have tried in the wet were all black, like recent Avocets or the deadly Primo Comets. The Avocets were the first tires that I could easily spin on wet pavement. And I crashed on the Primos, and I wasn’t even braking hard. I ride the same road with white Hetres all the time, without problems.

      I haven’t ridden many of the recent colorful tires, but I don’t see people crashing all the time on their yellow, red and blue tires. For those who prefer black tread – and I do for aesthetic reasons – we have those in stock, too.

  4. Tom says:

    I’m easy. One in the range of 26×1.75 and one in the range of 26×1.9 to 26×2.0.

  5. Kenn says:

    Sign me up for two sets of 26″ tires. I’ll even let you pick the width AND color. 😉
    I’m never going to buy a 650B bike, but I’ve already got four 26″ bikes in the barn that desperately need a tire that excels on and off road.

    (White? I always thought red was the fastest color?)

  6. thelazyrando says:

    I just got some black Hetres for my white 650B bike build and now I see this…*sigh*…just ordered two white Hetres.

    Question – is there a downside to keeping tires in a cool dark environment in their plastic bags for a year or two? Do they degrade in storage?

    • We have a policy of announcing products only when we know that they will be available. I have been frustrated too open by “vaporware.”

      I don’t see any disadvantage of “aging” tires for a while. Riders used to age their tires to improve their flat-resistance. It’s hard to know whether this works or not, but it doesn’t seem to hurt.

      Keep tires (and rubber brake lever hoods) away from electric motors (freezer, heating furnace). Electric motors emit ozone, which kills rubber. Obviously, after a few decades, the tires will dry out and shouldn’t be ridden any longer.

  7. thelazyrando says:

    My comment was in jest Jan. I certainly didn’t intend to suggest you nor any other vendor should feel obliged to notify folks of potential future product availability.

    I just thought it was funny [haha] that I opened your blog and saw white Hetres.

    I’m happy to grab some white ones now and use the black ones down the road.

    safe riding,


    • It’s hard to juggle this. On the one hand, people don’t like finding out just after they bought a product that an improved/better/less expensive alternative just has become available. On the other hand, nobody likes waiting for something that doesn’t materialize. It’s also not fair to other makers to say “Don’t buy a component now, because we plan to offer a better one (at some unspecified point in the future).” We usually announce products once we know when they will be available.

  8. thelazyrando says:

    That makes perfect sense.

  9. web says:

    Any chance of a 700c 35mm or so version of the Hetre (same construction, molding, material, and colors)?

    • The Grand Bois Cypres 700C x 32 mm measures 33-34 mm on wider rims. So we already offer something close, except for the colors.

      For tires wider than 35 mm, the handling isn’t ideal with 700C wheels, and we recommend 650B wheels in that case. A truly wide 700C tire might be nice as a retrofit for some bikes, but we allocate our scarce resources where they provide the most benefit. And if you are getting a new bike with wide tires, I recommend 650B

      • web says:

        Thanks Jan. A 650b frameset is probably not an option. I am fairly content with my 700c frame that can handle up to 35mm with fenders, although I’d love to try these Hetres that everyone seems to cherish. I suppose the Cypres 700c tire is the next closest thing, although I do love the colors of the Hetres. An all-black or Hetre-colored Cypres would be great.

      • The key ingredient to the Hetre is its size: 41 – 584 mm (650B x 41 mm). If you reduce its width to 35 mm, you need more pressure, so you get less comfort. It’ll wear quicker and not be as flat-proof. If you increase its diameter to 622 mm (700C), you get less nimble handling. The Cypres and the Hetre use the same casing and same tread rubber, so if you want a similar (and similar is the closest you’ll get) ride in a narrower 700C tire, the Cypres is your best option.

      • WMdeRosset says:

        Dear Web,

        If you’re looking for a 700C tire that is similar to the Hetre, the 30-622 Cyprès is identically constructed. They ride beautifully, grip well, are relatively puncture resistant and durable (compared to a lightly-constructed handmade clincher like the Challenge Parigi-Roubaix), and are large for their nominal size–they’re 32mm or so on narrow racing rims.

        The Hetres outperform the 30-622 Cyprès on rough, unpaved, or debris-strewn descents, and are noticeably more comfortable (one riding friend described them as “fast pillows”) than the 35-622 tires I’ve tried over the years.

        Both the Hetre and the Cyprès are in the second tier of tires based on Bicycle Quarterly’s rolling resistance tests, and are as fast or faster as any clincher wider than 29mm (and a number of narrower “racing clinchers”).

        Best Regards,


        William M. deRosset
        Fort Collins, CO

      • The Cyprès are large for their nominal size

        The Cypres now “officially” is a 32 mm tire, even though originally it was labeled “30 mm.”

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