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  1. #1
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    Grand Bois Hetre 650b update

    Just a quick note for the handful of folks who had asked for an update when I had some more experience with them. After several thousand miles of pavement and fire road use, I'd say these are the best tires I've used. They are exceptionally comfortable, roll better than most tires I've tried -- including the typical "touring" 700c models -- have had no flats, and are showing essentially no wear. My only concern at this point is that they are the only tires of their type available, and if Panaracer stops production I'll be an unhappy camper. Hopefully they have a long shelf life; I've started hoarding them.

    As for the whole 650b deal, I'm semi-convinced. I don't think there's any magic here; a 700c tire of the same construction would do, I'm sure, the same thing. The only problem would be massive toe overlap, so IMO 650b is simply the best way to get a fat tire without overlap. I wouldn't bother with a "standard width" tire in 650b unless the frame is very small, in which case 650c probably makes more sense.

    HTH!

  2. #2
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    Vittoria are introducing something similar in a 559 size (26" mtb bike). It will be 40mm wide.

    I'm waiting reports from someone who has ordered them. Delivery is expected at the end of this month.

  3. #3
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    A 42 is a classic demi-balloon. Its not a Schwalbe Big Apple or Fat Franks but wide tires can roll fast. I'm putting Grand Bois Hetres on my 650b MTB.

  4. #4
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    The roads out here sure make that tempting...

    Let's see, current reach is about 55mm, 700c is 622, I'd need 16 more mm reach to get to a 590 rim..

    http://www.velo-orange.com/parabo.html

    Those would work...

    Man would that be an expensive conversion...
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

  5. #5
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    I also have a stash. I hoarded them when it was rumoured the red ones would be retired (so to speak). We now know that wasn't the case and, after a run of black rubber, red is once more available.

    I also have a few thousand miles on my original pair, installed Novemeber '07. I've had a couple of flats and one now has a nasty cut, down to the casing. I'll try to seal that with Shoe Goo.

    I've used them extensively on trails, and this is where they come alive. I've toured with them in the mountains of BC and used them on several brevets of 200 and 300 kilometres. I had them mounted for the Fall Islander, which included well over 100km of gravel.

    I've switched to Col de la Vies for the worst weather and accompanying shoulder debris and I can't wait to put the Hetres back on! They truly are one of the best tyres of any kind and any size. I say this as a one time skeptic of low pressure and fat.

    More here on the Bleriot/Hetre. Lots of photos of first ride w/ Hetres on trail w/ review.
    VeloWeb | VeloWebLog

    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind." ~William Saroyan

  6. #6
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    Yeah, I tried to order some a few months ago and Jan wrote back to tell me they only had black available. Ordered again last week and took delivery of four fresh red Hetres yesterday.

    Still using the original pair. The rear got pretty squared off, but still has plenty of meat left. The front tread still looks essentially new. I went ahead and swapped back-to-front -- I know the arguments against that and don't buy 'em -- and honestly figure to get another six months to a year out of them. I've had a total of one flat, caused by a thorn. This is much better than the "one flat per thousand miles" I averaged with Grand Boise Cypres I used on my old 700c bike.

    Overall I'm even more impressed with these tires than I was when I started the thread. Recent testing in BQ shows them to have slightly more rolling resistance than the Cypres but still better than many common "performance" clinchers that folks are using on their racing bikes. As RC points out above, they work wonderfully for fire trails and such, and I've never ridden a more comfortable tire. I am extremely glad I designed my frame around them and really can't imagine using anything else. May they stay in production forever!

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