Off The Beaten Path

One of the 5 Fastest Tires in the World

Recently, the German magazine TOUR published a table showing the ‘five fastest tires in the world.’ We are excited to see our Compass Bon Jon Pass 700C x 35 mm tires on this list, in the company of the fastest racing tires. A 35 mm-wide tire on a list that otherwise includes only tires between 23 and 26 mm wide! That by itself is already cause for celebration. It means that our casings really are among the very fastest in the world.

And since all our tires use the same casings and construction, TOUR’s results apply not just to the Bon Jon Pass, but to all Compass tires. I was surprised that they tested the Standard casing. I would love for them to test the Extralight, which we know from our own experience to be even faster.

What is interesting is that the Compass tire scored superbly on smooth asphalt (light gray bars), but a little less well on rough asphalt (dark bars). This doesn’t match our experience, where wider tires provide advantages especially on rough roads. The reason is simple: TOUR tested without a rider on the bike. This measures the hysteretic losses in the tire, but it neglects the (much more important) suspension losses that occur as the rider’s body and bike vibrate. (Click here to learn more about suspension losses.)

This means that TOUR’s testing overlooks one of the main advantages of wide tires: their superior comfort, which also makes them faster. In other words, with a rider on the bike, especially on rough asphalt, the Compass tire probably is even faster than it appears in TOUR’s testing.

We are proud that the Compass Bon Jon Pass scored so well, especially since it is intended as an all-round tire, not an all-out racing tire. The Bon Jon Pass is suitable for gravel racing and has 3 mm-thick tread for many miles on the road. Compare that to the Vittoria with its 0.8 mm-thick tread, which is intended only for time trials, and even then, it’ll wear out quickly.

The excellent performance of the Compass tire shows once again why wide tires have revolutionized cycling: You wouldn’t want to ride the other tires on TOUR’s list on anything but the smoothest, cleanest roads for fear of flats and premature wear. And yet with wider tires, we can ride some of the world’s fastest tires on the backroads where cycling is at its most beautiful.

Further reading:

Correction (1/31/2018): The testing method of TOUR’s test had been reported as a steel drum. Also, TOUR tested the Standard casing, not the Extralight, as we previously assumed.