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Verdict: 
Work brilliantly on a full range of terrains and surprisingly tough for a supple tyre
Weight: 
505g

The Rene Herse 650x48 Juniper Ridge tyres have a knobbly tread that has been designed to roll well on the road too. I was sceptical, but to be honest they are pretty good, giving a boost to your average speed on those tarmac sections between the tracks and trails. They can feel a little fragile, but in use I had no issues whatsoever.

  • Pros: Supple casing gives a smooth ride and plenty of feedback; tread works on multiple terrains
  • Cons: Quite pricey (if not exactly overpriced)

Heard of Compass tyres? We've certainly tested plenty and they've always performed well – models like the Bon Jon Pass TC or the Steilacoom TC. Well, Compass has gone through a rebranding exercise and become Rene Herse.

> Buy these online here

The Juniper Ridge is one of its new all-road tyres. It might look like a knobbly mountain bike tyre but it's been designed to work just as well on the road as it does off the beaten track. It has the same tread as the 700x38 Steilacoom mentioned above, but in a 650x48mm size.

The tread has been designed to place as much rubber on the road as possible and the result is a surprisingly grippy and fast-rolling tyre. There is a little bit of road noise once you get up to speed, but thanks to the soft compound and supple casing, they really do feel like road tyres.

Rene_Herse_Juniper_Ridge_TC_fitted_2

Grip isn't as high as a full slick but it isn't far off, and with so much feedback coming through, you certainly know when you've reached the crossover point to loss of traction.

You're unlikely to be using these 100 per cent on the road, though, they are more a design for off-road surfaces that can also take on the bits of tarmac that string those off-road sections together, so all-out speed and grip isn't the be all and all.

Take to the gravel tracks and the Juniper Ridge gives plenty of confident grip, whether you are on the hard-packed stuff or the looser, shingle type, helped by a balance of the tread and their 48mm width.

The suppleness of the sidewall when fitting did leave me with a little trepidation about how they'd respond to potholes and sharp rocks, but with 35psi in them for a mixture of road and gravel use I had no issues whatsoever.

Rene Herse Juniper Ridge

The majority of gravel tracks I ride are used by the military for transporting tanks and the like around, so they are quite smooth and well packed, with larger rocks and smaller stuff filling in the gaps. Cornering on this surface, the Junipers had just the right level of grip for the knobbles to dig into the gravel so you could blast round at speed.

Heading away from the hard-packed surface to the local single track through the woods and the Juniper Ridge impress here too, unless things are really wet and sticky. They grip well on soft mud and the tread doesn't seem to hang onto any dirt either, shedding it before it can become compacted between the knobbles. The only place it did suffer a bit was on wet, sticky chalk which could clog up the tread.

With or without tube

The Juniper Ridge can be run either tubeless or with tubes and it was reasonably easy to fit either.

Going tubeless was a bit more of a faff because of the suppleness of the sidewalls. They give a great ride feel but can be a little floppy when not inflated, so trying to get them to seal even with a good blast from the Beto Surge Tubeless Floor Pump wasn't happening.

Sticking a tube in to pop the tyre on, deflating and removing the tube while leaving one bead attached and then inflating again did the trick, with the Junipers making a defined snap as they sat against the rim of the wheel.

Rene Herse doesn't use a butyl lining on the inside of the sidewall, to keep that supple feel, which leaves it on the porous side so you need to use a thicker sealant like Orange Seal to close up all the little gaps in the casing.

After acquiring some, I set to work and everything worked as expected after pumping the tyres up, leaving them overnight and then giving them a top-up in the morning. After this initial setup you can use any sealant to top them up according to the mounting instructions.

I covered about 300 miles on the Junipers in a variety of weather conditions, from 35°C heatwave to huge downpours, and they never really put a foot wrong. I had no issues with durability or punctures throughout and they are still looking pretty new, with no cuts or marks.

The only thing I would say is that the rubber compound used is quite soft, and plenty of use on the road with them pumped up hard will probably see the knobbles wear quite quickly; I'll keep you posted.

Value

The Standard version of the Juniper that we have on test has an RRP of £60, but you can also get a Lightweight version with either black or tan sidewalls for £74, and an Endurance version for the same money. Pricey, but not overly so.

The Donnelly Xplor MSO tyres have an all-round kind of theme to them and the size we tested are £65. They are available in 650B guise too.

> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best gravel and adventure tyres

The Junipers' ride quality on the road and off it reminds of the excellent Schwalbe X-One Allround. Again, we tested the 700C version which costs £66, but there's also a 27.5in (650B) x 1.3in for the same money.

Overall, the Juniper Ridge tyres are pretty darn good wherever you ride them and whatever the weather is doing. They'll be my go-to tyres for any 650B-equipped gravel wheels that come in for testing, that's for sure.

Verdict

Work brilliantly on a full range of terrains and surprisingly tough for a supple tyre

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: Rene Herse Cycles Juniper Ridge 650x48

Size tested: 650B x 48mm

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?

Rene Herse says, "The ultimate 650B dual-purpose tire is designed for adventures where you don't know what lies ahead. It offers excellent performance and cornering on paved roads, yet its knobs dig into the surface when it gets slippery. The tread pattern is designed to increase the amount of rubber in contact with the road as you lean the bike into turns to maximize grip."

They are very competent tyres whatever the terrain.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Rene Herse:

Rene Herse tires combine the performance of high-end tubular tires with the convenience of clincher. The supple casings roll smoothly over surface irregularities. The knobs are large enough so they don't squirm, yet they are spaced far enough to clear mud. All models feature:

Clincher, folding bead

Tubeless-compatible

Maximum pressure with tubes: 55 psi (3.8 bar)

Maximum recommended pressure – tubeless: 55 psi (3.8 bar)

Standard casing

Supple casing

Tan sidewalls

530 g

Extralight casing

Ultra-light, ultra-supple casing

The ultimate in speed and comfort

Black or tan sidewalls

470 g

Endurance casing

Our Extralight casing in a denser, stronger weave

Protective belt under sidewalls and tread

Ideal for rough gravel and tough conditions

Dark tan sidewalls

530 g

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

For their size and tread they're quite competitive.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Very supple, almost like a tubular tyre.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

A great crossover tyre for riding a bit of everything.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great tread pattern, which works pretty much everywhere.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I didn't really dislike anything to be honest, but I'll be keeping an eye on the wear rate on road.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

You can buy tyres that have a few more compromises for riding tarmac and off-road for around the £40-£50 mark, but for the performance the Junipers aren't priced too badly against others such as the excellent Schwalbe G-Ones.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The tread pattern is very effective at tackling different surfaces, which is what makes the Junipers stand out against a lot of others out there, even if they are a bit of an investment.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

18 comments

Avatar
Freddy56 [441 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

"Grip isn't as high as a full slick but it isn't far off"

that is amazing for a knobbled tyre....just need to try it before i am a believer

Avatar
djbwilts [27 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Any news on durability of the tread?

Avatar
JF69 [57 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Interesting review, congrats.

Question for Stu:
What bike & rims were used to test these tyres please?
Thanks in advance.

Suggestion: Please do consider including that info when testing tyres.

Avatar
SPENGLE Carbon [3 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
JF69 wrote:

Interesting review, congrats. Question for Stu: What bike & rims were used to test these tyres please? Thanks in advance. Suggestion: Please do consider including that info when testing tyres.

Don't know about the bike, but those rims look very familiar

Avatar
Prosper0 [249 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
JF69 wrote:

Interesting review, congrats. Question for Stu: What bike & rims were used to test these tyres please? Thanks in advance. Suggestion: Please do consider including that info when testing tyres.

 

This. Please, please, include this basic info when reviewing tyres. 

Avatar
Stu Kerton [109 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
JF69 wrote:

Interesting review, congrats.

Question for Stu:
What bike & rims were used to test these tyres please?
Thanks in advance.

Suggestion: Please do consider including that info when testing tyres.

The tyres were mostly tested on the Cotic Escapade which has WTB i23 rims and as you can see from the pics, were fitted to the Spengle wheels for a bit too.

Avatar
Stu Kerton [109 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
djbwilts wrote:

Any news on durability of the tread?

I've only put another couple of hundred miles on them so far but they still aren't showing any signs of wear as of yet.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1431 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
djbwilts wrote:

Any news on durability of the tread?

Since writing the review for the near-identical Steilacooms, I've done a thousand or so miles of mixed on- and off-road riding here in Scotland, across estate roads and MTB tracks alike. I can't see any obvious loss of tread, that makes me think they are fast-wearing. 

The thing with Rene Herse tyres, is that you get great grip, low resistance and traction every second you're riding them. Even if they only lasted say two thousand miles, that's still say 200hrs of riding, and at £55 RRP an end, that's £110 of rubber costing you 55p/hr. You can't buy happiness, but the Steilacoom (or other sized-variants on the same tread pattern/casing) is darn close.

Avatar
rogermerriman [164 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
Freddy56 wrote:

"Grip isn't as high as a full slick but it isn't far off"

that is amazing for a knobbled tyre....just need to try it before i am a believer

 

since these are essentially MTB sized and slicks top out at 28/30ish for most there are a few bigger for MTB they are fairly slim topping out at 40ish.

 

My commute bike is a old MTB even with hard commuting type tyres, it’s much more surefooted ie stuff like wet metalworking/white lines and other such things. Which can be quite exciting on a road bike, just aren’t with tyres 50+mm ie MTB sized tyres. I’m sure that a equally sized slick would grip better but to the best of my knowledge they don’t exist. And since a lightly treaded tyre rolls/grips so well probably isn’t the market for such a tyre?

Avatar
ktache [2325 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I don't know about that, these bad boys are 4.5inch fatties

Avatar
ktache [2325 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

and look at that level of purple!

Avatar
kil0ran [1761 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Having spent the weekend converting my bike to 650B/47 I'm annoyed I didn't do it sooner. So much more practical - bigger air chamber, lower pressures, huge amount of grip on loose stuff, plus still room for mudguards. My best bike, even running 28s, is in danger of spending most of its life in the shed at this rate. There's also the fact they look such absolute beasts. Or have I just built the equivalent of a Chelsea tractor?

Avatar
ktache [2325 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Nah kil0ran, you have mud on it, and you do go off-road.

I've spent the summer on 27.5x3in Maxxis Chronicles, and they are fantastic, great on bad tarmac, on dirt and gravel, even light mud and puddles.  Thick mud, hmmm, but never really expected them to.  Down to 10-12psi too.

Tan walls are class, and you have combined it with other leather references.  Nice.

Avatar
CyclingInBeastMode [269 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
rogermerriman wrote:
Freddy56 wrote:

"Grip isn't as high as a full slick but it isn't far off"

that is amazing for a knobbled tyre....just need to try it before i am a believer

 

since these are essentially MTB sized and slicks top out at 28/30ish for most there are a few bigger for MTB they are fairly slim topping out at 40ish.

 

My commute bike is a old MTB even with hard commuting type tyres, it’s much more surefooted ie stuff like wet metalworking/white lines and other such things. Which can be quite exciting on a road bike, just aren’t with tyres 50+mm ie MTB sized tyres. I’m sure that a equally sized slick would grip better but to the best of my knowledge they don’t exist. And since a lightly treaded tyre rolls/grips so well probably isn’t the market for such a tyre?

Sorry but I can't agree with that, pure road going machines yes, but otherwise that's not the case at all, in any case not very many people ride these type of tyres either?

Tourists have been riding wider than 30mm road tyres for a very long time, in fact the hybrid do it all bikes of the late 80s and 90s on including the likes of Muddy Fox came fitted with wider tyres and some with tread designed for exactly the same as the tyre here, those were 622/700C tyres and there has always been a noticeable difference between slicks and similarly wide tyres with knobbles on them, make this tyre without the knobbles in the same width and there will be a very obvious difference.

That's not to say this tyre isn't useful in the right conditions, it's just that reviewers are somewhat blinded or don't have enough real world experience comparing similar tyres in similar circumstances/extremes and in this case wide slicks.

One down side is you have to buy into a different wheel size which is costly, it also sees frames being designed for such as opposed to manufacturers simply making tyres that fit existing standards and making subtle changes to accept thise wider tyres (basically going back to what we had before) but the cycle industry dragging tyre/wheel sizes from the grave is basically (like most stuff) all about making money and encouraging people to spend more money with an idea that is appealing because there's little or no option with existing gear.

I've just fitted a 54mm slick on the rear of one of my bikes, looking forward to seeing how that works out with the 40mm lightweight/supple front (I never ride same size tyres on any of my bikes) but IME of riding wider knobbly tyres there's not a chance that the tyre reviewed here is anywhere near the same for on road grip or rolling resistance but they will be better offroad in the right conditions.

Avatar
rogermerriman [164 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:
rogermerriman wrote:
Freddy56 wrote:

"Grip isn't as high as a full slick but it isn't far off"

that is amazing for a knobbled tyre....just need to try it before i am a believer

 

since these are essentially MTB sized and slicks top out at 28/30ish for most there are a few bigger for MTB they are fairly slim topping out at 40ish.

 

My commute bike is a old MTB even with hard commuting type tyres, it’s much more surefooted ie stuff like wet metalworking/white lines and other such things. Which can be quite exciting on a road bike, just aren’t with tyres 50+mm ie MTB sized tyres. I’m sure that a equally sized slick would grip better but to the best of my knowledge they don’t exist. And since a lightly treaded tyre rolls/grips so well probably isn’t the market for such a tyre?

Sorry but I can't agree with that, pure road going machines yes, but otherwise that's not the case at all, in any case not very many people ride these type of tyres either?

Tourists have been riding wider than 30mm road tyres for a very long time, in fact the hybrid do it all bikes of the late 80s and 90s on including the likes of Muddy Fox came fitted with wider tyres and some with tread designed for exactly the same as the tyre here, those were 622/700C tyres and there has always been a noticeable difference between slicks and similarly wide tyres with knobbles on them, make this tyre without the knobbles in the same width and there will be a very obvious difference.

That's not to say this tyre isn't useful in the right conditions, it's just that reviewers are somewhat blinded or don't have enough real world experience comparing similar tyres in similar circumstances/extremes and in this case wide slicks.

One down side is you have to buy into a different wheel size which is costly, it also sees frames being designed for such as opposed to manufacturers simply making tyres that fit existing standards and making subtle changes to accept thise wider tyres (basically going back to what we had before) but the cycle industry dragging tyre/wheel sizes from the grave is basically (like most stuff) all about making money and encouraging people to spend more money with an idea that is appealing because there's little or no option with existing gear.

I've just fitted a 54mm slick on the rear of one of my bikes, looking forward to seeing how that works out with the 40mm lightweight/supple front (I never ride same size tyres on any of my bikes) but IME of riding wider knobbly tyres there's not a chance that the tyre reviewed here is anywhere near the same for on road grip or rolling resistance but they will be better offroad in the right conditions.

yes Touring/hybrid tyres are 30mm and above but equally they aren’t slicks but treaded tyres, may not be knobbly but clearly treaded, and with that market, wear rate tends to be favoured over grip, which is fair enough.

I moved from some MTB tyres to Touring tyres, at same use ie commute same size, you could compare quite easily, the Touring tyres Marathon plus Touring, have mildly reduced grip but still high levels, but they don’t seem to wear minimal where as the MTB tyres tended to look quite ragged after 2k and would generally need replacing before 3k, I am moving to Big Apples again same size as though the Touring is remarkably tough it also rides like a pig! I’ve replaced the rear that had died from a thousand cuts (glass) though still had barely worn.

 

yes you can get the odd well oddball slicks such as fatbike slicks but for most part slicks are fairly narrow tyres. 

Avatar
kil0ran [1761 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
ktache wrote:

Nah kil0ran, you have mud on it, and you do go off-road.

I've spent the summer on 27.5x3in Maxxis Chronicles, and they are fantastic, great on bad tarmac, on dirt and gravel, even light mud and puddles.  Thick mud, hmmm, but never really expected them to.  Down to 10-12psi too.

Tan walls are class, and you have combined it with other leather references.  Nice.

Absolute blast this morning. They're now mudwalls rather than tanwalls  1 Handled thick mud and dense sand perfectly (in that I didn't fall off despite the odd squirrely moment). Those Senderos don't hang about on tarmac either, very satisfying thrumming noise

Avatar
zornitta [2 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Stu, could you tell the overall diameter?

Avatar
emotive [1 post] 1 month ago
0 likes
rogermerriman wrote:
Freddy56 wrote:

"Grip isn't as high as a full slick but it isn't far off"

that is amazing for a knobbled tyre....just need to try it before i am a believer

 

I’m sure that a equally sized slick would grip better but to the best of my knowledge they don’t exist. 

The Rene Herse Switchback Hill is the same 650b x 48mm size, but a slick. Panaracer Have th Gravelking slick in the same size. WTB have the horizon in a 650b x 47 size. There are plenty of other size high performance slick tyres too: 700 x 32mm, 700 x 35mm, 700 x 38mm, 700 x 44mm, 700 x 55mm...

Rene Herse slicks grip slightly better than the knobbied Rene Herse tyres on tarmac and hard packed dirt, but not quite as well on loose dirt. When there is mud, the knobbed tyres are way out in front.