I suppose I could have decided to go about writing this review in a Scooby-Doo type style, which would have been the road our favorite website curator may have gone. It would have started with something like, “Rut-Row Raggy…these Teravail Rutland tires are rad rad rad”, but that wouldn’t be my style and I wouldn’t want to pretend I’m as creative nor as funny as Uncle Gomez. So instead, I’ll just be me and give you my opinions of where these gravel tires shined and maybe where they didn’t.
I jumped on the gravel thang several years ago, trying to make my Surly Cross-Check gravelable with 32mm tires. Alls I got was beat up and squirrely. You see, over here in the northern lower land of the hand, we have just a wee bit of sand to contend with on gravel rides (which often include double track and forest roads). And when I want to add in some single track, my aging body said, “You’re not 30something anymore, Andy”. I needed something with girth and since a cross-check fits-fatties-fine, I upgraded to a 40mm tire. Better but not best. Enter the Salsa Journeyman and a pair of 650b x 2.1in tires. Voila! Gravel comfort indeed. So long story even longer, when asked about reviewing a pair of Teravail Rutland tires, I was all in.
Here’s what Teravail says about the Rutland:
“Designed with the unknown in mind, the Rutland takes the guess work out of selecting the right tire for the ride. Ramped, tightly spaced center lugs reduce rolling resistance while more aggressive shoulder and transition lugs provide grip in loose conditions.”
My Thoughts about the Rutlands
I wouldn’t argue a thing about the claims that Teravail makes with that statement. The Rutland rolled way better than I had expected. My partner in crime (wife) rides Teravail’s Sparwood, which if you aren’t familiar with, have a much less aggressive center tread pattern with diamond shaped ramped lugs. Despite the more spread out lug pattern of the Rutland, they still rolled surprisingly well, taking nothing away from the ride on long straightaways. The center pattern also shed mud like a dog in August. Where I thought they especially shined was in the transition and side lugs. The transition lugs performed amazingly well in slower cornering and there was no guessing when they would engage. When I really needed to rail a corner, I found the side knobs inspired confidence to keep the speed and spit me out on the other side with no problems. These tires love gnarly gravel and loose double track. Upon a trip to our upper peninsula, I had a chance to hit some grom singletrack with these tires and they performed as expected. Similar to the mountain bike tires of yesteryear, the 2.1in tires felt as if they had just participated in a homecoming of sorts, providing me with evidence that the Rutland welcomes dabblings in harsher, more course gravel as well as looser, mildly rocky terrain.
Tubeless setup went smooth as chocolate milk and after 250 miles, they’re still stretching to their claimed width of 2.1 inches (mounted on WTB i23 rims). I only tested the light and supple casing option (which they are) while I sent the durable casing tires back to badger land (Gomez’s pleasure dome, aka garage). The Rutland comes in a plethora of widths both 700c and 650b as well as two different casing options so there’s more than likely a flavor for your fancy.
So even though the Mystery Machine never played a role during my time with Teravail’s Rutland and Velma didn’t lose her glasses, if you find yourself riding some more chunky gravel and desire to turn onto some lighter single track, these might be the tires for you. The folks at Teravail never ran into the meddling kids to ruin their plan and are clearly getting away with some solid all arounder gravel tires.
Durable Tan Wall Addendum: from ~gomez~
Hola, It’s your tio Gomez with my personality-free two cents about the Durable Tanwall Rutland tires. Durable Tanwalls are new to the Teravail line-up. We first heard about it during Adam Blake’s interview with 45NRTH last winter. While Andy was riding the Light & Supple in Michigan, I was Klunking the Tan Wall Durables on a singlespeed in Wisconsin. The durables are mounted to a set of WTB Asym Rims and I’ve been running them tubeless from day one.
Tubeless set-up was a snap. My first ride on these tires was at the Minooka Trails with some pals from the shop. Our shop rides are pretty typical dude rides, where we try to rip each other’s legs off for most of the ride.
During our first hot lap, I ran into the shoulder of a big rock and burped the front tire just a little but it sealed right back up and I rode it that way for the rest of the ride. That’s really been the only mishap that I’ve encountered with these guys. I tried to run 13/15 psi initially but eventually settled in on 17/19 psi (front/rear) for dirt.
These tires roll fast and provide plenty of cornering traction in ideal trail conditions. Braking traction was more difficult to coax out of the Rutland. It was common to get the rear tire to drift if I got too aggressive with the rear brakes. Climbing traction was satisfactory in dry to hero dirt conditions. On dry to perfectly moist dirt, the Rutlands, come close to feeling like a good all-around mountain bike tire. All of those traction scores fall off when things get wet and/or muddy.
The Durable sidewalls didn’t feel harsh or heavy and they did allow me to run some fairly low pressures for a 27.5×2.1 tire. I used to bitch quite a bit about the aesthetics of tanwalls but I’ve just come to the understanding that they’re part of the plus and fat-bike landscape. Just another option for folks that like that look….and now those folks can get that look in a durable sidewall. I think that these tires would make ole Ignaz Schwinn proud as a peach and then he’d probably klunk off into the sunset on a pair. Klunk on amigos!