Grand Bois Hetre Long Term Review

6400 miles on the pair. Rear went 4500 or so before a I retired due to thinness of the tread. Rotated the front to the rear and got another 2000 or so miles before a manufacturing wobble gave out. This section of the tire was always out of round so it’s no surprising that’s where it finally failed. Really impressed with the longevity of these tires. Running 700c the most I ever got was about 2500 miles on a pair of tires.

They work and work well, measured true to size at specified psi on my Stans Crest rims. I never felt like they lacked anything in on road performance. They’re kinda shitty in the rain and I think this is a combination of the vertical tread and the rubber compound. The vertical tread seems to allow water to fill the areas between tread bars and the surface tension keeps it in place and reduces the tires contact with the road since a large portion is now filled with water whereas before it was air and rubber. The rubber is just old-tech Panaracer compound, they’re a conservative Japanese company so i wouldn’t expect this to change any time soon. Now to clarify the tires are ok in the rain just don’t expect to be railing any descents with these.

I read a lot about puncture resistance before I started using the tires and my experience for the first 4500 miles was very different than what I read. I had a high number of flats over that mileage span, four due to embedded glass working through the tread over time, one puncture from a nail, one from a razor and one from a radial tire wire. So 8 over 4500 miles, very high for me.

When I rotated my front Hetre to the rear and discarded the old rear I had 0 flats in the 2000 miles I used the tire. What I’ve been thinking is this is a combo of just having a softer tire in the rear that was picking up glass and the front aging into slightly harder rubber and being more resistant. I used to use a headlamp to inspect the rear and remove glass before it worked through to the tube. That never happened when I rotated the front to the rear. That 4500 miles it was on the front gave it some age and hardened it to be slightly more resistant I think. Tire pressure was consistent the whole time. I would pump the rear to around 40 psi, front to slightly above 30 psi and run them until the rear felt unstable in cornering, about 30 psi. Bike and rider weight between 190-210 pounds.

One thing I didn’t like that I haven’t seen addressed was the propensity for the tire to grab onto straight surface artifacts like raised paint lines. This is an issue with any tire with vertical tread features but it was especially pronounced with the Hetres. I almost crashed riding no hands when I drifted onto a thick paint line and the bike wobbled hard as the front tire grabbed the paint and was pushed into a different line. The effect seemed more pronounced with lower pressures and colder weather.

So anyway, good tires. Really happy with them.

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