These 32mm Panaracer GravelKing tyres are excellent all-winter rubber for your road bike and my new favourite all-purpose winter tyre. They're pretty light for a 32mm tyre, they're easy to set up tubeless and they roll really well. Also, they come in a range of natty colours. Well, two. Plus black. Are they gravel tyres? Not really for the UK, in this size. But for winter road riding they're ace.
- Pros: Easy to set up, roll well, good grip, good value
- Cons: Not really gravel tyres
You might think these tyres look a bit like a plus-sized version of Vittoria's Open Pave with their file tread and green bits. And that's a fair comparison a lot of the time. Okay, they don't have the Open Pave's supple 320TPI casing, but the AX-Alpha Cord construction is still supple and you can run them tubeless which makes them even more so. The extra air in the carcass over a standard road width means there's comfort on tap for filthy back lanes and unsurfaced sections.
Setting these tyres up tubeless was simple enough: both went up first time on Hunt carbon rims with a bit of soapy water and and Airshot. Panaracer rates the tyres at a maximum of 60psi when running tubeless, and that felt about right for me for general road riding: enough give for extra comfort without sacrificing any speed.
And these are quick tyres for a 32mm. At only 290g each end they're 35g less than Schwalbe's excellent G-One Speed in its 30mm incarnation (previously called the S-One, 'the Special One'), and swapping out 650 dynamo wheels with 40mm G-One Speed tyres for the same wheels in 700C with these GravelKings saved about 200g.
I stuck about 40ml of sealant in each tyre and they've stayed up really well: it's always worth checking the pressure before you head out, but they've held pressure better than most I've tried, without being bulky. Puncture resistance is hard to measure empirically, but I've suffered no flats in about 500km of riding, mostly on lanes and plenty deliberately through the hedge trimmings. The bead-to-bead anti-flat casing seems to be doing its job.
'GravelKing' is a bit of a misnomer in this 32mm size. The same tyre in a 650x48 size might be great for off-road shenanigans, but the 700x32 is better on the mixed road surfaces we get in the UK, with the occasional foray onto better-surfaced gravel routes. The ZSG natural compound file tread pattern gives excellent grip across a wide range of surfaces. Stomping up the steep, greasy back road climbs around the South West in the wet months (that's all of them) is a recipe for getting some back wheel spin and a painful knee/stem interface, but I could barely get the GravelKings to budge.
It's the same story on the way back down: okay, you can lock up an unweighted rear tyre braking on a steep drop, but at the front the GravelKings never felt anything other than absolutely locked on.
On unsurfaced trails they work well too, although they reach their limits once the surface goes beyond fine gravel and into your middling aggregates. They're not aggressive enough for slippery surfaces – the wet chalk of Salisbury Plain, for example – either, but Panaracer does a chunkier GravelKing SK if that kind of thing is your bag.
As they're lightweight tubeless tyres, you'd expect the GravelKings to roll well, and they do. They feel like road tyres, and they're not measurably slower (in a non-scientific, Strava average speeds kind of a way) than a 25mm or 28mm road tyre, especially when you start throwing in gravelly, potholed back lanes where you have to be much less careful about your line on a bigger tyre.
My benchmark here is the Schwalbe G-One Speed, a tyre I've put thousands of kilometres into. Like the Schwalbes, these GravelKings are right in the sweet spot of offering great grip and comfort while sacrificing barely any speed. Unlike the G-Ones they're not 60 quid an end, but a much more reasonable £39.99, and lighter to boot. As such, they've become my new favourite all-winter tyre.
If you don't want the military green shown here, or the nile blue (both colours available with black or brown sidewalls), then standard black ones are available too.
Excellent all-winter tyres with great comfort and grip
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer GravelKing 32 tyre
Size tested: 32mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
For Cyclists Seeking New Adventures
The Gravelking offers a level of performance and durability that makes it at home on the road and on the trail. Touring and gravel race tested the Gravelking makes it easy to take that road less travelled.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
ZSG Natural Compound
Available for a limited time only
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Assuming you want to stay mainly asphalt-based, excellently.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Grip, comfort, easy to set up, good value.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not really a gravel tyre in spite of the name.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're £20 cheaper at RRP than the Schwalbe G-One Speed.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Absolutely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
My new favourite all-purpose winter rubber. Excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.