Tire Obsession – Rene Herse Snoqualmie Pass
When you designed the Seven Mudxium, the bike was built for Bruce Gordon’s Rock’n’road tires. The BGs measure 700cX43mm and weight 540 grams. They were great to start with, but pretty soon after the bike was completed, you joined some Brevets (long distance rides) and the BGs were a total overkill for these rides. This is when you started looking for alternative tires and came across the Compass Tires Snoqualmie Pass.
Rene Herse tires used to be called Compass Tires until Jan Heine, the owner of Rene Herse, bought the rights for the name Rene Herse. From your perspective, Rene Herse tires are the baseline against which all wide tires are measured which is the reason why the first Tire Obsession article is focused on this brand and more specifically on their large volume 44mm wide 700c (i.e. 28 inch) road tires.
Let’s get the details out of the way:
- Size: 700c 44mm or 28″ 1.73″ depending on where you are on the planet. In other words, these are wide tires that many bikes typically can not accommodate. Even these days, where every cycling brand has an all-road or gravel bike, 44mm is still out of reach. Moots for example, just introduced an update to their Routt RSL model that can accommodate 45mm tires. These tires are true to size on wide rims and can even come out a few millimeters wider depending on your rims.
- Weight: There are four “models”. Each model is differentiated by the casing starting from extra light and ending with Endurance Plus. Your casing of choice at the moment is the endurance which comes in at 378 g. You have been riding the standard casing which also weights 378 gram.
- Suppleness: The Rene Herse tires are considered the “OG” in suppleness. In fact,before they came out with their tires, the word supple was rarely used in the cycling community.
- Color: The endurance casing has a dark tan color while the standard casing comes in light tan. This is actually one design choice you’d love to see changed and the reason why you only use these tires on this specific bike – tan works well with titanium frame. For the other bikes in the stable, black tires look much better.
- Tubeless: Yes. Although, no personal experience. There are stories about how difficult it is to set these up as tubeless exactly due to the suppleness. A quick search will reveal interesting videos on YouTube where people even record the air leaving the tires. Since you use tubes, this has never been an issue.
- Price: These tires are very expensive. The Endurance casing will set you back $87 (before shipping) or 84 Euro. These are probably the most expensive tires you own. There are reasons why a small brand have to charge a lot for small runs of made by hand Japanese tires. Still, for the price of one tire one can buy 2, 3 or even 4 tires with much less suppleness.
The Rene Herse Snoqualmie Pass are amazing tires. They feel like road tires without having to suffer from every little crack in the road. They allow the rider to take off the road and traverse almost any terrain. They allow you to float on rough forest roads and provide you the confidence to bomb down a mountain without worrying about loosing traction. They are very light for their volume and with the Endurance casing are also rough enough to withstand the “normal” Berlin city road – broken bottles, broken streets and all sorts of random nails.
There is also something very Germany about these tires. They adhere to standards and have been known to be rather picky when it comes to the rims they match best. For example, according to Jan Heine, the Velocity Blunt SS rims, do not have enough of a lip to actually hold these safely in a tubeless configuration. Another example is mounting them on Zipp carbon rims where multiple layers of tubeless tape are needed to make them airtight. Regardless of such small issues, all of which are easily fixed, these tires are amazing. You never knew that tires could make such a difference in a ride before putting these on.
If your bike has room for 44mm tires on 700c wheels, you will be loving these.