Words and photos by Jon Doyle
While Terrene may not yet be a household name, the upstart tire company aims to change that with their line of knobby and all-road rubber. Debuting their wares at the 2016 Interbike trade show, Terrene’s lineup includes the 26″ Wazia for fat bikes, the 27.5″ and 29″ Chunk knobbies, and the 700C and 650B mixed-surface Elwood. Terrene labels the Elwood ($65 MSRP) a dirt road tire; up to the challenge of varying hard surfaces. It resembles a semi-slick cross tire, and would certainly be of interest to those looking for an oversized race tire. I put the 650B x 47mm Elwoods on my Rawland all-road bike and explored unpaved roads, trails, and the snow-covered urban landscape.
The Elwood comes in Light and Tough variations, the Tough containing an additional protective layer (TekShield) that is noticeable, yet still quite flexible when handling the two tires. My samples weighed 425 grams and 530 grams, respectively, matching Terrene’s data. The 47mm width was also as specified. Both tires utilize a soft, grippy 60A rubber with flexible casing and folding beads. In-hand they feel like a high-end MTB tire, sticky and yielding—not like a rigid touring tire. I installed the Light in front, Tough in back, where the risk of flats, cuts and sidewall abrasions is greatest.
The Elwoods fit snuggly onto my Velocity A23 and Pacenti SL23 rims. My first attempt at tubeless installation was unsuccessful, the beads just didn’t want to slide outward onto the rim’s bead seat. Soapy water and an air compressor couldn’t make it happen. After a period with innertubes installed, the second try went easily (My tubeless experience was similar–editor). Both the Light and Tough sidewalls weeped sealant considerably, but that’s not uncommon with light, flexible casings.
The highly featured tread has a tight chevron pattern down the center, paralleled by small pointy knobs, flanked by large, wide-spaced knobs for cornering grip. It was not obvious to me if this was directional tread, no rotational arrow or marking was present. Pointing the chevrons in the direction of motion seemed sensible, though the reverse would seem to roll fine as well.
I inflated the Elwoods to 30–35 PSI for my 160 pounds. The tires rolled easily on hard surfaces, and the tread didn’t interfere with smooth, soft qualities of casing. When a little traction was needed, it was there. I felt like I was riding on a slick, until mud, snow, or a little loose soil appeared—then it was obvious that the tire was gripping what a slick would not. The Elwood hits a good balance between easy rolling and traction, lightly constructed but not overbuilt.
The Elwood is a fine-riding unpaved road and trail tire. I would not hesitate to ride them on long dirt road/mixed-terrain rides where I have been riding slick or file-treaded tires. I felt fast on them, and the bit of traction gained cornering is assuring. I would also look to them as a great 650B tire for ‘cross racing on a dry course.
Disclosure: Terrene provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.