Compass Antelope Hill 700C x 55 mm Tires

We are proud to introduce our biggest tire yet, the much-anticipated 700C x 55 mm Antelope Hill. The new tires have arrived with the latest shipment and are now in stock.

Antelope Hill is the unofficial name of the last great climb of the iconic Oregon Outback, the 360-mile gravel race that traversed Oregon from the south to the north. Like many gravel rides, almost a third of the Outback route is on pavement, including Switchback Hill itself (above). The ideal tire for this and similar rides combines excellent speed on pavement with enough width to float on top of the gravel, rather than sink into the loose aggregate.

The new 700C Antelope Hill completes the trilogy of ultra-wide Compass allroad tires, which also includes the 650B Switchback Hill – named after the first big climb of the Oregon Outback – and the 26″ Rat Trap Pass.

Like most Compass tires, the Antelope Hill is available with our Standard casing and tan sidewalls (above). This is the more economical choice. Also, the sidewall is stronger to resist cuts better.

For the ultimate in performance, we recommend our Extralight casing, available in tan or black. This is the same ultra-supple casing found on top-level tubular tires. The Extralight isn’t just incredibly light for such a big tire (465 g) – the supple casing also improves its speed and comfort further. And thanks to the extra width and hence lower pressure, the Antelope Hill Extralights are strong enough even in rough terrain.

Experienced riders can use these tires on rough trails, but they are not intended as true mountain bike tires. The supple sidewalls aren’t stiff enough to climb out of ruts, and the casing can suffer cuts if it’s forced into sharp rocks. We mostly intend them for riders who enjoy their 29er mountain bikes on gravel and paved roads. Under those conditions, Compass allroad tires will transform your bike’s performance. You’ll want to ride it everywhere… We can’t wait to see where people are taking their Antelope Hills!

The Antelope Hills are available now. For more information or to order a set, click here.

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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30 Responses to Compass Antelope Hill 700C x 55 mm Tires

  1. Gugie says:

    Argh! I built a frame for a buddy of mine based on the Snoqualmie Pass 700×44 tires, now he’ll be figuring out how to squeeze these in 😉 Great that there’s a gravel tire for all rim sizes.

    • You can always convert to 650B or 26″!

      • Gugie says:

        Not after I already brazed on centerpull posts and my buddy spent the money for wet paint on this custom built frame!

        Not a problem, though, we designed the frame for fender clearance on the 44’s, if he wants to go rough gravel riding, fenders can come off. He’s in sunny Northern California, those folk tend to hide when a few dark clouds roll out…

        This does bring up a point I’ve been making for awhile – nowadays we are often building a frame and bike around a specific tire. This makes sense, as your testing shows that tires are about the biggest “knob” to adjust and increase performance.

        The great selection of high performance Compass tires has opened up the custom framebuilder’s possibilities. My friend is 6’6″, smaller wheels just would be odd looking on this bike. We actually discussed the possibility of Compass coming out with an even wider tire and made sure there was horizontal room for them in the chainstays and fork. And here they are!

  2. Curly says:

    I put the 26” version of these tires on my Moots YBB and loved them!
    Now I will put this 700c version on my Fargo. Just what the doctor ordered.

  3. Dr J says:

    I would really love to see a 650B version of these. I know that there’s Switchback Hill with its 48mm width, but a 650Bx55mm (or ~2.2″) would be a very nice fast-rolling replacement tire for MTB wheels. Those extra mm would make a difference the same way it does for 700C wheels (44mm vs. 55mm).

    • The Switchback Hills tend to run a bit wide, so they really are just a few millimeters narrower than the new tires. The difference will get lost among other factors, like the stiffness of the fork. That makes the Switchback Hill a great choice for 650B/27.5″ MTBs that are used as allroad bikes. Up to now, the equivalent for 29ers wasn’t available, which is why we made the Antelope Hill.

      • Dr J says:

        Then perhaps a 650Bx58mm would be an option?

        The width difference in current lineup is:
        28mm (+12% wider than 25mm)
        32mm (+14%)
        35mm (+9%)
        38mm (+9%)
        42mm (+11%)
        48mm (+14%)

        A 58mm tire would be then +21% wider than 48mm tire, but if Switchback Hill runs wider (like maybe 52mm?) then it’s a +11% difference. That’s still significant.
        No matter what, there’s room for a wider 650B tire in Compass lineup.

  4. Daniel M says:

    Have you given any thought to larger 26″ tires? In my dreams, you (or someone) would produce a smooth and a knobby using the same supple casing such that the smooth can be called a 26×2.8″ and the knobby a 26×3.0″. I’m finding this size to be incredibly versatile – I can ride trails or adventure tour alongside my friends on 4″ fatbikes, but also do 90-mile days on pavement with others on road/touring bikes. The only limitation at the moment is tire availability! There are a few supple knobbies (Ranger 3.0) available in this size range and absolutely zero supple slicks. (Vee Speedster in 26×2.8″ is a stiff, rough-riding disappointment.)

    26″ is totally uncool at the moment but for me, keeping the overall wheel diameter down while exploring the upper reaches of tire volume is working out really, really well.

    • Jacob Musha says:

      Put me down for these as well. At 5’9″, I have no use for any wheel size larger than 26″ unless the tires are very narrow. I would love to try a supple 26″ tire in the 2.7-3″ range.

    • William says:

      “26″ is totally uncool at the moment ”
      Not as uncool as 27″ x 1 1/4″ (ETRO 630)

  5. Curly says:

    Oh yeah… I also have the 650b x 48mm version on my 1991 GT Tachyon Perfect for allroads

  6. morlamweb says:

    This is a much anticipated and most welcome development. I’m over the moon with my new Rat Trap Pass extralights – it’s like I’m riding on a turbo-charged cloud! – and I’d expect the same incredible performance from the Antelope Hill tires. I don’t have any ISO 622 wheels, but if I did, I’d buy a set.

    One question: what are the vertical nubs sticking out from the tire tread? Artifacts from the manufacturing process?

    • The tiny nubs are artifacts from the manufacturing process. You can cut them off, if you like, or just wait until they wear off after a few miles.

    • Conrad says:

      Me too! There are so many awesome old mountain bikes out there that are practically being given away. Add rat traps and drop bars and you have a really fun and useful bike.

  7. SteveP says:

    I applaud the new tire.
    Could you do a knobby 650×48 too?

  8. M. Visser says:

    Competition for the ultra light beach racing tires? (hint; sell them in Holland).

  9. Sark says:

    Dear Jan,

    Do you have a pic of a bike with these tires? I am curious how a bike might look! Imagine a slender bike with these buggers on it!
    Also i am wondering about building a bike with tires this wide.. The q factor and chainstay clearance would pose an interesting problem when doing a 2x or even a 3x system.

  10. David Butler says:

    Please excuse that I’m too lazy (and pressed for time) to look this up elsewhere. Will these fit on a standard 29 inch mountain bike wheel?

  11. Andy Stow says:

    Any suggestions for a reasonably priced build of a light-ish (22 pounds or less) steel bike that will take the Antelope Hills with real fenders and adequate clearance? Do I have to go custom? I want a fast commuter, maybe just a front bag, not a heavy touring bike. At 5’9″ and 155 lb, most stock frames are way overbuilt for me.

    • I’m not sure there are any light steel 29er mountain bikes out there. If you want 50 mm-wide tires on a road bike, you’ll want to go with the 650B x 48 mm Switchback Hill. In that case, there are many options. We’ve tested the Masi Speciale Randonneur and the Surly Midnight Special (report is coming in the Summer 2018 Bicycle Quarterly).

    • Jacob Musha says:

      There are a lot of frames you could throw these tires on, but considering your weight target (22lbs) and desire for light tubing full custom is the only option, unfortunately. I’m also 5’9″ and went with the Rat Trap Pass on my wide-tire road bike to avoid toe-overlap, reduce weight, and optimize handling.

      It would be great if a frame like this were available off-the-shelf! Someone should start making a production frame that can accomplish these things.

    • John C. Wilson says:

      Salsa Vaya is still steel. Check for yourself if you feel the clearance is adequate or fender mounting is reasonable. 22 pounds would be possible, you will work at it. Nice bikes, but in every way production bikes.

      My commuter is a DL-1. Fast DL-1 is an oxymoron. With Snoqualmie Pass tires mounted I have a fast DL-1. The bike has longer legs than before, suddenly suited for more than just very local. Like a new bike after 15 years of faithful service. You’ll have same experience with Antelopes.

    • marmotte27 says:

      Given that handling would be suboptimal (if you believe Jan as I’m sure we all do on here) with so large a tyre on a 700C wheel, why build a new ir even custom bike around them, especially with fenders?
      I see those large 700C tyres mainly as a way to convert to large tyres on existing 700C bikes.

  12. Leafslayer says:

    Jan, these look great! What’s the optimum rim width you’d recommend for these tires? Is an internal width of 29mm too wide?

  13. Andy Stow says:

    Thanks. I actually meant to type “Switchback Hill.” I’ve been considering the Surly, but I’m really leaning away from disc brakes. I have two bikes with them, and two without, that I ride regularly, and except for a true mountain bike or a fatbike I find them to be more trouble than they’re worth. I’ve never had trouble stopping in the wet with caliper or cantilever brakes, and I find discs to need continual adjustments to keep them quiet and working.

    I’m really hoping to find a light enough frame to experience planing, and gain a couple of miles an hour on my daily commute (which includes gravel) saving me twenty minutes every day.

  14. Hello,

    It’s great to see Compass continue to release new tires. I’ve enjoyed the Bon Jon Pass standard casing tires very much.

    29ers and the like can often have more elaborately shaped seatstays than other bikes to improve clearance. However I’m not sure ample seatstay clearance needs to be specific to mtb’s.

    What limiting factors exist for the width of the seatstays? Much has been researched into the many constraints of chainstay clearance, but I have seen bikes where their limiting factor is seatstay clearance. This seems avoidable to me.

    In addition, seatstays are often designed to be at their widest where the tire is, but can be narrower where a 40% wider fender is meant to be. This also strikes me as avoidable. Especially with fenders that do not go through the chainstay, like the Portland design works fender series, the limiting factor for fender clearance can often be the width of the seatstays.

    If I were to design a bike from scratch, I imagine I would make the seatstays at their widest 2cm or so above the tire, where the fender is meant to be. What is your view, are there constraints to be aware of?

    • Bending the seatstays is a solution. With straight stays, how the stays attach at the top, to the seatlug, makes a big difference. You get the least tire and fender clearance with a fastback attachment (classic Cinelli-style), and the most with a wrapover (French-style).

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