Panaracer Gravelking SK 700×43 mm gravel tire test

Presentation

The Panaracer Gravelking SK is recognized for its versatility with its Gravel profile which is more Offroad oriented than its little brother, the Panaracer Gravelking which is a semi slick version.

Made in Japan, it uses a 126 TPI Advanced Extra Alpha Cord carcass made with high density yarns which improves the performance of the carcass as well as its resistance to abrasion and punctures.

This carcass is made up of three layers and develops Zero Slip Grip technologies, promising secure grip without compromising performance, and Anti Flat Casing which promises good protection against punctures.

The Gas ZSG Natural Compound is composed of a material of natural origin that offers low rolling resistance and high wear resistance.

As we can see, the rolling surface is provided with square studs close together on the tread and longitudinal blocks on the shoulders. The goal, make the most of your machine on smooth off-road sections, while maintaining good performance on the road.

Panaracer does not skimp on the available dimensions:

  • 700×32
  • 700×35 (380g)
  • 700×38 (420g)
  • 700×43 (490g)
  • 700×50 (570g)

This is the 43mm version that I decided to try. Announced at 490 grams, I weighed my copies at 496 grams. A mass similar to many competitors in the same size.

In terms of colors, Panaracer also offers either this black version, or a version with brown sides.

Assembly and sealing

I had no problem mounting these Gravelking SKs on the Shimano GRX RX880 rims.

With an internal width of 25 mm, I did not need a tire lever and once the 50 ml of preventative liquid was added, the breakdown was done without problem with the Zéfal Tanker.

Note that the seal is good, even after a week, the pressure varies by barely 0.2 bar, which remains minimal. This was the case on both tires. By inflating to 2 bars at the front and 2.4 bars at the rear, even after a week without riding, the pressure remains at 1.8 / 2.2 bars, more than enough to drive even without pumping again!

Once installed, the tires measure between 43.5 and 44mm actual.

On the road and the paths

First outing on the road, the behavior of the Gravelking SK is quite impressive for a 43 mm section. Up to 30 km/h, you don’t really have the feeling of being glued to the road and it runs smoothly.

It is only after this 30 km/h mark where, undoubtedly due to the substantial frontal surface, we start to stumble a little. But it seems that it is more this large section that is the cause than the friction on the road.

Because the small squares placed on the surface of the tire offer very little contact with the bitumen in the end. The sidewalls of the tire are not too flexible, so that even at low pressure, there is relatively little pumping, even when riding.

On compacted gravel and in turns, the GravelKing behaves coherently and without unpleasant surprises, without sharp reactions. A very predictable tire. Once you choose your line, the turns wrap up perfectly. The grip is also very good when braking, you will not be subject to wheel locks which occur too early.

A tread that has the good taste of not retaining mud too much. Even when driving on very oily terrain like clay, it doesn’t stay stuck to the tires for very long and you can thus regain grip as soon as the studs are exposed again.

Even on sandy terrain, the Gravelking SK is comfortable and the crampons on the shoulders allow you to set a little angle without making a mistake.

Unsurprisingly, this Gravelking SK shows its limits on very soft terrain. The thinness of the studs no longer provides sufficient traction power when the terrain is muddy.

Even if, as I indicated above, the mud disappears quickly as soon as you ride on dry portions, the grip is limited as soon as the terrain is muddy. In this case you will have to be rather skilful, the bike becoming more than playful, especially on sloping sections.

Also forget about dancing climbs in mud or on wet leaves if the slope exceeds 8%, because in this case the rear wheel will slip irreparably. You will therefore have to be careful where you put your wheels, because even in relatively dry weather, the slightest mud puddle or patch of wet grass can become quite tricky.

During this entire test, I was not confronted with any puncture and even after more than 500 km traveled at more than 90% off asphalt, no cuts were present on the tires.

Of course, this has no universal value, but at first glance we cannot say that this Gravelking SK is fragile. Likewise, wear seems low at first glance, even if the distance of this test does not allow us to predict the lifespan of these rubbers.

Especially since on gravel tires, it will depend enormously on the routes taken. Driving mainly on loose, clean terrain will not cause the same wear as on sharp stones.

Balance sheet

The GravelKing SK offers a very good balance if you want a tire that will accompany you on varied terrain. It is fast on asphalt and very compact terrain while offering good grip on loose terrain… as long as it is relatively dry.

Displayed at public price of €49.99whether in this black version or, even sexier, with its brown sidewall version, this is a highly recommendable tire for those who want an all-purpose gravel tire without the hassle.

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