Teravail Goes Skinwall + Sparwood First Look
Teravail just unveiled their spring line, including skinwall versions of the 27.5+ Coronado, gravel-centric Cannonball, road plus 650B x 47mm Rampart, and Tour Divide ready Sparwood. Get the details here. Plus, our first impressions of the tan sidewall Sparwood…
Whether you call them skinwalls or gumwalls—even though the two industry terms are completely different—beige clad tires are all the rage right now. Not only does the aesthetic conjure images of a French countryside brevet, it also embodies supple rides over long stretches of gravel and broken pavement. QBP brand Teravail jumped on this trend for the spring and has released several of their tires with a tan sidewall. You can find details on each tire below, including our thoughts after we had a chance to briefly try out the tan sidewall version of the popular Teravail Sparwood.
The Teravail Sparwood 29 x 2.2″ tire was launched a few years ago alongside the Salsa Cutthroat. Both the bike and the tire were designed around the Tour Divide—or other such gravel and two-track heavy bikepacking routes. With tightly spaced, fast-rolling center tread, a beveled diamond patterned tread in the middle, and significant side lugs, the Sparwood certainly appears to fit the bill for such endeavors.
According to Jay Petervary, who used a single pair to complete the Tour Divide in 2015, “The Teravail Sparwood tires were an excellent choice for this year’s Tour Divide. The wear of the tire is amazing. I used the same pair from start to finish, without a single flat! There were no signs of sidewall abuse either. The volume of the tire yields great comfort, especially on a loaded bike, and the performance on the road surfaces was fast on the straights, predictable, and trustworthy in the corners. It’s a solid choice for anyone thinking of the Tour Divide.”
To preface, I’m a huge fan of the drop-bar 29er, so I was stoked on these tires even before the tan sidewall version was released. And, now that I have a bike that fits a 29 x 2.2″ tire, my intention is to put some miles on them over the next couple of months and report back here. That said, I’ve already taken a few easy rides on the bike path and some gravel, so I have some initial impressions.
The Kona Sutra LTD came equipped with i23 rims, a great internal width for the 50mm Clement X’plor gravel tires it came with, but, even though Teravail specs 23 as the ideal rim width for Sparwood, I find it too narrow for 2.2″ tires. With that in mind, my first impressions are a little skewed; I’d prefer to judge these tires on a 27mm rim. Tubeless setup was pretty straightforward on the i23 rims. Well, on one of them, at least. I set up the rear first with a floor pump and had a bit of trouble with the front. I ended up taking it to my local bike shop for a quick blast of air. Once mounted, I found the tread profile to be surprisingly oval, perhaps due to the narrow rims, or maybe they stretch in over time. Even so, once I hit the trail, they felt fast. The oval profile may be a factor there, but the tight-spaced center knobs are definitely the main contributor.
How about that supple feel skinwalls are often associated with? To clarify, these are more like skinwall tires, and not gumwall. Gumwall tires are made with a completely different process that is typically used on inexpensive tires–basically an exterior coating that beefs up the sidewall and creates a heavier tire. The term skinwall refers to an older tire making process where a canvas-like fabric was left exposed on the sidewall. This benefitted the tire’s performance. So the Teravail tan sidewall versions are technically neither skinwall or gumwall. However, Teravail offers most of their tires in two casings, Durable and Light and Supple. Tan sidewalls are only offered in the latter, which is fitting and makes them closer to a skinwall tire of old. All that said, there is nothing magically extra supple about the tan sidewall versions. It is the same construction as the all black Light and Supple tires, just with a different color sidewall.
Based on my initial riding experiences, I found that the Sparwood felt pretty good in that regard, although it required a bit of fine tuning in the air pressure department. In typical me fashion, I didn’t read the box and started off at about 32PSI. They weren’t as cushy as I expected, so I dropped them way down (later found out I dropped them all the way to around 20PSI) and they felt nice, absorbing the gravel chatter and still retaining speed. However, I think the magic number on the Sparwood will be around 24-25PSI, as they may have felt a little squishy in corners when set under 20PSI. But, again, stay tuned and I’ll report back on wear, performance, etc. Overall my first impressions are good ones, so I am excited to put them to use.
- TPI 60
- Recommended Pressure 17-29 PSI
- Actual Weight 673 grams per tire
- Price $75
- Place of manufacture Taiwan
- Manufacturer’s Details Teravail.com
Teravail Skinwall Tires
As for all its other tires, Teravail has doubled its tire offerings and they claim to be be adding another 30% to the line by Fall 2018. Here’s the rundown of tan sidewall offerings included in the roster:
Teravail Rampart Tanwall (650B x 47mm)
The 650B x 47 Rampart is Teravail’s road plus offering, touted for increased traction and an ultra-smooth ride on rough pavement and beyond. And, of course, the smaller 650B diameter is designed to have the same diameter as 700C x 28/30mm tires, so it can potentially fit into 700c frames to create an entirely different bike. As with all the tan sidewall versions released, Rampart skinwall is only available with the Light and Supple casing. The 60TPI Rampart tanwall is priced at $60.
Teravail Cannonball Tanwall (700C x 35 and 38mm)
The Cannonball was designed as a gravel racing tire. Think Dirty Kanza, Trans Iowa, and Land Run. The directional, tight-knit, diamond center tread is engineered to lower rolling resistance while the side knobs increase cornering traction. For efficiency preferences and bike fit, the Cannonball gravel tire will now be offered in a 700 x 35 size to complement the existing 700 x 38 and 700 x 42 sizes. Both the Cannonball 35mm and 38mm versions will be available in the tan sidewall, each with a 60TPI Light and Supple casing for $60.
Teravail Coronado 27.5+ Tanwall (27.5 x 3.0″)
The 27.5 x 3” Coronado is one of several plus tires in the Teravail lineup. The Coronado was designed with loosely spaced and short center tread, and slightly bigger and more aggressive side knobs to offer traction and efficiency in sandy terrain. The Coronado tan sidewall version has a 60TPI construction in the Light and Supple casing and will retail for $75. The Coronado is also available (only in black) in 26 x 4.0″ in 120TPI and 60TPI for $115 and $75, respectively.
Learn more at TeravailTires.com.
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