The Panaracer GravelKing SK is the tire with the biggest sex appeal in our test but is the only one that had problems sealing when setting up tubeless, both in the laboratory and out in the real world. Can the Japanese tire shine with other qualities?
It’s a pity. In 2020, a gravel tire should seat tubeless without any ifs or buts! We had problems both in the lab and while riding with different rims with the GravelKing. Only with a second, or even third layer of tubeless tape and an extra dose of sealant did the tire eventually seal, which comes to the detriment of weight. However, that extra sealant could be helpful as, during our puncture resistance test, this tire was one of the worst performers. On the other hand, the Japanese Panaracer proved to be one of the fastest tires in the lab, which is noticeable on the road where it rolls almost as fast as a road slick. On compacted gravel and through corners, the GravelKing handles consistently and reliably. Once you’ve chosen your line, corners are dispatched like you’re on rails. The braking characteristics are also decent on gravel. The Panaracer puts the other road-inspired tires from Pirelli and Specialized in their place. Self-cleaning tread? False. Like the WTB Venture, this tire tends to clog up when things are muddy. In terms of damping, the GravelKing sits at the front of the pack and the burly casing means it doesn’t bob, even at low pressures.
The Panaracer GravelKing reveals two sides during testing. Tubeless setup was only possible with more rim tape and extra sealant. Once mounted, the tire convinced us both on the road and compacted gravel, offering lots of security when leaned into corners. If you get it to seal properly, you’ll have a good time with this tire!
- rolls quickly
- secure in corners
- decent damping
- challenging tubeless setup
- limited puncture protection
- tread clogs up
Made in Japan | Tested size 40-622 | Tire width in mm¹ 41.3 | Tire height in mm¹ 38 | Tire height + test rim in mm² 62 | Weight 401 g | Price € 45.95
1 messured dimension with 2.5 bar. 2 Test rim: Stan’s NOTUBES Grail 622 x 20.3 C (Rim height 24.5 mm)
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In our introduction of the best gravel tire on test you can’t just find our most interesting findings and our overall conclusion, but a good view on all tires tested.
All tires on review: Continental Terra Speed (click for review) | Continental Terra Trail (click for review) | MAXXIS Rambler SilkShield TR (click for review) | Panaracer GravelKing SK (click for review) | Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H (click for review) | Schwalbe G-One Allround Evolution (click for review) | Schwalbe G-One Bite Evolution (click for review) | Specialized Pathfinder Pro (click for review) | Teravail Cannonball Light & Supple (click for review) | Vittoria Terreno Dry (click for review) | WTB Riddler TCS Light/Fast Rolling (click for review) | WTB Venture Road TCS (click for review)
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Words & Photos: Benjamin Topf, Philipp Schwab