Bruce Gordon “Rock & Road” Tires: First Impresions
Bruce Gordon “Rock & Road” Tires: First Impresions- by Guitar Ted
Now I have had at least 300 miles on these tires and I am ready to give you my first impressions on their performance. For the tire specs and an introduction, see my previous post on these tires HERE. Now let’s continue on with the review….
The Bruce Gordon Rock & Road tires are unique in looks with all those squarish blocks and one might think these would be very slow on pavement or hard surfaced gravel and dirt. I found them to be really great rolling tires on all those surfaces, actually, and the only complaint there is a whining noise that the tread makes when you are at speed. I didn’t mind it, but it was alarming, at times, when I transitioned from gravel to a paved road crossing. Then the tire would buzz a bit and make me think something was rubbing on the tire or the tire was rubbing the frame!
The gravel I rode on was mostly chunky to completely covered with rock. There were some smoother sections at times, and I also added in a single track ride and about a 20 mile paved ride to see just how wide ranging this tire might be.
Ride Performance: At 45psi rear/40psi front, the Rock & Road tires were great for me on all gravel conditions. I had run them a few times at lower pressures as well, but on really hard surfaces they tended to feel a bit “draggy” and the boost to the 45/40 was a better fit for me. (I weigh 230lbs, for reference.) I have heard that lighter riders are using these down into the lower 30′s psi.
The bonus with the Rock & Road, (and any larger volume tire like it), is the vast increase in stability and control a rider can benefit from. This came into play for me on my latest ride where gravel was deeper and spread across the entire roadway. The faster, down hill sections were no problem as the Rock & Roads were keeping the bike pointed where I wanted it to go, and not swapping ends from side to side as maybe I would have been doing on thinner, less voluminous casings.
The ride also featured that longer paved section, and even at the pressures I had them set at, the Rock & Roads were not feeling too bad. I could have stopped and boosted them up a bit, but in reality, the tires were right at home at those pressures with me on board. Once again- the only thing you may be annoyed by is the singing tread, but I did not mind it once I got used to hearing it. Expansion cracks and road anomalys were damped very well by the casings on these tires.
A Word From The Dirt: As if that weren’t enough, I rode these on smoother single track and the bite these tires have in corners is amazing. Of course, they are not really a mountain biking tire, but the point here is that if you are going for the “monster cross-gravel” set up, these tires are pretty much the cat’s meow. You would be hard pressed to find a better performing dirt tire at this size.
Obviously, the limited volume and which rims you use will hold these back a bit, but on the wider HED Ardennes+, these were awesome on our local smooth single track.
So far, these tires have been extremely impressive. When you consider how long ago the tread design was done, it is even more impressive. I find it hard to fault the Rock & Road tires for any reason except maybe for all out gravel racing where weight starts to become a concern. Or perhaps if you cannot fit them, which really isn’t a tire issue though- is it? No, it is not.
Coming soon I will do a Final Review and a guest rider will give us his take on these tires used tubeless. Stay Tuned!
Note: These tires were purchased by Gravel Grinder News for test and review and I was not paid, nor bribed to do this review. I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.