Panaracer’s 32mm Gravel King is a completely different tyre to the narrower file tread versions of the same name, but has the same moderately supple 126TPI (threads per inch) casing.
Highs: Lightweight and good value
Lows: Very niche in their usefulness
An aggressive-looking tread combines a small-block central strip with longitudinal bars on the shoulders, interrupted by slightly bigger blocks. Bead-to-bead protection means these are resistant to sidewall slashes as well as punctures through the tread.
On our reference road rim the Gravel Kings measured about 30mm wide – which is 2mm narrower than their nominal size. Even taking that into account, these are fairly light tyres at an average of 313g each.
Given the name, we went in search of some gravel to test these. On the fine stuff that’s sprinkled over a typical bridleway, the Panaracers grip well, railing over loose ground accurately and offering no unpleasant surprises in corners. Coarse gravel of the kind you sink into is another matter, and on this kind of surface the tyres fare no better than any other this size, drifting all over the place.
The small-block central tread rolls well, albeit not quite as well as a slick. Don’t be mistaking it for a mud tyre either – it clogs quickly in sticky stuff, depriving you of traction and grip.