A review of Allroadie's path to a tubeless 35mm road tire

Over a few years I've had the opportunity to try a number of tire models in the 35mm width range. As Jan Heine has helped us understand, narrow tires are not always the best choice. Tires in the 35mm size range have shown the benefits of smoother ride and better grip. Choosing the tire with the right construction means we can optimize for performance or durability. This list reflects a number of tire choices I've made for two different bicycles with two different missions. My rando/commuter Cannondale T700 wanted affordable and durable rubber and lacked tubeless compatible rims. My Waterford road/gravel machine deserved lighter and more efficient tires. The following list represents the tires that have been tried and what I think I learned.

Compilation of four tire photos
Allroadie's path to a tubeless 35mm road tire

This list of subjective tire reviews has been ordered chronologically based on the year a tire model was tried for the first time. Tires and opinions listed later were influenced by those listed earlier. All tires were run with tubes unless otherwise mentioned.

Michelin Dynamic 32x700c - 2009

These budget tires were probably marketed to compete with the Panaracer Pasela. Compared to a Pasela in 32mm they seemed more susceptible to glass punctures, didn't last as long, and gave better on road performance. This model in 32mm seems to be discontinued.

Panaracer Pasela blackwall (without puncture protection, steel bead) 32x700c - 2010

This model was chosen only after the Michelin Dynamic in 32mm was not longer available. Although Panaracer has offered an additional version that include an extra layer of puncture protection, I've purposefully chosen the non protected version. The Pasela seems to find the sweet spot when comparing price, performance, and durability. The durability of the Pasela is likely due to a relatively thick center tread section. That same thickness may also be the reason that, to my legs, Paselas feel sluggish when new. My observations have been that they find their way only after the texture has worn off the center section of the tread. I've noticed this 'break in' behavior in 28mm, 32mm, and 35mm widths.

Michelin Cyclocross Mud 2 30x700c - 2012

These tires were purchased as my first set of Cyclocross racing tires. For the price they were spectacular. From dry days to sloppy mud they turned in good performances. They had excellent side bite and slid predictably when the limit was reached. After being replaced with top level racing tires they continued on as gravel road tires where they continued to work well. Where they fell down was pavement. The tiny loosely spaced knobs were a liability on pavement. After a few slips on the pavement I chose to dedicate them to dirt only missions.

Panaracer Pasela 35mm
Panaracer Pasela 35mm

Panaracer Pasela blackwall (without puncture protection, steel bead) 35x700c - 2014

As my riding started to include more rough or gravel road riding the switch to the wider 35mm Pasela was a good fit. For a tubed tire solution I've not found a better choice when durability and cost are factors. Just like the other size Pasela tires, the 35mm models want to see 500 miles go by before they give their best performance.

After hearing rumors on this Internet I was curious if the Pasela could be used tubeless. I was able to inflate a 35mm Pasela on the tubeless compatible version of Velocity's A23 rim but concluded that the combination would not be reliable.

As this was being written in 2017 these tires were still in regular use on my Cannondale rando/commuter bike.

Michelin Cyclocross Jet 30x700c - 2015

These tires chose me, I didn't choose them. At a price I couldn't refuse, they came to me from another Cross racer. Despite the 30mm marking they measured 35mm wide on A23 rims at 40 psi. Compared to Michelin's other Cyclocross tires mentioned above, they had tighter side knobs and file tread in the center. Because I already owned Cyclocross tubulars these Jets were assigned to my Cannondale rando/commuter. They worked well on gravel road rides including up and over Haller Pass a couple times. They also showed better pavement grip than Mud 2 tires. Pavement durability was a challenge, however. Wear was evident after just 100 miles of commuting after which they were assigned to my Cannondale's 'gravel ride only' wheelset.

Compass Bon Jon Pass 35mm

Compass Bicycles Bon Jon Pass Extralight blackwall 35x700c - 2016

The Compass Bicycles announcement that their 35mm Bon Jon Pass Extralight tire was tubeless compatible matched my readiness for a high performance tubeless setup for paved road riding. The 'Extralight' version included a lighter and more efficient casing along with a tubeless compatible bead. These tires were at the top of the cost scale and were manufactured by Panaracer. The sidewalls were noticeably thin which created challenges when inflating tubeless. The sidewalls also leaked more air than expected. Eventually I discovered that the sealant would only do it's job adequately if the mounted tires were stored on their sides for the first few days. Even with this trick the tires bled down more quickly than I hoped for. Set up tubeless, on A23 rims, at 60 psi, they measured 37mm wide.

Of course the ride was wonderful. Fast and smooth. Descending Steven's Canyon Road was fun on these tires compared to previous descents on 28mm tires. I had just two issues.

From the beginning there was a sense of 'fold over' as is the case when a rim is too narrow for a tire. Maybe my A23 rim with it's 17mm inner width wasn't optimal for a 37mm wide tire. On smooth pavement rides I sometimes compensated with a few extra pounds of tire pressure.

The second issued ended the trial. I rode too near a rock tall enough to reach the sidewall and sharp enough to slice it wide open. POOF! Happily there was no other damage to bike or body and a tube with tire boot allowed the ride to continue.

In 2017 Compass upgraded the standard casing version of the Bon Jon Pass to be tubeless compatible. Given my tendency towards imperfect roads this non Extralight casing model was probably the version I should have waited for.

Maxxis Rambler 40mm

Maxxis Rambler EXO 40x700c - 2017

For bumpier gravel roads I wanted more tire volume without large knobs nor an overly thick casing. The Rambler EXO by Maxxis seemed to fit the bill. This model was designed to be tubeless, mounted easily on my A23 rims, and held air well over time.  This tire was ideal during the Vicious Cycles Leavenworth Gran Fondo where I ran 40 psi front and 43 psi rear. They rolled easily while pacelining over 20 m.p.h. along the Columbia River. They absorbed the bumps on the rough bits of Swakane Canyon road. These tires were mounted on a second wheelset and, as this was being written, were receiving a called up whenever the gravel to pavement ratio exceeded 50/50.

Hutchinson Overide 35mm

Hutchinson Overide 127TPI 35x700c - 2017

After cutting a sidewall in the middle of 2017 I asked Google for a 35mm wide road tire that was tubeless compatible. The list of options was short. The Bon Jon Pass Extralight matched my criteria but I had concerns that it was too delicate for me. The Schwalbe G-one Allround was considered before choosing the Hutchinson Overide. The oddly spelled Overide tire was marketed as a 'light gravel' tire. It features a textured center tread and modest side knobs. Inspecting images of the side tread led me to believe that the rubber to void ratio was high enough to trust this tire on the pavement.

My pre purchase research revealed that I should expect a tight fitting tire and that is what I encountered. The Overide was a bit more challenging to mount than previous tubeless tires but held air well once the beads popped into position.

Early riding impressions were positive. The textured center section allowed the tire to roll efficiently and relatively quietly. Modest lean angles increased the tire noise a bit and failed to expose any traction deficiencies. As this was being written in 2017 these tires were still in regular use and evaluation on my Waterford road and gravel bike.