While Compass are now becoming Rene Herse Cycles we thought we better finish off our long term review of the Barlow Pass 38C, Steilacoom 38C and Snoqualmie Pass 44C TC tyres.

We were lucky enough to use the Barlow Pass and Snoqualmie on our bikes while were were travelling around Europe last year. Since then we have kept them on for our daily commute and from time to time switched to the Steilacoom when we have been going off road or know that we will face very muddy conditions.

From the word go we were very impressed with how they feel, the sexy tan wall and how easily they popped onto the rims. That being said for some reason we had a little trouble with one of the Barlow Pass tyres. Even though we had used the correct amount of tubeless sealent we couldn’t get the tyre to stay pumped up and there was a little bleeding from the side walls. By adding extra sealent it stoped deflating and held air like the rest of the tyres we had been given for our review. Oddly this is not the first time we have this issue with tyres we have tested, and with larger volume tyres which have widths between road and MTB, judging the correct amount of sealent can be a little hit and miss. 

These wider versions (Rene Herse also make tyres with a smaller widths) can run tubeless with a latex-based sealant. Latex-based matters, because there’s no butyl liner to keep non-latex sealant inside. All Rene Herse tyres are made under licence by Panaracer in Japan and use the same handmade vulcanised construction method and fine herringbone tread, apart from the 38mm Steilacoom which has a cyclo-cross or knobbly tread.

Once that little issue was out of the way we set off for our adventures. With the extra volume on these tyres you can easily eat up the miles. At first they seem to be ever slightly slower than say a 28c road tyre and with the extra width/volume you obviously have a weight increase. Also you have to bear in mind that with a larger tyre you actually increase your gearing (I’m not going to get into the maths about that!)

For those that do want to get a little anal about tyre widths, rolling resistance you still have the matter of tyre footprint, and the sidewalls flexing every time the tyre rolls. The ‘rolling resistance’ that German cycling magazine Tour is famous for testing, and in early 2018 they confirmed that the Compass Bon Jon Pass, a thinner 35mm version of the Barlow Pass, is one of the five fastest tyres in the world. You cannot argue with that!

I’m sure that this age old argument will go on for ever and reviews and tests are only one persons view point. While I found these tyres to be fast rolling and an enjoyable ride, Claire who also tested them found there was a huge difference between the two different width of the Barlow Pass and Snoqualmie. She found the Snoqualmie to be faster and roll better. It would be easy to say that she might have had an off day or was just not feeling it but seeing as we have tested these tyres over seven months, maybe there is something personal about tyre choice?

As tubeless tyres become more popular you can see that advantage of using a tyre like these for long touring days. By running a slower presure the small pot holes, loose gravel tracks are eaten up and the road does feel a little more forgiving.

Now for something completely different.

For those that are looking for something with more knobbles or a tyre that can handle mud then look no further than the Steilacoom TC. This tyre simply eats up mud and spits it out. The grip I have to add is even amazing on road. While not the cheapest tyre out there, if you look at other reviews online you will see that this is one heck of a tyre. Over the past year we have used this and I cannot find anything not to like about this other than the price. OK it is never going to be as great for long distance road rides compared to the Barlow Pass or Long Jon Pass, but that is not what it has been designed for. The only thing I can say that is wrong with this tyre is that they do not make it in wider variants. I would love to see how this handles with a 45c width. The amount of grip on long gravel decents I’m sure would be outstanding. One day lets hope they make a few for us to test 😉

If you want to find out more visit Rene Herse.