Rat Trap Pass back in stock

rat_trap

This is just a quick note that our popular 26″ x 2.3″ Rat Trap Pass tires are back in stock in all versions. We’ve been surprised by the popularity of these tires…

Many cyclists have a cherished old mountain bike, an expedition tourer or a tandem that is transformed with a set of supple high-performance tires. Others had Enduro Allroad bikes custom-built around these tires. In fact, I’ve been riding the Rat Trap Pass myself, and all that volume and speed is almost intoxicating.

elk_pass

At the other end of the 26″ tire spectrum is our Elk Pass 1.25″ tire. It’s one of the lightest, fastest 26″ tires ever made, and many riders rave about them. Here is what Georgena Terry, the famous bike builder, wrote:

“I really didn’t want to get off the bike. For those of you who wondered where I was for most of last month… well, I was riding my bike!”

Her experience is typical of how our customers feel when riding on Compass tires. Whether it’s in letters, e-mails or in person, hearing that our products bring so much joy is the best part of my job!

More information:

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 high-performance components for real-world riders.
This entry was posted in Tires. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Rat Trap Pass back in stock

  1. Arend van der Velde says:

    I have the Rat Trap Pass EL now for a couple of months on my Kickbike. Speed is comparable with a good racing tyre, comfort is better than anything I have had in my 50 years of riding anything with two wheels without an engine. Corners also fantastic. A pity my Kickbike has a 20 inch rear wheel. Love to try them in the Slovakian moutains this summer.

    • Bill Gobie says:

      For a similarly constructed 20″tire try a Panaracer Minits Lite. Don’t confuse them with the Minits Tough.

      • Bill Gobie says:

        PS. The Schwalbe Shredda appears to be a very light, fast, wide 20″ tire. It is available up to 50 mm wide.

      • Bill Russell says:

        Both the Shredda and the F-Lite tires are 50mm speedsters.

  2. Tony Hunt says:

    I had a custom Goodrich fork built for a Bridgestone XO-2 in order to run these tires and it’s been revelatory. Eventually I’ll have a whole bike built for them. For now, though, the clearances are tight in the rear! Would feel safer if you were able to offer a 2.1 size.

    • Cris says:

      Agree with this comment! It would be awesome to have a narrower version of this tire (e.g., 1.9″-2.1″) size with the same tubeless compatibility.

  3. Bob C says:

    Compass tires are without equal in my opinion.

    I’ve been riding and loving Babyshoe Pass tires for thousands of kilometers and they’re everything people say they are. A transformative experience on the bike.

    I think Jan’s advocacy for 650b, which begat the 650b interest of Riv, Cogswell, perhaps Grand Bois’ inspiration for their Hetres all finally culminating in the research that led to Compass tires made life better for all cyclists. It’s rare to change things for so many, and everyone involved should feel pride.

    A tip about supple tires and flats: After getting slammed with a series of four flats on a single 200K brevet ( blackberry bushes were being cleared by road crews and I think the roads were thick with thorns) I put a couple of ounces of Orange Seal in each tube and haven’t had a flat since. Nor have I perceived that the Orange Seal in the tubes changes the ride characteristics in the slightest.

    In any event, while I’m not riding a bike with 26″ wheels at the moment, I would purchase any of your tires in any size with the confidence they would be the best tires I could buy. In fact, so much better than second place that it’s almost like they’re in a different sphere altogether.

    Yeah, I have a bias now!

  4. Nate says:

    I just put the a pair of babyshoe passes on my rando bike and I am blown away! I can’t believe how much more comfortable, stable, grippy in corners and stable they are then my old hetres from GB. The only thing the hetres have is the beautiful white color… Any chance that Compass will start making them in white with tan sidewalls?

    • One of the reasons the Compass tires are so grippy is the black tread. Colored treads don’t offer the same traction, even today. Of course, there are many other ways we’ve optimized the Compass tires, based on the lessons we learned from testing and riding so many of the other brands.

  5. Bill Russell says:

    Those of us in the lunatic velomobile fringe are finally starting to see the speedy value of the RTP tire. Next up: a fat, supple 20″ tire; the market for it is bigger than you might expect.

  6. B. Carfree says:

    I remember a couple of years ago when several of us pleaded with you to get a proper 26″ tire mold so you could make an awesome tire like the Rat Trap Pass. Initially, you were resistant because you thought there wasn’t much of a market for 26″. I’m very pleased that you decided to take the risk by having them made. I’m even more pleased that us 26″ riders have come through and bought you out of the first run. (Do you remember saying that it was a rather large run and that you were unlikely to run out soon?)

    I must say that the RTP have transformed our tandem. My captain is a happy camper and I’m loving life on the rough stuff as stoker. The only drawback is that I have to use the drag brake more on descents because these things have so little rolling resistance we often find ourselves going faster than our comfort zone and sight line.

    Now, do I have a half-bike made up to handle the RTP or do I go ahead with my earlier plans to convert on of my ’70s-era Treks to 650B? I love a choice with no bad answer. Thanks for all you have done, Jan.

    • Conrad says:

      My guess was that the Rat Trap Pass was going to sell very well. There are a lot of bikes out there with 26 inch wheels and lame tires; people are going to realize those bikes can be transformed, performance wise, with those tires.

  7. Glen Stickley says:

    I am hoping that a tubeless version of the Elk Pass might be available soon given the recent release of a large range of Panaracer Road Tubeless tires.

  8. Jacob Musha says:

    A couple months ago I bought my first pair of Compass tires: the 700×38 Barlow Pass. After riding them for a couple weeks I knew wanted the Rat Trap Pass as well. The standard version was out of stock so I had to buy the extra lights. Despite the additional cost I’m very happy! Light, fast, incredible grip. I even took them on some single track on my drop-bar MTB. I’m going to get a custom Enduro Allroad frame made around them.

  9. Ray Varella says:

    I’m curious to read an article or three on some prototype bikes which are optimized for tires like these, as well as the Switchback Hill tires on 650b bikes.

    At what point does it warrant a completely different bike?

  10. Jon says:

    Jan,

    I see from the 2nd photo that the Elk Pass does not have a file tread like the other Compass tires. I’m just curious as to why that is. Thanks

  11. DavidM says:

    My Soma Grand Randonneur 650b has been displaced by a Boulder All Road 650b as my main Audax bike, and now I’m considering whether I could adapt the SGR to have: (a) 48mm Switchback Hills if I remove the fenders, or (b) 54mm Rat Trap Passes if I relocate my brake mount post on both the fork and the rear stays 12.5mm downwards to suit the 559 RTPs. Anyone tried something like this, or any thoughts in response to these options?

  12. Fergus says:

    I replaced my 26×2.15″ Schwalbe Big Apples on the Surly LHT with the RTPs and I’m loving the improved cornering and lower rolling resistance. I took them on a recent gravel grind with some very rocky roads and despite descending at speed I was never worried about traction or flats. A couple of the CX riders pinch flatted on the roughest descent. I’m running them with fenders and have no trouble with clearance. As stated by Jan previously they came out at 52mm when running them with tubes (54mm tubeless, if I remember correctly). I’m confused as to why they’re labelled 2.3″ when they’re closer to 2.1″ though. Apart from the confusing labelling I couldn’t imagine a better tyre, thank you!

    • Good to know. I’m running Schwalbe Big Ben on my LHT which I really like. I’m about to get the RTPs and I wan’t sure if they’d fit with fenders.

  13. Bill Gobie says:

    I think it would be popular to offer a version of Elk Pass tires with Panaracer’s PT light anti-puncture layer.

    I bought an Elk Pass knowing full well such a narrow tire would be puncture prone with the pressure required by my weight, so I’m not complaining. It is clearly a faster tire than any others that fit my bike. Unfortunately it has been more vulnerable then I expected. Using it as an event tire I have had three punctures on the rear wheel in four rides, with a total of about 400 km on the tire. Interestingly the casing is undamaged. Sharp things seem to find their way between the casing fibers without cutting them.

    The 20″ Minits Lite was originally offered with no protection. Its construction looks very similar to the Elk Pass. A PT version soon appeared and seems so popular I have not seen the unprotected version for several years.

    • I am surprised by the number of punctures you report. Our original tester – granted probably lighter than you – still hasn’t had a puncture in almost a year of using the tires. (One pinch flat was the only issue, riding these narrow tires on rough gravel roads.)

      The fact that all your flats have been on the same tire may indicate that something is stuck in the tire, and re-punctures your tube time and again. I once had a tiny steel wire in my tire. It was invisible and impossible to feel, but as the tire was compressed, it became exposed and slowly ground into the tube, until it punctured after 50 miles or so. I finally realized what was happening, and at midnight during a 600 km brevet, in the light of a headlamp, managed to find and remove the wire.

  14. Cris says:

    Since these tires are also designed to run tubeless, is there a particular sealant that’s recommended to minimize flats?

Comments are closed.