Compass tires are available in two versions: standard and extralight. What is the difference between the two?
The difference is in the casing. The standard casing is already quite light and supple, but for the Extralight, we worked with Panaracer to push the envelope further. These tires use a casing material that is also used on high-end tubular tires, and not usually available for clinchers. Here are the differences between the tires:
- Comfort: The standard casing offers exceptional comfort, but the extra-supple Extralight is yet another step closer to “Tire Nirvana”.
- Speed: While we haven’t tested these tires under controlled conditions, the Extralight appears even faster than the already-fast standard version.
- Puncture resistance: Both versions use the same tread rubber and thickness, so the puncture resistance is comparable.
- Sidewall cut resistance: If the Extralight casing has one drawback, it’s that the sidewalls may be easier to cut on sharp rocks. Even so, I rode the Oregon Outback 360-mile gravel ride on Extralights without a flat or any damage to the sidewalls.
- Weight: The Extralight casing is significantly lighter. Depending on the tire model, the weight difference is 25-35 g (10-15%).
- Cost: The Extralight costs more.
- Color: Both models are available with tan sidewalls. Only the Extralight is available with black sidewalls.
So the Extralight is more comfortable, faster, lighter and available in more colors. The standard model is less expensive and less likely to suffer from sidewall cuts. Both offer the same puncture resistance.
I ride the Extralight on all my bikes, because I love their feel and comfort. If you are on a budget or ride on rocky trails a lot, the standard version may be a better choice.
Note that the narrow 700C versions (26 and 28 mm) are only available with Extralight casings. For the standard casing, we recommend the very similar Grand Bois Cerf in the same widths.
Click here for more information about Compass tires.
What about the photo? Hahn took it at the 2014 Washington State Championships, where a rider on Compass 28 mm tires took 3rd place in the (very competitive) 50+ age category. The good placing was due to his legs, but it’s nice to know that his tires didn’t hold him back.