Rene Herse / Compass tires are safe with carbon rims

Recently, Enve put out a Consumer Safety Bulletin about their carbon wheels and tires made with natural fibers. The conclusion: “Tires using natural sidewall materials with an open tubular type construction are not fit for use with ENVE carbon rims.” Natural fibers are inconsistent in their strength, and the hard edges of carbon rims can cut the weakest ones, causing the tire to split and blow out.

This had some customers worried: Are Rene Herse / Compass tires safe to use with carbon rims. The answer is an unequivocal “Yes!” 

Our tires, including the Extralight models, are made from polyester. In fact, we investigated cotton casings when we first started making tires, but we found the same thing: Cotton – a natural material – is somewhat inconsistent. Some fibers are very strong, others much less so. Polyester has the advantage of being very uniform – ideal for making thin and supple tire casings.

In the past, polyester casings were relatively coarse and not very supple, hence cotton and silk was preferred for high-performance tires. Today, modern manufacturing allows to make extremely fine polyester threads that equal or surpass the suppleness of the natural fibers.

In addition to the stronger material, our tires include a thin strip that goes around the bead. This reinforces the joint between rim and tire, and avoids problems like those reported by Enve. So whether you use carbon or aluminum rims, rest assured: Rene Herse and Compass tires equal the performance of the best ‘open tubulars,’ but they are strong enough to be used on all rims.

Our on-the-road experience confirms this: We’ve ridden our tires on Enve rims with a variety of bikes, without any problems.

The service bulletin also notes a second issue: Some (but not all) cotton tires can have inconsistent diameters and stretchy beads. As a result, they can blow off the rim. Again, this does not apply to Rene Herse / Compass tires: They are made to the tightest tolerances by one of the best makers in the world: Panaracer. In fact, Panaracer tires are specifically mentioned by Enve as a brand recommended for use with their rims.

Oh, and the much-anticipated 650B x 48 mm Juniper Ridge tires you see in some of the photos? They are on their way to Seattle. We should have them within a month.

Further 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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10 Responses to Rene Herse / Compass tires are safe with carbon rims

  1. Matt Good says:

    Any plans on a wider version of this tread pattern for 700c? 42mm?

  2. singlespeedscott says:

    Great for use with plastic rims, unfortunately not so great for the environment☹️

    • Jan Heine says:

      Sorry, I don’t understand your comment. Rene Herse tires are no better or worse for the environment than other bicycle tires – perhaps a little better, since they are lightweight and use less rubber. 😉

      Compared to any other use of rubber, bicycle tires probably are better for the environment, since they allow you to travel much more efficiently than any other means of transportation. If you were referring to carbon rims, that is another matter…

      • Beau says:

        I think this subject is on a lot of people’s minds with all the reports coming in of plastics and synthetic garbage choking the oceans. While it is important to consider these problems, scale is important. There are billions of bicycle tires in the world and I’m sure some of them end up in the ocean, but Rene Herse isn’t the culprit. The best course of action is to make sure your tires get disposed of properly. Most major cities have facilities that take tires for recycling and it’s always good to find those if you have the option. You can also work towards making tire recycling more available to people. That’s something that would actually be more helpful than being snarky on a message board.

      • Jan Heine says:

        Tire recycling is a good idea. Here in Seattle, the option exists, but you must bring the tires to a recycling station. My comment wasn’t intended to be snarky, but really didn’t understand whether the poster complained about our tires, carbon rims or both?

        Generally, I feel that buying products that last a long time is the best to reduce waste. At Rene Herse Cycles, we also work hard to reduce waste during production, by designing our parts carefully and supervising the production at every step. When I visit factories in Taiwan, I am always shocked by the huge waste bins of reject parts. And then you have recalls, where almost-new parts are thrown out after first having been shipped half-way around the world… but those things really are a subject for a future post.

  3. Rick Harker says:

    Does it matter if you use either hooked or hookless rims? I’m not sure if there would be a difference in use.

  4. Beau says:

    Sorry, Jan, I meant the other guy was being snarky, not you. Your response was quite reasonable. Sorry for the confusion.

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