As Terrene isn’t a household name to most cyclists, a bit of backstory is in order. Tim Kruger, a former product manager at Quality Bicycle Products (North America’s largest bike-shop distributor) and tire expert Joe Yang, felt they could deliver quality tires at affordable prices in a straightforward product line, and Terrene Tires was born in 2016. All of Terrene’s tires are tubeless-ready and available with ‘Light’ and ‘Tough’ casing options.
The company currently has six tire models in a variety of diameters and widths. There are two treads for fat bikes, one for plus bikes, a standard trail tire, a touring model and the Elwood gravel tire tested here.
As a new tire brand, Terrene sought to create tires that filled gaps in existing categories. According to Kruger, when the Elwood was in development the majority of gravel tires on the market were using relatively uniform tread heights. “What I felt was missing from the gravel tire scene was a fast-rolling tire that had good cornering bite, like a mountain bike tire,” Kruger says.
The Elwood is available in 700x40mm and 650bx47mm widths. Russell and I tested the 700c version with Terrene’s Light casing. This version features a 120tpi casing and lacks an additional puncture-resistant layer found on the 60tpi Tough version.
Our 700c Elwoods weighed an average of 435g per tire, which is respectable for the given width. Installation was a bit tight, but the payoff was the ability to easily seat these tubeless tires with a floor pump.
The Elwood has a unique and very effective center tread make of interlocking lugs Josh Patterson / Immediate Media
My Easton EA90 SL Disc wheelset has an internal width of 19.5mm, which resulted in the Elwood’s plumping up to a 42mm. Given the trend toward wider rims for the road, it’s possible that these high-volume tires will be even larger on wider rims. On Clement Ushuaia wheels, which Russell used for this test, and which have an internal width of 23mm, the Elwoods balloon to 43mm.
The Elwood exhibits cornering traits similar to many semi-slick mountain bike tires
This bonus volume is something to keep in mind if your gravel bike has a maximum recommended tire width of 40mm.
The Elwood’s center knobs look like interlocking tank treads. All the edges of these blocks are angled. This design makes it easy for debris to be evacuated from between these tightly-packed blocks, reducing the risk of sharp rocks working their way through the casing and causing a flat. This tightly-packed center tread rolls with haste and without much hum on pavement and hardpacked dirt.
There’s a bit more space between the two rows of diamond-shaped transition knobs that lead to the angular cornering knobs that grow in height at the edges.
The Elwood exhibits cornering traits similar to many semi-slick mountain bike tires; to make the most of the cornering grip, you have to be deliberate about leaning these tires over to fully engage the large edge knobs, as the small transition knobs feel vague when gradually leaning into turns. This was more noticeable on singletrack than on gravel and dirt roads.
The transition knobs consist of rows of file tread leading to the edge knobs Josh Patterson / Immediate Media
On pavement and hard-packed dirt, the Elwoods are swift and nearly silent. When steered toward rough and rocky roads, the true aptitude of these tires reveals itself.
There are plenty of gravel tires on the market with 120tpi casings, but few feel as smooth as these. The Elwoods glide over bumps and ruts, transmitting less road chatter and vibrations. Often, the tradeoff for this supple feel is a lack of durability.
We took the Elwoods on our usual rocky test loops — routes that have been the demise of other lightweight gravel tires — and all four tires emerged no worse for wear.
The Elwood versus other top gravel tires
In comparison to other popular gravel treads, Schwalbe’s G-One is lighter and faster on hardpack and pavement, but more delicate. Kenda’s Flintridge matches the Elwood’s durability, but has a stiff casing and rolls slower, albeit with better cornering grip.
Maxxis’s Rambler is lighter and corners better, but is undersized and slower. WTB’s Nano 40 is better off-road, but squirms when cornering on pavement.
In terms of feel and handling, the Specialized Trigger Pro is the closest competitor to the Elwood with the ‘Tough’ casing. The shoulder knobs sit further down on the casing than the Specialized Trigger, which is more predictable through turns.
Terrene Elwood 700×40 tire overall impression
The Elwood’s larger-than-published width may be welcomed by some riders, but will limit its appeal to those with tight chainstays and mud clearance concerns. To address this, Terrene plans to roll out a 35mm version this spring.
The Elwood is impressively quick and comfortable. The Light version has proved reassuringly durable. If you’re looking for a fast-rolling gravel tire, the Elwood delivers.