Super Supple, Buttery Smooth

I posed a question on a randonneur forum whether it was worth it to switch from 38mm tires to 32’s. You can imagine the range of responses I might get. It’s just not a simple question. Besides the obvious difference of decreased tire contact the smaller you go, there’s weight, tread, and casing differences. I actually had a tire in mind; the Grand Bois Cypress.

Grand Bois Cypress
Grand Bois Cypress

My Sam Hillborne came with Continental TourRides; heavy and stiff, at 38mm (this is what is measures, I think the labeling lists the tire at 42). Everyone agreed, Grand Bois tires are quite magnificent, though some believe a little more flat prone than others. Some recommended staying with a 38mm for comfort, and a common tire of choice was the Pari-Moto. This tire also has a nice recommendation on Rivendell’s website. However, coming from 23cm on my Lemond (which I sold in Jan.), I felt like 32mm would still provide me with plenty of comfort. But, what turned the tide in favor of the Grand Bois was the description by fellow randonneur who said, “Going from heavy, 650 gram, super-thick, tough Conti TourRides to not-quite-paper-thin, super-supple, buttery-smooth 290 gram Grand Bois Cyprès tires will, indeed, give you a very different ride.” Yep, that’s what I’m hoping for. I ordered them yesterday from Compass Bicycles.

The Conti’s are great for commuting and mixed terrain. I have full confidence in them rolling over street debris and don’t think twice about riding off-road, like a fire trail. But, for lots of road riding, increased time in the saddle, and some events I want to participate in this summer, I just wanted the super supple, buttery-smooth ride.


2 thoughts on “Super Supple, Buttery Smooth

  1. Interestingly enough (to me at least) I visited the Compass Bicycles site just yesterday for the first time. I was also looking at the Grand Bois Cypress tires. I currently run Schwalbes on all my bicycles except my Pugsley. That’s 5 out of 6, including my brand new Brompton folder. I love, love, love the flat protection of Schwalbes. But the 32mm Marathon Plus I have on my Ellis ride very harsh. I really want to experience that bike with a tire that rides nicer. I’m not afraid to change a flat on the road, but I prefer not to. The Schwalbes were my answer to that. But now I long for a better. ride. I’m still paying off the Brompton until June, then I can decide if I want to spend the $’s on a new set of tires for the Ellis.

    I’m curious to hear how the Grand Bois work for you on that lovely new bike of yours.

    1. Doug, so good to hear from you. Hope you’ve been having a good year. Yes, your Ellis deserves the best.. I’m sure I’ll post about it. I think I’m going to love this tire. (Shhh, I miss your blog),

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