The 29 x 2.2″ Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge is the company’s first bikepacking-specific tire and was designed in collaboration with Lael Wilcox for rides such as the Tour Divide and Silk Road Mountain Race. After putting nearly 1,000 miles on a pair, find out why Neil thinks this might be one of the best tires in its class…
The perfect tire for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is a 29er tire that rolls fast, grips well, and lasts a really long time. While there are a lot of tire options that try and fit this category, there aren’t many that tick each of those boxes. The Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge was designed with all that in mind, specifically for bikepacking on routes that feature a healthy dose of gravel and dirt roads, with some pavement and singletrack mixed in for good measure. When developing this tire, Rene Herse worked directly with ultra-endurance cyclist Lael Wilcox to create a tire made “to conquer the Tour Divide, Silk Road Mountain Race, and tours into the unknown.” Named after Lael’s favorite climb on the Divide, the Fleecer Ridge comes in one size, 29″ x 2.2″ (or 700C x 55 mm). Neil Beltchenko put over 1,000 miles on a pair for this video review. Watch it below and then scroll down for a photo gallery, pros and cons, specs, and my first impressions.
The Fleecer Ridge is an all-around tire featuring deep knobs throughout the tread pattern. The side knobs have generous space in between to provide traction on loose and soft surfaces (particularly in the corners), while the center knobs are tightly spaced to put more rubber on the road. The Fleecer Ridge is available in four different casings. The Standard casing is a more affordable option that also offers extra protection against sidewall cuts on sharp rocks. The Extralight casing is the most supple and light offering. The Endurance casing (which we tested) is reinforced for extra sidewall protection and puncture resistance. And the Endurance Plus offers even more reinforcement with a little added weight.
Neil and I both tested the Fleecer Ridge in the Endurance casing, which seemed the most fitting for bikepacking. I just recently installed mine and only have a few rides on them so far. Even so, I agree whole-heartedly with his review. First off, I also had a challenging time getting them set up tubeless; it was a no-go with a floor pump—even with a pre-charged chamber/blast pump—and required a compressor to get them to seat. However, once they were mounted, I haven’t had any issues with the seal.
Once on the road and gravel, I was blown away by their speed. They’re extraordinarily quick considering the rather deep lugs. They are also remarkably quieter than other tires in their class. Rene Herse attributes this to its patented “noise cancellation” tread, a tread pattern design made to roll fast and produce less road noise. You can hear more about that from Jan at minute 38 in our video interview.
They are also plenty grippy while climbing. Even out of the saddle on steep gravel they maintained excellent traction. I was initially a little concerned about how they would corner given their rounded profile and inset side lugs. However, they didn’t disappoint there either, even during a blazing descent on wet dirt and gravel. Overall, I’m extremely impressed with this tire and I look forward to seeing how they hold up over multiple thousands of miles.
- Incredibly fast considering their comparably deep knobs
- Endurance version has proven to be very durable and reliable, so far
- Extremely quiet, which is surprising considering the lugs
- Good grip with reliable and fast braking, and sure-footed cornering
- Only comes in one size
- Very hard to mount (or impossible) without a compressor
- Not available in black sidewall
- Weight (Extralight) 595 grams
- Weight (Standard and Endurance) 630 grams
- Weight (Endurance Plus) 645 grams
- Actual Width (on 27mm IW rim) 56mm at casing (52mm wide at outer lugs)
- Place of manufacture Japan
- Price $89.00 (Endurance)
- Manufacturer’s Details renehersecycles.com
In case you missed it, be sure to watch our video interview with Lael and Jan Heine about the development of the Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge. This video was recorded live:
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