Long before the invention of the 29er, Bruce Gordon was making large-wheeled bikes that could accommodate wide, dirt-capable tires. That bike was the Rock ‘n Road, and it featured eponymously named tires designed by MTB Hall of Famer Joe Murray. Twenty five years later, Gordon has reintroduced his venerable Rock ‘n Road tire with some not-so-minor improvements.
Now produced in Japan by Panaracer, the Rock ‘n Road features folding Kevlar beads, and a supple casing available in your choice of tan or black sidewalls. The single inconspicuous logo is a refreshing change from the “billboard” look found on so many competitors’ tires.
Despite being described as an all-purpose tire, the Rock ‘n Road features deep lugs and a plump, high-volume profile. The result is improved flotation and (off-road) traction compared to the ‘cross-inspired tires usually associated with gravel riding and racing. While the Rock ‘n Roll excelled in loose or loamy soil, the paddle-style knobs also performed well on hardpack. On paved and chip sealed roads, the tires’ lively ride belied their weight (508g on my scale) and size (43.95mm knob-to-knob).
If you’re looking to step up your off-road game, but you still want to pound the pavement, the Rock ‘n Road is definitely a solid choice. If your local retailer doesn’t stock them, fear not–Bruce Gordon offers a killer bundle that includes two tires and three presta-valve tubes for $114.
Disclosure: Bruce Gordon Cycles provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.