Introducing the Full Line of Compass Tires


Compass Bicycles Ltd. introduces a full line of high-performance tires in both 700C and 650B sizes. The narrower 700C tires are a great way to transform the performance and comfort of a racing bike. The wider 700C tires, especially the 38 mm-wide “Barlow Pass”, will allow riders of 700C bikes to enjoy the benefits of supple, fast and wide tires. The wide 650B models provide more performance and better cornering grip than existing models, thanks to their optimized tread pattern and thickness.

Eight years ago we started the first systematic real-world tests of tire performance in recent memory. We conducted both roll-down tests and track tests with a power meter. What was revolutionary about these tests was that they were performed with a rider on board. As it turns out, the rider is an integral system of the bike, and suspension losses in the rider’s body are one of the main components of the resistance that tires create.

We tested dozens of different tires. We tested the same tires at different pressures. We tested the same tire models in different widths. We tested different tire treads. We even had prototype tires made with different casings and tested those.

In addition to that, we rode dozens of different tire models over challenging terrain to test things like wet- and dry-weather grip, cornering and road feel. We’ve ridden them on gravel and on pavement.

We’ve published the results in Bicycle Quarterly, and they have informed the design of the tires that we have developed with Grand Bois and Challenge. Those tires were far superior to any wide tire that had been available before, but we wanted to optimize the tread pattern even further and offer additional sizes, so we decided to make our own line of tires under the Compass brand.


The Compass line of tires is designed to offer optimum performance above all. Their supple casing is key, and these tires roll faster than most. The supple casing also absorbs vibrations and shocks better, making these tires supremely comfortable. The tire tread was designed to offer optimum cornering adhesion and precision, both in wet and dry conditions.

Despite this focus on performance, we designed these tires to be sensible everyday tires. The tread is 3 mm thick to last many miles, unlike thinner high-performance tires which are best treated as “event” tires. The new tires are available with “standard” casings and brown sidewalls, as well as “extralight” casings with brown sidewalls or in all-black. The “extralight” casing not only reduces the tire’s weight, but is also more supple, thus increasing the tire’s speed and comfort even further.


The new tires are available in six sizes, named after some of our favorite mountain passes in the Cascade Range:

  • Cayuse Pass 700C x 26 mm
  • Chinook Pass 700C x 28 mm
  • Stampede Pass 700C x 32 mm
  • Barlow Pass 700C x 38 mm
  • Loup Loup Pass 650B x 38 mm
  • Babyshoe Pass 650B x 42 mm

All tires have the same optimized casings and tread patterns.

With their focus on ultimate performance and handling, the new Compass tires will complement the existing Grand Bois tires, which will remain in the Compass Bicycles program. The Compass 26” tires remain unchanged as well. The tires are available right now. Click here for more information.

About Jan Heine

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Rene Herse Cycles, that turns our research into the high-performance components we need for our adventures.
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161 Responses to Introducing the Full Line of Compass Tires

  1. Pierre says:

    Part of me is already looking forward to the expanding line of high-quality wide tires (notably the 38 mm 700C Extralight, with has no equivalent today AFAIK). The other part can’t help but wonder what will happen to the current line of GB EL Hetre/Cypres, they have already been removed from the Compass store (I am very fond of my Hetre EL, so change always come with some anxiety). Do you see Compass EL as drop-in replacement of GB EL?

    • You are right, we no longer sell the Hetre Extra Léger. We felt that the Hetre’s relatively thick tread put more stress than ideal on the very thin and supple sidewalls of the Extra Leger version. The Compass Babyshoe Pass 650B x 42 mm has a performance-optimized tread that is 3 mm thick, and thus less stiff than the thicker Hetre tread. You’ll still get many thousands of miles out of a Babyshoe Pass, but tread and sidewall thickness are better matched. Most of all, there no longer is a need to “shave” the Hetres if you want the ultimate performance.

      I have ridden my Hetre Extra Légers for many thousands of miles and greatly enjoyed them. However, having tested the Babyshoe Pass Extralight in the last few months, I like them even more…

  2. Zach says:

    Hi Jan,

    Noticed that the Hetre Extra Léger tires are no longer offers on the Compass website. Will they no longer be offered? Also, is the main difference between the two tires the refined tread pattern?

    Thanks for your clarification.

  3. Brian says:

    Bigger, lighter 700C tires! Just what we’ve been waiting for, Jan! Can’t wait to try the Barlow Pass – looks like a great alternative on my country bike. Big thumbs-up on the names for the new tire range. Love the NW mountain pass theme. I have some Hetre Extra Legers going on a new bike, but I’m going to have to get a pair of the Babyshoe Pass tires for the next set.

  4. Greg says:

    So, just to clarify, are the new (Compass-branded) EL-casing tires even lighter weight than the corresponding GB EL ones?

  5. Sean says:

    Any info in regard to running any of these new models tubeless?

    Thank you!

    • We’ve had no problems running the “standard” version tubeless. The “extralight” casing is more porous, so it can take a little more patience to seal. I have several friends who have run the Grand Bois Extra Léger tires tubeless…

      • Jan, do you know of any documented cases of riders rolling tubeless at pressures 60psi or greater? At 210lbs and an occasional load that is a reasonable pressure for me on 38mm tires. I was shooting the pictures for my blog post about running sealant in tubes when your post about the new tires published yesterday. In general I fall into a similar rate of flats as you do, but with the thorn season approaching I wanted to improve flat protection without having to give up too much of what I love about my current tires.

      • Sorry, I don’t know of any. Most of us ride lower pressures… In fact, I use tubes, since the setup of tubeless is still too much of a hassle for me.

  6. René Sterental says:

    Is there any recommendation between the regular and lighter casings for the same tire based on rider weight? Risk of punctures? Any other specific reason to choose one over the other?

    • The extralight casing offers better performance and costs more. The standard casing already offers excellent performance and comfort, and if you are on a budget, it’s all you need. If you want the ultimate tires for your bike, then choose the extralight casing.

      As far as durability, the puncture resistance is the same for both. The thinner extralight sidewalls may suffer from cuts more easily, but we’ve ridden these tires on some very rough gravel roads and even mountain bike trails without problems.

  7. stevep33 says:

    Thanks for offering black sidewall on these tires!

  8. Jim Sharkness says:

    Is the Barlow Pass (700C x 38 mm) suitable for fully loaded touring?

    • I have toured on these tires without problems, even on gravel roads. We’ve used them on tandems, too. On a tour, you’ll really enjoy a tire that sings over the pavement and absorbs all the buzziness that you get on rough pavement. This will entice you to take backroads that offer quiet and beautiful scenery.

  9. Joan Oppel says:

    Sorry, but I still don’t understand the difference, for instance, between the Cayuse Pass and the Grand Bois Cerf EL, except for 2 grams. I’m thinking of trying one or the other, for general rural road riding with some urban areas interspersed. Thanks!

    • There isn’t much between those two, except the Compass is available in all-black as well as with tan sidewalls. The big differences are in the wider tires, with the Compass versions offering optimized tread patterns for best handling and performance.

      • Mitchell Gass says:

        Is the 3 mm thick tread in the center of the Compass Chinook Pass 700C X 28 thicker than the Grand Bois Cerf Green Label 700C X 28, and the outer tread thinner? On your website, you might mention these differences, as the tires appear to be very similar otherwise. And in the past, I believe you’ve listed the Cerf Green Label as 700C X 29. Are the two tires essentially the same width, and possibly a bit wider than 28 depending on the rim? Thanks!

      • The differences in the tread are mostly on the wider tires. On a 26 or 28 mm tire, there isn’t much you can do. We decided to list the Cerf Green at 28 mm, which is the nominal size, to avoid confusion. The only tire we list at its actual size is the Cypres, since it measures quite a bit larger on most rims.

        So to answer your question, there isn’t much difference between a Cerf Green and a Compass Chinook Pass, except that the Chinook Pass comes only with superlight casings and is available in all-black.

  10. Neil says:

    Am I correct in assuming that none of the new Compass tires have a flat protection layer between the tread and casing?

    • You are correct. A flat protection layer would ruin the performance and comfort of these tires. If you are concerned about flats, we recommend tire wipers, which remove debris from the tires before it can get embedded in the tire and puncture the tube.

      Especially with the wider tires, flats are extremely rare. These wide tires run at lower pressures, so they roll over obstacles that would get hammered into narrower, harder tires.

  11. David T. says:

    Thanks Jan for bringing these out. I am not usually much interested in the “consumer aspect” of bicycling, but I just bought a pair of 700 x 38’s, thinking they might get snapped up quickly. I like that these are an evolution of what you have learned about making tires. I have been waiting for this tire to come out, it will suit the type of riding I do. Congratulations, job well done.

  12. Matt says:

    What are the PSI ranges for these tires? Specifically, the Compass Barlow Pass (700x38c)? I currently am running Schwalbe Duremes 700x40c, and I run them about 80 PSI (I’m 150#) – I love the puncture-resistance of the Duremes, but they are so sloooooow. I had been considering upgrading to some Schwalbe Marathon Racers, but now they I’ve discovered your new line of lightweight Compass tires, I may have to try give them a try instead.

  13. darelldd says:

    This really is great news, Jan. What would be better is if there were a few more technical details in the description of the tires. Before deciding between the regular and “light” versions, I want to know what I’ll be sacrificing (besides money) for lighter weight and a more supple casing. WHERE is the weight removed? Are the sidewalls the same durability? Is the center tread the same thickness? Is the weight only removed from the side of the main tread as implied in the comments above? I’m not afraid of information… 🙂

  14. Antique Pedaler says:

    Sure like your tires on my road and 650b bikes. But no 26″ers? Panracers are OK on my Riv Atlantis but?

    • We do offer 26″ tires, but they use an existing mold, and thus don’t have the optimized tread patterns and thickness of our other tires. Unfortunately, demand for high-end 26″ tires is too small to warrant making new molds.

      • Rod Holland says:

        Does the use of existing molds preclude the introduction of extralight variants of the Compass 26″ tires? I, for one, would be interested in such an offering.


      • The tread of the 26″ tires is thicker, and I am a bit concerned about the mis-match between the stiffness and strength of the tread and that of the superlight sidewalls. We may do a few prototypes and test them for a few thousand miles. Then we’ll know better whether this works or not.

  15. David Pearce says:

    Well, Kudos to you, Jan! It’s great to see all the new products you’re rolling out, and I hope they are all successful, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, and team, who have put in the time and effort to really cycling and cycles forward.

    Sorry I can’t be a customer right away–you know Green Hornet is wearing the Grand Bois 42mm Hetres right now, so I’ve got to wear through those first. And I’ve also got to figure out what to do with my Grand Bois 650b x 38mm Lierres, which are just sitting around right now.

    I really like the red tread color of the Hetres — maybe you’ll have a red color by the time I need new tires (sorry to add to your list customer requests / gripes, “It’s always something!” 🙂 ).

    On the other hand, I really like the tread patterns on your Compass tires, and I could live with the black tread and tan sidewalls, and I think the brand naming of the tires looks very sharp! Perhaps the pull of your brand and model naming will pull me into the Compass orbit before the Hetres wear out! I’d like a pair of Babyshoe Pass tires! Best wishes! Best, best wishes!

    • Your Hetres will last for many, many miles. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy your bike so much more with wonderful tires that you ride more, and thus buy another set of tires before too long!

      Right now, there are no plans for different tread colors. We have found that especially in the wet, the black tread offers the best grip, and our tires are optimized for performance, so any other color wouldn’t make much sense.

      • David Pearce says:

        Hm! I had no idea tread color made a difference in grip. And actually I like the black color and your tread patterns. Looks very sharp. I’m telling you, just like I feel I’m being pulled into the tractor beam of French (language & bicycle culture), I’m also being pulled by your tractor beam into the Compass orbit! All the best!

  16. Daniel says:

    I’ve been waiting for a tire like the Barlow Pass! What tube do you recommend for it? The tubes in stock are recommended thru 32mm.

    • We’ll get wider tubes, but on our prototypes, we’ve been running the 32 mm tubes (Schwalbe SV16) with no problems. When you use high-quality tubes, they will stretch and fill the tire. Don’t do that with budget tubes, though, as their wall thickness isn’t as uniform.

  17. rodneyAB says:

    wow! very cool development, very cool!

  18. Errin says:

    The Babyshoe Pass tire looks great. Any word on a rim to go with it in the future?

    • There are a number of good 650B rims right now, and the “tubeless-ready” versions do offer a good tire fit. I still believe there is a need for a classic 650B rim, though…

      • Joel Niemi says:

        My vote for a “classic” 650b rim would include double eyelets, along with “works for rim brakes”, non-aero profile, and un-garish graphics. I wonder if the Pacenti PL23 rims (mine are still doing well) would have been just a bit more durable with double eyelets.

      • Errin says:


        Which rim is the “tubeless ready” rim? I still prefer the look of my Grand Bois rims over anything on the market. Any chance of those coming back?


      • Both the A23 and the HED are tubeless-ready. So is the Pacenti. We’ve been talking about re-designing the Grand Bois so that it seats the tires better.

      • Pacenti has a nice classic polished box section 650B rim, the PL23. Nice wide 18mm inner width, eyelets, very light. Their SL23 rims are also now available in 650B size as well, though they’re a more modern looking rim. Velocity makes quite a few models in 650B as well.

      • You are right, quite a few makers have tried to introduce useful 650B rims. Unfortunately, many, including the popular Velocity Synergy, are dimensioned incorrectly (the rim bed is too low), so the tires don’t seat by themselves, and even if you get them to run round, they may come off if you have a sudden blowout. The Pacenti PL23 has structural deficiencies that leads to developing cracks – read the recent test in Bicycle Quarterly for details. So far, the Velocity A23 seems to be the only “mainstream” option that seats the tires well and is structurally sound.

  19. David Nickson says:

    Will these new tyres be stocked in Melbourne Australia? At the moment I am using the Cypress, prone to glass damage but otherwise fast and very comfortable, particularly on coarse chip gravel roads.

  20. I would really like to try those 700x38c, but finding a bike that fits them doesn’t look like an easy task! I can see people building bikes around that tire.

    • Most cyclocross bikes fit 700C x 38 mm tires. So do many Rivendells, Surlys and others. If you build a bike from scratch, I still suggest using 650B wheels. You get more nimble handling with the smaller wheels, so your bike will feel like a great racing bike in corners. With big 700C wheels, the bike becomes a bit too stable, and doesn’t change its line easily.

  21. Keith Walker says:

    This is timely, as I was ready to purchase some 700×32’s, but I am glad I waited for the 38’s! These will be replacing Schwalbe Fat Frank 700×50’s on my Surly Cross Check. The Fat Frank’s have obviously good cushioning, but with the puncture protection and still sidewalls, they are absolutely wooden to ride on.

    The only thing I could ask for, is an all-white tread in the future, how about Jan? I find that in long term use, the white rubber doesn’t tarnish as much as one thinks, and I can’t tell the difference with regard to tread life.

    • There are no plans for colored treads at this point. Having ridden both the white and black Hetres extensively, I find that the white tread does wear a bit quicker, and it certainly doesn’t grip quite as well in the wet. The white and red treads grip as well as most tires available today, but Panaracer’s high-end black rubber is so much better than almost any tread rubber available today that it doesn’t make sense to use anything else on a super-high-performance tire.

    • Alex says:

      Schwalbe (and perhaps Continental) make it clear on their website that the colored treads they offer aren’t as long-wearing or high performance as black rubber treads. This has been known for quite a while. Continental’s new 4000s II tires, for example, no longer have colored treads, but rather colored rim protection strips.

  22. Matt Sallman says:

    Very interesting development as I am just specing out my first 650b bike. The previous question on rims has been on my mind. The Velocity A23 seems very popular, but based on how much better my current 32mm tires look and ride on 25mm rims than my previous 20s, I would think 23mm is too narrow for such a wide tire. I am considering the 25mm Atlas, but they are quite a bit heavier (over 30% more). Whatever I decide I know what tires I am going to get now.


    • I wouldn’t worry too much about rim width. Yes, a 25 mm rim would be ideal for the wider tires, but having ridden them on narrow and wide rims, I am very hard-pressed to notice a difference.

    • Alex says:

      I too will be looking for wider rims when the time comes, but with rim width, it appears to be a case of diminishing returns at the wider tire/rim widths. Case in point: I read an amusing German blog entry where a very wide MTB tire (at least 60mm / 2.4 inch) was mounted to the new, wide, Ryde (formerly Rigida) rims, I think it was the Trace Enduro, with an internal width ! of 29mm. The rim was at least 12-15mm wider than the fellow’s previous rim, and the tire was less than 2mm wider after mounting on the new rim :-). The poster was underwhelmed, to put it mildly. You’ll see large differences between for ex. Mavic Open Pro (15mm internal width) and HED Belgium Plus (21mm internal width), esp with tires 28mm or less.

  23. Michael says:

    Just when I’ve completed doing my wheel building reaseach on rims to be built around a 700×32 tyre you bring out a 700×38 which would be better still. The rims I was looking at where the H Plus son archeypte. These have an internal witdth of 17mm which would be be ideal for a 32mm tyre but JUST not wide enough for a 38mm tyre. Any other suggestions for rims for a tyre this wide? The Pacenti SL23 has an internal with of 18mm and would be OK for tyre this wide. A 19mm internal width would most likely be ideal but dont know of any that are not boat achors. Any suggestions. Looks like a great idea. Any chance you might have a dealer in Australia for these tyres, as the postage out to here is quite savage.

  24. thebvo says:

    This is awesome! Those 700×38 tires will probably fly off the shelves and onto many a Surly LHT and of course the many Rivendells of the world!
    I seem to remember that your research has concluded that the optimum width (in terms of handling) for 700 is 32, 650b is 42, and 26″ is for even wider tires. Many folks have been clamoring for truly wide tires and fast tires and this is certainly reason to jump for joy, but is there a reason, other than striving for what is “optimal,” to limit the range to under 40mm? Is the max width of the 700c tires (38mm) a compromise between people wanting WIDE, fast tires and handling drawbacks due to gyroscopic tires?
    I’m super psyched about this! Hopefully they’ll be sold here in Tokyo! My buddy’s shop (Hitoshi Omae’s “Après”) would be a great place IMO

    • The research you quote still is valid – for a 38 or 42 mm-wide tire, you really do get more nimble handling with a smaller wheel (650B). However, there also are many 700C bikes out there that benefit from wider tires. 38 mm appears to be a good compromise for 700C – much wider, and you have to move to mountain bike cranks with a wider tread (Q factor) in order to make room for the tires.

      • Keith Walker says:

        Jan, perhaps you have an opportunity for a bike/rim/fender/clearance/crank survey for those ordering the new tires.

  25. Thomas Dusky says:

    Exciting news, looking forward to running the 700c x 38 Barlow Pass. Any idea on actual width on a wide rim?

  26. Bryan Lorber says:

    Congratulations! This sounds like a great tier line and I look forward to trying some.
    As a member of the touring clan, I did notice that you never mention anything about puncture protection. Comfort and speed are important but I will gladly forgo some of that for a flat free ride. My favorite Schwalbe Marathon Supremes have proven nearly indestructible. I wish they would wear down so I could justify buying and trying something new! As I recall, BQ rated them lower in terms of comfort and speed but in close to 10,000 miles the only flat has been pinch.

    • When I am touring, I very rarely get a flat. On the backroads I like to use, I ride in the general traffic lane, which gets sweeped clean of debris by passing cars. I get flats when riding on highway shoulders, where exploded truck tires have left short bits of steel wires, and sometimes in the city.

      With wide tires, I generally get so few flats that I don’t worry about it. (I still do carry a pump and spare tube just in case.) In more than 25,000 miles of riding Hetres, I have had just three flats… Even with the narrower 700C versions, I don’t get many flats.

      Basically, I am willing to repair a puncture every couple of months to get the wonderful ride of a supple, fast tire.

  27. Rod says:

    Jan, congratulations on the new tire line. Any experience with them (especially the 700×38) in Winter conditions?


  28. Will says:

    Are these new extra-light tires less susceptible to side wall blow outs than the Grand Bois Extra Leger models? As much as I’d like to try the extra light versions of the Compass Cycles tires I’m hesitant due to the numerous side wall failures (some after less than 100mi.) I’ve seen on the GB extra leger tires.

    • Sidewall failures can have many causes. By far the most common are misaligned brake pads. With the very thin sidewalls of the Extralight tires, a misaligned brake pad will cut through the sidewall very quickly, whereas it might give you more warning on a thicker sidewall coated with ample rubber. Absolutely make sure that your brake pads don’t touch the sidewalls when you brake hard. (If they come close when you squeeze the brakes with the bike stationary, they are likely to touch the tire when the brake pad gets squeezed more during hard braking.)

      A second cause for cuts are sharp rocks, metal debris or very large pieces of glass. Some of that is bad luck, some of it can be avoided by looking ahead and “riding light.” I have ridden more than 5000 miles, much of it on gravel and at night, with the Grand Bois Extra Léger tires, with no problems. I have cut a few sidewalls on other tires, many years ago. It really was just bad luck, plus a tendency to ride on debris-strewn highway shoulders before we discovered backroads.

      • Will says:

        It sounds like you’re saying that the sidewall weave and coating is not really different than the GB extra leger.

        Just to be clear, we ride a lot of fire trails and hard-packed old stage-coach roads out here in the hills of Western Mass. As fun as the GB extra leger tires are on paved roads, they simply could not survive the unpaved stuff for a rider 175lbs plus carrying 20 – 35lbs on the bike. Your assumption is wrong – these were not failures due to broken glass (never seen any broken glass on the unpaved roads around here) or poorly set up brake-pads. We set our bikes up proper – thank you very much. No, these sidewall blow-outs would start with a few broken threads in the weave and then rapidly enlarge over the next 30 – 50 mi. until a blow-out would occur. On the other hand, my girlfriend, who weighs 125lbs, has put over 700 mi. on her GB EL’s and the sidewalls are fine, a fact which leads me to conclude that the lightweight tires are great for smaller riders but a risky choice for riders whose weight and cargo exceed 200lbs.

        So I’ll ask my question again… If the group I ride with experienced sidewall failures on the GB EL like the blowouts I detailed above, is there any reason to believe that it won’t happen with these new Compass extra lights? Do the all black extra lights have a more durable rubber compound encasing the sidewall fabric?

        I’ve got my eyes on the 700×38’s, which should fit my berthoud 50mm fenders just fine. I was just about to pull the trigger on a pair of the new Soma C-lines when I saw the announcement for your new Compass tires. I notice that the regular Compass 700×38’s weigh the same as the Somas, which are also made by panaracer. Do you know whether panaracer has used the same sidewall weave with the Compass tires as they do on the new lightweight Soma C-line 700×38’s?

        Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      • I am sorry I mentioned the brake pads. We’ve had a number of “faulty” tires that blew out, where you could clearly see the line that paralleled the rim, all around the tire, where the brake pad had cut into the casing.

        I think a lot depends on the tire size, too. I have ridden the Extra Légers on very rough gravel roads, including at night, with no problems, but I usually ride the 42s… So if you are riding 32s, you’ll stress the tires more.

        The sidewalls are the same, so if you get blow-outs with the Grand Bois, don’t use the Extralight Compass tires. I don’t know anything about the Soma tires, except that they use the Pasela tread pattern, which is thicker and probably not a good match for an extralight casing.

  29. Teemu Sauer says:

    Very, very nice.
    If someone now would come up with a good 650b rim.

    • There are a number of good 650B rims that fit the tires correctly now. We’ve tested the Synergy A23 and the HED Belgium so far…

      • marmotte27 says:

        Any chances of you testing the Ambrosio Keba 650B rim sometime (unless it’s already been done and I missed it)?

      • I don’t think they are being distributed in the U.S. currently, so they are of limited interest to most of our readers…

      • Teemu Sauer says:

        From where one could order the HED rim?
        (marmotte27: I´ve build a wheelset with the Keba. The rim is very sturdy but weights over 600gr per rim)

      • Bert says:

        marmotte27: I’ve been running the Keba 650B on a converted CX bike for a while, and have nothing bad to say about it. Echoing what Teemu says, it’s a very substantial rim, good width, and with 36h my wheels are probably stronger than they would need to be. Anyway I mostly use it on MTB terrain, but I have to disclose that I don’t care about super weight optimised components and really never break stuff, for what that’s worth.

  30. ethan says:

    Hi Jan, how do the sizes compare with the cypres and the hetre? I know the Hetre is often reffered to as being a 40 and the cypres a 30. Is the stampede a “true” 32 or does it run the same size as a cypres? (..and with what rim?).

    A brave(?) decision to go with those sizes, the 38 will be a good challenge to those riding little big bens – but will they forgo their puncture protection? With the currently available sizes I am a bit surprised that you went with the same sizes offered by Grand Bois, but skipped the 35-622, which would be more readily accessible for more bikes (e.g. most tourers can use 35s but not 38s).

    If I can fit a 38, I shall give it a try (are they true to size, and on what rim?).

    • The Babyshoe Pass is about 1 mm wider than a Hetre. The tires I am running measure 41 mm on two different rims (23 and 25 mm wide). The Stampede Pass is about as wide as the Cyprès – 31 mm on narrow rims, 32-33 mm on wide rims.

      We may offer a 35 mm tire in the future, but for now, we just wanted to offer the “widest possible for most bikes” so that 700C riders really could enjoy a quantum leap in comfort, speed and versatility. If you use a narrow rim, the Barlow Pass will be just under 36 mm, and probably will fit your bike fine.

  31. nellegreen says:

    Hi Jan, The tread pattern appears very similar to the Hertra minus the ribs on the edges of the tread. Very much like the high performance road tires from Panaracer. Nice.

    • The thinking behind the tread pattern is explained in an article in the Spring 2014 Bicycle Quarterly, which has another article summarizing and quantifying what makes a tire fast. Most makers seem to consider tread patterns purely cosmetic, but they actually can serve a purpose if you design them that way. And of course, making your tread work for you means that you get better performance.

      It’s probably no coincidence that many classic tires used similar tread patterns – they were designed by trial and error and that usually leads to solutions that work well, especially if the products are tested by riders who take their bikes to the limit.

      • Matt says:

        Does it matter which way the tires are mounted? I didn’t find any rotation direction indication on the tire or instructions, but your comment that the tread pattern on these serves a purpose makes me wonder.

      • It doesn’t matter. You want as many interlocking surfaces between road surface and tire tread as possible, but which way they are facing doesn’t matter.

  32. Mark Lawrence says:

    The 38mm tires look great. My Jack Taylor cycle has plenty of frame clearance. But I’m not sure about existing fenders (Honjos) and rims (MA2s). Any complimentary Compass spec’ced fenders or rims on the horizon?

    • You can run the 38 mm tires on Mavic MA-2 rims. We’ll look into fenders…

      • Based on experience with 700cx38, and fenders – The VO fits over with room to spare, not may favorite, but works. The Berthoud 700×50 has near perfect width and shape, generally bolts right up, the only downside is slightly less coverage. I have 650bx38 on one bike with the 50mm hammered Honjos VO used to sell. It works, but is too close for real use IMO. I suspect the Honjo H50 could be a good candidate, but the price is twice that of the Berthoud, and the hardware has the potential to eat up a few mm in the toe clip overlap department. The Berthoud is also much easier to run lighting wise in the rolled lip.

  33. Lloyd McMahon says:

    Hi Jan,
    What a great selection of tires! I’ve come to feel that tires are so important to how a bike feels and performs that the best approach is pick the best performing tire that fits your needs, then find the bike that works best with it and I can imagine very interesting bikes for most all of these tires. Having said that for the present I’m riding the bike I have and it has short reach brakes and an Enve fork. I rode a set of the 29mm Cerfs and they were great, but the clearance was really ridiculously close, so I put some Vittoria 27mm Paves on after they wore out (also nice tires). Any idea of the difference, if any, between the Cerfs and the new Chinook Pass- particularly in height above the rim? Thanks again of making available such well thought out products.

  34. Terry says:

    I’m interested in the 700x38mm tires. If anyone could advise for or against using them on a LHT, used as a commuter in Chicago, I’d be quite interested in whatever you’d have to say about that. These would be replacing Marathons, whose durability and reflective sidewalls I definitely appreciate, but the ride….

    (Other tires for other bikes are being ordered now too.)

    Jan/Compass – thank you so much for your efforts here and over the years!

    • First, the tires should fit on the Long-Haul Trucker, so that is a good start. They’ll transform the feel and ride of your bike. Those are the good parts. The bad part is flats. With the 38 mm tires, you have the advantage that you’ll run at low pressure, so the tire will roll over most debris that would get hammered into a narrower tire at higher pressure. It really depends on where and how you ride. If you get frequent flats with your Marathons, then these tires will not make you happy. On the other hand, if you “ride light” and scan the road ahead and avoid debris, then the Compass tires should work just fine. (Read here for more on how to prevent flats.)

      There is only one way to find out – try them. Fortunately, the investment isn’t huge, compared to getting a custom low-trail 650B bike. And if the tires don’t work for you, you can sell them and recoup much of your investment.

      • Terry says:

        Thanks! I’ll add them to my order.

        FWIW the Marathons have been incredibly reliable, with no flats over a 2+ year timeframe. I think that’s rather remarkable given the roads here, especially during this winter. (I’m glad I train on rollers, navigating our potholes is a real balancing act sometimes.) They’re the “700x35C” labeled basic Marathon, my calipers say 36.5mm on Velocity Dyad rims.

        I feel like I ride light, all things considered, but I suspect nobody could consider this a light bike at all. As a beast of burden it’s been excellent as a year-round bike for the last 5 years, carrying several locks, my pannier with its contents, Berthoud fenders, dyno…(shop scale weighed it in at about 65 lbs).

        I’m too “scared” to ride my MAP Randonneur Project bike as my daily bike here (your review a few years ago sold that bike, btw!), as much as I’d like to. It simply wouldn’t be prudent. Maybe that SOMA Grand Randonneur will show up in my future.

        Thank you again,

        (PBP 2015 is a goal, thanks to JH, BQ, and MAP too!)

      • Frank says:

        Another way to fight flats in my experience is to put a serving of tubeless fluid into your tubes. At least this has helped me, and I was getting a lot of punctures with Hetres: one flat every two weeks when commuting about 100 km a week through Cologne in Germany. (Previously no flats at all on Panaracer Paselas for two years!) I almost gave up after three months and six flats, but with Stan’s inside now it’s pretty okay. Only one flat during the last 1000-1500 km. I still mount cheap Schwalbe tires as a precaution if I can predict nasty conditions, like this week, when the Cologne carnival will peak and we will have even more glass than usual on the cycle paths.
        But there’s no way around it: puncture resistance is the big flaw of these tires. In my experience the Hetres are only moderately safe in urban environments, at least in Germany. If you ride in an area, where you expect to “sometimes” get a flat with tires like Marathons or Paselas, the number of punctures will skyrocket with Hetres or similar. But if you “never” get a flat with Paselas, then Hetres and Compass tires are worth trying because they are more fun and faster. And of course if you leave town and go touring or randonneuring long distances they come highly recommended.

      • The separate bike paths in Germany pose a problem, because they are the place where all the debris accumulates, and they don’t seem to get swept frequently… Around here, we usually ride on the street or in an on-street bike lane, where the pavement doesn’t have much glass and debris.

    • Rod Holland says:

      I put a pair of the Grand Bois Cypres Extra Leger tires on my 700C LHT this season, and got one flat in a thousand miles of mixed-terrain riding: urban, suburban, country, off-road. While it’s not an exact comparison, I expect the Compass 700x38s would fare at least as well…


      • Terry says:

        Thank you for the encouragement! My order is in, and I’m excited.

        I’m very satisfied with the GB 700×28 Extra Leger on my Roadeo, and “just for fun” I’m going to try the black extra light 700×26 on there now, too (on the Pacenti SL23 rims, with tubes — great rims!).

        Come on, vortex ice & snow… melt! I want to go play in the street!

    • Matthew J says:

      Chicago rider as well. Currently ride Grand Bois on both my bikes and have not had issues with flats.

      If I do experience flat troubles, my inclination would be to try Stan’s or some of the other tubeless options rather than ride on thick kevlar.

      But then, I happily ride my customs as often as possible here in Chicago, so perhaps am a bit more adventuresome than Terry.

  35. William Russell says:

    Another vote for a high performance 26″ tire. All the velomobile speed fanatics run 26″ rear wheels and the best current tire is the Schwalbe Supermoto; not ideal. As soon as Compass produces one I’ll get it to Wim Schermer, the guru of velo speed. He is able to quantify tiny improvements with his testing protocols and then brings them to bear on the race track. Let’s go!

    • We do offer an excellent 26″ tire – not as optimized as the 700C and 650B versions, because it uses an existing mold, but better than most. How does Wim measure? If it’s in the lab without the rider’s body on the bike, he’s only getting part of the picture… Real-road testing have a bit more noise, but the differences between tires are so huge that they show up clearly. We’ve done a lot of real-world testing, and it’s shown that the big tire makers still don’t know all that much about what makes a tire fast on real roads. Small makers like Vittoria and FMB know more from experience than all the lab tests at Continental, Schwalbe and Michelin have produced.

  36. cbratina says:

    What is the difference between the Stampede Pass and the Cypres 700C x 32 mm? How do you suggest I select one over the other? I use the Cypres on our tandem and the 32c Super Leger on my touring bike.

    • The difference among the narrower tires isn’t huge. The Stampede Pass has a slightly optimized tread pattern, and it’s available in all-black. The biggest difference is in the 650B tires, where the Compass offer a performance-optimized tread pattern and thickness. And of course, the 700C x 38 mm Barlow Pass is a size that wasn’t available before in a high-performance tire.

  37. Jeffrey Kane says:

    Jan, I just ordered a pair of Babyshoe XL’s (in black, thank you very much). I also purchased the Schwalbe SV-12’s, though I might have thrown-down for the SV-14A’s had they been in stock. Question: am I dulling the XL advantage by using the SV-12’s and/or would the super light tubes be a smarter choice?

    • I’ve ridden these tires both with standard and extralight tubes, and honestly, I cannot tell the difference. In theory, a lighter tube should improve comfort and speed, but it appears that the rubber of inner tubes flexes so easily that it doesn’t absorb much energy. That said, running tires tubeless really does seem to improve comfort, at least on narrow racing tires.

  38. James says:

    Does this mean there are now two excellent 650Bx42 tires available in North America, or will Grand Bois become unavailable in favor of Compass branded tires? Are both sourced from Panaracer? Do they use the same molds? Do I need to turn my bike shed into the Alex Singer supply room in order to keep my 650B bikes in the road in the decades ahead?

    The 650B rim situation leaves me wary about single sources. Panaracer has been good so far, but I used to say the same thing about Velocity, so I would really prefer to see some diversity in the market.

    • The Grand Bois Hetres will remain in the Compass program. They are not made with the same mold, but entirely different tires. They serve a different need – each tire has its own personality. Both are made by Panaracer, but it’s unlikely that Panaracer is going anywhere. And with 650B mountain bikes becoming so popular, there will be more, not fewer, tire and rim choices soon.

      The days when you had to worry about keeping a 650B bike on the road are long over. There are a lot of 650B bikes out there that have been built in recent years, which are ridden a lot. Their owners care greatly about these bikes, and there is enough demand to make sure that somebody will keep making the parts for these machines.

  39. Jan Majuri says:

    Great news about the new Compass tire line, congratulations Jan.
    One question: You state the Compass tires have a thread thickness of 3 mm, but how thick is the tread on the Grand Bois tires?

  40. Doug M. says:

    Teemu Sauer says:
    February 23, 2014 at 10:39 am
    From where one could order the HED rim?

    I am using a pair of 650 b disc brake HED Belgium plus 25 mm rims with the GB EL 42 mm tires. Mine are 32 spoke and may be a preproduction pair ;however, I think they are now available for purchase by the general public. I only have about 500 miles on them but they have been used on some difficult climbing routes.

    So far the set up seems to be fantastic.

    Contact HED directly. You can get the information via their website. If you have any difficulty ask for Andy Tetmeyer who is the head tech at HED.

  41. Jan,
    I ride Schwalbe Maraton Plus 700C x 35 on my touring bike. Never flat and they last forever. Will I notice a significantly better ride on the Barlow Pass 700C x 38?


    • I think you will find a very noticeable difference. What do others think?

    • Matthew J says:

      Used to ride Shwalbe Marathon Supremes.

      GB EL 700 x 32 have markedly more pleasant road feel.

    • Owen says:

      Paul, the Marathon Plus has a belt for puncture resistance and (for me) rode like a brick. I switched last year to the Marathon Racer which was lighter and rode much better…until the tread started to separate from the casing after less than 2000 miles. I ride on roads and dirt paths and this was a real bummer, as the minimal tread on the Marathons was perfect for that kind of terrain. I can’t comment on the new Compass tires as I’ve not yet used them, but in my experience the Schwalbes were never known for their ride quality. Will look forward to using the new Compass 38mm tires on my “scorcher,” as I don’t think the lack of tread will be a big deal.

    • ethan says:

      Paul, you would get a noticably better ride swapping to Marathons, Marathon Race or Kojacks. M+s are like riding on iron (or lead weights). Having ridden them for 3 years, I noticed no less punctures on 800g M+s than on 300g Kojaks.

      … so yes, the Barlow Pass will be a completely different ride experience.

  42. Russ Paprocki says:

    Great news! Is the tread compound the same as the Grand Bois? I have gotten such phenominal wear from both the standard and the Extra Leger over the Pasalas I’ve ridden to more than justify the cost differential on that alone!

  43. TobinH says:

    I ran those tires for a season on a Soma Smoothie. I stopped filling them up with air, because I forgot they weren’t filled with lead. I tried to give them away finally but everyone looked at me like I was crazy and laughed. I finally found someone to take them, but at the last minute I backed out. It’s just that he seemed like such a nice guy, I didn’t have the heart to inflict them on him.

    The difference between those and any nice tire is ‘significant’. I put the word in quotes because it’s really too small to capture the scale of the change.

  44. Jim Crux says:

    Hi, Jan-
    Some previous correspondents have addressed the issue of rim width and its effect on the inflated width of tires. Can you comment on the accuracy of nominal label width versus actual mounted width of tires like the Grand Bois and Compass lines? For example, my current tire’s label reads 32 but the actual width on Velo Orange PBPs and Mavic E 2s is 26 mm as measured with calipers.


    • We try to label the tires as accurately as possible, so you won’t see a difference of 6 mm as on your current tires. However, there are many variables, including rim width, that affect how wide the tires really will be. (There also is the issue of measuring, since you can easily squeeze your tires by a millimeter or two when measuring with calipers.) And then there is some variability in the manufacturing.

      Generally, I’d say our tires are within 1-2 mm of their advertized size. Trying to get any closer seems to be splitting hairs.

  45. The Bonk says:

    Any plans for a UK stockist for the tyres?

  46. cbwesq says:


    I note that in BQ Vol.8 No.3 you, Hahn and Alex all seemed to agree that the optimal tire width for 700C wheels is 32mm. Further, you all agreed that a wide 38mm tires was “too stable” and “reluctant to turn”. So I am curious why you and many on this list are now advocating the 38mm Barlow Pass. Is this a change of opinion? Or do you think that wider tires are better for different applications ( e.g. it is preferable to sacrifice agility for stability on gravel)? Something else?

    • We haven’t changed our opinions about what contributes optimal stability. On our own bikes, we ride wide 650B tires, not 700C. However, we realize two things:

      1. Preferences vary, and what is “reluctant to turn” for us may be “reassuringly stable” for others. The goal of our research was mostly to point out that wheel size cannot simply scale with frame height, that you are changing the bike’s behavior when you change the wheel size.

      2. People ride the bikes they have, not the bikes they dream of. There are many 700C bikes out there that are crying for some wide, supple tires. Having seen my son’s “long-term tester” Islabike transformed by the Compass Barlow Pass 700C x 38 mm, I am glad that we are offering this tire.

      We are also offering 700C x 26 mm tires, even though I don’t consider them ideal, either. Again, preferences vary, and furthermore, 26 mm is the widest that will fit many racing bikes.

      • cbwesq says:

        I’m curious what sort of 700C bikes you think would benefit from wide supple tires. I am having a lightweight 700C rando frame custom built with relatively low trail (41mm) and .8.5.8 True Temper tubing for long “spirited” rides. It can accommodate 38mm tires but I assumed such tires would bog it down a bit, even if lightweight and supple. Are you saying that stiffer less lively frames would benefit from wider tires?

      • I’m curious what sort of 700C bikes you think would benefit from wide supple tires.

        All frames that fit them! Whether it’s customs like yours, cyclocross bikes or the wide-tire 700C bikes from Rivendell, Ocean Air, Surly and others, they’ll all benefit from really nice tires.

        Having ridden many timed events and rides on narrow and wide tires, I can tell you that wide tires won’t slow you down, if they are constructed the same way as your narrower tires. (Our testing under carefully controlled conditions confirmed this.) Most of my best times were set on 650B x 42 mm tires. They roll as fast on smooth pavement, but when you hit a rough road, they float over it, and you don’t even notice. It’s amazing to me how supple, wide tires have turned all these “awful” chipsealed roads into beautiful, scenic backroads. Where my bike used to vibrate so much that my entire body hurt, I now glide across the rough pavement without a second thought.

        It’s only that most wide tires still are stiff and harsh, and those do slow you down a lot.

  47. marinusjan says:

    I could not agree more on the virtues of wide supple tyres. So even though the incremental improvements over and above the Grandbois range are relevant and welcome, I think the most exciting offering is the 38 mm Barlow Pass. I now have 35 mm Pasela’s (non TG) on my Cyclo Cross bike, and these 38 mm would surely be more comfortable. Etrto 38-622 mm is also a nice size for a lightly loaded camping tour with, say, 11-13 kg of luggage.
    I still regret that there is no wider 559 tyre than the 42 mm Compass. I apprreciate the business argument, but I do believe the 42 mm is on the narrow side for a loaded tour with more than the occasional section of trail of one kind or another. For that, I am now waiting for the new Schwalbe Almotion in a wide size. It is apparently supple and fast, but it is also heavy.

  48. Bill Lucas says:

    The Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross can run a 700 x 45C tire and its nice riding.

    • rodneyAB says:

      yes! the BMC monster cross is nice riding, especially with the BG rock&road by panaracer, I’m thinking the 700×38 Barlow Pass would make for a fast road tire on this bike

  49. David says:

    I appreciate the tire testing that BQ has done. Based on your published results, I am now a very happy user of the Vittoria Evo Corsa 700x 25 clincher. This tire has strikingly lower rolling resistance than ALL of the wider tires for which you have also published quantitative data. And not just a little bit lower. (In BQ tests the 700 x 32 Cypress, and the 650 x 42 Hetre have rolling resistance that is 1.5 times or more than the Vittoria Evo). Although you have stated that you think the Vittorias are too fragile or “pre-worn” to be more than an event tire, I have NOT found that to be true for my own riding. I get about 2500 miles out of a rear tire, and even more from a front tire. Virtually all my riding is on paved roads, but that includes lots of commuting on city and suburban streets. I can typically buy a Vittoria Evo Corsa 700×25 for about $45 online, substantially cheaper than the wider offerings from Compass. So even if they wear somewhat faster than a tire with thicker tread, I think the Vittoria’s lower cost, low weight, and substantially lower rolling resistance provides real advantages over the wider, heavier, and more expensive alternatives. I look forward to seeing quantitative tests of rolling resistance for the new Compass tires. Have you now actually measured their rolling resistance and can they match the very low resistance of the Vittoria’s? Until then, I have found a GREAT tire already based on BQ’s quantitative testing, and the Vittoria’s Evo Corsa’s hold up very well in my real world riding.

    • In BQ tests the 700 x 32 Cypress, and the 650 x 42 Hetre have rolling resistance that is 1.5 times or more than the Vittoria Evo

      The coefficient of rolling resistance (crr) was calculated so that the results could be normalized for the same speed. (Not all tests were performed at the same speed.) What really matters is how much more power a tire requires for the same speed. The Open CX Corsa requires 4.7% less power than the Grand Bois Cypres (standard model) at 28 km/h. (For comparison, a Rivendell Rolly-Poly requires 8.8% more power than the Cypres.) A large portion of the Vittoria’s advantage is due to its thinner tread – a well-worn Cyprès will be about 1-2% faster than a new one, but the casing also plays a role. The Vittoria is an excellent tire, and if it works well for you, that is great. For most riders – myself included – they are a bit too fragile. I am surprised you get 2500 miles our of the Evo CX – you would get more than 5000 miles out of a Cyprès.

      We have not yet tested the Grand Bois and Compass tires with Extralight casings. We hope to do that soon. From my on-the-road experience, they are significantly faster than the standard model, which already is quite fast. (In the same places, I find myself often in the next-highest gear on the Extralights.) However, before we can make any claims, we need carefully controlled tests.

  50. aquilaaudax1 says:

    Is the tread of these tyres glued on? I have had trouble with chunks of tread on my old hand glued Challenge Parigi Roubaix’s coming away after they have been cut by gravel on dirt roads 😦

    • No, these tires are vulcanized. The tread will not come off like it does on the Challenge tires. And if there is a defect, we warranty the tires (even if they have been ridden).

      • Bert says:

        I thought that Challenge have been vulcanized for some time now, too?

      • The Challenge tires actually aren’t vulcanized, but they are glued on a flat surface. (So they no longer have the benefits of the tire tread conforming to the shape of the casing like a traditional “hand-glued” tire does.)

      • Bert says:

        (Need to reply on the “challenge are hand-glued” on this level, not possible to follow up down at the original post)
        Jan, Challenge being hand-glued is a curious statement. In the comments of this older article you claim the opposite.
        Quote: “Current Challenge tires no longer are hand-glued, but vulcanized, which seems to have robbed them of their performance advantage.”
        Clarification would be appreciated, thanks.

        PS: I don’t care much about the construction details, they have been working well for me, but somehow the tyre nerd is coming through this time.

      • We went back and forth with Challenge on this, and here is what materialized: The Challenge tread is glued on a flat surface now, not vulcanized. Before, they were glued to an inflated tire casing, so the tread conformed to the tire’s inflated shape. The difference is obvious – the “glued-flat” tires lay flat when they are off the bike, while the “glued-on-inflated-casing” tires always were concave. (Vulcanized tires also tend to be concave, since they come out of a tire-shaped mold.)

        The Challenges are still great tires, but you no longer get the benefit of the tire’s tread being in a relaxed state when the tire is inflated.

  51. Thomas says:

    Hallo Jan,
    are there any plans on manufacturing a run of these tyres with a reflective band for the European market?

    • There are no plans to put a reflective band on these tires. Reflectors on tires (and wheel reflectors) may look impressive when they light up in the headlights of a car coming from the side, but they are of limited use – by the time a driver sees them , it’s either too late to avoid a collision if the cyclist is right in front of the car, or the cyclist is far enough away that they won’t be hit no matter what.

      To avoid collisions, you need to be visible when there still is time for the driver to brake, i.e., not when you are right in front of their bumper.

      • Thomas says:

        Nevertheless Reflectors are mandatory in Germany and other countrys and the band is less an eyesore then reflectors in spokes (at least in my taste). 😉
        Sorry for naggin

      • Apart from the question whether they are useful, the reflective sidewalls get dirty very quickly, and then they don’t reflect any longer… So if you want reflectors, putting them in the spokes is a better spot, where they have a chance of staying clean.

    • Alex says:

      I have great success with the 3M spoke reflectors (hollow reflective tubes that snap around the spokes), but they are too sometimes too wide for the thin spokes often used for good wheels . . . put two on a spoke and you have a rotation ‘light saber’ that’s a bit farther away from the grime. and Melamine foam erasers, available pretty much everywhere now, make short work of the dirt on tires’ reflective strips. Caveat: they might wear out faster, as the stuff is quite abrasive . . . . I’ve lived in Germany for 22 years and I don’t think you will be stopped for not having reflectors – provided you do have lights.

  52. Trazymach says:

    How would a Schwalbe Kojak 700Cx35 (which measures 32 mm on my rims) compare to Stampede Pass 700C x 32 mm? Would it be more comfortable or faster?

    • We haven’t tested the Kojaks specifically, but most Schwalbe tires ride harshly, and are slower than the Compass tires. I cannot think of any current-production tires wider than 30 mm that roll as fast as the Grand Bois and Compass tires with the standard casing. The Extralight versions appear to roll faster yet, but we haven’t tested them under carefully controlled conditions yet to quantify that further advantage.

  53. Willem says:

    I strongly disagree with Jan on the utility of reflective bands on tyres. Here in the Netherlands they are mandatory (unless you use spoke reflectors), and as a driver I can only say from experience that they can make a huge difference in the visibility of bikes. I will not let my wife or children ride without them.

    • I agree that wheel or tire reflectors make the bike more visible, but when they light up, it’s too late. To avoid an accident, you need to see a bike when it’s coming from the side, not when it’s right in front of you.

      Think about cars – they have headlights, taillights, but at least in Europe, they don’t have reflectors on the sides. I know they are required on bikes, but that doesn’t make them useful.

      Reflectors are useful on the rear and especially on the pedals…

  54. Rob Harrison says:

    This is great news Jan! Coincidently I’m shopping for both 650b and 700c tires, so perfect timing. The 700c tires will be for a new-to-me 1994 Cannondale tandem. Current rear tire (Forté St Cross) is nominally 700x35c and measures 32mm on the Sun Chinook rim, which measures 22mm on the outside. I need to let a bit of air out to remove the wheel now, so the Stampede Pass is probably the widest I can go. Team weight is around 360 lbs, with (ahem) a hefty proportion in the captain. Berto’s chart suggests inflation over the max 75 lbs, though I’m not sure of weight distribution on a tandem. Which tire did you use for your tandem, and which (if any) would you recommend for us?

  55. Tim Bird - Yorkshire, UK says:

    Wow! Great news about your range of tyres. Looking forward to trying a pair of Barlows on my faithful Dawes tourer and a pair of Babyshoes on my Boulder Bicycle All-Road which is taking shape this spring. Thanks Jan.

  56. Heather says:

    More choice..?! Congrats on starting your own line based on experience and your research. I still have yet to try hetres… I would be curious about a more narrow 650B tire like a 26 or 28. I realize 32+ is probably optimal for the performance/purpose, but what about short and lightweight riders who experience things differently than what most bikes and components are designed for? Short and light people like myself whose bikes might fit better with 650B wheels but want something racier? For example, being restricted cost wise to vintage bikes, I might find a nice bike that I can barely stand over, but has 700c wheels, or even worse 27″. I’ve read many an article about bicycle design and small bikes should not have 700c wheels and is a major design oversight. A 650b conversion settles toe overlap issues, clearance issues and may enable the rider to stand over the frame a wee bit more easily. In my experience 700c is just too much wheel, nor I did not enjoy 26″ wheels(too small), but find 650A and 650B are ideal.

    • My son weighs about 80 pounds, and he rides the Barlow Pass 700C x 38 mm tires. In fact, as a lighter person, you have an advantage – you can ride tires that are wider than the rest of us, for your body weight. On my bike, I am constrained to 42 mm tires because that is the widest I can fit between the chainstays without going to mountain bike cranks that make me pedal like a duck…

  57. Bert says:

    Never ridden any of GB tyres, but I’ve been following for some time and find the work you’ve been doing very interesting. Coming from a road background (Conti diehard) I’ve been bitten by the wide-tyre bug this winter, running the Challenge Almanzo. My thinking at this point is, that diamond-tread 650b around 40mm might be perfect for me, and the trails I’m facing to link up gravel and road segments. Long shot, but have you been considering anything along those lines?

    • We’ve been using our Compass tires on gravel and dirt with great success. I am not sure the small diamond tread does anything unless you ride on dirt, rather than gravel.

      • Bert says:

        Yes, that’s precisely my situation. Being able to negotiate the sometimes very steep dirt paths would give me lots more options connecting various gravel segments. But agreed it’s bordering on MTB, just the approach is much more pleasant on a faster bike.

      • That is the beauty of our 650B randonneur bikes. On smooth roads, they are as fast and fun as a good road bike, yet they aren’t fazed by gravel or dirt paths, either.

  58. James says:

    I am considering the Barlow Pass 700c x 38c for my Rivendell Rambouillet. I am 6 foot 4″and weigh 240 lbs. Would the tire be an appropriate match for the load?

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