Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grand Bois Hetre

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.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure these tires are nice but you lost me at $60 each. Ouch!
I picked up a stash of non-tourguard Paselas for $6.50 each. I love em'.

John Speare said...

Yeah. If the pasala was made in 650b x 40, I'd go with that too.

It's funny -- cause I just picked up a set of new non-tourgaurds (700x32s) for $10 at a bike swap.

Anonymous said...

I second John's post about the hetre's. i didn't particularily like the price tag at first, but after riding them for a coupel of months, they are almost my favorite tire.

what's missing is some tread on it, so it's easier to take on single track. I've done it, but when it get's muddy, it'd be nice to have a little bit of bite.

Anonymous said...

The red is super-cool. Worth the 60 smacks even. But you are on crack about the puncture thing. I LOVE my armadillos. Just rode through a bunch of goat heads two weeks ago and came away unscathed. Don't get me wrong though--I admire you commitment to style and comfort.

fredjdukes said...

Fourtunatlely the market provides something for everyone...who cares what the other rider prefers as long as you are happy on your bike...

Anonymous said...

jon snyder: "Don't get me wrong though--I admire you commitment to style and comfort."

Speed, too. These are fast tires.

bleckb said...

Do they make a 700? Would you recommend them on a cx/commute set up, like mine? I like the cush notion. My tires aren't that hard, but they're not cushy either.

John Speare said...

Bradley: Grand Bois makes the "cert" in 700c, but I think the fattest they make is 30mm. You might try that one. Or for a cheaper option into the cush world, check out the Panaracer Pasala -- becareful not to get the "tourgaurd" version, as it has a thick anti-puncture belt that makes for a rough ride. I have set of 30 or 32 pasalas you can try if you want. I run the 32s on my daily-driver-commuter-trails RB-T.