Looking to grab a slice of that hot and delicious gravel pie (i.e. capture some market share), Zipp has released the Tangente Course G40, the brand’s first-ever gravel tyre.
Measuring 40mm wide and weighing 475g, the tyre is built around a brown 127 TPI (threads per inch) casing, with a black central tread panel that Zipp claims is designed to improve control and durability.
Naturally, Zipp claims this will help you go faster off-road because it believes more control on loose surfaces “translates into higher overall speed”.
The tyre is tubeless-ready and Zipp says it works well with the wider rims on the 700c version of its tubeless 303 rim (20.5mm internal width).
We sadly didn’t have a set of Zipp’s 303 wheels to mount the tyres on. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
Somewhat surprisingly for a company that made its name making aero wheels, Zipp doesn’t make any claims about the aerodynamic performance of this particular tyre and rim combination.
Zipp has also released, of all things, a Tangente 700 x 35 to 42mm inner tube to complement the tyre, if you prefer tubes or want to carry something as a back-up in case of a tubeless failure. Exactly how this differs from a regular inner tube remains to be seen.
Grip and durability
At 40mm wide, the Tangente Course G40 tyre is right on the money for what we like in gravel tyres, because we’ve found that volume often plays just as important a role in off-road rolling resistance and grip as tread pattern.
The tread pattern is made up of three separate sections: a central channel of tightly packed chevrons designed for lower rolling resistance when riding in a straight line, plus strips of “inverted soccer cleat” tread on either side and more aggressive knobs on the edge of the tread for extra grip when cornering.
The tyre also has a bead-to-bead puncture protection strip, unlike many road tyres, which typically only have a strip underneath the central tread section.
As well as looking good, the brown side-walls also have a cross-hatch layer of threaded reinforcement. This is similar to that found on Continental’s popular Gatorskin road tyre.
The sidewall reinforcement is similar to that on Continental’s popular Gatorskin tyre. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
Commenting on the durability of the new tyres, Four-time USA national cyclocross champion Jeremy Powers (who is sponsored by Zipp and was involved in the development process) claims “the tyres are bulletproof”.
While we hope Jeremy didn’t actually have to put that specific claim to the test, Zipp clearly believes that sacrificing some rolling resistance in favour of increased durability makes sense off-road (a flat tyre is pretty slow, after all).
Available from April 2020, the Tangente Course G40 tyre will retail at £64 / $65 / €72 and the Tagente 700 x 35 to 42 inner tube has an RRP of £17 / $19 / €19.