I ordered some Grand Bois Hetre tires from Bicycle Quarterly just over a month ago. When I ordered, Jan had the black ones, but was out of the red-treaded version. I figured for $60 a pop, I would hold out for the bling.
Damn these are nice tires. These are hands-down-no-question the best tires I have ever ridden. Cushy poofy fast grippy. I'd do a commercial. These tires really complete the Rawland as the go-anywhere super John-bike.
The vast majority of cyclists I know judge the quality or greatness of a tire by its ability to withstand punctures. The other ones still cling to the myth that rock hard, high-pressure tires are "faster." It's a damn cryin shame, because both camps (and there's plenty of overlap here) are really missing out on riding great tires that offer both cush and speed.
But no puncture protection.
For the flat-tire-fearers: practice fixing a flat until you can do it (including the patch, which takes 5 minutes to dry) in under 10 minutes. That solves that issue. Riding awful tires like Armadillos misses the whole point of pneumatic tires. (For the 1/2 of 1% of you that ride daily through goat-heads, please don't flame me: I get it, you need flat protection.)
For the "must have hard tire" believers: read some of the work Jan has done on the "hard tires are fast" myth in BQ. And/or ride some Grand Bois Cerfs or some Panaracer Pasalas or some Avocet FastGrips. I'm a believer.
Anyway, back to the glowing review. These tires are great on the road. At 60 psi and 42mm wide, they float over the big cracks and crevices that crisscross our lovely Spokane "streets." They are grippy in their fast descent cornering, and they are good enough for the majority of trail riding I'll be doing.
I went on the White Road trail this morning, up the one side, then over White to try out the rocky-ledgy section. As slicks, they skid quickly on fast rear braking, but that's expected. They're cushiness (still at 60 psi), provides a wide enough contact patch to grind up hard pack and to soak up the rocky baby heady stuff.
I still want some mid-40mm semi-knobbies -- and I have the giant neomotos for snow, but otherwise, these tires will be daily drivers.