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Verdict: 
Excellent all-winter tyres with great comfort and grip
Weight: 
290g

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.

> Find your nearest dealer here

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.

Panaracer GravelKing Slick Tread 700x32c

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.

Panaracer Gravel King -2.jpg

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.

> Buyer's Guide: 16 of the best gravel and adventure tyres

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.

Panaracer GravelKing Slick Tread 700x38c

Verdict

Excellent all-winter tyres with great comfort and grip

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

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?

Panaracer says:

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

AX-Alpha Cord

Anti-Flat Casing

Available for a limited time only

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

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.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 189cm  Weight: 92kg

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 and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

14 comments

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Zermattjohn [302 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I've got the SK version in 35mm for more off-road use, and they're brilliant. More supple and grippy than G-Ones in my opinion. The only thing to be aware of is that the sidewall is really flimsy - almost feels like a thick balloon. Not a drama on road I'd guess, but I got a (probably unfortunate) sidewall puncture along a canal towpath when a twig pierced said sidewall. Despite being a chunkier tyre, they're cheaper than this one mind...

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Miller [187 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Recently I've installed a pair of this exact green-treaded tyre in the 38mm width. Running those at about 40psi they give a floaty ride and as noted in the article, are fast rolling. Even at 38mm they give very little speed away to a pure road tyre, not that I'd advise road racing on them but they are not sluggish.

However after a weekend spin on slightly damp roads I have a big question mark against their wet grip.  To my complete surprise the rear stepped out on two occasions. First time I braked on a bend because a lorry was stopped in the road, ok, fair enough. Second time I was pedalling through a bend when the rear slid out. THAT was a fright. Both times the tyre caught grip again, which was also a surprise, so I didn't come off.

I wonder if this is related to the tread being coloured. Coloured tread supposedly has less grip than black tread because it lacks carbon black. Advice here might be to get the black treaded version of this tyre.

 

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graybags [102 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Perhaps I'm just weak, but having got one bead on my wheel after a huge amount of effort, I couldn't then get the other one on. I decided to just remove the one bead that was mounted but couldn't do that, so ended up cutting the tyre off. Back to Gp4000's

Avatar
reippuert [117 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Got the 32mm reviewed here and im pretty much in line. They are fast, light, durable, easy-to-fit AND cheap - equally suited for tarmac and unpaved roads.

Cant really see any category where they dont exceed a Schwalbe G tyre. 

Bikepacked on them for 2 weeks in 2017 (Montpellier, Canal midi sur Rhone, Nabone, Mt Espinouse, Mt Noire, Mt Lacaune, Larzac, Millau, Gorges du Tarn, Aigoual, Méjean, Cirque du Navacelles, Corniche de Cevennes, Uzes, Arles, Camarque (inc sea dykes), Petit Camarque, Montpellier). Plenty of climbing and plenty of gravel/dirt.

Close to Compass non-extralight in performace.

also have the 43 SK's.... they are slower and a lot heavier of course - they are King of the local trails and Vulcanos of La Palma though  1

Avatar
kil0ran [1291 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
graybags wrote:

Perhaps I'm just weak, but having got one bead on my wheel after a huge amount of effort, I couldn't then get the other one on. I decided to just remove the one bead that was mounted but couldn't do that, so ended up cutting the tyre off. Back to Gp4000's

I struggled with the SK version on a particular set of rims (generic AlexRims Comps from Merida) but they were fine on others so I think rim profile matters. 

Once they are on they are easier to refit following a puncture so clearly they have a bit of stretch in them.

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Prosper0 [178 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Gross tread colour, is it the 90s? Does anyone still buy those? 

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sammutd88 [101 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
graybags wrote:

Perhaps I'm just weak, but having got one bead on my wheel after a huge amount of effort, I couldn't then get the other one on. I decided to just remove the one bead that was mounted but couldn't do that, so ended up cutting the tyre off. Back to Gp4000's

 

Yikes, maybe invest in some tyre levers or one of those tyre jacks. Can’t say I’ve ever been that in trouble to cut a tyre off! Impressive effort!

Avatar
fukawitribe [2670 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
sammutd88 wrote:
graybags wrote:

Perhaps I'm just weak, but having got one bead on my wheel after a huge amount of effort, I couldn't then get the other one on. I decided to just remove the one bead that was mounted but couldn't do that, so ended up cutting the tyre off. Back to Gp4000's

 

Yikes, maybe invest in some tyre levers or one of those tyre jacks. Can’t say I’ve ever been that in trouble to cut a tyre off! Impressive effort!

Indeed, personally i've never heard of a situation where someone had only one bead on, but they couldn't then get the tyre off.  I'm also kind of struggling to imagine a case where you can get something under the bead to cut it, while at the same time not be able to get levers under it to pull it off. Nearly every rim i've seen has at least a modest dip in the centre to allow the bead to drop on one side and hence give some slack on the other - a couple of exceptions maybe from the '70s - is the rim bed flat or domed up in the middle ?

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GarethE [4 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Looks great, but completely unavailable anywhere. Even the ebay link goes through to the SK version. 

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Nick T [1207 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
GarethE wrote:

Looks great, but completely unavailable anywhere. Even the ebay link goes through to the SK version. 

 

Starbike have black 32mm slicks in stock

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Tass Whitby [72 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Sorry about the buying link - I'll see if we can track them down... (they WERE available) 
 https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Panaracer-Gravelking-Colour-Edition-Folding-T...

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Tass Whitby [72 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Or... contact ZyroFisher (link up top) and they should be able to tell you who has stock.

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neilysump [20 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Ok, I'm sold on these tyres, love the retro colours, love the review performance-wise, would be ideal for rest of winter on the cross bike (especially as the weather has taken a turn for the cold and icy), but can't find these anywhere in 32mm blue tubeless in UK.

I can get them at Merlin cycles in 32mm, blue, but doesn't state tubeless. I can get them at Cyclestore in 38mm tubeless. Any ideas? Do they even make a 32mm in blue NOT tubeless? (and thus i can then order the ones from Merlin).

Bah!

Avatar
CuoreSportivo [1 post] 6 hours ago
0 likes
neilysump wrote:

Ok, I'm sold on these tyres, love the retro colours, love the review performance-wise, would be ideal for rest of winter on the cross bike (especially as the weather has taken a turn for the cold and icy), but can't find these anywhere in 32mm blue tubeless in UK.

I can get them at Merlin cycles in 32mm, blue, but doesn't state tubeless. I can get them at Cyclestore in 38mm tubeless. Any ideas? Do they even make a 32mm in blue NOT tubeless? (and thus i can then order the ones from Merlin).

Bah!

 

neily,

I was on the same page. The 32 doesn't have the "TLC" marking on the sidewall, but I read somewhere that the tires were tubeless compatible. Took a chance, and bought tan walls, about 10 months ago. They setup tubeless super easy on HED Ardennes+ (with Bontrager tubeless pump), and are holding air really good. I ran them at 45-50 PSI (140lbs). 

So to sum up, while they are not marked as tubeless, they are!