Price: £24.99 each
Weight:: 520g Folding / 580g Wire
Operating Pressure: 35-55 psi Off-road, 65 psi On-road
Features: 2.1in carcass, bi-directional tread pattern, Bi-Bond structure, Multi-step & Variable rate knobs and Anti Snake-Bite chafer
Test Log: 12+ hours mud, rocks, fire roads, canal towpaths and tarmac – a bit of everything really.
Getting depressed by all the FMD trail closures, I felt in need of a bit retail therapy so picked up a pair of these from Evans. There’s nothing like buying something new for your bike to keep you interested in these trail-restricted days.
I contacted Panaracer to try and get a little more information on their latest protégé, but Zyro, the UK distributor (01423 325325), replied saying that they knew little more than what was on the back of the packaging. They also said that details won’t be up on their website for another 2 –3 weeks.
I believe that the new Trail Blaster tyre has been developed to fill the gap in between the Mach SS/SK and the much rated XC Pro and as it is labelled as an ‘All-round XC tyre’ might be aimed more at an American market where the climate is a lot kinder to mountain bikers.
The new Bi-bond structure combines Carbon rubber on the centre and soft ZSG natural rubber on the sides of the tyre. The Carbon rubber is reportedly harder giving greater durability and the ZSG is of a softer compound giving greater grip when cornering. There is an overlap structure used where the s compounds meet on the shoulder to give greater stability to the tyre when leaning your bike over. At 50 notes a pair, you would hope that that the Carbon rubber is as hard wearing as they say so as to get at least 2 seasons wear out of them.
‘Multi-Step’ profile down the centre of the tyre consist of low and wide knobs that give low rolling resistance. The also 2 half slits in them to give greater traction. The ‘Variable Rate’ knobs run in-between the MS knob and the side wall knobs and are pyramid shaped giving greater grip in most conditions when cornering.
These tyres are lighter than the Fire XC; considering their size and large tread blocks I think they will appeal to race whippets as well as all day trailsters. They roll quite well in soft conditions but do pick up some mud despite the spacing between the treads. I found that when run at low psi they provided more grip in these conditions, but you do pick up more mud as a consequence. If you are looking for traction through the gloopy stuff, I’d always opt for their acclaimed cousins the Mud Pro’s or the Tioga Factory Mud’s. Through roots and rocks they perform very and feel stable providing good grip in all but the wettest of conditions.
Due to their low rolling resistance when pumped up hard, hardpack, fire roads and roadwork are very little effort. When leant over, their cornering traction is excellent – on tarmac you can actually hear and feel the different knobs coming into play.
Panaracer’s Anti-Snake bite chafer seems to work well – I’ve not had problems with snake-bite punctures with their tyres.
They are also available with either red or blue sidewalls for all you bike tarts.
Verdict: Although they are described as an all round XC tyre, for our British climate I would label them more as a 2-season tyre (late Spring to early Autumn.) They performing admirably in all but muddy and wet conditions, giving confidence inspiring stability, traction and control.
More info: Imported by: Zyro plc 01423 325325
Panaracer website: http://www.panaracer.com
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