Though many mountain bikers will know Panaracer for the classic Smoke & Dart tyres (which are still in production!), the Japanese tyre manufacturer has been busy adding a load of newer tread offerings, including the PanDura shown here. To find out how this enduro/all mountain tyre stacks up against the likes of Maxxis, Schwalbe, Continental, Specialized and Bontrager, we put a set of PanDuras in the hands of David Hayward, to see if they’d come unstuck. Over to David for the review!
When it comes to me and mountain bike tyres, there are three kinds: semi-slicks, knobblies, and spikes. Nothing else exists. At least it didn’t, until Wil handed me a pair of these. They’re at the low end of knobbly, much burlier than a semi-slick or a Maxxis Ardent, but look a bit faster rolling than the kind of thing I’d normally go for.
On first unpacking them, I noticed two things: Firstly, they’re quite heavy. Secondly, a lot of that is obviously in the sidewalls, which felt pretty stiff. For a folding tyre, it feels quite rigid to handle if you’re used to lighter casings.
There are two sizes and varieties available: 2.4in wide in 27.5in or 29in, and either folding or wire bead. These ones are the folding version, and weigh 1257g, about 70g higher than the claimed weight of 1180g.
In terms of tread aggressiveness, they sit around the middle of the Panaracer range, but packed with features to suggest aggressive riding. While they don’t publish shore-a hardness ratings like some manufacturers, these have a three compound construction, with base, centre tread and side tread compounds, each respectively softer than the last. As well as that, they have nylon-reinforced sidewalls, and the carcass is beefed up around the beads to help reduce pinch flats.
Installation & Setup
They’re far from the tightest tyres I’ve had to install, but they’re definitely not baggy, that’s for sure. Getting them on without levers was just possible. Tubeless setup itself was easy – sealant in, straight up with a track pump. Once on and up, these did feel a lot more supple and pleasantly squishy than I expected.
If you’ve ever *cough* been nerdy enough to measure the width of a tyre at different pressures, you’ll know that all tyres stretch a little when inflated, and 10psi can make *gasp* up to half a millimetre of difference. Yeah. Never doing that again.
Sizing of these seems accurate. Running on a 25mm internal width rim, they measured 2.39in at the carcass, and 2.44in from corner-to-corner on the widest tread blocks. They came up with a nicely rounded profile and no bulging sidewalls. You could definitely go up 5, maybe even 10mm of rim width without them squaring off unpleasantly.
The inside of the tyre also has a hex-grid pattern which, it turns out, makes fitting some rim protection inserts basically impossible. CushCore and Vittoria’s Air-Liner both push foam against the beads, which grabs hold of that hex pattern and lets the bead spring back out exactly as much as you can stuff it in. Other inserts that leave more room behind the beads went in easily, but if you want to lock those beads in place, ProCore is going to be your best bet. The textured finish is a curious choice, and not something I’ve seen inside any other tyres.
Over the five months I tested these, I ran one first as a front tyre in our enormously dry summer, then swapped it to the back as soon as the weather broke last autumn.
As a front tyre, they worked well in dusty conditions, putting down enough grip and rolling fast. The beefy sidewall support was noticeable when pushing into corners too, with no unpleasant rebound and a consistent, predictable feel. The tread pattern is distributed in such a way they have no dead spots as you lean the bike over.
Where they really excelled in the dry was bikepark riding, with berms negating any need for really aggressive side knobs. The carcass also provided good damping over braking bumps too. Overall, this made it feel stable at all speeds. Back home, over the summer it was also fine for a mix of dust, gritstone, loam and general Pennine dirt.
The tread pattern presents a lot of lateral edges to the front, providing decent braking traction. The high weight really helped keep up momentum on faster descents. Considering I often run sticky tyres, in comparison Panaracer’s tread compound did roll nicely up the climbs too.
While Panaracer bill this as an all conditions tyre, as a front tyre, it came somewhat unstuck in the mud. On both muddy grit and more clay-like trails after rain, as a front tyre it was a bit optimistic for going flat out, with occasional washouts and fights to keep the bike upright on off-camber sections.
Lesson learned, and rapidly realising semi-slick-back-tyre season had passed, I conceded we were done with dust for the year, and put the PanDura on the back. Out there, the lateral traction isn’t such an issue, and it sheds mud much better than I expected. A part of that is probably the relatively low tread, which covers the whole tyre but isn’t super aggressive.
The beefed up carcass is always worth it on a rear wheel, and while it obviously isn’t the mud spike for apocalyptic conditions, the tread does give a little bit of climbing oomph, without dragging up road climbs.
Over five months, amidst everything else it’s done about 130 miles of descending off road so far. The wear and toughness have been impressive; as you can see, the tread blocks have retained their edges, no knobs have been ripped off, and I haven’t punctured either tyre yet.
Panaracer’s PanDura feels more at home in the dry than the wet, but does have its uses in all conditions. It’s not the most aggressive tread, nor exactly a downhill tyre, but its weight and toughness definitely make it well suited to uplift trips and gravity-oriented riders who want something faster rolling – particularly for the rear.
|Product:||PanDura 27.5x2.4 TLC Folding|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 5 months|