Panaracer Trailblaster Tubeless UST 1.95″ £34.99
Panaracer’s Trailblaster tyre has been one of the real rubber hits of recent years. Flat top blocks with staggered support mean fast rolling and hefty side lugs keep grippping when it’s over on it’s ear, as well as helping the anti snakebite sidewall shrug off rock impacts. Variable compound shoulder rubber also hangs in there when harder compounds spit you out. The smaller knobs on the 1.9 (and particularly 1.8) tyres make the Trailblaster less vague in the slop than the 2.1″ but it’s at it’s best as a summer trail tyre, where there are few to match it, making it a perfect complement to their well established Fire XC.
Therefore we were damn keen to try the first Trailblaster UST (Mavic’s tubeless standard) tyres to hit these shores. The tyres can be hand fitted (if your patient and persistent) rather than needing crow bar assistance like Michelin UST’s, but we still had the usual 20 minute faff* to get them properly seated and up to pressure.
The good news is that once they’re up they stay up (not always a certainty with tubeless) and the tyre takes the already excellent standard performance and just adds a touch of suppleness and absorbtion, as though you’re running the tyre about 5-10 psi softer but without the sluggishness or slop that normally involves. We also had a lot more confidence charging down unsighted, ‘6 inches deep in water’ rocky bridleways in the Peaks and local rock and wood edged step sections thanks to the no-pinch flat advantage.
Panaracer have also managed to bring the tyre in at around 640g which is significantly lighter than similar sized tubeless from other manufacturers, and comparable with standard tyre and tube set ups. The downside to this is a lack of puncture resistance that’s left us thorn flatting on two rides out of four.
It’s always hard to define puncture proofing as obviously you can’t ride different tyres on the exactly the same trail line at the same time and both punctures occurred on wet rides (water makes it a lot easier for thorns to slip through the rubber). However neither trail was one we’ve had puncture problems on before and we’ve run Hutchinson tub’s since April with only one thorn flat. Considering what an arse repair and reinflation is (to be honest just throw in an innertube and do it at your leisure) it’s definitely a potential minus on an otherwise excellent tyre. Anyway we’ll repair them and carry on riding and let you know if they keep up this time.
In terms of price they’re pretty much the same as the competition, but at least you get clever rubber for your money.
Verdict: Excellent summer rocky tyre, with extra tubeless pinch flat protection and ride subtlety without weight penalty. Some questions about thorn resistance though.
*Top tip for fitting all tubeless tyres; make sure the offside bead is settled in the centre rim well as you fit it and then do the same with the second bead to form an initial seal. Then overpressure the tyre up to around 4 bar / 60 psi to create a firm rim seal before dropping to operating pressure.
Stay tuned for a test report on the new Continental Explorer Pro UST tubeless tyre when we’ve put in enough miles to be sure.