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Bruce Gordon's Rock 'n Road 43mm x 700C bicycle tire review

Bruce Gordon's Rock 'n Road 43mm x 700C tire is one of the best all-rounders on the market.
Paul Skilbeck

Bruce Gordon's Rock 'n Road 43mm x 700C bicycle tire

Rating:
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As an all-round tire for dirt and asphalt riding, Bruce Gordon’s Rock 'n Road is hard to beat. The tire was designed by early mountain bike ace Joe Murray back in the 1980s, and in recent years the Petaluma-based Bruce Gordon Cycles has revived it. The return of this great tire is most welcome.

Weight: 540g
Price: $55
Width: 43mm
Diameter: 700C
Bead: Kevlar
Threads Per Inch: NA
Purpose: Mixed-surface

Inflated to 40 psi (2.8 bar), on a 20lb bike with rider weight of 185lbs, the tire adheres well on the loose, rocky off-road surfaces in the Bay Area hills. It descends with the precision and control of a full mountain bike tire, and it rolls fast and quiet on the road. Many experienced cyclists love this tire, and it deserves its reputation as one of the best all-rounders on the market.

A kevlar bead keeps tire weight down to around 540g per tire, and at $55 is priced mid-range for tires of this caliber.

The Rock ‘n Road is a tire for many different types of rider. It has sufficient width to offer good ground conformation, and combined with the Ritchey Vector Evo seat/post setup it offers high comfort for the duration of a 10-hour ride.

Competitive endurance cyclists should take a serious look at the Rock 'n Road. The narrow profile and low weight could result in significant time gains over a 24-hour period.

For a 1.75″ tire it handles dazzlingly well. The only caveat is a rider weighing around 185lbs (84kg) will need to run it at 40lbs pressure (2.8 bar) to avoid pinch flats on rocky descents. We have not tested it in a tubeless configuration as yet, but look out for an upcoming report on that.

If the tire has a weakness it is muddy conditions. Here traction is poor, and the tread looks like it might clog in sticky mud. But deep, sticky mud requires a very specialized tread and compound that is only good for that purpose, and for the sake of trail conservation is usually better avoided. So I am not counting this as a serious negative. In deep sand the tire wallows a little, although for its width it does OK, so we don’t take marks off there, either.

In dry conditions, on both firm and loose surfaces it is outstanding, and on rocky trails it is about as good a tire as you’re going to find.

Maybe the sweetest feature of the tire is the arc of its profile. Leaning deeper and deeper into a corner, whether on asphalt, gravel or cinders, the tire maintains a reassuring predictability. And when it finally starts to break loose, it does so gradually. It’s one of the smoothest-cornering tires I’ve ridden.

After about six months and 1,000 miles, almost half on asphalt, the center tread of the review pair is just about worn-out while the shoulders still look like they’d go another thousand. I would like to try a dual compound version of the tire, with a harder center tread. There might be some loss of adhesion in some conditions with this variation, and that’s what we would like to test. If the loss were not too significant, this could be a beneficial modification.

Available direct from Bruce Gordon, bgcycles.com

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